Meet Some of Our Members
Kathya Alexander is a writer, actor, storyteller, and teaching artist. Her poem "Naa Naa" appeared in Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workplace. She has won the Jack Straw Artist Support Program Award, Artists Projects Award from 4Culture; the WRAP Award, Youth Arts Award, and the CityArtist Award from the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture. Her play David and Jonathan: A Modern Day Retelling of the Biblical Tale was selected for Seattle Theater Group’s Night At The Neptune. Another play, HomeGoing, was chosen for Freehold’s New Plays Festival, Mahogany Project's Play Festival, and for residency at Hedgebrook Women’s Writer's Retreat. She was playwright for Intiman Theater's Rough Eagle's Project, and her play Black To My Roots: African American Tales from the Head and the Heart won the Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland, for Outstanding New Performance. Her book, a collection of short stories called Angel in the Outhouse, is available on Amazon. Check out her website at www.seattlestoryteller.com
AAWA member Alliniece Andino started writing when she was ten years old and published her first poem in the school newspaper at age thirteen. For the next twenty years she often wrote poetry but dabbled in writing plays and short stories. She worked for about ten years as a journalist and then became a full-time mom and poet. In the past five years, she has performed her poetry in the Seattle area and also taught creative writing and journalism to middle school students.
Margaret S. Barrie of the Pacific Northwest was raised in a loving community of family, neighbors, and friends. She writes to stay healthy and deems herself a life-time learner, short story writer, and poet. Currently, she’s doing research for a novel with the Seattle Public Library and the Central District Forum for the Arts and Ideas. In addition to being a colleague of the African-American Writers’ Alliance and published in Voices That Matter, she’s a member of the Renton Writers Workshop and is published in Spotlights. Margaret reads at Columbia City Library, Elliott Bay Book Company, Columbia City Gallery, Onyx Fine Arts Collective exhibits, James and Janie Washington Foundation House, the Greater Seattle poet group, and Bin 41 in West Seattle. Margaret also volunteers at the Seattle Public Library.
Author, poet, and spoken word artist Steven Eric Batts is an AAWA member who performs often. The native of Indianapolis, Indiana, began writing poetry and short stories at a very early age. Hundreds have seen and heard the former serviceman read and recite in the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, Germany, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. He is the author of the thought-provoking novel Word on the Street.
Operating with the belief that everything she creates is intended to foster understanding of self and surroundings, Kamari Bright is a poet whose work heavily reflects those themes. She is currently working on a manuscript connecting the influence of Christian folklore on present-day misogyny. The St. Louis-born creative has had work featured in publications, released her first poetry book, Emergence, in 2016, and is a 2018 Jack Straw Writers fellow.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Angie Brown wrote her first poem, The Moon, when she was in the third grade. Since that time, she has written countless poems, stories, and songs. The proud mother of four children lives in Seattle, Washington, where she works as a school librarian. She has completed her first children’s book and plans to publish it along with a collection of her poetry. Among her interests are art, traveling, collecting black memorabilia, and performing in gospel choirs. The recording artist believes that even the sky and the trees can speak and tell us their stories if we are willing to listen. Angie dreams of the day she can retire from her “day job” and write for a living. Angie has been a member of AAWA several years.
Helen Collier, prolific writer of many different genres says writing has been in her spirit since her mother placed a pencil in her left hand and told her, "God made you a left handed writer for a reason; it's up to you to share with the world what that reason is." A native of Illinois, she now resides in Auburn, Washington. Learn more about her work at http://helencollierwriter.com/
Minnie A. Collins, author of The Purple Wash (2013) and Palm Power: Hearts in Harmony (2018) is published in Raven Chronicles, Fly to the Assemblies: Seattle and the Rise of Resistance, Emerald Reflections, Threads, Voices That Matter, Crosscurrents (WACC Humanities Association), Avocet, Blackpast.org, Washington Center Newsletter, Washington English Journal, and Innovation Abstracts at the University of Texas at Austin. She has shared her work at Writers Read, a monthly program at Seattle’s Columbia Library, as well as Elliott Bay Book Co., Third Place Books in Seward Park, Open Books: A Poetry Emporium, Northwest African American Museum, James Washington Jr., Foundation House, Liberty Bank Building Apartments Artists Project, Columbia City Gallery, and Gallery Onyx exhibits.
A Michigan native, AAWA member Patricia A. J. Davis is multi-faceted and loves sharing her talents. In addition to writing poetry, fiction and non-fiction, she also paints and sculpts. A perceptive storyteller, she entertains you with her experiences through her writings and her art works. After many years of traveling around the country, she has decided to make the beautiful Northwest her home, and she is looking forward to creating positive energy with her gifts for your entertainment.
Vocalist Portionté Floes, AKA Miz Floes, is a native of Chicago, Illinois. She has overcome many obstacles in life. The poet and singer has dedicated her energies toward reaching and teaching the youth of impoverished communities through the use of poetry. A number of this AAWA member’s works can be found in her book I’m Still Growing Vol.1. Anyone who types “Miz Floes” into a browser can be delighted by performances of Miz Floes and the Carmel Latte Band. Links: http://www.youtube.com/carmellatteband
Booking / Contact: 206.312.0432
Poet and teaching artist Monique Franklin, also known as Verbal Oasis, hails from Seattle, Washington. Her poetry gives voice to social issues, human relationships, tributes to her many influences, and self-discovery. She is a member of African American Writer's Alliance and is published in their latest anthology Threads. In 2014 she was selected for 4Culture's Touring Artist Roster and the CD Forum's Creation Project. Among her various performance venues are Inside Out Jazz Awards at Benaroya Hall, Women's History Month at Edmond's Community College, and Poetry+Motion at Town Hall. Monique is the owner and operator of Inspired Child, an arts organization that has been providing arts events for youth and families since 2006. She has over twenty years of experience organizing and leading youth arts activities in schools, community centers, and parks. She views her art and her vocation as an educator as vehicles for social change.
Better known as Kidd Glove, Bernard Harris, Jr., has written and performed for a very long time. He admits he developed and honed his writing skills in the military; as a postal worker, he says his writing served as a therapeutic outlet for the on-the job stress. One of his better known poems is The Mail Handler. Bernard tackles subjects good and bad, gentle and harsh. His scathing criticism of American society contains valuable information for anyone who listens: “Wake up,” he says repeatedly whether he speaks of the presidency, Disneyland, men, women, or children. His tenure in the African-American Writers’ Alliance is one of mutual admiration for him and his fellow writers. Bernard tutors, counsels, and mentors. His first collection of poetry is VISIONS … My Mind Is Armed with the Wisdom of Blackness.
Gail Haynes has been a member of AWAA since 2015. She creates poems that are soulful and sassy, poems that will make you laugh and also reflect on real-life experiences. Among the sites where she has read are Mount Zion Baptist Church, Elliott Bay Book Company, Columbia and Ballard Library, and Life Enrichment Bookstore. Gail shares her poems at non-profit organizations that stand against injustice. Many of her poems exalt the goodness of the Lord and His amazing power of love to transform lives. Soulful and Sassy Reflections and Poems is the author's first book. Her advice appears in The Facts in the column"Be Well with Gail."
Nakeya Isabell, a native of Seattle, is one of nine children. The proud alumna of Cleveland High School graduated from Pepperdine University with a BA in Advertising. Nakeya enjoys laughing, music, writing, playing basketball, and spending time with family. Passionate about faith, love, justice, and community, Nakeya is a professional mentor with Friends of the Children where she uses her voice and experiences to spread hope. She writes with authenticity and is inspired by her life experiences and observations. She recently released her first spoken word album entitled Love, Justice & Truth. Nakeya plans to live full so that she can die empty.
Born and raised in South Seattle, Keisha Kelley attended both Cleveland and Rainier Beach high schools, among others. Keisha has always been a part of the community. Growing up, Keisha played basketball at the local Rainier Beach Community Center. She has been working with youth for the past decade; more recently, Keisha works for the Seattle Public Schools and serves the same community she grew up in. Currently, Keisha co-coordinates the after-school Homework Center run by Washington Building Leaders of Change (WA BLOC). As a form of coping with childhood traumas, Keisha started writing rap and journaling when she was ten years old. This outlet blossomed into the beautiful work she has produced. Keisha recently joined AAWA to network with community members and to have somewhere to sharpen her craft. Although Keisha has not published any of her work yet, she is open to any and all suggestions and constructive criticism.
Frenchy Condé Lamont was born in Harlem and raised in Lower East Manhattan. In 1968 he came to Washington as a student and helped establish the Black Student Union at Whitworth College. Frenchy currently resides in Seattle where he is an influential drummer and poet. He is a member of the African American Writers’ Alliance (AAWA), The African Union (AU), One World Drum and Dance, Ijo Ayanmo, Carmel Latte, Otunaba and Soulstation. He has enriched the community by supporting and interacting with varied artists in places such as Wades, The Fair Coffee House, and Hidmo. His inspiration comes from the love of his mother Mercedes, his wife Sarah Soumah, and Mother Earth. He is a devotee to Ifa, an ancient African religion maintained by the Yoruba people and their spiritual diaspora. He wishes everyone peace and prosperity. Joshua Lamont (Son).
Gretchen Mattila loves to read and write poetry; at five she wrote her first poem--about the need for world peace! In college she was introduced to Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, and Ntozake Shange. Happy to know black women wrote poetry, Gretchen ditched journalism and decided to write poems. To be financially secure, she became a teacher! Gretchen loves teaching writing and encouraging young people to express themselves through writing and speaking. A major goal is to publish a collection of some of her many poems before the year ends. Hear her at poetry slams, Everett's Café Zippy and African-American Writers' Alliance readings.
Georgia Stewart McDade loves reading and writing. She grew up writing and producing plays for the youngsters in her neighborhood and collaborated with church youth to write plays for special occasions. As a charter member of the African-American Writers’ Alliance, she began reading her stories in public in 1991. She credits the group with making her write poetry. For a number of years she has written poems inspired by artists at such sites as Gallery 110, Seattle Art Museum, Columbia City Gallery, and for Onyx Fine Arts Collective. For several years Georgia wrote for Pacific Newspapers, especially the South District Journal. Today she reports for South Seattle Emerald and Leschinews and does interviews for community radio stations KBCS (91.3 FM) and KVRU (105.7) as she continues working on two biographies and poetry. She hopes soon to publish the journals she kept on her six-month, solo trip around the world. Copies of her four volumes of poetry called Outside the Cave and her first collection of prose, Observation and Revelations: Stories, Sketches, and Essays, may be found at the Seward Park Third Place Books.
Rolyat Mosi is my pen name as I navigate the creative world of collective words aimed at the inside of the mind. I have recently been in the process of editing and revamping writings from yesteryear as I unfold new compositions along many of the content paths noted in my writing experience. I have had a wonderful time working with various community efforts requiring a writer’s support. These efforts have really pull me back from my business-related writing and expand my efforts in the creative compositions that I am now refining.
Merri Ann Osborne has been intrigued by stories and the art of storytelling since childhood. In middle school she started writing stories, plays, songs, and jingles and hasn’t stopped since! Not one to be pigeon-holed by genres or labels, Merri Ann utilizes various media to express and share her art, including acting, dance, voice-over, producing and directing. Having lived and travelled abroad, Merri Ann is drawn to writing about the intersection of culture, history, class and social issues. She explores how these themes impact relationships and our shared future. Her first published short story, "The Crew," can be found in AAWA's 2018 anthology Voices That Matter as well as Last Call, Raven Chronicles.
AAWA member Lola Peters writes poetry to cleanse her soul and essays to clear her mind. Her commitment to creating a just and equitable world forms the underpinning to her writing. In addition to her published poems, she has written commentary for and edited several online journals and newsletters, including a national newsletter for social justice activists. She has also written book reviews for Boston University's Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America. Her first book of essays, The Truth About White People, is available at Elliott Bay Book Co. in Seattle, as well as from online retailers. Her two volumes of poetry, Taboos and The Book of David: A Coming of Age Tale, are available on lulu.com, barnesandnoble.com, and amazon.com. More information about Lola, including how to contact her for readings, book signing, workshops, or presentations, is on her website at www.lolaepeters.weebly.com.
The multi-talented Floridian LaToya Ralleford—a writer with expertise in journalism, history, fine arts, music, visual arts, spiritual science, spiritual development, and sales—is a busy woman! Her company, OoSnapp, LLC, creates a variety of platforms to support small businesses and artists, especially amateurs. She published her latest book BLK Excellence: Return to the Eternal Self and Kerne magazine, designed to support the black community by teaching readers about their history as well as educating them about the world. LaToya is editor-in-chief of this publication. Her KERNE Magazine specializes in the preservation of black heritage and culture. Articles cover relationship questions between black men and women, stories about freedom fighters throughout history and the evolution of the African-American diet before slavery and afterwards.
Gaylloyd Sissón writes daily in temperate Western Washington where he lives with his wife Kathleen. In addition to being active in AAWA, he participates in Renton Writers, Puyallup Writers groups, and Pacific Northwest Writers Association. He retired from a thirty-four-year career in education, teaching kindergarten through community college. Since his teens, Gaylloyd has penned memoirs and poems in private journals. His writing has appeared in the Plant Amnesty newsletter, University of Washington’s Voice, and Sacramento’s Poet. An avid hiker, yoga participant, and fair-weather cyclist, he survives Puget Sound’s rainy season by reading good books, playing piano and flute, and drinking plenty of black coffee while eating dark chocolate. A passionate gardener, he has been featured in Vegetable Gardens and Urban Farms magazines. He devotes much of his time to freelance writing, photography and travel, both foreign and domestic.
Gwendolyn Yvonne Smith is a multi- genre writer. She has written several books ( poetry and a devotional) and is currently working on a screenplay. She attributes her gift and talent for writing to God and Him alone. While working as a Youth Counselor, Yvonne has used her gift for writing poetry on a personal level for the teens tailored to their unique situation as the Lord gave her insight. She’s written poems for pastors on special occasions as well as read them at conferences. During her time at Look up and Live ministries in Phoenix, Arizona, Yvonne was the overseer of the Dramatic Arts Department.
Margaret Stubblefield-Barrie writes to stay grounded and well. She was born and raised in the deforested rain city, Seattle, in a tight community of family, neighbors and friends. Now semi- retired she has the time to write about her life’s experiences living in the Pacific Northwest during the 1950’s and 60’s. She is privileged to be a member of AAWA and to have the opportunity to read her short stories and poems with some of the most accomplished writers she has ever known. Her commitment is teaching the importance of reading and writing for all our children.
Rolyat Mosi is my pen name as I navigate the creative world of collective words aimed at the inside of the mind. I have recently been in the
process of editing and revamping writings from yesteryear as I unfold new compositions along many of the content paths noted in my
writing experience.I have had a wonderful time working with various community efforts requiring a writer’s support. These efforts have really pull me back from my business-related writing and expand my efforts in the creative compositions that am now refining.
Kilam Tel Aviv's writing isn't about popularity, but about effectiveness. Of Nigerian descent, Kilam is a Seattle native whose works merge his pragmatic thinking with a more energetic and flavorful attitude with hints of hip-hop and pop culture influences. To further encourage open-minded thinking, he hopes that his works will inspire people to think differently about topics they may have had preconceived notions. Kilam's first chapbook, 12th Man: Echoes of the Forgotten Race, is available for purchase now. You can find more of his work at Speakerthoughts.com and him on Instagram for weekly poems @kilamtelaviv.
“Half the time I think I’m crazy, and the other half I know I’m crazy,” says AAWA member Santiago Vega of himself. This craziness is akin to the craziness of Gandhi, Malcolm, and King; the kind of craziness that compels one to say what he believes is true though he may be forced to stand alone. After listening to some of his ideas, many folks realize his craziness is the kind that can change the world for the better, the kind of craziness the world needs. Multilingual and multi-talented, Santiago writes, recites, dances, and teaches. This musician shares his talent with many cultures. Knowing everything is political, Santiago usually always writes about political issues of the day. This poet/philosopher ought to be heard.
Jaye Ware says poetry and spoken word challenge her artistic energy and expression, allowing her to pull from a bottomless well of emotions, experiences, and observations. It offers the freedom to be in control of the material, subject matter, and creative flow. The length and range of topics are endless and only limited by interest, imagination, and courage. Jaye is published in the African-American Writers’ Alliance anthology Voices That Matter. She is a social justice and children’s poetry writer. She has performed at The African American, Tacoma, and Seattle Art Museums; Gallery 110, Onyx, and Columbia City Art Galleries; Columbia City, Downtown Seattle, and Rainier Beach libraries; Elliott Bay and Open Books bookstores, Redmond Poets in the Park, and a host of other venues. She has also conducted several poetry workshops at Garfield High School.
Absolute favorite musical artists: Christina Aguilar and Damien Escobar. Locally she swoons over Josephine Howell.
Favorite movies of all time: The Elephant Man and Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Favorite Books: Varies, but lately found ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ a well-written, enlightening, and fascinating book.
“Words are powerful; use them wisely.”
Brenda Gale Wright was born and raised in Washington State. She has always loved how words can weave an intriguing path into the soul. Writing since the age of twelve, she proclaims that writing is the healing to her mind and a refreshing charge to her heart. She is very thankful to the Lord for the Gift of writing and will write a poem, speech, or tribute for any occasion and for anyone, if you just ask. Her first book, I Stand Tall for God, the Pain, the Healing, the Joy, was published in 2004. She is honored that the celebrating of her 60th birthday coincides with the completion of her second book rolling off the press. Brenda is blessed to have one daughter and enjoys spending precious moments with family, singing in her church choir, hanging out with her mutually corrupting friends, and just waking up each day for a new opportunity to just be. As life comes and goes, as the sun rises and sets, Brenda plans to write until the words that linger in her mind can no longer trickle down to her hands and her fingers can no longer type or write the collage of words imbedded in the fleeting microscopic seasons of her earthly time.