Sandra Kleven is a poet, writer, filmmaker, and editor of the literary journal, Cirque. She co-facilitates, Poetry Parley, a monthly reading event. Kleven has been published in Alaska Quarterly Review, Oklahoma Review, Praxilla, F-Magazine, Cirque, Stoneboat, and in the anthology, from University of Alaska Press, Cold Flashes. Two of Kleven's poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. The Celebration Foundation has twice awarded Kleven grants in support of her creative work.
News: In 2015, Sandra Lantz Kleven was inducted to the Northshore School District, Wall of Honor, for her contributions to the community and the world.
Kleven brought the arts and the creative process into her work in social services, beginning in the 1980s when she developed a theatrical presentation, and recruited a troupe of actors to bring it to the community. This group, the SOAPBOX Players, served Northwest Washington with a presentation titled, "The Touching Problem." The program used dramatic vignettes to teach skills that protect children from sexual abuse. It won an EMMY award when produced by KVOS TV, as a docudrama.
Out of this work came two books for children and families, that guide parents and caregivers through the "prevention" discussion with their children. The first was The Right Touch, which has won several awards. Her newest book (2012) Talk About Touch teaches the same lessons in an Alaska Native cultural context. The setting for Talk About Touch is a an Alaska Native village.
Kleven says, "Talking to kids about sexual abuse isn't easy. Parents are afraid they'll say too much or say the wrong thing. My books deliver the prevention lesson, offering concrete information in a warm and accepting context while indirectly showing the children that their parents are open to talking sexual abuse. If kids are going to tell when something happens, they need to know parents will listen, will believe them and will not turn the tables, blaming the child who tells."
The Right Touch has been a helping resource since 1999 when it received a Benjamin Franklin Award as best parenting book. Now, in print for twelve years, it remains the best-selling prevention book in the country. It has now been published in China, Korea and Sweden.
Talk About Touch reshapes the prevention story to the setting and cultures of rural Alaska. This small book takes on a big statistic - as reports of sexual abuse in Alaska occur at a rate six times the national average. Talk About Touch was funded in part by the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation and the Alaska Children's Alliance.
Kleven is available for workshops, trainings and conference presentations. She can be reached at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
More about Sandra Kleven
Kleven left Washington State, in 1984, arriving in Bethel, Alaska, a town of 5000, located 80 miles from the Bering Sea. This move would forever impact her writing. HOLY LAND, was the first piece so influenced -- a dramatic monologue first performed in Valdez, Alaska, at the Last Frontier Theater Conference. It was later published in Alaska Quarterly Review and is available on Amazon.
"'Holy Land' strikes a nerve. Sandra Kleven's unflinching and compelling dramatic monologue is a journey to a sacred and painful place in Bush Alaska's human heart." Ron Spatz, Editor, AQR.
Kleven has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. In 2010, she produced a short film "To the Moon," an homage to the poet, Theodore Roethke.
Kleven's interests extend from her original home in Bothell, WA, to remote Alaska. As a licensed clinical social worker, with a specialty in young children, Kleven has traveled extensively between Alaska's native villages, mainly in small planes, often spending the night in classrooms or clinics. At one remote site, she is greeted "Welcome back to your hometown."