Jake Friedman serves as the Communications Specialist at the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University, where he is responsible for marketing and outreach, graphic design, special projects, and other related tasks. As an arts and culture administrator, Jake is particularly interested in: creating spaces for individuals, small organizations, and large institutions can work together to share resources, engaging in strategic planning, and develop large-scale programming and initiative towards a more cohesive and collaborative arts and culture field; using interdisciplinary literary programming to disseminate research, advance social issues, and contribute to the larger public good; shifting an approach based in marketing, presentation, and product to a place of process, empowerment, and relationship.
Jake's background and experience is in grassroots community organizing. As the founding Editor and Director of Four Chambers Press--an independent literary magazine and small press giving greater visibility to the literary arts, encouraging their larger participation in the cultural scene, and helping to develop a more active community of writers and readers--he has led and overseen numerous events, programs, publications, and special projects aimed to bolster the Valley's literary scene, including literary salons, writing groups, readings for touring authors, and partnerships with the Phoenix Art Museum, Welcome Hospitality Group, eye lounge contemporary art space, the University of Arizona Poetry Center, Scottsdale Public Art, and more. Since 2011, he has served as a moderator for the Central Phoenix Writing Workshop, a network of public writing groups throughout Central Phoenix. In early 2016, he served as an intern with the Arizona Commission on the Arts. He also served on the selection committee to help establish the city of Phoenix's first poet laureate in 2017. Prior to his work with the Piper Center, he bartended and waited tables.
As a creative writer, Jake writes poetry, lyric essays, short stories, novels, and experimental prose with a conceptual or critical bent that usually find itself concerned with ideology, culture, media, and political economy. He is particularly interested in how foregrounding process and prioritizing research, interviews, transcription, textual artifacts, found material, and other alternative approaches to composition can produce new kinds of contemporary work (with an emphasis on technology and community/social practice). He has several large projects in various stages of completion: Best Friends Forever, a novel-length literary reconstruction of Dennis Rodman's trips to North Korea in 2013; an experimental prose manuscript about the service industry entitled The Waiter Explains; and a speculative work on capital, augmented reality, and historical slippage entitled Carnation. Jake has also worked closely on collaborations with several artists: Rewilding, an experimental prose commentary and artist catalog on wilderness and the Anthropocene with the environmental artist Lauren Strohacker; and Waste, an experimental poetry sequence exploring mental health, substance abuse, and family with the mixed-media and installation-based artists Denise Yaghmourian. He has featured at a number of local reading series. A few poems have been published in Spilled Milk.
From time to time, Jake also serves as freelance editor, working with clients on structure, development and line prior to submitting their manuscripts to editors for publication. Past work includes Yvette Johnson's The Song and the Silence: A Story about Family, Race, and What Was Revealed in a Small Town in the Mississippi Delta While Searching for Booker Wright (Simon and Schuster, 2017).
BA English and Philosophy, McDaniel College 2011