Past Board Members

WordSpace’s Board is comprised of working writers, critics, musicians, artists and educators.

Laney Yarber
Richard Bailey
Rock Baby aka Roderick Goudy
Joe Milazzo
Jean Lamberty
Alexandra Marie Thurston
Young Eui Choi
Sanderia Faye Smith
Adrienne Cox Trammell, Co-founder
Stanley W. Thomas
Martha Heimberg
Ben Yip
Farid Matuk
Shin Yu Pai
Susan Briante
Carlos Salas
Ben E. Fountain
Christopher Soden
Sarah Riehm
Michael Stanford
Tim Cloward
Catherine Mitchell
Rod Russell-Ides
David Searcy
Dr. Simone Roberts
Bill Swart
John Fullinwider
Willie Sims
Nikhil Burman
David Parry
Sharon Bailey
Steve Paul
Venus Opal Reese
Jennifer Polavieja
J.P. Barrentine
Jeffrey Davis
Michael Guinn
Karen Minzer

Auxiliary Board:
Tammy Gomez
Priscilla Rice
Blake Kimsey

Laney Yarber: Retired 2014-2018) is multi-award winning performance artist and patron of all arts. She is supporter of the Dallas and Ft. Worth Operas and has served on many boards, including African American Cancer Survivors and countless arts collaborations with many Dallas arts organizations. Her works have been funded by the Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment of the Arts and City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, among others. Performances include X-Static: The Reveries of St. Theresa, Hippolytus, Saving the Farm and many other avant garde, multi-media extravaganzas.

Richard Bailey (2014-2018):
Richard grew up on fifty-two acres in East Texas. Like many creative Texans, he found his way to Austin, where he studied film at The University of Texas. Later, he earned a M.A. degree in Literature from the University of Texas at Dallas. His poetry collection REVIVAL was awarded Finalist for the 2012 Emily Dickinson First Book Award. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for a short story. His short films have shown in festivals across the country, including SXSW, Focus, Black Maria, Snake Alley, and at Anthology Film Archives in NYC. His play A SHIP OF HUMAN SKIN was  a Semifinalist at The Bay Area Playwrights Festival, 2012 and The Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, 2012. 

Roderick Goudy, aka Rock Baby (2010-2017), is a graduate of University of North Texas. He began his career as an educator with P.A.C.E. Head Start in Mississippi. In 1999, Roderick became a nationally known performance poet performing across North America including television appearances. From 1999-2002, he held the position of PTA President of DISD. Roderick began organizing poetry competitions as the City of Dallas Slam Master for Dallas Poetry Slam in 2003. Roderick has served as an art instructor with Junior Players Guild for over 3 years providing instruction in dance, writing, and theatre while addressing issues of bullying, self-esteem, and healthy conflict resolution.  Since 1988, he has held positions in the U.S. Army as a communications specialist, a pre-school, after-school and substitute teacher, board member with Family Care Connections.

Joe Milazzo (2017) is a writer, editor, educator, and designer. He is the author of the novel Crepuscule W/ Nellie (Jaded Ibis Press) and two collections of poetry: The Habiliments (Apostrophe Books) and the forthcoming Of All Places In This Place Of All Places. His writings have appeared in Black Clock, Black Warrior Review, BOMB, The Collagist, Prelude, Tammy, and elsewhere. He co-edits the online interdisciplinary arts journal [out of nothing], is a Contributing Editor at Entropy, curates the Other People’s Poetry reading series, and is also the proprietor of Imipolex Press. Joe has also served WordSpace as Program Director.

Jean Lamberty (2010-2016) has been an educator in a variety of roles for the past 17 years.  Her publications include An Extreme Risk, Illya’s HoneySentence,and the Houston Poetry Festival. She currently also works with the nonprofit Room to Read. Jean served the WS board of directors for 7 years as Secretary and Resource Chair and continues to volunteer in grant writing support.

Alexandra Marie Thurston (2013-2015) hosted her own open mic venue, “Connected Through Art,” from 2006 to 2007, and assisted the 2006 Los Angeles Slam Team at the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas. She has published two chapbooks: Love in Bits and Pieces in June of 2007, and You Are Between the Vowels and Consonants in My Every Sentence in November of 2007. Alexandra Marie Thurston is Slam Master/Director of the Dallas Poetry Slam. She has served as lead instructor for WordSpace Next Generation Project’s Youth Poets Workshops and is a co-founder of Dallas Youth Poets. 

Young Eui Choi (2011-2013) is an award winning professor at Richland College where she has taught Composition, Literature, and ESOL. She served on the Richland Literary Festival Committee and participated in various poetry workshops with Billy Collins, Naomi Shihab Nye, John Fox, and Robert McDowell. Some of her poems and articles have appeared in Write around the Corner, Korean Journal¬¬, and Dallas Literary Society of Korean Americans. She is also the invited reviewer of the Korean translation of Poetic Medicine by John Fox. In 2011, during her sabbatical in her native country, Korea, ¬¬¬she facilitated poetry therapy workshops with the Korean Institute for Poetry Therapy, led poetry classes with a renowned poet, Tae-Joo Na, and won the grand prize from the Green Kongju Essay Contest. Currently she is working on translation of Tae-Joo Na’s poetry collections as well as polishing her own poetry manuscript. Her social engagements include leadership/facilitator trainings from National Institute for Leadership Development, Summer Institute for Intercultural Communications, Leadership Richardson, and Center for Renewal and Wholeness in Higher Education. She was listed in Who’s Who in America 2010.

Sanderia Faye Smith (2010-2013) is a PhD. candidate and professor in the School of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas.  She received an MFA in Creative Writing/Fiction from Arizona State University, and a BS degree in Accounting from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.  She taught English Composition for The United States Navy (PACE) through Central Texas College.

An excerpt from her novel Mourning Bench appeared in Mythium Literary Journal, and in Arsnick:  The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Arkansas, by Jennifer Wallach and John Kirk, that led to her moderating the grassroots panel for the Arkansas Civil Rights Symposium during the Freedom Riders 50th Anniversary.  Her work received “Best Of” honors at the 2011 Eckerd College Writers’ Conference, Co –Directors Dennis Lehane and Sterling Watson, where the winning excerpt was published in SABAL Literary Journal. She received scholarships to Vermont, Writers Studio, Hurston/Wright Writers Conference, The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow, Callaloo Writers Workshop, and Martha’s Vineyard Writers Residency. Her novel Mourning Bench will be published January 2014.

Adrienne Cox Trammell (1994-2011) is a co-founder of WordSpace. She has worked in nonprofit administration for 20 years in fund development, program coordination, management consulting services, database administration and office management. She has served as board president, immediate past president, programming committee and chair of governance.

Stanley W. Thomas (2011-2013) graduated from the University of North Texas with a BBA in accounting after spending two years as a music major in the jazz program at UNT. Currently an Accounting Supervisor for a subsidiary of JPMorgan / Chase in Lewisville, TX . He has worked in accounting in the financial services industry for the last 30 years. For several years he also taught as an Adjunct Instructor in business at the Community College level. Stan has served as board president and treasurer.

Martha Heimberg (1997-2014) is associate professor of English at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Texas, creative writing instructor at Richland College and arts critic for Theater Jones and Turtle Creek News. Five-time winner of Dallas Press Club’s Katie Award for arts criticism, community affairs and business writing, she has also won the Texas Historic Commission Griffin Award and the Sierra Club Award for writing. She has written over 200 features and reviews on live theater, visual and literary arts, and community affairs for Texas publications, including D Magazine, Texas Monthly, Lone Star Book Review and others. She originated DART’s Poetry in Motion program, a national project placing contemporary and classic poems on buses and trains, and is a founding member of the Dallas-Fort Worth Theater Critics Forum. She has served on the program committee and continues to be active in curating and hosting WordSpace programs and Northwood Literary Festival.

Sharon Bailey is a former board president and a 20 year veteran of nonprofit sector, and works as a consultant for nonprofit management.

Ben Yip (2011-2013) holds a BA in Anthropology and MBA at SMU.

Farid Matuk is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood (Letter Machine Editions, 2010) and the chapbooks Is it the King? (Effing Press, 2006), and Riverside, forthcoming from Longhouse Press. His poems have appeared most recently in 6X6, Barrelhouse,The Boston ReviewBig BridgeCannibal, and Mandorla among others. His essays and reviews have appeared in SentenceCross-Cultural Poetics, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. Matuk has published translations from Spanish in Kadar KoliBombay GinTranslation Review, and Harvard Review. Currently he serves as poetry editor for FENCE Magazine. The reciplient of Ford and Fulbright Fellowships, Matuk holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin. He lives in Dallas with the poet Susan Briante. Farid Matuk has served on the WordSpace Board of Directors as Program Chair and continues to serve on the WordSpace Programming Committee, coordinating the Greenhill School partnership with our Wordspace Salon.

Shin Yu Pai grew up in the IE of Southern California and has worked in Boston, Madrid, Boulder, Chicago, Dallas, Taipei, and Seattle. She has been managing director of the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language, Assistant Curator for Acquisitions for The Wittliff Collections, and is the author of seven books of poetry, as well as being an oral historian, photographer, and editor. Recent titles include Adamantine (White Pine), Haiku Not Bombs (Booklyn), Sightings: Selected Works (1913 Press), and Works on Paper (Convivio Bookworks). She has completed residencies at The Seattle Art Museum,The MacDowell Colony, the Ragdale FoundationSoul Mountain, the Centrum Foundation,Taipei Artists Village, and the U.S. National Park Service. Her work is featured in the Poetry-in-Motion program on the Dallas Area Rapid Transit and has been commissioned twice by the Dallas Museum of Art. Former Programming Director of WordSpace (2006-2007), Shin Yu has worked with the Women’s Museum, the Trammell Crow Collection of Asian Art, Gemini Ink, and the Writers Garret. She is the recipient of awards from 4Culture, the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, the Cambridge Arts Council and The Puffin Foundation.

Susan Briante is the author of Pioneers in the Study of Motion (Ahsahta Press 2007) andUtopia Minus (Ahsahta Press 2011). Recent poems have appeared inPloughsharesCourt Green, and POOL. A translator and essayist, Briante lived in Mexico City from 1991-1997 working for the magazines Artes de Mexico and Mandorla. She has received awards from the Atlantic Monthly, MacDowell Colony,The Academy of American Poets, & the Djerassi Foundation. Currently, she is translating the work of Uruguayan writer Marosa di Giorgio, as well as writing about industrial ruins and abandoned buildings in American cities. Briante holds an MFA from Florida International University and a PhD from the University of Texas at Austin. She is an assistant professor of literature and creative writing at the University of Texas at Dallas. Susan is a former WordSpace Board Member and continues to serve on the Programming Committee.

Carlos Salas is a poet and co-owner of Cliff Notes Prolonged Media with his wife, poet Opalina Herebia-Salas. He has co-produced numerous Literary Events in Oak Cliff, including Mighty Fine Arts and The Kessler X+ Art Gallery.

Ben Fountain (2006-2008) is a past Board President. He is the author of the short story collection Brief Encounters with Che Guevara (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2006), which received the 2007 PEN/Hemingway Award and the 2006 Barnes & Noble Discover Award. His fiction has appeared in Harper’s, Zoetrope: All-Story, and the Paris Review, among other magazines, and has received an O.Henry Award, two Pushcart Prizes, two short story awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, and the McGinnis Ritchie Prize for Fiction. His nonfiction has appeared in The New York Times Magazine and New Letters. From 2004-2006 he served as fiction editor of the Southwest Review.

Christopher Soden received his MFA in Writing (Poetry) from Vermont College in January 2005. He is a writer, teacher, lecture, performer and critic. In August 2010 he received a full fellowship to Lambda Literary Foundation’s Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices. In 2007, his performance piece : Queer Anarchy received Dallas Voice’s People’s Voice Award for Best Stage Performance. Additional honors include: Dallas Public Library’s Distinguished Poets of Dallas, Poetry Society of America’s Poetry in Motion Series, Founding Member, President and President Emeritus of The Dallas Poets Community. He was a finalist for The Dobie Paisano Fellowship, LSU Outworks Drama Festival, Pudding House, Robin Becker and Refined Savage Chapbook Contests. His work has appeared in : Ganymede, Poetic Voices Without Borders 2, The Texas Observer, Sentence, Borderlands, Cafe Review, Off the Rocks, The James White Review, Gents, Bad Boys and Barbarians, Best Texas Writing 2.

Sarah Riehm has been active in the Dallas-area nonprofit community as a writer, educator and leader for a number of years. A published author, she has written four nonfiction books, several national magazine articles and three produced plays. Her last book, 50 Great Business Ideas for Teens was published by Simon & Schuster/Arco and translated into several languages. Liberty, a stage play about Patrick Henry and his wife Sarah, won two national awards and was produced at the Kennedy Center in Washington. Her nonprofit arts management experience includes founding and managing the Playwrights Project, a regional play development organization, and also serving as the Executive Director of the Composers Forum. Riehm served four years on the Richardson Commission for the Arts and as a grants panelist for the Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. She has also been a Board officer for two international nonprofits, Radio for Peace in Costa Rica and the Institute for Global Education, a United Nations NGO. She also serves on the Arts and Humanities Advisory Board at UTD.

Michael Stanford is a consumer rather than a producer of literature. Michael is former Chair of New Media and continues to volunteer website consultation.

Dr. Tim Cloward (1997-2007) teaches at Yavneh Academy and is the founder of the performance poetry ensemble Dancing Tongue. He is a co-founding member of Club Dada’s Poetry Circus, in the 80s. He lives in Dallas with his wife, poet and Dallas Opera performer, Lisa Huffaker. Dr. Cloward is a former Board member and has served as curator and Program Director.

Catherine Mitchell has received various awards for her fiction and poetry, including the Editor’s Choice Awardfrom WriteCorner Press and the Mississippi Review’s Emerging Voices Award. She has taught writing, journalism, and communications courses at UT-Dallas, SMU, Stephen F. Austin State University, and the University of Wisconsin-Marshfield. In her career as a professional communicator, she served as director of
communications for the Denver Chamber of Commerce, marketing manager for Gerber Technologies, and regional marketing director for Alexander O’Neill Haas & Martin, a philanthropic consulting firm. She has volunteered at the Dallas Zoo, the Dallas International Association of Business Communicators, and the Tejas Girl Scout Council. Currently, she is working on a retail marketing start-up campaign and revising a novel.

Rod Russell-Ides is a pubished singer/songwriter, prose and poetry writer. He lives in Dallas with his wife, poet/playwright/novelist Isabella Russell-Ides.

David Searcy is a recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Grant for Fiction and one of WordSpace founder Robert Trammell’s OGs. He holds a BFA in painting from SMU and is the author of Last Things and Ordinary Horror (Viking Press).

Dr. Simone Roberts is a former instructor at UTD, currently living and teaching in St. Louis.

Bill Swart is an attorney with K&L Gates, LLP, having practiced in the corporate and finance areas for thirty years. He has written three novels, as well as numerous short stories and plays. An excerpt from his first novel was read at the “Texas Bound” series of Arts & Letters Live. One of his plays was produced at a play festival sponsored by the Playwrights’ Project. His legal nonfiction has been published in Texas Banker and Texas Bar Journal. Bill Swart has served as Chair of Resource Committee.

John Fullinwider teaches at Otto M. Fridia Alternative High School in Dallas, is an anti-poverty activist and politically themed playwright.

Willie Sims won first prize in the Storytelling and Performance Poetry Contest at the Fullerton Museum, and was also a prizewinner in the annual poetry competition sponsored by the Pacificus Foundation. He has appeared on local TV and radio, and has released two audio recordings, “GOOD TALK” and “HOT STUFF”. A third recording, “StoryYeller”, was issued by New Alliance Records. “Autobiography” appeared in the annual anthology “Beyond the Valley of the Contemporary Poets,” a publication from the Valley Contemporary Poetry Series in Los Angeles. Willie has served on the Coordinating Committee of the L.A. Poetry Festival, and was on the artistic staff at L.A. Theatre Works, where he conducted writing workshops for incarcerated juveniles.

Nikhil Burman (2011-13) is a 30 something Dallas native and fan of the literary arts. He has worked in publishing in an editorial capacity for the last seven years, holding such positions as the copy editor for Home Theater Magazine and, more recently, editor for the graphic-novel publisher TOKYOPOP. Additionally, he has served as a contributing writer for magazines such as Flaunt and Los Angeles. He continues a variety of freelance editorial jobs.

David Parry is an assistant professor of Emerging Media and Communications at the University of Texas at Dallas. His research focuses on analyzing how literacy and knowledge changes as we move from analog to digital presentations. He has published and presented on areas ranging from digital games to Wikipedia and microblogging. He can be found online at OutsidetheText or Academhack or on Twitter

Venus Opal Reese, BFA, MA, MFA, Ph.D., is an award winning performer, playwright, director, choreographer and poet. She has performed at the Sorborne under the auspices of the W.E.B. Dubois Institute at Harvard University, La Mama Umbria International, Spoleto, Italy, Universita di Padova, the L.A. Women’s Festival and the Hip-Hop Theatre Festival, NYC. Dr. Reese’s research links Africa, the Middle Passage, Antebellum Slavery, minstrelsy and popular culture. She offers and designs courses in Spoken Word, Arts and Performance, Acting, Performativity, Cultural Studies, Womanism/Feminism, Queer Theory, Literary Theory, Critical Race Theory, and Identity and Media. She is a tenured professor of Aesthetic Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas.

Steve Paul is an award-winning audio and video engineer with over 18 years’ experience in the recording industry. After opening his third recording studio, he began studying photography and videography. Pursuing his interest in art, sound, and design he opened the gallery space and recording studio, Steve Paul Productions. He holds a B.S in Communications from University of Texas at Arlington.

Jennifer Polavieja is a Dallas graphics artist and former Communications Chair.

J. P. Barrentine is a Dallas attorney and serves on several arts boards, including the Dallas Fashion Institute, and FW Contemporary Museum.

Jeffrey Davis is a founding board member of WordSpace. Published author, and creator of Tracking Wonder-the art and science of capturing creativity.

Michael Guinn is an energetic and interactive speaker for teens, college students and adult professionals. He has a Master of Science in Social Work and is a Licensed Social Worker.  After working with the state of Texas as a Caseworker with the Child Protective Services, he was inspired to empower youth through poetry and writing.  Trained as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, Michael promotes and speaks about the awareness of addiction, domestic abuse and sexual harassment. He was recently named Community Mentor of the Year and nominated for the Legacy of Men Award.  Michael competes in poetry slam competitions all over the world and has been hosting a weekly open mic poetry and spoken word event for 11 years in Downtown Fort Worth.  He is the accomplished author of more than 16 poetry books and 4 spoken word CD projects. Michael also hosts, writes and performs for weddings, anniversaries, conventions, conferences, churches, and women and children events.

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