John Melillo is an assistant professor. He received his Ph.D. in English and American Literature from New York University in 2010. John was an ACLS New Faculty Fellow at the University of Arizona from the fall of 2011 to the spring of 2013. His book project, Outside In: Noisescapes from Dada to Punk examines the influence of noise on poetry and poetics during the twentieth century. He has written and presented work on empathy in sound poetry, the World War I poets of the Western Front, folk-song utopianism, the post-punk band DNA, and other matters of sound and sense. In addition to his academic research in noise, John plays guitar and sings in the band Algae & Tentacles.
Sonya Renee Taylor is the founder and radical executive officer of The Body is Not An Apology, and as an award winning performance poet, activist, speaker, and transformational leader her work has had international reach. Sonya and her work has appeared on HBO, BET, MTV, NPR, PBS, CNN, Oxygen Network, the New York Times,MSNBC.com, Huffington Post,Vogue Australia, Shape.com, Ms. Magazine, and many more. She has shared stages with such luminaries as Carrie Mae Weems, Theaster Gates, Harry Belafonte, Dr. Cornell West, Hilary Rodham Clinton, and the late Amiri Baraka.
Natasha Marin is reluctant to call herself a “poet,” so she has opted for other labels like “fuckyocouch black.” She isn’t from Seattle where she lives, which in shorthand indicates that she thinks the so-called Seattle Freeze is code for “people behaving rudely.” She likes to include strangers in her work and is highly likely to engage you in a less-than familiar way on and off the page. She learns through ludic interactions and enjoys expanding her personal aesthetic through exposure to new spaces and new people. Natasha is the author of Milk, creator of “#WomanCentered,” “Red Lineage,” and “Miko Kuro’s Midnight Tea.” She performs “Mad BlackWoman” on Twitter @mikokuro.
A queer black troublemaker, Alexis Pauline Gumbsis a black feminist love evangelist and an award-winning writer and educator in Durham, North Carolina. She is the founder of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Intergalactic Community School, and featured in Best American Experimental Writing 2015 and many other publications. Alexis is the co-editor of the anthology Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Linesand the author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitively.
Amanda Johnston earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Her poetry and interviews have appeared in numerous online and print publications, among them, Kinfolks Quarterly, Muzzle,Pluck and the anthologies, Small Batch, di-ver-city and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South. The recipient of multiple artist enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, she is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. She has served on the board of directors for the National Women’s Alliance, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference, is a co-founder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founding executive director of Torch Literary Arts.
Beth Alvarado’s second book, Anthropologies: A Family Memoir (University of Iowa Press, 2011), is a vivid archive of memories that layers scenes, oral histories, portraits, and dreams in a dynamic cross-cultural mosaic. Her short story collection, Not a Matter of Love (New Rivers Press, 2006), won the Many Voices Project Prize for work that is “aesthetically challenging and has a social consciousness.” Her essays and stories have been published in many fine journals including The Sun, The Southern Review, and Ploughshares. Read more at bethalvarado.com. The best piece of advice she ever heard came from Toni Morrison, who was then working on Beloved: “Never look away from the story.” Beth has an MFA in fiction from the University of Arizona, an MA in Literature from Stanford University, and she studied creative nonfiction on a fellowship in Prague, Czech Republic. At the University of Arizona in Tucson, she taught for the Honors College and the English Department. In 2011, she founded a Writers’ Salon in Tucson for nontraditional students; she has also taught Blended Genre classes for the University of Arizona Poetry Center and book-arts courses to Hispanic and Native American high school students.
t’ai freedom ford is a New York City high school English teacher, Cave Canem Fellow, and Pushcart Prize nominee. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Sinister Wisdom, No, Dear, The African American Review, Vinyl, Nepantla, Poetry and others. Her work has also been featured in several anthologies including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. In 2012 and 2013, she completed two multi-city tours as a part of a queer women of color literary salon, “The Revival.” In 2014, she was the winner of The Feminist Wire’s inaugural poetry contest judged by Evie Shocklee. She is currently a 2015 Center for Fiction Fellow and the winner of the 2015 To the Lighthouse Poetry Prize. Her first poetry collection, how to get over is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. t’ai lives and loves in Brooklyn, but hangs out digitally at: shesaidword.com
I am an American expatriate living in Singapore. I write children’s books, essays, and articles; develop educational media and curricula; and have written about my mental health for WashingtonPost.com. My writing has also appeared in the New York Times, The Rumpus, Quartz, and elsewhere.
I am a Berkeley, California–based writer, editor, book coach, public relations strategist, and maternal mental health advocate. I have written about my PPD experience for Mutha and Hyphen. I have also written for BuzzFeed, OZY, and Center for Asian American Media.
I am a writer, wife, mother, and federal employee living in Hyattsville, Maryland. Because I’m not busy enough, I’m also a student in the writing program at Johns Hopkins University and fiction editor for District Lit. My writing has appeared in PANK Magazine Online, BuzzFeed, the Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, the Tahoma Literary Review, and elsewhere.
I am a United States Air Force veteran, writer, artist, speaker, and postpartum depression and anxiety survivor living with bipolar disorder. My writing has been featured on BlogHer, Upworthy, EverdayFeminism, and Postpartum Progress. I am the founder and creative director for Tessera Collective, an online platform and nonprofit dedicated to empowering women of color in their mental health.
Toi Derricotte, born in Detroit, Michigan, is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently, The Undertaker’s Daughter (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), described by Natasha Trethewey as “a courageous act of healing and redemption… proving again that art is as much about beauty as it is about reckoning, empathy, and self-discovery.” An earlier collection of poems, Tender, won the 1998 Paterson Poetry Prize; and her literary memoir, The Black Notebooks (W.W. Norton), received the 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Non-Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Recognized as a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania, Derricotte’s honors include the 2012 Paterson Poetry Prize for Sustained Literary Achievement; the 2012 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry for a poet whose distinguished and growing body of work represents a notable presence in American literature; the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America; two Pushcart Prizes; the Distinguished Pioneering of the Arts Award from the United Black Artists; the Alumni/Alumnae Award from New York University; the Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, Inc.; the Elizabeth Kray Award for service to the field of poetry from Poets House; and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council.
More than one-thousand of Derricotte’s poems have been published in magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Callaloo and The Paris Review. Her essay “Beds” is included in The Best American Essays 2011, edited by Edwidge Danticat, and “Beginning Dialogues” appears in The Best American Essays 2006, edited by Lauren Slater. With Cornelius Eady, she co-founded Cave Canem Foundation, the nation’s premier “home for Black poetry.” Professor Emerita at the University of Pittsburgh, she serves on the Academy of American Poets’ Board of Chancellors.
Christine Simokaitis’ fiction and creative non-fiction has appeared in Calyx, Natural Bridge, Matchbook, Frigg, and many other print and on-line journals and the anthologies, Are We Feeling Better Yet? Women Speak about Healthcare in America and Mourning Sickness. Her story “(A)vocation” was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize. She currently teaches creative writing and composition at Northeastern Illinois University and lives in Chicago with her two sons.
Adria Bernardi is the author of the IPPY-Award-winning essay collection, Dead Meander (Kore Press). Dead Meander, born out of fragments of breakages made by leavings off, investigates how things can be made whole, or more whole, in the time following such leavings, transitions and traumas. Bernardi also has two novels, Openwork and The Day Laid on the Altar, the latter which was awarded the 1999 Bakeless Prize by Andrea Barrett, and a collection of short stories, In the Gathering Woods, which was awarded the 2000 Drue Heinz Literature Prize by the late Frank Conroy. Her translation of the work of the Italian poet Raffaello Baldini, Small Talk, was published in 2009. She was awarded the 2007 Raiziss/de Palchi Fellowship by the American Academy of Poets to complete this work. Her translation of the poetry of Cristina Annino, Chronic Hearing: Selected Poems 1977-2012, and the poetry of Francesca Pellegrino, Chernobylove –The Day After the Wind: Selected Poems 2008-2010, were recently published by Chelsea Editions in 2014. She is the author of an oral history, Houses with Names: The Italian Immigrants of Highwood, Illinois. Bernardi has taught fiction writing at the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and at Clark University in Worcester, Mass.
Soma Mei Sheng Frazier’s debut fiction collection, Collateral Damage: A Triptych, earned praise from Nikki Giovanni, Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket), Antonya Nelson, Molly Giles and others. Soma lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and serves as Chair and Assistant Professor, English and the Humanities, at Cogswell Polytechnical College. She is hard at work on a novel.
Shefali Milczarek-Desai, an Arizonan since age 3, is a writer who has taken scenic detours into lawyering and mothering. Shefali’s writing has appeared in This Bridge We Call Home, Edible Baja Arizona, Sojourner, Inland Shores, The UCLA Women’s Law Journal, and The Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law. She also writes a bi-monthly column on food and parenting for The Food Conspiracy Co-op’s Community News. Amidst the chaos of raising two, young, energetic boys, Shefali sometimes daydreams about her perfect day, which would include a hike in the Chiricahua mountains followed by cooking in a kitchen free of children and recipes, and after enjoying a meal with her family, curling up with a good science fiction novel.
Monica J. Casper, Director of Gender & Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona, wears many hats, even when she’s not wearing a hat. Some days, she is a scholar and an editor and a teacher, while other days she is the alpha female who slays scorpions and wipes up puppy mess and bakes muffins. She loves to write and float in the pool, hates to fly but likes to go places, and could, if she really had to, subsist on dark chocolate, cheddar cheese, and wine. Monica has always appreciated the idea of desert landscapes (Georgia O’Keeffe is a passion), but never imagined she would inhabit one. Now a resident of Tucson living in the shadow of the Catalinas, Monica daily appreciates the Sonoran Desert’s unforgiving beauty and spectacular, subversive glory.
Cate Marvinhas published three books of poems: World’s Tallest Disaster, Fragment of the Head of a Queen, and Oracle. A recipient of a Whiting Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she is a professor of English and Creative Writing at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. She lives in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Lorna Dee Cervantesis “The Most Famous Poet You’ve Never Heard Of” and is back to not being able to keep her dishes washed now that she’s back on her Pacifica shore reviving her groundbreaking press, MANGO Publications. Recently settled in Olympia, she writes under Douglas fir: poetry, fiction, nonfiction (philosophy, memoir and a study of her discovery, The Unknown Edison of Bernal Heights) and screenplays (on Nijinsky and his sister and her life’s work, a movie script on her girlhood hero, Kid “Elizabeth” Douglas aka Memphis Minnie, Mother of Rock ‘n’ Roll and inventor of the electric guitar.) A Professor of English and former Director of Creative Writing during her nearly 20 years teaching at CU Boulder, Cervantes is the award-winning author of five books of poetry still in print, including her first and latest, Emplumada and Sueño.
Tsering Wangmo Dhompais the first Tibetan female poet to be published in English and is the author of three collections of poetry: My rice tastes like the lake, In the Absent Everyday and Rules of the House, all from Apogee Press. My rice tastes like the lake was a finalist for the Northern California Independent Bookseller’s Book of the Year Award for 2012. Penguin, India, published Dhompa’s first non-fiction book, A Home in Tibet, in September 2013, and it is forthcoming in the US by Shambhala Publications. She teaches creative writing and is pursuing a PhD in literature at the University of California in Santa Cruz.
Hoa Nguyen was born in the Mekong Delta and raised in the Washington, DC, area. Nguyen studied poetics at New College of California in San Francisco. With the poet Dale Smith, Nguyen founded Skanky Possum, a poetry journal and book imprint in Austin, Texas—their home of 14 years. She is the author of four full-length collections of poetry including As Long As Trees Last and Red Juice, Poems 1998-2008. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario, where she curates a reading series and teaches poetics.
Airea D Matthews is a Cave Canem and Callaloo Fellow. She is the Assistant Director of the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she earned her MFA. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2015, The Missouri Review, The Baffler, Callaloo, Indiana Review, WSQ, Kinfolks and Muzzle. Matthews’ prose appears in SLAB, Vinyl, Michigan Quarterly Review and Vida: Her Kind. She is the co-executive editor of The Offing, a channel of the Los Angeles Review of Books.
Denice Frohman is an award-winning poet and educator, whose work explores the intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and the “in-betweeness” that exists in us all. She is the 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, 2014 CantoMundo Fellow, 2013 Hispanic Choice Award, and 2012 Leeway Transformation Award recipient. Her work has appeared in the Huffington Post and the forthcoming book, Jotas: An Anthology of Queer Latina Voices. Her poem “Dear Straight People” went viral with over 1.5 million YouTube views. She has performed and taught poetry across the country and is part of the spoken word duo, Sister Outsider.
Rae Gouirand’s first collection of poetry, Open Winter, was selected by Elaine Equi for the Bellday Prize, won an Independent Publisher Book Award and the Eric Hoffer Book Award, and was a finalist for the Montaigne Medal, the Audre Lorde Award, and the California Book Award for poetry. Her work has appeared recently in American Poetry Review, VOLT, The Rumpus, The Fanzine, ZYZZYVA, a Distinguished Poet feature for The Inflectionist Review, and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation. In between working on her third and fourth and fifth books, she leads several community workshops in California’s Central Valley, facilitates the online, cross-genre workshop SCRIBE LAB, and talks with cool poets for the California Journal of Poetics.
Minal Hajratwala is the author of the award-winning epic Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents, which was called “incomparable” by Alice Walker and “searingly honest” by the Washington Post and Out! Stories from the New Queer India. She graduated from Stanford University, was a fellow at Columbia University, and was a 2011 Fulbright-Nehru Senior Scholar. As a writing coach, she loves helping people give voice to untold stories. She tweets at @minalh. And you can learn more about her goings-on at minalhajratwala.com.
Rachel McKibbens is a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and the author of Pink Elephant (2009), Into the Dark & Emptying Field (2014) & the chapbook Mammoth. She is the founder of the Pink Door Women’s Writing Retreat and co-curates the critically acclaimed reading series Poetry & Pie Night in upstate New York.
Metta Sáma is the author of, most recently, After “Sleeping to Dream”/After After (Nous-Zot Press 2014) and Nocturne Trio (YesYes Books 2012). Her poems & stories have appeared in All About Skin, Apogee Journal, The Baffler, bluestem, Kweli, Pyrta, RedLæf Poetry & The Rumpus, and among others. She is an assistant professor and director of creative writing, where she oversees the Center for Women Writers, at Salem College in North Carolina.
Erika L. Sánchez is a Fulbright and Bread Loaf Scholar, CantoMundo Fellow, and winner of the “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Pleiades, Witness, Hunger Mountain, Crab Orchard Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Copper Nickel, diode, Boston Review, “Latino USA” on NPR, and is forthcoming in Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poems for the Next Generation (Penguin 2015). She is also currently the sex and love advice columnist for Cosmopolitan for Latinas, and has contributed to The Guardian, NBC News, Rolling Stone, Al Jazeera, Truthout, Salon, and Cosmopolitan.com.
Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Akashic Books 2008), Black Peculiar (Noemi Press 2011), and Fearful Beloved(Argos Books 2015). Her chapbooks are No Isla Encanta (2007) and bloodroot (2015), both from dancing girl press; Exercises in Painting, due out from Bloof Books in 2016; and the digital chapbook I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On (Sibling Rivalry 2013), the full length version of which will be published in spring 2017 by YesYes Books.
Litmus Press published her Leslie Scalapino Award-winning verse play Non-Sequitur, which was staged at Theaterlab in NYC from December 10 – 20, 2015 by The Relationship. Reviews of her work can be found in Los Angeles Review, Spoon River Review, Open Letters Monthly, Mosaic, The Volta and other publications. Individual poems and prose appear or are forthcoming in Fence, Tin House, RHINO, jubilat, Tupelo Quarterly, Memoir, CURA, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Rattle, Aufgabe, The Volta Book of Poets, LitHub, The Force of What’s Possible and widely elsewhere. She has performed at the Bowery Poetry Club, Sarah Lawrence College, The New School, Georgia Institute of Technology, Center for Book Arts (NYC) and other venues nationally. Since 2008, she has curated the annual multi-genre, multicultural, women/LGBTQIA-focused reading series Courting Risk, and currently serves as board chair for the feminist publisher Kore Press. She has joined the new Mile-High MFA in creative writing at Regis University as core faculty. Learn more and apply here.
Katherine E. Standefer writes about the body, consent, and medical technology from Tucson, Arizona. Winner of the 2015 Iowa Review Award in Nonfiction, her essay “In Praise of Contempt” appears in Best American Essays 2016, edited by Jonathan Franzen and Robert Atwan. Her other work has been published in or is forthcoming from Fourth Genre, The Iowa Review, The Colorado Review, Cutbank, The Indiana Review, Fugue, Camas, High Country News, Edible Baja Arizona, Terrain.org, The Essay Daily, and The Rumpus. Her essay “Shock to the Heart, Or: A Primer on the Practical Applications of Electricity” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She earned her MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from the University of Arizona, where she is now Associated Faculty in the Medical Humanities Department. She is an American College of Sexologists Certified Sexologist and an Arizona Humanities Scholar, recently a nominated as one of Arizona’s Humanities Rising Stars and a finalist for the Tucson’s Woman of Influence Award in Arts/Culture 2017.
Originally from outside Chicago, Standefer has spent the last fourteen years between Wyoming, Colorado, and Arizona. She earned a B.A. in Sociology and a B.A. in English- Fiction Writing from The Colorado College, where she was awarded the Colorado College Award in Literature, the Bridges Prize in Poetry, and the Reville Prize for Fiction. She took third place in the 2006 Playboy College Fiction Contest.
Lisa Bowden, Publisher and Executive Director of Kore Press, is the editor of Autumnal: A Collection of Elegies, co-editor of Powder: Writing by Women in Ranks, from Vietnam to Iraq, and co-adapter and director of Coming in Hot (a play based on Powder). She has developed Kore’s long list of authors and award winning programming as a literary activist, artist, and feminist culture worker. She is a recipient of the Maryann Campau Fellowship for poetry from the University of Arizona Poetry Center and a Woman on the Move Award from the YWCA. A poet who works with an improvisational ensemble of dancers, writers, and musicians called Movement Salon, Lisa has studied English and Philosophy at the University of Arizona and in London. She lives in Tucson with her partner Eve and daughter Djuna. Her poetry can be found at backroomlive.wordpress.com, spiralorb.net, and thedrunkenboat.com.