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a decade of scribblers Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House 10th anniversary publication

The Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House Tenth Anniversary Publication The Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House © 2013 Front Cover photograph by Charles Zhuang

a decade of scribblers

director’s note

table of contents director’s note founding director’s note Ode to Johnna 10 Years Writers’ House Camping Trip (photo) Otherworldly Music from the Laundry Room Standardized Test This is what college is. My Maryland Accept the Day is Not Yours Alone New Mexico Brendan Reads Things (photo) Scribbled lines With Words Spelled Wrong Windy Sundays A Poet’s Advice to Freshman Girls Pretty Dolls Untitled So, the Devil Made a Lobbyist Dangerous Work I still don’t know how (Dorchester) Sweater Flushed Mt. Oak Road Yamuna Things Remembered, Things Forgotten Parts In the Bottom Glass Trudge from the Dortress (photo) Chaetophobia--1. fear of hair Traveler A Week in Spain That Way They Salivate On a Flight to Providence Five Secrets about Flowers All of My Friends Homecoming Urban Moses Down River, 1921 Regimen Higgs Boson Magic Mirror Medical Leave Cerberus Only in Memory staff biographies contributer biographies The Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House


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What the Students Wanted A litany of 10 years at Writers’ House

They let us know we were demanding all the wrong things. They wanted to be better writers, yes, but this should be fun, they told us, not a big fat pain in the ass. They joined the House because they wanted to be Inspired. By the House. And what’s up with carrot sticks and goldfish crackers? They wanted a real meal at receptions. We want more parties, the students said, and they busted out a Mr. Dorchester contest, or a fake prom. Higher production values for Stylus, they said, and they scrambled for money. We want our own open mic series, and so Terpoets, Newsletter, they said, and then there was The Writers’ Bloc. Tired of Ethiopian food at every single event, they respectfully requested a change of menu. They wanted a camping trip, National Book Fair, and trip to the zoo. A publication class, a more reasonable heating and cooling system, and more workshop time. Better working conditions for the housekeeping staff! They mobilized. More sleep, more coffee. A bathroom, a kitchen, a single room. So many wanted a single room. While their roommate was in class, they stood at the mirror and waited for inspiration. They wanted change for their dollars so they could do their laundry, and they wanted to know why the vending machine is always empty. Actually, they just wanted someone to talk to, but not just small talk, you know? They wanted to sit around in bathrobes and slippers and recite Tennyson, Poe, and Wordsworth in poncey British accents while munching on cucumber sandwiches. To howl at the full moon at midnite, wearing raccoon tails. They stripped off their clothes and ran naked through McKeldin Mall, they planned fist fights in the white cave of a classroom late at night when no one was watching. They kept wanting and chasing, and the things they wanted kept changing And the House was a place where not all of the things they wanted came into being But the House is still standing, desire in manifest: “Write it down,” the window sill whispers to you, “Yes and, revise that part, yes, write it down again.”

Johnna Schmidt {4}

founding director’s note “Most people won’t realize that writing is a craft. You have to take your apprenticeship in it like anything else.” —Katherine Anne Porter The first living-learning program of its kind in the U.S., the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House began with a group of dedicated educators and a handful of convictions held in common. Namely, that: • Creative writers come from every major and field of study. Creative writing is an inherently cross-disciplinary practice, and these students need a dedicated place to gather and learn. • Writers flourish in strong, supportive communities, particularly those that value diversity and intellectual exchange. • Great writers have always apprenticed themselves in literal and imaginative travel. Studying the languages and literatures of other cultures has never been more important to a writer’s education and craft. Ten years later, these founding principles still drive the mission of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. The program is a credit to its sponsors and founders, including Elizabeth Bergmann Loizeaux, Michael Collier, Roberta Lavine, Gabriele Strauch, Dean James Harris, Joshua Weiner, Álvaro Enrigue, April Naoko Heck, the incomparable Vivianne Salgado, and of course, Johnna Schmidt, Chief Guru and long-time Directrice. In the most important sense, however, Writers’ House is a collaboration — the work of every student and staff member who has lived it, loved it, and called it home. I am proud to count myself among their number. There is no end of praise for this exceptional program and its contributions to the UMD community — I could fill a book. Instead, I’ll close by invoking the program’s namesakes, the Spanish poet and Nobel Prize winner, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and the American Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, essayist, short-story writer, novelist and political activist, Katherine Anne Porter. These literary luminaries lived, wrote, and taught in our community (Jiménez was a professor of Spanish Language and Literature at Maryland; Porter donated her library and papers to the University and lived in College Park towards the end of her life). Both writers travelled widely and read far beyond the circle of their native languages and countries. They wrote not for a single nation, but for the world. These are the bright stars under which the Writers’ House has traveled and will continue to travel for decades to come:

founding director’s note “I shall try to tell the truth, but the result will be fiction.” —Katherine Anne Porter, “My First Speech,” Collected Essays “The background reveals the true being and state of being of the man or thing. If I do not possess the background, I make the man transparent, the thing transparent.” —Juan Ramón Jiménez, “José Martí,” Selected Writings “I was always restless, always a roving spirit. When I was a little child I was always running away. I never got very far, but they were always having to come and fetch me. Once when I was about six, my father came to get me somewhere I’d gone, and he told me later he’d asked me, “Why are you so restless? Why can’t you stay here with us?” and I said to him, “I want to go and see the world. I want to know the world like the palm of my hand.” —Katherine Anne Porter, The Paris Review, winter-spring 1963

To the students and staff of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House (past and present) — Gracias por todo. You inspire me. Let’s go see the world. Yours,

Laura Lauth

“The arts do live continuously, and they live literally by faith; their names and their shapes and their uses and their basic meanings survive unchanged in all that matters through times of interruption, diminishment, neglect; they outlive governments and creeds and the societies, even the very civilization that produced them. They cannot be destroyed altogether because they represent the substance of faith and the only reality. They are what we find again when the ruins are cleared away.” —Katherine Anne Porter, Introduction, Flowering Judas “Si te dan papel rayado, escribe de traves. If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.” —Juan Ramón Jiménez, as quoted in the epigraph to Fahrenheit 451 (1953) by Ray Bradbury



Ode to Johnna

10 Years Meg Eden

You took me into this House, and let me explain myself, regardless of my condition— You spoke of my voice as if it had the right to be extolled. In Chile, you made the loveliest bird calls. It was through your reading that I felt the courage to write the untold legacies of matriarchy, what it means to be a human. I no longer feared the art of asking for help. You threw bags of hot chocolate at us, the sweetest of blessings.

Olivia Wilkins A decade When within, it seems infinite When looking back, it is definitive Have I done what I set out to do? No But can I still? Perhaps Write. Solve. Perfect. Build. Have I? No. Love. Marriage. Kids. Doctor O. Have I? No. Nobel? Yes please. Did I? Of course not. But can I still? Perhaps But first, write a decade of reminders of former promises made. Then, Fill the page Fill the promises Fill the page with promises.

How many times is it said, but yes— we speak with conviction when we say, You are the kind of woman we hope one day, we may have the chance to become.



Otherworldly Music from the Laundry Room Alexandra DeAmon A cold night I entered my worn old building and heard, unexpected, other-worldly music from the laundry room. A dingy, warmly humming bowel where renters pay too many quarters to sit and wash and fold and wait. Tonight: bizarre harpsichord baroque tones the pluck of strings, vibration; curiosity pulled me towards the fluorescent light. Witness: a quirky reserved second-floor man of some unremarkable name I can’t recall, a store hold of strange foreign instruments. Tonight it is cold and he sits straightforward, composed, tucked between two machines plucking: some stringed unit I can’t recognize. Perhaps it was for his own pleasure; perhaps for those who borrow, or pay trifling quarters to listen that frigid night. Hark! Angelic tones from down below emanating ugly plastic glow--otherworldly music, an ordinary, beautiful laundry room.

Writers’ House Camping Trip Samantha Reich



Standardized Test

This is what college is. Meg Hunter

I read about Richard, how he bought 40 pounds of concrete to repair cracks. If he used eight-and-three-fourths pounds, how much does he have left? I ask the boy. We’re in a separate room to reduce distractions and I read to improve his comprehension. As I list his choices, he picks at a scab of peeling skin that spreads outward like the concentric rings created by dropping a pebble into still water. It would be hard to find a boy with a kinder face. His parents, not repairing the cracks, are separating while his mother battles cancer. True, the boy will need to know about fractions, parts less than a whole, what is left behind, but really, what could it matter to him how heavy someone else’s bag of concrete feels?


Josh Logue College is massaging your eyebrows with the backs of your wrists in your dorm room with the lights out at 10:55 in the morning. Elbows on the notebook on the desk in front of you, starbucks grande iced latte to your left, stack of short story anthologies to your right (Rick Moody, JD Salinger, Aimee Bender, others). Your xbox is unplugged, you’re almost out of toothpaste, you haven’t done laundry in weeks. It will be harder to find fresh socks today than it was yesterday. Keep the 1 pt 6 oz beer bottles and 12 oz cans you threw into the space between your bed and the wall covered so your roommate won’t think you’re an alcoholic. Take them to the trash tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. Throw away the uneaten croissant you bought three hours ago when you thought you would be hungry later. You’re not. It will be stale when you get back from class. Just throw it out. Spearmint gum is just as good as brushing your teeth. Floss occasionally, when something is stuck in your teeth. Become afraid you won’t be able to pull the floss out. It will be stuck there forever. Imagine someone kissing you, sucking on the floss that’s stuck there, sliding her lips into a scowl pressed onto your lips as her tongue brushes your un-brushed teeth. Sit and watch your computer. Watch the reflection in a blank word dot doc of the tall girl from class who said she’s never read anyone use words like you. Watch her there frown at whatever you show her next, and watch as you go back to your room to think about how to kill yourself with the empty plastic hangers in your closet. Don’t worry about it. Masturbate frequently. Have sex if you want to, when you can, but don’t stop masturbating. This is important. Don’t clean your closet. Two more years and you can press your elbows against your very own malm or micke ikea desk in a relatively unfurnished, lonely apartment where you can leave beer cans anywhere you like, and which feels like heaven from here. Think about that during class today, in the library, at the bar. Take the croissant out of the trash. It’s fine, there was only old coffee cups and crumpled paper in there. Take a bite and grimace. You’re not hungry. You can’t eat in the morning. Put the croissant back in the trash. Go to class.


My Maryland

Accept the Day Is Not Yours Alone Tyler Kutner

Ears full of chirping crickets in trees crowning sidewalks and brick pathways under feet of swarms of students in warm daylight, thinking technology, sex, politics, dreams, death, dormrooms, alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, meals, home, sleep, self, and next step, Students made of ass and aspiration, course material and torso, boredom and bone, I am small man on campus! I claim this land in the name of the broken-shelled turtle! I demand you answer me, H.J. Patterson, What makes you deserving of great Greek columns and sprawling steps, What right do you have to overlook this procession, And where in the hell is your handicap entrance? At least I know who Francis Scott Key was, he wrote the national anthem! What is America? My college is America. I am America, And I reserve my right to make war on peace on grass as green as this, My warcry rings out from the lecture halls, the buses, the Student Union, the dining halls, the residence halls, the chapel, and on down to Route 1, in frat houses and orgies my name is chanted and moaned, Yes! I am the gray-haired professor and cherub-faced student at once touching Testudo’s erect head for good luck, I taught the swear words to the exchange students in the basement lounge and made them speak a dialect of English wholly my own, I am the President, Chancellor, and Governor, who makes executive decisions while my immigrant staff cleans sweat, leftovers, and vomit off my floors, I am the two million dollar coach who fills stadiums with thousands of screaming fans and brass sirens of marching bands, I am the sweaty young men in the summer of 1856, I am the Union soldiers, who occupied the mall, I am the students, who slept in classrooms during the Depression, I am the draft dodger, who thought college was a better idea than Canada, I am an army of Muppets, engrossed in layers of fur, I am student and I am body, I enroll in something as vast as myself.


Sara Burnett When I sit down to write, all my family and friends and all my former lovers come too. They stay over. They spread themselves among my bed sheets lavishly, as if they had all night, and then, demand breakfast. They are talking all at the same time at me. They want: coddled eggs, toast and blackberry jam, baked beans from a can and grits. Also, the clotted cream from a cow who recently birthed in an open pasture—if it’s not too much trouble, the blonde dairymaid can milk her swiftly. I think I’ll let her. I figure I’m not going to leave this rut today anyhow. Though there is ruminant ground underneath, if only I could place it. Name it. I’m digging in the bone-vault, the coffered chest of centuries, praying it yields something or at least shuts up. I’m polishing the suet-stone. I’m rubbing my fingers across a line of contoured sedge on the sunken fosse of spine. I’ve stared into it and heard back earth-bowels emptied of their vowel sounds. Barehanded, I scratched the horny toad. Smelled the sweet humus she sits in. Also, I slogged through a bog where I eyed the eye of a newt and stirred it into the weird ones’ pot. I’ve pickled a persimmon and eaten a ripened pomegranate. I haven’t died yet. I cocooned with the caterpillar and listened to the lark,— and it keeps me up. Most nights I sleep in a seed-bed and make a mess of the marsh. I’m making now a love-nest for when the finches return in spring. Who said chivalry is dead? Who told me once that you are your own best companion and that no one reads a novel anymore? I don’t know about novels. Who can stand their long, languid sentences romancing us in the enlightened dawn of dating? I chew on the quickened cud of memory, but most of what I remember I misheard or dislodged from the crook of my brain, where there was once ample roof space and slower days. Still in quietly passing moments, I feel weight pressing my lithe tongue and it moves me closer to you.


New Mexico Mandy Fraiser Words and words and words and words. Shiny tongues and words about words filled the room, which already inflated with their minds, a great production that made it hard to breathe as if the many volumes of their collections were stacked onto my chest. I couldn’t see the print but I wanted verbs, too. Infinitives, even. Leaving, an impulse arrived to create. I would read. I would pour language from my face like liquid, pouring over text, letting loose a bright stream, my own prosodic deluge. The work was well worth the time taken to fill me up and overflow. And by the end I thought I’d done it, straightened my back like a spine and spoke, dripping glittering gerunds and stealing some air of my own.

Brendan Reads Things Aislinn Hein



Scribbled lines

With Words Spelled Wrong Marlena Chertock

She can’t paint but a guy she was dating once said she could write. So she’s been writing for years, working on one poem for months, scribbled lines on vodka-soaked papers. Subtext says it for her, but the context makes her think she can’t write how it really happened. She wants to know how much she can say with couplets, fourlined stanzas, sestinas and caesura.

Laura Pavlo He sat on a bench in Central Park two days after it happened, the subway system shaking the earth beneath him. He watched the sun set on building faces, painting windowpanes oranges and purples until it was time for him to return to their apartment. He spent the day posting signs across the city, outside of his wife’s favorite flower shop, on the counters of her favorite cafes and clothing boutiques, around all the places in the city that made the city hers. He heard that some people had the chance to call their relatives before the smoke consumed them. She didn’t call. He wondered if she was helping someone, or if she was trying to escape. The morning after the buildings came down, he took a blank sheet of paper from their printer and with a sharpie wrote out what he could. Words were misspelled. Marisa Donello Height: 5’4” Weight: 135 lbs. Wedding ring with inscription “6-23-90, Love Forever, David.” He began writing the sign after he watched twenty-four hour coverage of the attacks. His phone rang several times during the first few hours of the news reporting; it was his mother, then hers. He did not know what to tell either of them. He learned later that she didn’t get out alive, but he liked to believe she did. He liked to think that the smoke filled her body and that she was wandering the city somewhere, not knowing who she was or where she should be, and that she would see one of his signs in his handwriting, the same all-caps print that was written on post-its on the bathroom mirror in the morning and grocery lists and anniversary cards, and that she would push out the smoke from her lungs and come home, like she was supposed to that day.



Windy Sundays

A Poet’s Advice to Freshman Girls Jamie Lee

Perhaps because he always knew there was only a finite amount of time, an impending graduation date, it made him better, but she went forward heedlessly and it only recently struck her that the days were ticking down. She thought of all the things she meant to do and then compared them with the weekends they had left and realized, with sinking hopelessness, that the first far outnumbered the second. She thought of how she spent her entire short life looking for someone who was a good match in the intangible ways, not the qualitative ones (there was no GPA requirement but he had to be smart; there was never a height requirement but he had to be confident) and how finally it had coalesced into someone perfectly tangible, and now it was all about to dissipate into a plane ride in a few short months. She was not one to believe in soulmates and destiny but she sensed that soon she would be left with a list of should-haves and would-haves, a white Hanes t-shirt, and a stunning, silent heartbreak.

Brendan Edward Kennedy Ladies, if you must flock gussied-up to the bars: pass over the muscle-shirted, the over-cologned, the hard-haired, the sun-glassed at night, the only-interested-in-your-cupsize, those hollow lays and unmarriageables—go for the one with a book in his hands, the one who can read through all the bass-drop ruckus, the bump-n-grind, the suffocating dark of the dancefloor, the one who sits lonely under the light of a neon Yeungling sign to slowly thumb through pages of fine-print paragraphs, the one who thinks too much and bruises easily, the one who ordered water, no ice, yes, him, goaded out of hiding as a “favor” from his room-mates, him, who is, honest-to-God, taking notes in his pocket-sized Moleskine, him, that man who seems to want nothing of you. Ask him what he’s reading. Give him all you’ve got. Whether he knows it or not, he’s waiting for you.



Pretty Dolls

Untitled Fiona McNabb

with china heads that shatter, crumpled paper cranes and rusted filigree: I am not those things.


Sohayl Vafai Fire lights my body. And once again, I am alive. Toss me into the ocean, so my silvery remains can melt, so I can live on, past the fire and the stillness, so I can live on forever in the deepest of blues.


So, the Devil Made a Lobbyist

Dangerous Work Gregory Ambros

On the two millionth day, the devil looked up at America and said, “I need someone to fuck that up some more”. So, the devil made a lobbyist. The devil said I need someone with a pretty face and a sweet voice to walk through the halls of power, shake hands, smile, make deals, make threats, and make things go and do it all faster than that democratic process can keep up with. So, the devil made a lobbyist. The devil said I need someone smart enough to research, write, refine, and sell legislation that can affect the fates of millions but dumb enough not to use that talent for good. And…who at election time picks the slowest horse in the race so that they can be broken into an obedient gelding that can be ridden by anyone in a suit with a briefcase of money. So, the devil made a lobbyist. The devil said I need someone who will work day and night calling people with what they want, promising truckloads of cash for their next campaign, assuring that the photos of them with a prostitute will remain safely out of the public eye, browbeating them with threats of “If you don’t take it, someone else will”, and sit back as all the hungry men draped in the red, white, and blue clamor for the favors of men in gold. It had to be somebody who would swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth ... and then lie. So, the devil made a lobbyist. The devil said it had to be someone who could smile and murder while they smile, who could have a family back home but provide for it with the deaths of families all over from guns, tobacco, war, oil, coal, drugs, tainted food, faulty cars, closed factories, crumbling schools, screaming preachers, greedy businessmen, and all the other demons of the first world. Somebody who will hold up the Constitution in one hand and use the other to wipe their ass with it. Somebody who doesn’t mind living in a house built atop the buried American Dream and if it does sink into the ground made soft by the dream’s rotting corpse, simply builds a bigger one on top of that one. So, the devil made a lobbyist. It had to be somebody with a hawk’s eyes to see ten moves ahead on the chessboard and nose of a shark to smell blood in the water. Somebody who wants the world to be no better than what it is, who would laugh when they get their bonus check and cry when one of their targets does the right thing. Somebody who will march straight into Hell and only know why when their feet touch brimstone and when given the offer to go back up to the world and do it all over again, respond with smiling eyes, “Yes! Oh, please, yes!” So, the devil made a lobbyist.


Ashley Delaney “It’s nice out here. This breeze, it’s nice. It’d be too hot without it.” “You’re right, it is nice. How long can you stay out?” “A while. I’m off. Caroline let me off early today. Thank God, I was worried she would take me back into the OB/GYN ward.” “If it freaks you out so much, why study it?” “You can’t tell me that you don’t think vaginas are weird.” “You’re not exactly sporting anything normal-looking down there either, cowboy.” “They’re weird to look at. We’ll never have sex again, Ice.” “Don’t even joke like that! Ha-ha!” “—but then we’ll wake up in my bed, clothes all over the place, and my vision’s all fuzzy trying to figure out how I ended up handcuffed to the bed. Oh, and don’t get me started on what you’re going to do with the cattle prod—” “Duke!” “—and then Raine’s gonna walk in like he did last time, and just walk right back out and pretend like he didn’t just see his sister dressed up like a furry—” “Duke Haruka Corrine!” “—and then I’m going to have all of these unexplained bruises on my body and Jerry’s gonna ask when we change into our scrubs in the locker room because he always asks. He thinks my family must be killing me, or that you’re having way too much fun with an electric dog collar— OW!” “We have never had sex with an electric dog collar.” “We should.” “You’re sick.” “You’re beautiful.” “….Duke…” “….yeah?” “I don’t have to go, you know. I don’t have to join the guard. Not if you don’t want me to. I can stay home and wait for you to get back from work like I always do, make you dinner when you get in, massage you when you’re tired. I can take care of you.” “Ice, we’ve talked about this. You’d be good at it. It’ll give you something to do, something to really do with yourself, and we both know you’re no good domesticated. I don’t need you to do all of that for me. I can get by. Truth is, ever since Amber and Kadie died, you’ve been a shell. The guard is nothing without you. You’re their leader. Might as well lead them.” “But only Aska and I are left.” “James wants to join. And I’m sure you could recruit some others.” “But it’s dangerous work. You know that.” “I know it is. And when you get into trouble, by then, I’ll be the best damn surgeon this place has ever seen. I’ll patch you up. I always do.” “You’ll be waiting for me when we get back?” “How long’s the mission?” “Six months.” “Yeah, I’ll be waiting. It’s not like I’ve got anything else to do but wait. I think it’s hard to handcuff yourself to a bedpost. And I don’t know where you keep the cattle prod.”


I still don’t know how (Dorchester) and there, it was justified. In seventh grade, a substitute explained today’s ghettos as a minority choice, where they want to be together, (I never asked— and I sincerely regret it— if the Jews also wanted it, secretly, because maybe the whisper of desire to raise children in literal broken homes where it’s easy to hide illegal guns and broken dreams couldn’t reach my ears over the sirens, the beatings of children/women/[insert noun] or their screams.) and I was the only one, who realized that this wasn’t a bullshit drill, but a real fucking emergency.

Sweater Taylor Lewis

Round clouds of dust swirl in the closet. I pull aside clothes Revealing your sweater. Traces of sandalwood and amber Remain on the thick burgundy Fibers. If I’d known You meant to come back I wouldn’t have told you To leave. If I’d known The crash would take you I wouldn’t have given up The rest, leaving Just one.

Queen Alike

But there, it was finally decent to sink pen into page about how much I wanted to dig the grave of every crush; laughing with the joy only a hyena could love, the blood of my enemies spilling onto the paper— because the boy across from me did it better. To craft sex through ugly metaphors or declare among hipsters contemporary hippies, that there might be some tradition— that one can dream of 1,000 shades of dick, yet keep it out of/in their pants (not to Damn a room full of free-loving collegians) became, well, mundane. For those to whom obedience comes naturally, letting bad thoughts— what you feel, how you feel, why you feel— roam means immediate, soul-crushing regret. But there, it was justified.




Mt. Oak Road Nick Lyle

Jane’s wake is today and all I can think of is the goldfish I had when I was eight. We found it floating at the top of the tank, part of its body magnified by the water, the rest shrunken in the dry air. A glassy eye stared at us. Like so many other fish, we disposed of it by flushing it down a toilet. It tumbled down, as if picked up by a swift, twisting wind. Though I guess it’s sad I’ll never see Jane again, I can’t cry. We weren’t really friends. I mean, I’d see her all the time in the hallways, sometimes. I remember she’d shrug, and her hair would briefly tread the air before falling behind her shoulders. But this really is all I remember. She was just a face in the hall. Now at the wake, people are consoling each other saying things like, “Out of everyone, she had the most potential,” and “God wanted to take her back home,” but there isn’t really anything to say or anything worth saying. Or at least I don’t think there is. I barely knew her. To be honest, I knew my goldfish better. In front of me is the coffin and Jane is in there, just below the brim. Makeup covers up the paleness of her skin beside her strawberry blond hair that fans out like a golden fish tail. Both her eyes are closed. She almost looks alive. “She looks so peaceful,” a girl, a freshman like me, says. “Yeah.” I feel my finger extend toward the coffin. “I still can’t believe,” she begins to say, but stops herself. When I look over, she says, “it happened.” “Yeah. I guess God wanted to take her back home.” “You think she’ll go to Heaven?” “Yeah, up into the sky.” I lower my hand, and I clench and unclench it a few times, resisting the urge to slide my finger against the side of the coffin. “I hope so,” the girl says, and she looks at her feet briefly. When she shifts her glance back up, her face is red and her eyes are wet. “I can’t believe she’s gone.” “She isn’t gone.” I think that sounds consoling. “I already miss her,” she says, as she trembles, losing her balance. I grab her, and she cries on my shoulder, her tears seeping into my button down shirt. I tell her that it’ll be okay, but all I can think about is how they’ll close the coffin and put Jane in the ground. I think we sold the goldfish tank at a yard sale, but I don’t really remember. It’s not something to think about. Instead, I just think of the streak of yellow-orange scales flickering, catching the lights overhead, as I pushed down the lever and the floating fish began to circle the bowl, descending lower and deeper and finally disappearing.

Oludolapo Demuren I sit passenger to my father. The Toyota is propelled by a pedal in the chest it speeds towards two crows, in the middle of the road— wet with light & humor, weighing the humid air under the rain together. Black feathers in the headlights: my father’s fledged stare— retracing its steps miles ahead, tipping into tomorrow. I watch his mind dangle from the crow’s wing like a spec of dust trying to stay dry. My yarned mind, a few minutes back defrosting a joke my father had said & I want to tell him, that I got it— to laugh and build the road back before us out of what broke in my belly. But, I have not words to say. They aren’t much when off my shoulders. If smaller, I could reach the same way I did as a child trying to tap his shoulder without tiptoes. At a time when all I wanted him to do was look at me, arms-raised-up, & lift me like a drop of rain he had caught. The crows walk fearlessly to the side of the oaten gravel.




Things Remembered, Things Forgotten Saunam Vij

On my banks, many civilizations have flourished: The evergreen farms of Vrindavan. Herds of your cows and bulls have gulped my waters. I nurture them with the acacia, eucalyptus, Abutilon growing out of my tributaries. I take deep pleasure in washing away the dirt from your feet. And, when your mother comes here to wash your clothes, I am exalted by inheriting your remnants. I wait here every day to listen To the sweet melodies of your flute That echo your affection for me, for Vrindavan. Yes, it is true They drink me to quench their thirst, But in those times, when the sun is setting Your absence leaves me less wholesome The music from the hollows of your instrument, Fills the air, fills me. Today, I can see that there is something That concerns you, It is time to leave. You had no obligations toward me And so I won’t stop you. Please return at least once to extinguish my thirst.


Derek Scarzella “Am I gonna die…” It’s all he could say. It’s all he could think. Everything else no one would care about but him. His grip loosened. He had to let go. It was all getting so fuzzy. Her hand was out of the jar of worms. She put it on his chest. He saw his shirt was open and saw her hand was next to the laceration. For a moment he thought his heart was going to crawl out from his chest and fly up into the air, sprout wings and escape. Then her other hand went to his forehead. He felt her fingers crawl through his hair. Or were they touching his cheek? His eyes traveled all over the room. “Listen, look at me. Look at me. Listen. You’ll be fine. We’re going to take care of you. Do you understand?” The light wasn’t in his eyes, it was just her face looking down at him, her eyes shining like dark crystals. He felt his face contort into some twisted mess as he nodded. It was something so beautiful it felt like it hurt even though it felt like he was going to die even though he felt more alive than ever at the same time, his heart pounding while his eyes felt heavy fighting to close. He felt her fingers wrap around his, another twisted mess. “Yes…I do. What’s…my name? I can’t…” She smiled, spoke to him softly. “Your name is Anthony Marvell. You’re going to be okay. We’ll put you back together again. That’s what we do. It’s okay.” Parts of him that were together believed it, parts of him that were falling off and leaking away did not. But that didn’t matter. He was the moon being eaten by the stars, a man without memories except those that were attacking him in his sleep. No, he believed her. “Thank you…thank you…” He let go of the sweet loving mess and let her leave. All he could say was said. At least this time it made sense in his own ears, he could hear it clear as day. That part of him was himself. He knew who he was. Or who they said he was. He closed his eyes again and when they were open the dark crystals were gone. Hopefully the leaking would stop, and the gaping wounds would be sewn shut, and those pieces of his mind tearing off and screaming in his ears would be ignored and put back in the shadowy places they were hidden before the breaking. He rested his head back and closed his eyes and saw swirling moonlight dripping off into the ocean. In those moments before the rest on the razors edge of awareness he found peace. Finally, a soft laugh, a grin. Then slowly came the soft tugging in the back of the mind, bringing in the darkness. The last words to leave his lips were the only ones that mattered. “Good night.”



In the Bottom Glass Maria Zilberman

Eyelashes like young blades of grass, soft and thin and disappearing. Vein pulsing fast as hummingbird wings, blue as robin’s egg. Shoulders twice as wide as hips, gargoyles protecting the torso. Elbows like hungry puppies, nudging, affectionate, wanting, and sharp. Arm holding onto a bus rail, thick muscle bulging like a ship breaking threads of the sleeve. Palms sweaty, self-conscious. Fingers like prison guards, lacing all in. Lungs like rolling hills, a bungee cord snapping over and over. Spine a fishing hook, strained and aching, balancing veins and brains and eyelashes. Thighs sheet rock. Ass marshmallow cakes. Chest a cereal bowl, hollowed out headrest. Teeth a picket fence, straight and stained and restraining the slippery tongue.

David Kravitz It’s hard to walk on loose sand. So easy it is to sink into the past, and buried by the steady stream, never see the sky again. But walk I must, I have no choice. I circle ‘round this growing mass, the heaven that ticks down to earth; I count each grain as if the last. But still more fall, and while I wait, I cup my hands to catch the rain, compare this life to memories now buried deep beneath my feet. Once, I wandered to the edge of this lonely desert land, where walls like windows blurred a world of happiness devoid of sand. I tell myself it’s fantasy – I cannot trade this life for that. This glass is strong and does not break, so I believe though barely tried. But how much longer is the wait? I wish I knew, I wish I knew. And just how thick is this glass? I wish I knew, I wish I knew.

Belly button a jewel box, umbilical cave.



Chaetophobia--1. fear of hair Samantha Reich It grows from my head, skin, face, and feet. Can’t touch it, can’t even look in the mirror. One day in my sleep it will wrap around me and I will gasp in blue, attempt at a final breath. I will never own or pet or glance at an animal for fur sets my flesh on fire and I can never get cool. I shave and tweeze on the daily every inch, line, and split. Hats for warmth, cotton, poly, hold the wool. Must conceal my body with layers, layers, and gloves. Can’t accidentally touch one dirty, tangled strand. Wet, dry, oily, it carries disease from its exposure. How can anyone walk around with naked hair? It’s indecent.

Trudge from the Dortress Aislinn Hein




A Week in Spain Dan Schwartz

An empty desert. Nothing except the sun. No trees or shade. And when night came, no light, no heat. No other life. But me. Three days I was there. The sun went down three times. I counted. There was nothing to do there. Nothing, except to wait and watch. I saw. It was so quick. First, nothing. Then rocks. They all appeared, at once. The first day it was rocks. Not sand. The second day it was sand. But the rocks, that was first. Nothing else. Very uncomfortable to sit on. Different types, not that I knew which ones were which. They weren’t very interesting. I understand. But they were more interesting than the sun. Like I said: The second day, sand. All the rocks were gone. No food, by the way. Nothing to drink. I’m not sure how I survived. Anyway. All around me were grains of sand, like a proper desert. There were hills and dunes. Again, not very interesting. Forgive me. And then the third day. It was different. There was glass. All around me, an entire desert of glass. No rocks, anywhere. It was intensely hot, burning to the touch. A planet made of glass, maybe. It wouldn’t break, no matter what. It was very smooth, very hard to walk on. I had to use my clothes as a mat so that I wouldn’t burn. Why didn’t I ask why? Why did I do these things? Not long after, I saw something approaching. From far away it looked like a giant scorpion, but it turned out to be a woman. She wasn’t surprised to see me. She wore a white dress, and didn’t seem to be bothered by the heat. She slid over to me, effortless. Not surprised, but very upset. “Go,” she said. And I was on the street. The desert was gone. The only glass was in the windows. I was back in the city. No reason why I came or went. My clothes were all around me. I went back to my room. Then I went to the airport. It’s true that I’ve never been back to the city until now. But it’s also true that I’ve never forgotten her. How she walked up. Her black hair. Her face. “Go,” she said. And I did.

Codi Gugliuzza In a large bowl, mix thirty minutes of Flamenco dancing in a dark room with eggplant and lime green dresses, patatas bravas with extra spicy sauce, and Galician octopus for the adventurous. Add variegated blue tiles from the lightwells of Casa Batló for texture. Stir in a cup of red sangria with lemon slices. Add a few dashes of loud hostel roommates (more dashes for the party animal). When the mixture has thickened, spread on chilly strolls through the cobblestone streets of Granada. Let sit for a period of scenic views of the Alhambra towers. Bake for the last week of October, and let cool for the first three days of November. Be sure not to bake too long or the travelled edges will burn, disrupting the Italian flight home.



That Way They Salivate

On a Flight to Providence Rumit Pancholi

I. The woodcutters never ate during their shift. When they first appeared, they appeared like light. They wore clothes like twins who were angry at each other for their twisted destiny: bodies like muscle cars revved for wreckage, fingers gnarled. On Saturdays they axed, hewed, lacerated wood, working like the weekend didn’t keep time. But I kept time. I was their bystander, dulled and obsequious to the requests at their busted lips. II. I once saw a Bible on one of the tree stumps they’d cut where an enormous tupelo used to secrete honey. I’d asked them why they’d cut down that tree; he said I had never read the Bible. I couldn’t imagine the woodcutters as brothers from the Bible: his face was nothing like his, his skin was nothing like his, and his skin was nothing like his. III. Their requests were deadpan, amenable. And I followed, at first, with a peavey, then a splitting maul, then a wedge. But then? They asked for the aperture inside a camera they found in dirt as a child, for the boy swimming alone in the buried well by the cliff, never finding it. The circles of light they’d yet to carve with steel bits.

Kit Winner I wish I could capture the tail of a trailing cloud in a weather-worn, brass-lidded bell jar and pour it into the sea-glass green of the bay as it cuts through the forest while it sleeps. I’d splay my hands up and grasp at the clouds, brushing my palms against the sunrise, even as the world spilled out between our fingertips and slipped behind the faraway hills. I wish I could scoop up the last rays of summer behind my frost-chapped, faded-rose lips and breathe in the heat of the sun on the mountains dancing through a swath of lilac. I’d kiss the warmth into your closely-cropped hair, silhouetted by glimpses of your sprawling grin, even as the seasons spiraled away along your cheekbones and swirled upward toward the pinpoint horizon. I wish I could trap the lingering indigo light in the valleys of your cacophonous silence and blend them with the graphite haze of morning sketched out in a thousand shades of fog. I’d paint the shapes of falling stars as they dove to the sea, sinking beneath the crashing waves at nightfall, even as the days around us wilted into nothing and spun away toward the distant darkness.

The knew nothing about artistry, but listened like painters, salivated like me, pretended to know. That time, I would mash them food. But they knew already halfway inside the light. An estranged gnashing of wood, the trail of felled tupelo across the crosswalk, the Bible on the stump, a bowl in my hands.



Five Secrets about Flowers

All of My Friends Megan Lahman

Dylan Bargteil

I. It is true, the blossoms from cherry and apple trees find it funny that their pollen can make humans sneeze. They laugh into the wind when no one is listening, but if you strain your ears, faint chuckles are audible.

Slowly, I ease off another box from the top of the tall stack that the liquor store keeps on the icebox out back. I am leaving –

II. Flowers are bad magicians – the kind without capes that perform at really awkward Halloween parties. Every October, they disappear, which isn’t bad. The bad part is that it takes them six months to reappear.

I smell the after-rain evaporating from the warm asphalt. Each step gummy through the muggy exhaust of my purring automobile. I check the boxes for roaches and put them into the car. I drive off

III. During their spare time, flowers read mystery and crime novels. And just like old women, they eavesdrop on the neighbors’ conversations. Late at night, they gossip with the moon while discussing the new John Grisham book. IV. If Paula Dean were a flower, she would be a red carnation, and would still host a cooking show. But instead of using butter, the only ingredients used would be water, sunlight and carbon dioxide, which would then give viewers (oxygen) gas and sugar.

All of my friends already not my friends but someone else’s in Carolina, in Texas, in Colorado, in California moved away.

along the broad empty roads I used to walk to school. The sky is dark and dull, the trees full, and all hangs still. All of my friends already moved away, but I am still taking the same detours from the direct route home, delaying at the soccer fields abandoned by their children, lingering at the silent radio tower. It is so tall. Nothing here has changed – in every empty lot the one other car is still empty. Or, in every empty lot the one other car is a cop who says I can’t stay here. All of my friends and I might never have really been here anyway.

V. Gladiolas and daffodils refuse sex and are asexual like Morrissey. Now, there are yellow daffodils and white glads poking out of his blue jeans’ back pockets. He will someday write that Flowers may be be nice, but the ones in my pants sure as hell are naughty.




Urban Moses Lenaya Stewart

The leaves froze on the afternoon that she touched down, in Dulles Airport she reached out to a bloom arising from a weighted pot to touch her native plastic again, on the outside she shivered, the wind slamming past lifting the shorn slicks of a leaf once stomped under her heel, now gripped by the wind, tossed against the glass door, until it lay in fairer pieces, over the slam of a trunk, emitted the slight heat coursing from skin harboring melon arousing warm nights in the South of a continent split by the equator, her eyes delighted to notice the trees in their rightful condition naked in January, she was naked too, underneath the North Face, long sleeved sweater, and jeans covering underwear still smelling of a Santiago laundry mat, and the old man’s hands spanned with shallow lines the lime juice lay along, singing of citrus trees gaining forbearance in someone’s backyard, water lugged in through sodden leaves resilient enough to crumple with a gust, the car ride home was her elegy, every shorn tree passed on the highway caught her eye for a moment, blurs of browned backs dug into the dirt, she wanted to touch them, tell them of their sisters further along the continent that had yet to shed their clothes, still properly gowned in primed pieces of life that felt like skin, she plucked one, placed it in her pocket, a leaf to take home, she reached for it now, only to feel it crumple in her fingers, dried out.


Norine McKee That’s what they’re calling him. I know nothing about the guy, aside from a vague impression based on a glimpse of his silhouette through the storm. My friend Donny and I have studied the footage on Donny’s video camera almost ceaselessly since this whole thing began, but we can’t make out anything beyond the obvious: that a) he is a man; b) he is standing on the rain-slick and battered golden arches of a McDonalds; and c) his hands are stretched towards the sky. The shot of this mysterious figure lasts about fifteen seconds before tilting abruptly to the side, and then the lens is filled with a rush of dark colors. This is because Donny had been filming on the back of my bike, sitting at the edge of the seat with one arm looped around my waist, narrating (uselessly, it turns out, in the din of the storm), while I cycled desperately along an embankment. I had been trying to cycle towards safety, but really, as far as I knew, I was plunging us deeper into the center of this unnatural-seeming disaster. My bike had lost traction on the drenched pavement around the same time that Donny fixed the spectacle of the Urban Moses in his shot, and we’d teetered and flopped down the embankment into a deluge of rising red water. The camera survived, but our footage ends there. You’ll simply have to rely on the eyewitness testimony of some of the thousands of people who were there to understand what happened afterward. If you asked me, for example, I would tell you that I think I witnessed a miracle. That I watched a man quell the storms of Armageddon with a wave of his arms. That the streets were filled with whirling, dancing, rejoicing people. If you asked Donny, he would tell you that a historic film opportunity had been lost because I’m a shitty cyclist. Donny usually misses the big picture.


Down River, 1921

Regimen Brooke Warrington

My tartan skirt is ebbing with the moon. Beneath the lapping waters swallow fish While tapping metal rings keep beat and tune Across the sprays of salt that leap and kiss. Upon my shoulder, Otto rests his chin To tell me not to fear the water’s depth; I feel the warmth of thick New England skin Lovingly reside beside my neck. The flatbread shore has dipped into the lake To season the cold sand with greater spices And once the boat and stern are slowly baked The sun will turn its ladle as suffices To taste our buttered laughs that rise and quiver In water wheels that spin across the river.


Ned Prutzer I have swallowed all my worry stones because they could not take the insistent rubbing. An initial choke, yes, but then the body learns, lets go, and the stones edge down the esophagus. The years will not forgive my hesitations. Things repressed become acidic, and their burn lingers. Those things will not digest, not even crack. They stick to the crevices and become part of my wholeness, all because my labor would not whittle them to dust.


Higgs Boson

Magic Mirror Brian Callahan

Into you and out of you, Where are ye Invisible angel? I hear you from the edge, Spinning silken webs, You foundation of the geometric, You opaque prism.

Stephanie Levi On the day I received a magic mirror, I was in my kitchen, working on my laptop. The light bulb in the lamp was dim, slowly fading to a useless hunk of glass and metal filaments. My fingers moved across the keyboard, typing things my eyes could see but my brain felt no need to understand. Surrounding me, separating me from an unlocked door leading to the outside, was a barricade. A barricade made of books that needed to be but has yet to be read, notes to be reviewed, papers to read, papers to file, papers to sign, medications to be taken, places to go, people to see, people to avoid, rooms to be organized, money to be budgeted, money to be made, weight to be lost, obligations to be filled, please and thank yous to be said, people to brownnose, people to put down or put in their place, cars to be fixed, loved ones to say goodbye to, and light bulbs to be changed so I can stop sitting in the fucking dark. Then I heard a knock on my apartment door. Not expecting company, I slowly rose from my seat and headed to the door, hoping that if I took long enough the person would leave. When I opened the door, no one was there, but there was a package wrapped in brown paper and tied with a blue string. I hadn’t ordered anything recently and there was nothing written on the outside of the package, but I picked it up and opened it anyways, figuring I was too insignificant in this world for anyone to want to send me a bomb in the mail. Throwing away the wrapping, I took out an antique mirror. It was made of brass and the mirror itself was about the size of my hand. The frame curled into tiny prints of oak leaves and seashells and tapered down to form a handle at the bottom. Attached to the front of the mirror was a white sticky note with words written on it in purple ink. Dear Whomever, This is a magic mirror. It will not tell you who is the fairest, nor will it bring you good luck, fortune, or love. What it will do is show you your greatest desire and once you learn of your greatest desire, it’s up to you to seek out what you don’t have. I was curious. What was my greatest desire? Love so I could go through life with someone? A good friend because what I wanted wasn’t a boyfriend but to not be alone? Money so I could live out a comfortable life? Respect from my peers and superiors to build a little pride and selfesteem in myself? I ripped the note off the mirror and looked inside. All it showed was an image of me wearing a smile I hadn’t worn in years. It was odd. I was not used to myself looking so ... happy.



Medical Leave

Cerberus Leigh McDonald

To be alone with thoughts is a panicked crowd.- M.M. Walking through the shelves of the West Side Asian collection, I wonder where I would have found my brother two years before now. Maybe he sat along the aisle in search of a meridian, a space between his thoughts. He may have hid between the rollable shelves of government documents, in pores of untouched texts. I do not hear his voice, only the air being pushed from the ceiling vents. The same white noise that traveled through him when he skipped class to be alone. These scripts of law are paper, not scarred flesh. And, if I turn, he won’t be there beside me laughing at some cartoon like we are young and home.

Charles Zhuang I never knew your name, but I would have guessed it was the same as the dog who fished you from the river when you were three. I’d imagine, to this day, he still waits for you at the gates, not much to do, nipping the asphodels rising from the ash. And I wonder sometimes, on those hours when the vacancy is at its all time high, does he sleep? Does he dream? Does he try to remember the days when hell was just a small hole in the ground? I want to know what is the world on his shoulder? How does fire spill from his mouth? Are the flames bile? Is the bile blood? And is this all, some way, a form of grief? I have never died, so I could not know. But if I did, I would breathe fire for you and speak of smoke all the same.

I never saw him in the stacks, but he told me he went there sometimes. And now standing here, I try to understand what the library has to do with the blood.



Only in Memory

staff biographies Aislinn Hein

Close your eyes: you will return here, will again feel the romantic rough of the carpet stiff with time, will again smell the book leaves in their cherry wood chambers, will again sit in the faded maroon shell of a chair caked with dust, will again see the threads of light through which sparkling dust dances, rising from falling on the seat. You will come back where the air softly touches you through the blue sheer shield of curtain kissing glass. But soon enough you will have to crank the window closed, you will have to leave the room empty; the room where happiness, where laughter once made your home. And when the room is once more dark, when you find the room is gone and you are left once more alone, there is only one way you can ever return. Close your eyes.


Johnna Schmidt, Director of the Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House Johnna Schmidt has been Director of Writers’ House since 2005. Before that, she was an Assistant Director, from inception of the house onward. She is grateful to the entire Writers’ House community for keeping her on her toes and showing her the way. Laura Lauth, Founding Director of the Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House Laura Lauth received her MFA and PhD from the University of Maryland and served as founding director of the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. She has received numerous awards and scholarships for her writing, including the Carl Bode Dissertation Award, the Kinnard Prize, and a Bread Loaf work-study scholarship. She has just completed a study on literary translation and the development of American poetry. She lives in Takoma Park, Maryland with her husband and two sons. Leigh McDonald, Editor Leigh McDonald is a Psychology, English, and Creative Writing student. She was the Poetry Editor for the 2013 publication of Stylus and graduated from the Writers’ House in 2012. She will be published in the 2013 publication of Stylus. Josh Logue, Editor Josh Logue may be one of the editors for this publication, but he is also in the Writers’ House. He writes fiction when he can force himself to. Marlena Chertock, Design Editor Marlena Chertock is a notation candidate for the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. She was the poetry editor for Stylus: A Journal of Literature and Art. She is currently the editor-in-chief of The Writers’ Bloc, a literary-focused newspaper on campus, and the social media manager of the Writers’ House. Her articles have appeared on, the College Park Patch, The Writers’ Bloc, and The Diamondback. She won first place in the Jiménez-Porter Literary Prize for An invisible middle. Her chapbook, Buffalo, was awarded First Honorable Mention in the 2013 NFSPS College/University Level Poetry Competition.


contributer biographies Queen Alike Queen Alike is a current participant in the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. She serves as a student leader for Terpoets and a reader for the Stylus literary magazine. Gregory Ambros Gregory Ambros graduated in 2010 with a degree in history and a minor in Asian American Studies. He attended the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House from 2006-2008. He currently resides in Worcester, MA, closer to where he was born. Dylan Bargteil Dylan Bargteil is currently a PhD student in the NYU Physics department. He lives with illustrious Writers’ House alumnus, Jason Cohen, and honorary fake Writers’ House alumnus, Nick Bishop. He hopes that their colony will continue to grow and conquer New York. Sara Burnett Sara Burnett is a MFA student. She taught public school English and holds a MA in English Literature. Her poetry appears in Hinchas de Poesia, PALABRAS, and Poet Lore. Brian Callahan I am not too far from C.P., residing in D.C. nowadays, although the road is always beckoning. Here’s to running into you at some point in the future! Alexandra DeArmon Alexandra DeArmon is a 2009 graduate of UMD. She is now a Flight Attendant and mostly a prose writer. Ashley Delaney Ashley Delaney has been published in the University College of London’s prose literary magazine, “A Phone About To Ring.” She’s a two-year notation candidate with the Jiménez-Porter Writer’s House at the University of Maryland, and was a finalist for the Jiménez-Porter Literary Prize in 2012. She keeps a writing blog called where she tends to post parts of works-in-progress and flash fiction. Oludolapo Demuren Oludolapo Demuren entered Writers’ House in the Fall of 2011. He is a Nigerian-American poet who lives in Bowie, MD. Meg Eden Meg Eden has been published in various magazines and anthologies, including Rock & Sling, The Science Creative Quarterly, anderbo, Gloom Cupboard, and Crucible. Her collection “Your Son” has received The Florence Kahn Memorial Award. Her collection “Rotary Phones and Facebook” is to be released in June 2012 by Dancing Girl Press. Mandy Fraser Class of 2008. College Park native, current Las Vegas local. Sharing a love of literature with a room of eager third graders on the regular. Loves Siken and Seuss.


contributer biographies Codi Gugliuzza Codi Gugliuzza is a notation candidate for the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. She was the assistant editor for Stylus: A Journal of Literature and Art, and is currently a member of Stylus’ editing board. Her work has been published in Stylus and A Celebration of Poets. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta: The International English Honor Society, UMD chapter. She is currently working on a chapbook of poetry. When not writing, she spends her time creating art. Aislinn Hein Aislinn Hein is a woman. She is made of paper. She wears a red trench coat. She is working on her second novel. She will love the Writers’ House forever. Meg Hunter Since the Writers’ House Hunter earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Dowling College. Her poems have appeared in The Long Island Quarterly and Whispers and Shouts. She is a sixth grade Special Educator in Charles County, MD. Brendan Edward Kennedy You are Brendan Edward Kennedy, 2012 graduate of the University of Maryland and the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House. You majored in Vocal Performance and English. You want to read me everything. David Kravitz David Kravitz graduated from JPWH in 2012 and continues to write prolifically to this day. Jokes. He writes jokes now because he’s a stand-up comedian. He’s done with that poetry stuff. Tyler Kutner Tyler Kutner is a freshman at the University of Maryland, College Park and a second year Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House student. Tyler is a graduate of George Washington Carver Center for Art and Technology’s Literary Arts program. Born with cerebral palsy, Tyler is a budding disability rights advocate and worked at a summer internship at The Image Center for People with Disabilities. Tyler enjoys a good laugh and a mind-blowing read. Megan Lahman Megan T. Lahman, a member of the graduating class of 2009 for both Writers’ House and UMD, resides in Frostburg, Maryland. She’s working towards grad school and real adulthood. Jamie Lee Jamie Lee is a senior journalism and English double degree and second year Writers’ House student. She isn’t terribly fond of writing bios. Stephanie Levi Stephanie Levi is currently a second year in the Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House and a junior at the University of Maryland. She writes prose and enjoys drawing. Taylor Lewis Taylor Lewis is a current senior journalism student. A recent graduate of the Writers’ House, she left her mark by starting the program’s publication, The Writers’ Bloc, in 2011.


contributer biographies Nick Lyle Nick was a founding member of the Casual Gentry Literary Society and, in 2012, served as the Stylus prose editor. He currently spends his free time missing college. Norine McKee Norine McKee is a junior English and Chinese double major, winding up her second-year at the JiménezPorter Writers’ House. She puked once on the Great Wall of China, and three times in the parking lot. Fiona McNabb Fiona McNabb is an avid lover of tea, scones, trees, and treetop tea parties. In good weather, she may be sighted loitering on the mall between classes. Rumit Pancholi Rumit Pancholi participated in the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House in his senior year of undergrad at the University of Maryland. He is currently a journal production editor at Wolters Kluwer, a medical publishing company in Baltimore, MD. Laura Pavlo Laura Pavlo writes best once the sun has gone down. She believes in the ellipsis because there is always something more to say. She majors in English and Graphic Design and minors in Creative Writing because art is everything she can’t say and English is everything she can say. Ned Prutzer Ned Prutzer graduated from Writers’ House in 2010. He’s currently finishing his Master’s in Communication, Culture & Technology at Georgetown University and will start working toward his PhD this fall.

contributer biographies Saunam Vij Saunam Vij is a senior Cell Biology and Genetics major. Her life dream is to pursue film-making in Bollywood, India, own a bookstore café, and make a pilgrimage to Machu Picchu. Brooke Warrington An avid daydreamer, Brooke Warrington has always loved to write. With a B.A. in English and a B.S. in Environmental Science and Policy, she currently works at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. Olivia Wilkins Olivia Wilkins is currently working on a doctorate in education (Ed. D.) and hopes to open a private school. After completing the Ed. D., she plans to pursue a Ph. D. in mythology and folklore. Kit Winner Kit Winner is a freshman and first-year Writers’ House student, majoring in linguistics and Japanese, trying to cram her love of words into as many fields as possible. Charles Zhuang Charles Zhuang studies philosophy and computer science with interests in artificial intelligence. He believes hell is a small hole in the ground filled with water. His favorite color is red. Maria Zilberman Maria lives in San Francisco. She works as an AmeriCorps construction crew leader with Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco.

Samantha Reich Samantha Reich is in her second year with the Writers’ House and is graduating in May 2013 with a B.S. in Family Science. Her interests include poetry, photography, and vocal performance. Joining the Writers’ House was the best decision she made in college. She hopes to continue working with youth and keep poetry in her life. Derek Scarzella Derek Scarzella started out at the Writers’ House and has since gone on a few adventures. The Writers’ House taught him to keep striving and learning, and he will cherish his time there forever. Dan Schwartz Dan Schwartz received an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and was an executive editor of PRISM international. He lives in Washington, DC and plays music. Lenaya Stewart Lenaya Stewart is a sophomore Communication and English double major with a minor in Creative Writing at the University of Maryland, College Park. She enjoys writing poetry and also dabbles in flash fiction. In the future she plans to use creative writing as an educational tool in missionary work. Sohayl Vafai Sohayl Vafai is a ‘12 Writers’ House alumnus.



The Jimenez-Porter Writers’ House The Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House is a campus-wide literary center for the study of creative writing across cultures. Writers’ House residents live in a close community of 50 to 60 undergraduate students who share an interest in creating stories, poems, and plays. Students attend colloquia, share their writing with each other in a supportive workshop environment, and attend additional special events together. Writers’ House students organize Litfest, our annual literary bash, every Spring. Writers’ House offers a one or two year program. The Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House is a unique Living and Learning Program that offers students at the University of Maryland a literary center for the study of creative writing across cultures and languages. The program’s mission is three-fold: • Provide a vibrant literary hub of the University of Maryland, College Park campus through public reading series (Writers Here and Now, TerPoets Open Mics), publication of a literary journal (Stylus), literary study abroad programs (Chile and Egypt Winter terms) and various community outreach activities (the Young Scholars Program and Postcards from My Country). • Foster a successful literary community in residence at University of Maryland, College Park; one that supports, academically and socially, student creative writers from across the range of disciplines. • Study and support creative writing in its cross-cultural dimensions by maintaining this focus in who we are (recruitment of a diverse student body and staff), what we study (curriculum), and what we produce (Stylus, Postcards from My Country, Terpoets, Writers Here and Now).



Profile for Marlena Chertock

a decade of scribblers  

Jiménez-Porter Writers' House 10th anniversary publication

a decade of scribblers  

Jiménez-Porter Writers' House 10th anniversary publication

Profile for mchertock