Our writers are a diverse group of people ranging from those new to writing to novelists, from soup kitchen guests to volunteers to others in the community. Here are biographies for some of the many writers who have participated in the Writers’ Workshop and contribute to Food for the Soul.
Steve Turtell is a poet who lives in New York City. His collection of poems, Heroes and Householders, was published in 2009 by Orchard House Press and reissued in May 2012 in an expanded second edition. His 2001 chapbook, Letter to Frank O’Hara was the 2010 winner of the Rebound Chapbook Prize given by Seven Kitchens Press and was reissued with an introduction by Joan Larkin in 2011. He is currently at work on a memoir Fifty Jobs in Fifty Years, and Peter Hujar: Invisible Master–Notes Toward the Understanding of a Great Photographer. His work has been included in the anthologies Blood & Tears, Poems for Matthew Shephard; This New Breed, Bad Boys, Gents and Barbarians 2; collective brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality; and Writing on the Moon: Stories and Poetry from the Creative Unconscious by Psychoanalysts and Others. In April, 2017 Aperture will publish Peter Hujar: Speed of Life, the catalog to a traveling retrospective of the work of Peter Hujar. It contains a condensed version of the memoir, Peter Hujar in New Orleans. You can follow him on Twitter as @rdturtle and friend him on facebook. http://steveturtell.com/
Combining her passions for education and writing, Hannah Albee is happy to join the team of Writers’ Workshop facilitators. After challenging herself with public relations writing at an arts-based independent school, joining an MFA in Creative and Professional Writing program, editing an on-line college literary journal, and publishing her poem, “For Immediate Release” in Apeiron Review, she now works full time writing about Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen as its Communications Manager. More recent work has been published in Broad! (a gentleperson’s magazine). By engaging writers in the workshop exactly where they are in their own process, she’s excited to witness the results of each writer’s clarity, authentic voice and expansion of message and meaning. Links: https://issuu.com/apeironreview/docs/issue-9 https://broadzine.com/portfolio/winter-2016-17/
George Cousins and has been a member of the Holy Apostles Writers’ Workshop for two years or more. He has been homeless for over three years. Prior to him being homeless is a chapter he wishes to close and move forward. Since he has been homeless, he has become more serious and trusts no one. He doesn’t take things for granted either. He has been burned so many times from his so called “friends” that he has changed his way of thinking. He never holds onto material things because “if you have something of value you only worry it will get stolen.”
Daniel Ito first volunteered at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen through his former employer and began volunteering consistently in the fall of 2013 after quitting his job. Daniel uses creativity to express his experiences and views on the world around him. He hopes to use writing as a means to increase awareness about poverty and homelessness, especially in New York City.
Rosetta Miletti North was born and raised in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. With a fervent love for science and healing, she managed to get her Master’s in Biology at a time not so long ago where it was frowned upon women in her culture to extend their education. However, a dream she had as a teenager of having written a book stayed with her until it finally propelled her onto the path of becoming a writer. She currently resides in New York and is at present working on her first novel.
Annie Q first came to the writer’s group some years back and often came to the soup kitchen, both of which she still does. She has been writing on and off for quite a while and when living on the streets created a newsletter written by the homeless “Voices to and from the Streets” which ran for about eight years. She and her friends on the streets also created small books of their art and writings which they printed on a church copy machine. They were sometimes sold. Creativity is most important to Annie who also draws, and does printmaking and photography. When she was concerned that creativity doesn’t ‘help’ anyone who is homeless, her friend Sr. Teresa told her that ‘Art is Life-Giving!’ “I love the imagination of writing,” Annie Q notes, “creating characters and places and bringing them to life. I mostly focus on the interior life often brooding, reflective and searching, and the rich details of ordinary things of life from a dirty cup in the sink to the taste of salt the ocean leaves on your lips.” Even though she is a native New Yorker she loves to walk and explore all over the city and its different neighborhoods bringing along her camera and to sit on Brighton Beach in Brooklyn and watch the sunset.
Lois Skaretka was born in Queens in 1956 and has lived there all her life, first in Woodside and now in Forest Hills. Most of her career was spent in the working world at various administrative assistant jobs. She began volunteering at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in 2007, a few years after she saw an ad in the New York Times Book Review for “Food for the Soul”, the compilation of pieces from the writers’ workshop. She describes volunteering at the soup kitchen as an awesome experience that has added a new dimension to her life. Lois enjoys writing poetry and non-fiction. She likes to read novels and any book that she can’t put down. Lois’ husband Robert is a volunteer here also and they are the proud owners of two black-and-white cats.
Fred D. Street considers writing an art and communication throughout the universe – he’s written poetry and prose for a few years at different locations in NYC. Fred’s desire is to be a novelist. He’s attended creative writing at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen for several years now, which has inspired him to continue his desire to write and to enlighten. Fred has had one copy-written poem published in the International Library of Poetry in the anthology called “The Road That Never Ends.”
Michael Welch was born in New York Hospital and graduated with a B. S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, spending his Vietnam War years on the aircraft carrier USS Kitty Hawk. He has been around the world and back and for the last seven years living on the streets and in the shelters and on the subways of New York City.
He has wanted to write stories since he was in the third grade, and in those long ago days he did feel he had a sort-of-an-ability to write, yet he was at a loss as to what stories he felt inspired and viscerally motivated to write; and he sometimes felt his skills and talent lacking.
During the most recent fifteen years he has found both an ability to write and, most importantly, he has come upon the essential subjects for the stories he so much enjoys writing.
As well as writing for television and press, Yvonne Cassidy is the Irish author of two novels ‘The Other Boy’ and ‘What Might Have Been Me’ which have been published in Ireland, France, the UK and the US. In 2011, Yvonne moved to New York City to work part time for Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen. Having taught creative writing in Ireland as part of The Irish Times Training program, Yvonne soon took these skills to help expand the curriculum and scope of the Holy Apostles Writers’ Workshop.
Working with new writers to help them find and develop their writing voice is something Yvonne is passionate about. The dedication of the writers at the Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen Writers’ Workshop – often in the most challenging of circumstances – is something she finds truly inspirational.
Yvonne’s latest novel, ‘How Many Letters are in Goodbye?’ will be published in March 2014.
For information on readings and book events visit: http://www.yvonnecassidy.com