Jennifer Hodsdon, a 2008 graduate of the Stonecoast program who now coordinates the Maine SpeakOut Project, led this discussion of some of the rewards and challenges that come from using writing as a transformative exercise to effect social change. The panelists were three Maine-based writer-activists—Gary Lawless (pictured at right), Cathy Plourde, and Chiara Liberatore—whose experiences range from writing workshops with homeless youth, veterans, and immigrant populations to theatrical performance with incarcerated youth and adults. You may have seen Lawless at Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick, which he co-founded in 1979. Plourde founded Add Verb Productions, and co-wrote that organization’s play “When Turtles Make Love: Real Talk Between Parents and Teens” with Liberatore.
This panel discussion took place in Freeport, Maine, during the winter residency of the Stonecoast MFA program in January, 2008. Stonecoast is the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at the University of Southern Maine. We welcome your feedback on this Art for Justice podcast.