Of all the various ways

Gregory Hischak 's creativity seeps from his overactive imagination (award-winning plays, spoken word stints, postage stamp art, Etch A Sketch art), I've always been a big fan of his writing. Through his (sadly) now-extinct zine, Farm Pulp, and his larger Farm Pulp Family Library, Hischak has shown a sharp command of double-entendres, mixed metaphors, and the mapping out of locations and situations that are pure fantasy.

Even with Farm Pulp production ceased, Hischak continues to bring his literary wit to the public, through touring with groups like Staggered Thirds, participating in the Jack Straw Writers Program and Bumbershoot, and staging plays in the FringeACT Festival. His work has recently appeared in Crab Creek Review, Poems & Plays, Vincent Brothers Review, Pontoon, and the anthologies 101 Damnations (Thomas Dunne Books) and More Mirth of a Nation (Perennial); his play The Center of Gravity recently won the Hugo House New Play Competition. He remains to this day one of my favorite creative minds in Seattle. JENNIFER MAERZ

Diana George and I have published two books together and are currently working on a third. We are also founding members of the Seattle Research Institute, and spend our summers reading the same difficult books (this summer we read Creative Evolution by Henri Bergson). The reason why I have worked with her on numerous projects is to be as close as possible to the sun of her imagination, which is matched by few writers, not only in this city, but pretty much everywhere else. This is no exaggeration; her fiction, which is yet to be fully appreciated, is up there with the very best. To have the experience of reading her writing is to feel at once several strong forces at work: one is a philosophical pull in the direction of the great German thinkers (Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx, Benjamin); another is a command of expression in which sentences, words, seem to obey the direction of her thoughts; and lastly there is a poetry that is not lush or feverish but weird, if not at times as alien as a plant or insect that one might see in the purple swamps beneath the mists of a forbidden planet. CHARLES MUDEDE

One of the founding members of the Richard Hugo House,

Frances McCue is in possession of one of the sharpest minds in Seattle. For McCue, the point between art and action, art and business, art and administration, is barely visible--all that she does aspires to the condition of art or, more critically, poetry itself. In fact, McCue is a poet, and her first and so far only book of poems, The Stenographer's Breakfast (Beacon Press), which won the Barnard New Women Poets Prize in 1992, is a Seattle gem that needs to be rediscovered and evaluated. CHARLES MUDEDE

Born and raised in St. Louis,

Stacey Levine , who now lives somewhere in Seattle, is the author of a collection of short stories, My Horse and Other Stories, and a novel, Dra--, both of which were published by Sun & Moon Press. She has also published extensively in this paper and recently finished a novel, Frances Johnson, which will be published by Clear Cut Press. Levine is difficult without being academic, sophisticated without being literary, smart without being intellectual. The condition of her writing is never stable, but perpetually agitated and creative. You will not find the real world in her work, the world of apparent things, the world of everyday words as everyday words; you will instead find a world that's severely warped by a mirror. Not the warped Barthian mirror of the fun house, but the warped, murky mirror that one may find hanging in a room within a huge house that has been fabricated, all of a sudden, in the middle of a dream generated by a snorerous sleeper whose lungs are heavy, heart is pounding, mouth is open, and cheeks are caked by evaporated saliva. In such a mirror as this, within the room of the moon-large house, you will see the things that fabulously furnish Levine's fiction, essays, and journalism. CHARLES MUDEDE