About Me

Dasha Kelly is founder and director of Still Waters Collective, a Milwaukee-based outreach initiative utilizing the transformative power of the written and spoken word. Dasha has performed and delivered workshops to writers, youth, educators, co-eds, executives, inmates and artists throughout the U.S. She is also an HBO Def Poetry alum. As a poet and novelist, Dasha’s writings have appeared in anthologies, text books, magazines and online. Her latest collection of work, Hershey Eats Peanuts is available through Penmanship Books. She is currently working on her second novel and a new collection of essays.
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To Tell our Truth, pt. 2

…continued from “To Tell Our Truth, Part 1”   “We have to do more of this!” new Michelle says, gesturing to our tabletop of appetizer plates and empty glasses. We nod and toast in agreement.  A 2007 American Bar Association report titled “Visible Invisibility” describes how black women in the legal profession face the “double burden” […]

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The Student Whisperer

By all accounts, Timothy Westbrook is a cheerful guy.  He’s beaming whenever I see him: showing one of his fabrics to a guest, chatting with staff, carrying a cup of coffee through the halls or waving from behind the sewing machine in his studio.  Beaming. His good mood radiates with a different frequency today. Three […]

Bravery
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Bravery

I spotted the boy first.  A fair-headed toddler with the ambition –if not the arm extension—to reach the hand towels all by himself.  Up on his tiptoes, he wiggled and stretched his fingers toward the sensor. His small grunts only rumbled out as giggles. His mother and I watched for an extra heartbeat before she […]

Good Genes
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Good Genes

Zoom in close. The young performer engages every facial feature to deliver this song.  Pan out slowly, take in her full frame.  She’s comfortable at the microphone and at home behind her guitar. Her singing is inspired and sincere. The lilt and texture of her voice is an appealing mix of Toby Lightman, Stevie Nicks […]

So Fast
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So Fast

… and then it was over.  More than a year of searching, planning, budgeting and finger crossing, reduced to a memory in an instant. “Everyone tells you it will go by fast,” said Ashley, “but I remember thinking ‘it’s a whole day, how fast could it go?’” I’m with Ashley and her husband, Luke, on […]

Quietude
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Quietude

The first thing seized is the nose. The smell is, at once, familiar and exotic: chocolate, ginger, hyacinth, grandma’s house and ocean breeze. This must be the scent of ambrosia. Next, the eyes take in the organic symmetry of the room: open and clean lines, recessed nooks and uncluttered walls, multiple sitting areas, oversized planters […]

Optimization
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Optimization

“I don’t have the personality to keep asking questions that someone doesn’t want to answer,” Dustin says.  “I’m not imposing enough and I don’t like to make other people uncomfortable.” Coupled with a dawning shrinkage of the newspaper industry, Dustin abandoned plans for a journalism career toward the end of college. “I was too far […]