Cultivating Compassion and Understanding Through our Human Stories

COALESCE is a story-telling community that fosters empathy, compassion, and understanding through the sharing of human stories and experiences. Divisiveness and fear of difference permeate politics, media, and our everyday lives. What is something that brings people together? Stories. Shared experiences. How often do you get to share your story – the story of who you are, what you have been through in life, the experiences that have shaped you and how you have grown and changed, your challenges, hopes, fears, and dreams – and had someone truly and deeply listen to you?

Through our online publications and workshops, we want to provide that space for you. For all of us. To speak our truth. To be heard. To connect. To understand. To grow closer. To love better. To see each other and the world with eyes of empathy and compassion. 

Our Team

Erich Keyser

Erich grew up in Pennsylvania (the Traditional Territory of the Lenape Nation) and his studies in Geography, Biology, and Religion have taken him across the United States to Tanzania and Canada. Erich has several years of experience working alongside Indigenous Nations in Canada and the United States on a variety of environmental and conservation projects. He is curious about human relationships with each other and the natural world, and believes in the power of deep listening and connecting through personal stories. He is currently an Adjunct Instructor at Eckerd College, and finds joy in playing and composing music, writing, rock climbing, hiking, mushroom coffee, and quality time with his partner and loved ones. Erich is the Founder and Lead Editor of COALESCE.

Kate Sowinski

Kate Sowinski lives outside of Philadelphia with a Siamese cat and has an interest in play and humor and blends them together in both her writing and artwork. She has been published by the Sad Girls Club, Rougarou, FLARE: The Flagler Review, and Hare’s Paw Literary Journal. Her artwork has been exhibited by The In Art Gallery, the Grey Cube Gallery, and the American Color Print Society. You can visit her website or follow her on Instagram @katesowinskiart.

We are honored and excited to have Kate as one of our primary reviewers for COALESCE and Artistic Director.

Jillian Benedict

Jillian S. Benedict is a creative writer living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In her free time, she judges pieces for NYC Midnight and enjoys yoga, reading, and listening to music while people watching from her stoop. Her work can be found in Feels Blind Literary and on Instagram @writerwithoutacause

We are honored and excited to have Jill as one of our primary reviewers for COALESCE.

Matt Barrett

Matt Barrett holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and his stories have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, River Teeth, The Minnesota Review, Contrary, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and Wigleaf, among others. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two sons and teaches creative writing at his undergraduate alma mater, Gettysburg College. You can find him on Twitter @MBarrettWriter.

We are honored and excited to have Matt join us as a guest reviewer.

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