Announcing Freya Project travel grants to Kundiman Fellows

This year, The Freya Project awarded two $500 travel grants to female identifying writers from red states.

We are happy to announce that Kundiman fellows Leah Schlacter and Tiana Nobile were the recipients of these grants.

As a poet and a woman of color, it’s so easy to feel unnoticed and unheard here in the deep south. Thank you for seeing me.
— Tiana Noble, Kundiman Fellow

About Kundiman

Kundiman is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to nurturing generations of writers and readers of Asian American literature. In order to help mentor the next generation of Asian American writers, Kundiman sponsors an annual Retreat where nationally renowned Asian American poets and writers conduct Master Classes and manuscript consultations with fellows.

Through this Retreat, Kundiman hopes to provide a safe and instructive environment that identifies and addresses the unique challenges faced by emerging Asian American writers.

Thank you very much, not only for your generous travel scholarship, but also for making me more aware that there really is a lack of female writers of color from “red” and Rocky Mountain states. You’ve helped me realize that I have a unique perspective and an untold story of the diaspora to tell.
— Leah Shlachter, Kundiman Fellow

What they wrote

The Courier
by Tiana Noble

The flight from Seoul to New York
is fourteen hours long.
You will settle into your seat
and slacken your jaw. Before long,
your ears will pop with the rising elevation
as you cradle your package, holding it
softly and carefully like a Christmas ornament.
You will unwrap her like a tamale,
still warm and steaming.
The lighting on airplanes is never enough,
and the cold artificial air will arrive in bursts,
numbing your fingers as they clutch her
oh so tenderly. You will cover her in cloth.
Bind her in layers of pastel pajamas
until only a bloated baby blue whale
with mustard seed shoes remains. Sunrise
will leak in through the slit on the window,
yellow and low like a lion’s morning growl.
You will touch her face.
She will never open her eyes.


Summer: Jackson, Wyoming
by Leah Shlachter

Brown Bear Brown Bear what do you see?

I saw a black bear walking up Cache Creek

and it’s still a black bear even though it’s fur was brown
because black bears come in different colors from black
to brown to cinnamon to blonde. The bear smelled
the biscuits and brisket from the Bar T 5 Chuckwagon cookout.

Red Bird Red Bird what do you see?

I saw a white man dressed as an Indian walking up Cache Creek

“The Bar T 5 chuckwagon parade entry Saturday included Native American characters in red facepaint and black wigs played by non-Native American employees. The costumes are also used in Bar T 5’s chuckwagon dinner shows in Cache Creek canyon.”

Yellow Duck Yellow Duck what do you see?

I saw chicken thighs on sale at Smiths

The man working the meat counter asked
if I was Latina as he punched numbers into the scale.
His nametag says Raphael. I want to belong.
But I tell him no, I’m half Filipina half Jewish. I could have
added that Spain colonized the Philippines too
but I didn’t.

Blue Horse Blue Horse what do you see?

I see a Jackson Hole News and Guide headline

“Report says Latinos drive Jackson economy”

Green Frog Green Frog what do you see?

I see another Jackson Hole News and Guide headline

“Bear walks into home, then poops and leaves
Bruin entered Upper Cache home door open.”

White Dog White Dog what do you see?

I see whiteness whiteness everywhere

“Less than a week after the Bar T 5 entry in the Old West Days parade caused a dust-up in person, on social media and in the newspaper about white people in ‘redface,’ co-owner Jeff Warburton sent out a statement Friday afternoon saying the chuckwagon outfit would discontinue the 45-year practice. For the past 45 years the chuckwagon has used its dinner show to ‘honor the story of friendship between Nick Wilson and Chief Washakie,’ the release said. ‘In a continued spirit of friendship to all, we will not be honoring that story using live actors portraying native Americans any more. We apologize to anyone who has chosen to take offense. It has never been our intention to offend or belittle anyone.’”

choose to take offense
choose to make a cent
choose to make a fence

Black Sheep Black Sheep what do you see?

I see Kanye West and Kim Kardashian at Big Hole BBQ

“On Thursday, Kanye West hosted an album release party for his new seven-song album, ‘Ye,’ at Diamond Cross Ranch in Buffalo Valley. The event brought 300 to 400 rap artists, models, actors and other friends of the singer to Jackson. On Thursday and Friday #Wyoming was one of the highest trending hashtags on Twitter, including posts where people wondered what, even, is a Wyoming?

West introduced an abundantly large audience to Wyoming, which is something the tourism board is always looking to do.”

Slavery was a choice.

Save me a voice.

Children Children what do you see?

We see a brown bear
red bird yellow duck
blue horse green frog
white dog black sheep
and a teacher
looking at us.

Listeners at our recent NYC event at The Wing. Photo by Keira Chang.

Listeners at our recent NYC event at The Wing. Photo by Keira Chang.


We believe in the transformative power of storytelling and the female voice.

These grants and our partnership with Kundiman are one small way we can make sure these women's’ stories are nurtured, heard, and valued.

With yoursupport, we can keep making these grants and keep supporting women across the nation.