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I was thrilled to take Gutless & Grateful to Kansas City, MO as part of the Transformative Language Arts Network’s Power of Words 2015 Conference.  

View a slideshow of Amy’s presentation below:

4C. Gutless & Grateful: Healing Through the Passion for Life – AmyAmy Oestreicher B&W 2006Oestreicher: In this inspirational performance, survivor Amy Oestreicher weaves her near death experience and unique personal story with an eclectic set of songs, highlighting the disappointments, struggles, triumphs, and humor in her life on a musical journey of hope, determination, and perseverance. A celebration of life through creativity, passion, and gratitude,“Gutless” can touch everyone from trauma survivors to anyone needing inspirational words of courage, humor, and healing. Amy will perform her autobiographical one-woman musical (70 min), talk about the healing process of telling her story, and provide tools for others to do the same.

Learn more about my performance workshops!

TLAN pic

“The 2015 Power of Words Conference, hosted by The Transformative Language Arts Network at Unity Village in Kansas City, Missouri, was honored to have Amy Oestreicher perform and present Gutless & Grateful: Healing Through the Passion for Life. The TLA Network supports individuals and organizations that promote forms of the spoken, written, and sung word as a tool for personal and communal transformation. The Power of Words Conference brings together writers, storytellers, performers, musicians, community leaders, activists, educators, and health professionals to offer workshops, keynotes, and networking. Amy’s performance fit extremely well in the conference track of Narrative Medicine. Feedback from attendees was outstandingly positive, describing the performance as profoundly moving, inspirational, and creatively skilled. “

  • Teri Grunthaner, TLAN Coordinator

One Paragraph summary: Join us September 18-20, 2015 at Unity Village in Kansas City, MO for our 12th Power of Words Conference to explore how we can use our words — written,  spoken or sung — to make community, deepen healing, witness one another, wake ourselves up, and foster empowerment and transformation. The conference features workshops, performances, talking circles, celebration and more, featuring writers, storytellers, performers, musicians, community leaders, activists, educators, and health professionals. The 2015 conference keynoters include  poet and writer Jimmy Santiago Baca, playwright Darren Canady, spoken word artists Shá Cage and E.G. Bailey, and poet Xánath Caraza. Scholarships available.

Website: and for conference,, schedule summary at, and workshop and presenter descriptions at

Power of Words Conference Brings Transformative Language Artists to Kansas City

An international conference on community-building, social change, engaged spirituality, and healing and health through writing, storytelling, singing and performance is coming to Kansas City. The Power of Words conference will be held September 19-20 at Unity Village, and will feature poet and writer Jimmy Santiago Baca, playwright Darren Canady, spoken word artists Shá Cage and E.G. Bailey, and poet Xánath Caraza.

“The conference is a gathering place for all who work with words — aloud and on the page — for greater civil discourse, community building, and individual health, awareness and meaning,” said Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, conference chair, and former Kansas Poet Laureate. “It brings together writers, storytellers, educators, actors, spoken word artists, health professionals, community leaders, musicians and artists, and many others who are drawn to the power of the arts as force for positive change in our lives and communities.”

One of America’s best-loved poets and conference keynoter Jimmy Santiago Baca says, “How can one diminish the power of words and what they have done to me? They’ve changed my life, taught me to love, described what deep learning is, opened my eyes, shaped my speech, all bound together and much more to give me an amazing life, and this conference swells with that importance. It’s the epiphany and epicenter of using language to learn to love ourselves and others.”

The conference features five tracks of workshops: narrative medicine (how we can use our words for health and healing), social change (effecting positive change in our communities), engaged spirituality (finding powerful ways to use language through religion or spiritual experience), ecological literacy (using human language to connect with the living earth), and right livelihood (making a living based on how to contribute best to our communities). Past conferences have featured keynote speakers including Grace Paley, Julia Alvarez, David Abram, and Gregory Orr.

Founded at Goddard College in Vermont in 2003 by Mirriam-Goldberg, the conference is now a project of the Transformative Language Arts Network, a not-for-profit organization. Mirriam-Goldberg explains that she started the conference in conjunction with the MA program she coordinates at the college on Transformative Language Arts (TLA), an emerging academic field, profession and calling. “TLA is the use of any of the language arts to effect change in the world. Transformative Language Artists facilitate writing workshops for elders, storytelling events for at-risk children, collaborative theater projects to raise awareness about ecological issues, and journaling workshops to help people determine the best way to creatively make a living. The conference amplifies these possibilities, and helps those of us drawn to this work find inspiration and ideas.”

Scholarships are available, including the Roxanne-Florence Scholarship for people of color. For more information about the conference, Transformative Language Arts, or to arrange to interview any of the keynoters, please contact Mirriam-Goldberg at

About the TLA Network

The TLA Network is gathering place, a healing ground, a place of greater vision and wider perspective that supports individuals and organizations in promoting all forms of the spoken, written and sung word as a tool for personal and community transformation. The TLA Network exists to support and promote individuals and organizations that use the spoken, written, or sung word as a tool for personal and community transformation.  As such, the Network is committed to providing spaces, both physical and electronic, where where people interested in Transformative Language Arts can share resources, network, learn, and enhance their capacity to practice Transformative Language Arts as Right Livelihood in their communities.


The work of the TLA Network includes:

  • Conference: The annual Power of Words conference, bringing together people to explore liberation, celebration and celebration through the written, spoken and sung word.
  • Chrysalis: A Journal of Transformative Language Arts: An international scholarly and professional journal featuring essays, reflections and creative writing related to TLA.
  • Membership: Benefits include discounts for the conference and online classes, and a copy of The Power of Words for first-time members, plus a monthly e-newsletter.
  • Online Classes and Certification: Regular offerings of online classes for our livelihoods, lives, and communities, plus an introductory certification to TLA.
  • One City One Prompt: A global project featuring workshops, salons, discussions, storytelling circles and more related to one main topic, explored differently in various locations around the world. The topic for 2015 “Where I’m From.”
  • The Power of Words: A Transformative Language Arts Reader: Publication of the first-ever TLA anthology, an almost 500-page collection of essays and reflections on TLA theory and practice, co-edited by Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Janet Tallman.


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