A bit about me: I am a poet, freelance writer, educator, producer and community builder. I want poetry to be alive and a force for light in our world, whether out in nature, in prisons, workplaces, houses of worship, and in the streets.
I’ve lived and traveled throughout the U.S., U.K., Europe, and Middle East. Currently, I’m based in Chattanooga, TN, where I teach with the non-profit Turn the Page, bringing creative writing to people in jails and in recovery. You can read more of my experiences in this essay, The Poets of Hamilton County Jail.
My story is a crazy-quilt of wonder and loss: growing up in a war zone (Israel/Palestine), hopscotching between cultures, and finally coming to terms with life as an artist and woman who struggles with the pain of this world, and works for healing.
To this end, I collaborate with people of all backgrounds to create space for justice, art, and soulwork, for example:
— I am writing and producing “Songs of Deliverance” and “Women’s Voice/Bearing Witness,” poetry and storytelling projects exploring women’s pain and healing. Sponsored by Southern Lit Alliance, Love’s Arm, the George R. Johnson Foundation, and the Hunter Museum of Art.
–In 2019, I was a featured artist at Red Clay State Park with my program and exhibit: “Red Clay Rising: Celebrating and Connecting with Cherokee Life, Women’s Power, and Poetry.”
–From 2017-2018, my poetry was featured in “The Journey,” a performance piece exploring the life of Robert Abbott, an African-American journalist who sparked the Great Migration.
Other organizations and institutions I’ve worked with include:
Furugh Switzer and her pioneering “Our Story” program of literacy and support circles for Roma mothers and youth
Ashoka: Everyone A Changemaker
The European Press Prize and The Guardian Foundation
I’ve researched programs for broadcast on NPR and the BBC, including the documentary film To Light a Candle.
I have a BA International Relations and Education from American University in Washington DC, and an MS in Philosophy & Public Policy from the London School of Economics.
I give workshops on voice and poetry to people of all ages.
Peace, Andréana (AE) Lefton