How to find us at AWP 17

Dear readers, AWP is just 3 days away.

During the book fair, you can find us at table 431-T. We’ll be there with copies of every issue of apt, as well as all our chapbooks and full-length titles. We’ll be giving away some readerly and writerly gifts every day of the conference, and there’ll be a special discount on subscriptions to apt!

Plus, on Friday night, we’re hosting a reading in the tap room at The Black Squirrel. Featuring Joanna Ruocco, Dolan Morgan, Tracy Dimond, Elizabeth Wade, and Krysten Hill! Free food (while it lasts), and blood and roses from our host and EIC, Carissa Halston, who is (more or less) the cat you see pictured below.


And, on Saturday night, immediately following the conference, we’re co-sponsoring a candlelight vigil in Lafayette Square for the First Amendment. Check out more details on Facebook, and if you can make it, we’d love to see you there.


Events, old and new!

Clockwise from upper left: Amanda Torres, Brionne Janae, Krysten Hill, and Simone John.

The brilliant poets who read for the HHSGO release party. Clockwise from upper left: Amanda Torres, Brionne Janae, Krysten Hill, and Simone John

If you weren’t able to make it to the How Her Spirit Got Out release party, first of all, we missed you. But secondly, you missed out. Obviously, we’re very familiar with the content of Krysten’s book. But it means so much to hear her read these poems. She shone and showed us all how absolutely necessary her work is. And Simone John, Brionne Janae, and Amanda Torres wowed us again and again.

And if you weren’t able to make it to the Boston Public Library for the first Greater Boston Writers Resist event, Krysten read there as well, and the whole room cheered her on. You can watch a video of her reading, courtesy of WGBH’s Forum Network.

And, if you’re in the Boston area and still haven’t had a chance to catch Krysten reading, you’re in luck! She’ll be at the following events in the upcoming months:

Friday, Jan 27 – 7pm
Belt It Out reading series
Courtside Lounge
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, Mar 16 – 7pm
Reading with Ben Berman
Brookline Booksmith
Brookline, MA

Poets and Pints reading series
Aeronaut (hosted by Porter Square Books)
Somerville, MA
(Date and time to be announced!)

And15940868_10154049971290689_3850647147929325445_n if you’re going to this year’s AWP conference, we’ll be there with you. From February 8-11, we’ll be in Washington, DC for the book fair and the readings. You can find us at table 431-T where we’ll be giving away writerly and readerly gifts, and there will be an assortment of AP editors and contributors managing the table. Stop by to meet co-founding editors, Carissa Halston and Randolph Pfaff, as well as Krysten Hill, and possibly other assorted AP writers. And don’t forget to come to the tap room at The Black Squirrel on Friday, Feb 10 for our AWP offsite reading, featuring Joanna Ruocco, Krysten Hill, Dolan Morgan, Tracy Dimond, and Elizabeth Wade! Lovingly hosted by apt EIC, Carissa Halston, who designed that poster with the idea that she was the lady and the tiger, and she’d be roaring these writers’ names.

And if you are in town for AWP, you can pick up a copy of our latest print issue of apt, featuring longform stories and poems from Doug Paul Case, Sonja Condit, Gregory Crosby, Krysten Hill, and Joanna Ruocco! We just got copies today, and we can’t wait for you to see them! Here’s a peek in advance. And for those of you who aren’t making the trek, you can of course order copies online.

And, finally, as co-sponsors of Greater Boston Writers Resist, we’re enraged at the latest news from Washington, but that’s been the case since late October. Nonetheless, we’re looking forward to seeing so many of our friends in DC, and to stand beside them on Saturday, February 11 to hold a vigil for free speech. Our EIC, Carissa Halston, wrote an impassioned plea to save the First Amendment in her editor’s note for the latest issue of apt. She wrote it in November, just as the censorship was beginning. And now, with the gag order on climate change, and threats to any White House staff who speak to members of the press, this is a violation of our freedom of speech and our freedom of the press. Violations to the Constitution. It hasn’t even been a week.

Which is to say, DC friends, Baltimore friends, Virginia friends…we’ll see you very soon and we’ll be protesting as loudly and as hard as we can.

HHSGO release party this Friday!

How Her Spirit Got Out cover
Please join us at Lir on Friday, January 13, at 7pm to celebrate the release of Krysten Hill’s debut chapbook, How Her Spirit Got Out!

Featuring readings from Brionne James, Simone John, Amanda Torres, and Krysten Hill! Hosted by Carissa Halston.

How Her Spirit Got Out is a lively, urgent song. Answering the writers whose voices raised her, Hill calls on Sylvia Plath, Audre Lorde, and Zora Neale Hurston to help her navigate the complicated landscape of selfhood. Hill’s speaker, wise and direct, open yet elusive, also sings for the women who brought her up: her aunt, her grandmother, and her mother. These spirits who’ve guided her life and taught her through example how black women persevere, have given her the means to bear witness to an age of racial violence. With intensity, audacity, and a darkly comic wit, Hill grapples with the question of how to fight “a city that knows you’re unarmed,” rendering each poem as a weapon and a shield, and using both for self-defense.

This event is free and open to the public.

RSVP at Facebook




Krysten Hill is an educator, writer, and performer who has showcased her poetry on stage at The Massachusetts Poetry Festival, Blacksmith House, Cantab Lounge, Merrimack College, U35 Reading Series, Mr. Hip Presents, and many others. She received her MFA in poetry from UMass Boston where she currently teaches. Her work can be found in B O D Y, Muzzle, PANK, Winter Tangerine Review, apt, Amethyst Arsenic, Damfino Press, ROAR, and Write on the DOT. She is the recipient of the 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award. She is the author of a chapbook, How Her Spirit Got Out, now available from Aforementioned Productions.
(author photo credit: Jonathan Beckley)

Simone John’s poetry brings her to classrooms, community events, and campuses to read and lead discussions. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, with an emphasis on racial identity studies and documentary poetics. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Wildness, The Pitkin Review, Public Pool, and The Writer in the World. Testify, Simone’s first full-length collection, is forthcoming from Octopus Books in 2017.


Brionne Janae is a Southern California native who came to Boston to get an MFA at Emerson College. While in California, Brionne received her B.A. at U.C. Berkeley where she was a Student Teacher Poet in the Poetry for the People movement. Brionne is currently an instructor at Bunker Hill Community College. Her work as a poet has been published or is forthcoming in Plume, Apogee Journal, Toe Good Poetry, Redivider, Fjords Review, and others. Brionne is the winner of the 2014 Muriel Craft Bailey Contest from the Comstock Review judged by Kwame Dawes, and her first manuscript was selected by Michael Ryan for Emerson College’s Best Thesis Award.



Amanda Torres is a mexicana writer, singer, teacher, and organizer. She’s received several awards for her writing and performance, including the Union League Civic Arts Foundation Award for Fiction and the National Brave New Voices Slam Competition. She founded the first Youth Advisory Council at Young Chicago Authors and co-founded L@s Eloter@s, a socially engaged Latino/a writing teachers collective. Amanda serves as the Festival Director for the Louder Than A Bomb Teen Poetry Slam, and co-founded Mass LEAP, the youth spoken word programming arm of MassPoetry where she currently serves as Program Director. Please give a warm welcome to Amanda Torres.


WRRR reflection, How Her Spirit Got Out, and apt 7

Readers, we’ve been subsumed by all the post-election news and the scary prospects for our country. We’re trying to find ways to hold our officials accountable for their choices in representing us, and making their voices reflect ours.

But, ultimately, the incoming administration is proving they don’t care about the integrity of a free press or free speech, so we’re going to have to get louder in our support of our ideals and our support of the work of writers whose voices are integral in reminding us what’s at stake: honesty, choice, truth, and our trust in communication.

Last month, we produced White Rabbit Red Rabbit at OBERON. The show was well received, garnering 4 out of 5 stars from Boston Events Insider. From Gwen Walsh’s review: “Jen Taschereau, whose amiable demeanor effectively put the audience at ease during a story which was driven by an oscillation between tension and playfulness…[displayed] true commitment to the act… I can’t stop thinking about this play.”

I (the ever-shifting pronouns–I here is Carissa, as always) have spent the past month thinking about Nassim Soleimanpour’s play. I performed it the first night, then watched Jen and Sam Cha perform is the subsequent evenings. Every night, audience members told me they felt the material was unfortunately timely, in light of the election, which had taken place the week prior. Every night, I watched the play and thought about how careful Soleimanpour was in choosing his words and crafting his metaphors. He told us, in the script, how careful he had to be. I’d originally scheduled the production as a potential vent following the election, as a combination cautionary tale for what we’d avoided and method of girding ourselves for the backlash (because I thought Clinton would win, but I was also aware that violence was coming either way).

But there we sat, too late for caution and its lessons.

Still, I’m thankful for the opportunity to perform and produce the work. Soleimanpour’s methods of coy address gives me hope for methods and means of retaining some semblance of free speech, even as it’s being threatened. And I’m so grateful to Jen and Sam for their bravery, especially in context.

Other writing that’s buoying me through this wreck is Krysten Hill’s How Her Spirit Got Out, which is finally—wait for it—out, just this week. I’m so proud of Krysten and her collection. She asks the hard questions we need to pose to ourselves and our officials right now, and gives us possible solutions for how black women, indeed any women of color, can navigate a society that makes them feel simultaneously abandoned, controlled, fetishized, and disrespected. And Krysten approaches the work from multiple angles, meaning the book is as funny as it is serious, as artful as it is frank, as much an ode as it is an instruction.  And disarming throughout. Short version: everyone should read this book.

And, rounding out AP news, the seventh print annual of apt is now available to preorder. The issue features work by Joanna Ruocco, Krysten Hill, Sonja Condit, Doug Paul Case, and Gregory Crosby. Many of these long stories and poems speak to the various ways women are discounted and downplayed, and how they counterbalance that disadvantage, which has always been important to me, but especially now.

Since it’s mid-December, this is the time when I would reflect on this past year and mention all the things we’re looking forward to next year, but while 2016 has been a year for the metaphorical books, they’re not any I’d like to read, and though I’d prefer to savor time rather than waste it, the quicker we can reverse the damage of these upcoming years, the better off we’ll be. So, here’s to next year, but more so, all the years that will follow, especially those when we rise again.

WRRR Cast Interview: Randolph Pfaff

Just four days left until our production of White Rabbit Red Rabbit comes to OBERON! The show has been described as “a thoughtful, playful response to oppression” in The Guardian, and we’re taking that as a necessary reaction to the results of our recent election.

We’ve got one more cast member to catch up with: AP cofounder, Randolph Pfaff.

Since Randolph will be our stage manager and Emcee, the questions we asked the other cast members didn’t exactly apply, so Carissa wrote new questions for him:


You hold the key to this production—as stage manager, you hold the script. What does it mean to you to wield that sort of power?

I think the real power lies in the unknown for this production. There’s this energy at the intersection of the script and the experience, playfulness, and flexibility of the actors. That said, there’s great excitement in creating this surprise for the three actors. It’s like a really good gift you’ve found for someone’s birthday and the real joy isn’t in giving the gift but in watching them receive it. (Editor’s note: How fitting that there are gifts behind Randolph in his photo.)


When we started this project, I approached you to perform and, initially, you said yes. Then you changed your mind (and broke my heart). Will you talk a bit about those choices (and how you’ll make it up to me)?

Well, I’m clearly more suited to heartbreaker roles and since I couldn’t guarantee what sort of leading man I’d be in this show, I had to decline.

In all seriousness, there were two reservations that led me to decline: 1. I don’t perform often, though I read my work now and then. Because the only real preparation that’s possible for White Rabbit Red Rabbit is to be comfortable on stage—physically, emotionally, and creatively—I didn’t feel like I’d be able to give it the performance it deserves, and 2. In the current sociopolitical environment of our country, I couldn’t see filling one night of a three-night run with a white male performer. There are so many actors who can bring cultural and experiential context to this show that I can’t. I don’t think putting a white guy on stage by himself in Harvard Square and having him talk for 90 minutes is doing much to shift perspectives and open people up to new ideas and conversations, which are what we need now more than ever. I’m happy to listen and learn and participate rather than driving the conversation.

To answer the second part of your question, I suppose, in keeping with the spirit of the show, I’ll have to surprise you with something to make it up to you.


Good stage managers, like good editors, work invisibly. They do their magic and step back, and the reader/audience is none the wiser. But in this show specifically, we need your guidance. You’re the only one who knows, right now, what this show is going to be like. How are you approaching that responsibility? (And will you break up with us if we get too needy?)

I’d be a hypocrite to judge the too-needy among us, so I’m going to do whatever I can to ensure that all three of you can get up on stage and just go for it. I think the best thing I can do is to give each of you the confidence that you won’t need to rely on anyone or anything other than yourselves once you’re on stage.


Even though “Productions” is half of Aforementioned’s name, only a handful of people know we started out as a theatre company. How do you feel about this return to staged work?

I’m excited that we’re getting back to producing theatre by doing something really challenging. It’s an art form that has the power to entertain, engage, and educate without being overtly didactic. I think most audience members have a fluid relationship with theatre and are far more willing to take a risk by immersing themselves in a new experience. In return, playwrights and performers are able to break rules and blur boundaries because the audience has consented to a kind of openness and acceptance they might not be willing to give in other contexts.


If you were to talk up White Rabbit Red Rabbit to people on the street—without saying top secret, once in a lifetime, or experimental—what would you tell prospective audience members about the production?

I’d tell them that we’ve been getting too many bad surprises of late and that this show is the opposite of that. I’d say it’s a reminder that there are spaces in which we can go out on a limb without fear that the branch will break beneath us.


Last question: Part of the fun of performing and producing this show is the risk: the whole thing runs on potential and we won’t know what’s happening until we’re in it. As a writer and a visual artist, how does the unknown figure in your work?

This might be the perfect show for me to be a part of because I’m totally infatuated by the ways in which we approach the unknown. In my work, I’m most interested in the process of teasing out what I can’t define or articulate rather than defining and articulating it. We spend our whole lives trying to figure out who we are and how we relate to other people and how we fit into the larger world, but it’s the attempt itself that shapes who we become. We’re defined by the practice, not the conclusion, and the practice is an ongoing, loving embrace of the unknown.


Read about the rest of the cast at the WRRR page, and to reserve your seats for the show, head over to OBERON!


New praise for Krysten Hill’s HOW HER SPIRIT GOT OUT!

Krysten Hill’s incendiary debut, How Her Spirit Got Out, is on its way next month! It’s garnered praise from Jill McDonough, and now from Boston’s Poet Laureate, Danielle Legros Georges!

“Krysten Hill’s poems grab you by the throat and pull you into dark rooms and dark selves. The poems know that ‘the world is full of weapons’ and poisonous legacies that pursue and haunt us—and become knives themselves, daring to carve deep silence into sound and image, into resurrection. These poems exude at once vulnerability, rawness, and lucid beauty.”

If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet, there’s no time like the present!

Head over to the presale page and check out the incentives, including variant covers, original poems by Krysten, and an option to get all of AP’s chapbooks in one shot!

December 13 can’t come soon enough!

WRRR Cast Interview: Carissa Halston

Our production of White Rabbit Red Rabbit is less than two weeks away! We hope you’ll join us at OBERON to discover Nassim Soleimanpour’s top-secret show.

And in the meantime, we hope you’ll read on for interview with our own Carissa Halston. She’ll be performing on opening night, Monday, November 14.


So much of White Rabbit Red Rabbit is a mystery. You can’t read the script, can’t memorize the script, can’t rehearse anything. We, of course, love the idea—but what makes this sort of risk attractive to you as a performer?

I’m coming at the show from a different entry point than Sam and Jen, in that I instigated the production to begin with. The first time I heard about White Rabbit Red Rabbit, Randolph and I were at the Philly Fringe Festival for my 33rd birthday. And as I read through the descriptions of each play, I was forced to choose between WRRR and a show called The Adults.

Obviously, since I’m performing, we did’t see WRRR that night. But the conceit of the production—performing a show you’ve never seen or read—was so memorable that it floated back up in my mind when I read about the New York production this summer. But, being the stubborn person I am, I thought, “I don’t want to go all the way to New York.” Then I realized one surefire way to see the show was to produce it here.

As for what makes it attractive to me as a performer—I’m a big fan of creative risk. I think every artist should embark on a journey to undertake work that truly scares them.

So, here’s the official word: this prospect of performing this show scares the hell out of me. Which is the main reason I’m doing it.

The possibilities that accompany performing a work you’ve never read or seen are wide open. What are you most excited about?

There’s a moment that happens when you’re performing a live show. You’ll hear actors talk about the way an audience changes the material. And they’re right—an audience makes a scene completely different than when you rehearse to an empty room. There are no rehearsals here, but it goes beyond the lack of practice.

The bond between the audience and the actor is the work. By that, I mean the play itself, but also the effort. The follow-my-lead of it all. The are-you-with-me-so-far? relationship. The moments when the actor is leaning forward and the audience is leaning too, and the thing that catches them is the material wed to the delivery.

That’s what I’m most excited about. The symbiotic relationship between the actor and the audience and the work.

On stage, you’ll be holding a script and reading the words as you’re about to speak them. This setup could be limiting. How do you connect with an audience when you’re constrained in these ways?

I’m big on eye contact. There’s a rhythm to most scripts that gives you room to maneuver. A pause for breath. And in those moments, I’m hoping I can look out and see that the audience is with me. I’m hoping to find the cadence, and find it quick, so I can adjust to the mystery, so to speak. So I can find a place to stand, even if it’s not the surest footing. And, if nothing else, at least I’ll know where I’ve been as it goes on.

Are there any other steps you’re taking to prepare to perform White Rabbit Red Rabbit? (Reminder: Googling is against the rules.)

I keep telling myself, “This is and is not a cold reading.” But since it’s a monologue, I’m also telling myself I have to carry it off without flubbing a line. I’m so concerned about mispronouncing or tripping over a word. So the thing I’m going to try to do is remember to take my time. Because the faster I’m going, the starker the interruption will be if I stumble.

Outside of this show, what else are you working on creatively?

For my own writing, I’m currently working on a novel called Conjoined States, which centers on our country’s dangerous fascination with morality, how it encourages surveillance and judgment, and how that constant monitoring results in different types of “passing” as a necessary means of survival. Racially (many of the characters are either mixed race, unaware of their ethnic background, or have a different identity forced on them that doesn’t match their ethnicity [e.g., a Middle Eastern philosophy professor grapples with the fact that she’s targeted as an outsider, but she’s “white” according to the government because that’s how Middle Easterners are documented in the US]), religiously (mainstream Christianity, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Islam are all part of the book), and health-wise (mental health issues get denied or repressed, and disability and disfigurement [harder to deny] are acknowledged but not discussed). With all of that cheery material covered, the book is also about trust and abandonment and how we can learn to retain the former in the face of the latter, even if it involves destruction along the way.

For other AP work, I’m thrilled about the chapbook we’re publishing next month—Krysten Hill’s debut collection, How Her Spirit Got Out, which is such an important series of poems about the way black women cope when they’re confronted with personal and political violence, and specifically how one black woman walks many paths in order to arrive at selfhood. Plus, Jill McDonough recently had these choice words for the collection: “These poems are a middle finger tucked in the hip pocket of your favorite dress.” Plus, check out these covers:




Read more about Carissa and the rest of the cast at the WRRR page, and to see Carissa in White Rabbit Red Rabbitreserve your seats for opening night, Monday, November 14!


WRRR Cast Interview: Sam Cha

Just a few more weeks until our production of White Rabbit Red Rabbit comes to OBERON!

We recently checked in with cast member Sam Cha (who’ll perform on Wednesday, November 16) to see how he was preparing for the show.


So much of White Rabbit Red Rabbit is a mystery. You can’t read the script, can’t memorize the script, can’t rehearse anything. We, of course, love the idea—but what makes this sort of risk attractive to you as a performer?

a) Performance is about being terrified and then turning that terror into something useful. (For loosely defined values of “use.”) When you can’t prepare for the performance, you’re even more terrified, and so, in theory, unless there’s a sort of terror-singularity thing happening, where you accelerate into terror faster than you can accelerate out of it, you’ll be a supernova of sublimated fright. This doesn’t attract me, per se, but it strikes me as something I’d definitely like to try.

b) Ever stand on the edge of a subway platform and think I’m definitely not going to jump, but what if my body has other ideas?

c) On roller coasters, I always envision the freak accident: the arm lopped off, the tongue bitten in half, the g-force induced heart attack, etc. I love roller coasters.

The possibilities that accompany performing a work you’ve never read or seen are wide open. What are you most excited about?

I’m not sure, so I’m going to be oblique.

I wrote in college. Then I stopped. It was years before I managed to write anything that wasn’t a close reading or an annotated bibliography or a prospectus. When, eventually, I did write a poem, I went to an open mic. I was feeling lonely. There’s this wonderful moment that happens and then passes—I think probably at the speed of sound–where the words leave your mouth and they haven’t quite registered with the audience yet—and you feel kind of weightless, like school’s been cancelled and you have the day off, like maybe you don’t have to be human anymore, you can just be a thin membrane, like the one in a kazoo, buzzing with air.

On stage, you’ll be holding a script and reading the words as you’re about to speak them. This setup could be limiting. How do you connect with an audience when you’re constrained in these ways?

I’ve never actually interacted with an audience in any other way.

I think of it as an opening-up, I guess. A signaling of vulnerability (which I guess in my head signals honesty signals authenticity signals look people something here is actually happening). (This doesn’t mean you’re actually vulnerable, of course, but you have to look like it.)

Are there any other steps you’re taking to prepare to perform White Rabbit Red Rabbit? (Reminder: Googling is against the rules.)

My friend Jade is feeding me these improv exercises. Also, monologues. Lots of monologues. Also, I plan to go to the Cantab and recite other people’s poems on the open mic. Will any of this help? I don’t know! I haven’t Googled anything.

Outside of this show, what else are you working on creatively?

Right now I’m working on a long poem that is sort of a riff on a couple of lines from Wordsworth. So far it’s about: the garden of Eden, procrastination, the sudden death of one of our neighbors, chessplayers in the Harvard Square Pit, and the shape of tragedy. If it sounds ADD, that’s because it is—when I write, I waffle between trying to leave almost everything out and trying to put everything in, but on balance I’m really mostly a collector, a magpie, going from shiny thing to shiny thing, in the hopes of making some kind of memorable temporary (slash temporal, I guess?) pattern.


Read more about Sam and the rest of the cast at the WRRR page. To see Sam in White Rabbit Red Rabbit, head over to OBERON and reserve your seats for Wednesday, November 16!


WRRR Cast Interview: Jen Taschereau

With less than a month to go until our production of White Rabbit Red Rabbit, we wanted to ask our cast members how they’re gearing up to perform a show they’ve never read or seen.

First up, we have Jen Taschereau, who’ll be performing on Tuesday, November 15.

So much of White Rabbit Red Rabbit is a mystery. You can’t read the script, can’t memorize the script, can’t rehearse anything. We, of course, love the idea–but what makes this sort of risk attractive to you as a performer?

I love challenging myself as a performer with tough scripts, whether it’s the language itself or themes that are difficult to tackle. I’m also very big on physically seeing how far I can push my body and mind. When Carissa approached me with this project, just the description terrified me, so I knew it was the right project for me to say yes to. I haven’t been on stage in three years, so coming back to something that forces me to jump in with no time for questions seems right. I also love connecting with the audience as a performer, and I imagine I’ll need them immensely the night I get to read WRRR for the first time. I believe the audience members who sign on for this kind of evening of theatre are also there to make connections. It’s the perfect relationship.

The possibilities that accompany performing a work you’ve never read or seen are wide open. What are you most excited about?

I’m just excited to actually read the script! I’m dying to know what’s inside that envelope. I’m excited to see how I react to it for the first time. How the audience reacts to it. And how that shapes the evening. 

On stage, you’ll be holding a script and reading the words as you’re about to speak them. This setup could be limiting. How do you connect with an audience when you’re constrained in these ways?

I’ve thought about this a lot. I’ve done staged readings before, but I’ve known the script and had time to get familiar and comfortable with them, so it’s easy to build in moments to take your eyes away from the paper and make audience connections. I have faith those moments will be found in the moment of WRRR. I don’t know how to describe it in words, it’s just a feeling I have. I have to be completely receptive and exposed and vulnerable up there. That state of being alone is going to open the door for connections, I believe. 

Are there any other steps you’re taking to prepare to perform White Rabbit Red Rabbit? (Reminder: Googling is against the rules.)

So far, I haven’t done anything to prepare because, to be honest, I’m not sure what that would be outside of any dramaturgical work. And I’m not allowed! I have been following this instruction so much that outside of the description Aforementioned gives of the play, I know nothing. Normally, I would be researching the time and place of the script, the author’s life, anything I felt was relevant and needs my attention. Instead, I’m completely in the dark. It feels both odd—like I’m being a lazy actor—and liberating—like I’m being told, “Don’t worry, just do this.”

I do plan on taking a few pieces of text, poetry maybe, or a book I’m unfamiliar with, and doing some out loud reading on the spot for some cold reading practice. 

Outside of this show, what else are you working on creatively?

If you had asked me this question three or four years ago, I would have started listing off a season of projects (3-5, maybe more depending on the year!), but I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from creative work these days—though I guess that’s not true. I’ve been teaching in Newton for 11 years now, and I write or adapt a show for about 70 children every year, which I then direct, music-direct, and produce. I have an amazing team behind and beside me. This year, it’s a crazy version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, adapted from the brilliant mind of Matthew Woods and his ensemble of artists over at Imaginary Beasts. I also spend many hours a day making up crazy stories and voices for my five-and-a-half-month-old son. So I guess the creative juices haven’t stopped flowing, really!


To see Jen in White Rabbit Red Rabbit, head over to OBERON and reserve your seats for Tuesday, November 15!


Help support Aforementioned

Last Friday, Oct 7, we—Carissa Halston and Randolph Pfaff; cofounders, editors, and publishers of Aforementioned Productions—were in a car accident. The car was a rental (we were going to a friend’s wedding), and while we have collision insurance, we don’t have liability insurance.

Neither of us have been to the hospital, though we both sustained minor injuries. But one of the reasons we didn’t go to the ER is we honestly can’t afford it. We pay for our insurance entirely on our own (that is, not through an employer).

And we pay for Aforementioned the same way. With the exception of preorders, we pay for everything on our own. We’ve worked for free for eleven years, and we’ve lost money every year. We produced 24 online issues of apt in the first five years, and five years of weekly content after that. Five years of Literary Firsts. Nine books over six years. Hundreds of writers’ work: edited, proofread, designed, packaged, published, hosted, curated. For free.

We know we’re not alone in this. We know how it goes: non-profits are labors of love.

The problem is we suddenly can’t afford ours.

And the fact is: we are Aforementioned. If we run into a financial problem, it makes it nearly impossible to continue funding AP.

Since starting in 2005, we’ve never asked for financial assistance. We’ve never had a fundraiser. We’ve always paid for whatever we needed on our own. Over and above donating thousands of free hours, we’ve paid for web hosting, printing books, paying apt contributors, shipping materials and shipping costs, business cards, advertisements, book release parties, attending trade conferences, exhibiting at book fairs, travel and lodging for both, etc.

At this point, we’ve invested tens of thousands of dollars into AP. And despite that investment, it’s still really difficult even asking for help. We wouldn’t do it if we thought we could avoid it. But right now, we need your support. We need help paying for the projects we’ve committed to producing in the next three months.

Namely, a very large expense: we’re producing a limited run of White Rabbit Red Rabbit at Oberon in November. The show will cost more than $4500 to produce.

We’re also publishing Krysten Hill’s monumental debut, How Her Spirit Got Out, in December. And in January, we’re putting out the seventh print annual of apt.

These are expenses we had accounted for—until last Friday.

To be clear, these projects are going to happen regardless of how much money we raise, but the truth is that future projects are in jeopardy because of the car accident.

We don’t want Aforementioned’s successes to be contingent on our financial situation. We’re looking into possible ways to secure financial stability once we get out of this rough patch, but in the meantime, if you have the means to help out, we’d really appreciate your support.



If you’re in the Boston area, the best way you can support us is by buying a ticket to see White Rabbit Red Rabbit. The show is running Nov 14, Nov 15, and Nov 16. Tickets are $20-$30. And if you need a reason to see the show, just check out the press and the cast.




If you’re not in Boston (or can’t make the show), you can still support us in four ways:

1/You can send us a tax-deductible donation via GoFundMe! No matter how small (honestly), we appreciate every donation. And if you’re really committed to helping us out, you can even set up a recurring payment.


2/You can preorder Krysten Hill’s urgent, necessary debut, How Her Spirit Got Out, which Jill McDonough praised: “These poems are a middle finger tucked into the hip pocket of your favorite dress.”



3/You can subscribe to apt: three years for just $30! And issue 7 is shaping up to be great–with work by Joanna Ruocco, Sonja Condit, Gregory Crosby, and more!


4/You can buy back issues of apt or any of our critically acclaimed, award-winning books!




If you’ve ever enjoyed any of our books, or a story or poem or essay at apt, if you’ve ever attended a Literary Firsts reading, or one of our book release parties, if you’ve ever come to one of our events and had a really great time, we hope you’ll support us now that we need it most.

And if you’ve already ordered a book or bought a ticket to WRRR, thank you. We couldn’t continue running AP without your help.

With immense gratitude,

Carissa Halston and Randolph Pfaff
Aforementioned Productions