Contributors to Issue VI
Beenish Ahmed is a writer and reporter currently based in Washington, D.C. She’s the founder of THEALIGNIST.com, a new media venture that brings literature into conversation with current events. Beenish has been a Pulitzer on Crises Reporting grantee to Pakistan, NPR Kroc Fellow in Washington, D.C., and Fulbright Scholar to the United Kingdom. She’s won several creative writing awards including the John Kinsella and Tracey Ryan Poetry Prize and four Hopwood Awards. Her journalistic work has appeared online or on air for NPR, The Atlantic, VICE, Foreign Policy, The Daily Beast, and PRI’s “The World,” among others.
Kristin Grey Apple is a Philadelphia-based video artist. She investigates the vertigo involved in being a body in a larger world of bodies. She received her MFA from Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia and her BA in Studio Art from Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. She has participated in USA solo and group exhibitions, including shows at The Institute of Contemporary Art at University of Pennsylvania, Pterodactyl Gallery, Osvaldo Romberg Studio, Walter & Leonore Annenberg Gallery, Gallery 8 and Gallery 128 at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Van Every Gallery in North Carolina. In 2011, she received the Eagles and Eagles Award from the Graduate Faculty at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and was one of three artists selected during the Third Annual Fourth Wall Panel Review at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Jane Armstrong’s stories and essays have appeared in Newsweek, North American Review, Huffington Post, Mississippi Review, New World Writing, River Teeth, Brevity, and elsewhere. Her commentaries have aired on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered. She is a past recipient of an Artist’s Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts and teaches at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
Danny Ashkenasi has been acting professionally since the age of ten and composing musical works that have been publically produced since the age of fourteen. In recent years he has focused on creating and performing musical works that highlight the American experience, by adapting American literary masters and focusing on pertinent American historical and social themes. His current musical writing projects include Speakeasy — the Adventures of John and Jane Allison in the Wonderland, which explores the little-known Queer culture of Prohibition era New York City; and Feedstore Quartet (Book and co-lyricist Jack Hilton Cunningham) set in 1950s Mississippi. Recently Danny adapted over sixty of Langston Hughes’ poems in a full-length musical revue called I Too Sing America — The Blues According to Langston Hughes, which was performed at the 2011 Harlem Renaissance Festival at the Metropolitan Playhouse. Danny Ashkenasi is an American citizen who was born and raised in Berlin, Germany, and has had musical compositions produced in that country as well.
Rick Barot has published two books of poetry with Sarabande Books: The Darker Fall (2002), and Want (2008), which was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and won the 2009 Grub Street Book Prize. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, The Paris Review, The New Republic, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Kenyon Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and The Threepenny Review. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artist Trust of Washington, the Civitella Ranieri, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace E. Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer. He lives in Tacoma, Washington, and teaches at Pacific Lutheran University, where he also directs The Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at PLU. His third collection, Chord, will be published by Sarabande in 2015.
J. Andrew Briseño
J. Andrew Briseño just completed his PhD in Creative Writing at the University of North Texas. He lives and works in Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Heidi Czerwiec is a poet, essayist, translator, and editor who teaches at the University of North Dakota. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks, including Self-Portrait as Bettie Page (Barefoot Muse, 2013), and the forthcoming A Is For A-ké, The Chinese Monster (Dancing Girl Press, 2015). Heidi is the editor of North Dakota Is Everywhere: An Anthology of Contemporary North Dakota Poets.
Antonio Dal Masetto
Antonio Dal Masetto was born in Italy in 1938 and immigrated to Argentina with his family in 1950. His highly personal and poetic work has long dealt with themes of emigration, dislocation, and the aftermath of the “Dirty War” conducted in the ‘70s by the Argentinean junta. Dal Masetto is the author of eight novels, including Hay un tipo abajo and La Tierra Incomparable, both of which have been turned into films in Argentina. His other novels include Bosque, Oscuramente fuerte es la vida, and Siete de oro. He is also the author of five collections of short stories, including El padre y otras historias (2002), from which these stories are taken. A journalist, he has also published numerous works of nonfiction, and has worked as bricklayer, housepainter, and butcher. Although widely translated into French, German, Italian, and Hebrew, this is the first time his work has appeared in English.
Javier Egea (Granada, Spain 1952-1999) was a central figure in “La otra sentimentalidad,” a literary movement which included other poets such as Luis García Montero and Álvaro Salvador Jofre. In his lifetime Egea was honored with the top literary prizes in poetry, including the Antonio González de Lama Prize and the prestigious Premio Internacional de Poesía Juan Ramón Jiménez. Sonetos del Diente de Oro appeared in print posthumously after the poet’s suicide in 1999.
Gabrielle Freeman’s poetry has been published in many journals including Beecher’s Magazine, Chagrin River Review, Gabby, Melancholy Hyperbole, Minetta Review, and Shenandoah. She has been nominated twice for the Best of the Net, and she was a finalist in 2014. She earned her MFA in poetry through Converse College. Gabrielle lives with her family in North Carolina where she blogs about poetry at whythewritingworks.com, and about writing and all things random at ladyrandom.com.
Jennifer Givhan is an NEA fellow. She was a PEN/Rosenthal Emerging Voices Fellow, a DASH Literary Journal poetry first-prize winner, the 2015 Blue Mesa Review poetry second-prize winner, an Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize finalist, and a 2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize finalist. She earned her MFA from Warren Wilson College, her Master’s from Cal State Fullerton, and her work has appeared in over eighty journals and anthologies, including Best New Poets 2013, AGNI, Southern Humanities Review, Prairie Schooner, Indiana Review, Rattle, The Collagist, and The Columbia Review. She teaches online at Western New Mexico University and The Rooster Moans Poetry Coop. You can visit Givhan at jennifergivhan.com.
Christine Holm began writing poetry while employed in social services and continues to find spaces where creative work overlaps with community service, from writing with palliative care patients through Poesia del Sol to teaching inmates with The Writers in Prison Project.
Darrel Alejandro Holnes
Darrel Alejandro Holnes is the co-editor of Happiness: The Delight-Tree, An Anthology of Contemporary International Poetry in honor of the United Nations International Day of Happiness, and the co-author of PRIME: Poems & Conversations. His poetry has appeared in Poetry, Best American Experimental Writing, Callaloo, The Caribbean Writer, and elsewhere in print and online. He teaches creative writing at Rutgers University and NYU.
Caitlin Horrocks is author of the story collection This Is Not Your City. Her stories and essays appear in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, The Pushcart Prize, The Paris Review, Tin House, One Story, and other journals and anthologies. Her awards include the Plimpton Prize and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the MacDowell Colony. She is fiction editor of The Kenyon Review and teaches at Grand Valley State University and in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Lesley Jenike is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Ghost of Fashion (CW Books 2009) and Holy Island (Gold Wake 2014), and has received fellowships and scholarships from The Ohio Arts Council, The Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Southern Review, The Gettysburg Review, Smartish Pace, and many other journals. She teaches literature and creative writing at the Columbus College of Art and Design.
Jesse Lee Kercheval
Jesse Lee Kercheval’s books include the poetry collections Cinema Muto (SIU Press), winner of the Crab Orchard Open Selection Prize; Dog Angel (U of Pittsburgh Press); and World as Dictionary (Carnegie Mellon U Press); as well as Space (Algonquin), a memoir which won an Alex Award from the American Library Association; The Alice Stories (U of Nebraska Press), winner of the Prairie Schooner Fiction Book Prize; and the story collection The Dogeater (U of Missouri Press), winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Fiction. She is also the author of two books Spanish language poetry Torres (Editorial Yagaurú, 2014) and Extranjera (Yagaurú 2015), both published in Uruguay. She is the Zona Gale Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she co-directs the Program in Creative Writing.
Isaac KirkmanPhoto: Chelsea Gleisner; Death Tarot Card Tank-Top by CandyStrike
Born in Greenville, South Carolina, Isaac Kirkman spent part of his youth in Sicily and part in the American hospital system, where he was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. His writing was forged in the streets and refined at the Tucson Branch of The Writers Studio, which was founded by 2008 Pulitzer Winner Philip Schultz. His prose and poetry have appeared in numerous journals, including Thuglit. He currently lives in Arizona where he spends his days devoted to spirituality and border-related human rights issues. He is a Leo Sun, Scorpio Moon, and Scorpio Rising. He can be reached on Instagram.
Gary Copeland Lilley
Gary Copeland Lilley is a North Carolina poet currently living, writing, and playing music in the northwest peninsula of Washington. His publications include three collections, the most recent being High Water Everywhere from Willow Books. He has driven every mile of Highway 40.
Circe Maia is the author of ten books of poetry, the most recent Dualidades (2015). She was born in Montevideo, Uruguay, in 1932, but she has lived most of her life in the northern city of where she taught philosophy to generations of students and worked translating French, Greek, and English authors into Spanish, including works by Cavafy and Shakespeare. In 1972, when the military dictatorship took power in Uruguay, military police broke into her house in the middle of the night and arrested her physician husband for supporting the MLN Tupamaros, leaving Maia behind only because she had just given birth to their youngest daughter. She wrote of this experience in her autobiographical novel Un Viaje a Salto (Ediciones del Nuevo Mundo, Montevideo, 1987), published in a bilingual edition by Swan Isle Press in the US in 2004. Her poems, translated by Jesse Lee Kercheval, have appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, Agni, Boston Review, jubilat, and other magazines. In 2015, the University of Pittsburgh Press will publish Invisible Bridge/ El puente invisible: Selected Poems of Circe Maia.
Michael Marberry’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Republic, Sycamore Review, West Branch, Indiana Review, Hayden's Ferry Review, Bat City Review, and elsewhere. Currently, he is the Poetry Editor of Third Coast and Coordinator of the Poets-in-Print Reading Series. He lives in Michigan but hails from Tennessee.
Robert Marshall’s novel, A Separate Reality, was released in 2006 by Carroll & Graf and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award for Debut Fiction. His prose and poetry have also appeared in Salon, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Alembic, Event, Ducts, Stickman Review, Blithe House Quarterly, Blue Lake Review, Crack the Spine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Ping Pong, and numerous other publications. In 2007 his investigative feature, “The Dark Legacy of Carlos Castaneda,” was chosen for “Best of Salon.” A visual artist as well as a writer, his work has been widely exhibited in the United States, Europe, and South America. He is currently completing the first biography of the controversial pseudo-anthropologist Carlos Castaneda. Marshall has been the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell, Yaddo, The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the New York Foundation for the Arts. His web site is robertmarshall.net.
Philip Metres is the author of a number of books, most recently Sand Opera (2015), A Concordance of Leaves (2013), abu ghraib arias (2011), To See the Earth (2008), Come Together: Imagine Peace (2008), and Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront, Since 1941 (University of Iowa Press, 2007). His work has appeared in Best American Poetry, and has garnered two NEAs, the Beatrice Hawley Award, two Arab American Book Awards, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and five Ohio Arts Council Excellence grants. He teaches literature and creative writing at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.
Kelsay Myers is a writer and artist living in Walnut Creek, California. She received an MFA in Nonfiction from Saint Mary’s College of California in 2012, an MFA in Poetry in 2013, and currently is Chair of the MFA in Creative Writing Program Advisory Board, as well as an adjunct English Literature instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Sacramento. Other work has been published in New Delta Review, Portland Review, and the anthology More Voices: A Collection of Works from Asian Adoptees, among others. Her interests are interrogating identity construction and persona, myth and reality, poetry and prose, and theory and form, to explore the limits of personal history and narrative. For more information, please go to kelsayelizabethmyers.com.
Matthew Olzmann’s first book of poems, Mezzanines (Alice James Books), was selected for the Kundiman Prize. His writing has appeared in Kenyon Review, Brevity, New England Review, Poetry Northwest, Gulf Coast, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. His poems appear in Issue II of Waxwing.
Craig Santos Perez
Craig Santos Perez is a native Chamoru from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). He is the co-founder of Ala Press, co-star of the poetry album Undercurrent (2011), and author of three collections of poetry: from unincorporated territory [hacha] (2008), from unincorporated territory [saina] (2010), and from unincorporated territory [guma’] (2014). He has been a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize for Poetry and the winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award. He is an Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa.
Dimitri Psurtsev is a poet and translator from Moscow, with two books of his own poetry (Ex Roma Tertia and Tengiz Notebook) and numerous translations from the English. He teaches at Moscow State Linguistic University and lives with his wife Natalia and daughter Anna.
Jon Riccio studied viola performance at Oberlin College and the Cleveland Institute of Music. A recent Pushcart nominee, his work appears or is forthcoming in Redivider, CutBank Online, White Whale Review, Switchback, Qwerty, Paper Nautilus, and elsewhere. An MFA candidate at the University of Arizona, he resides in Tucson.
David Rutschman is a Soto Zen priest and a hospice grief counselor. His work has appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review Online, Massachusetts Review, Seneca Review, Witness, and other journals; a story collection is forthcoming from Forklift Books. He lives in California with his wife and young children.
Maureen Seaton has authored sixteen poetry collections, both solo and collaborative — most recently, Fibonacci Batman: New & Selected Poems (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2013). Her awards include the Iowa Poetry Prize, Lambda Literary Award, and an NEA Fellowship. Her work has been honored in both the Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Poetry. She teaches poetry at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida.
Turning fifty and starting a garage band is not the usual vocalist’s narrative. But that’s what happened with Jacqui Sutton. It’s not just any band, but an orchestra: what she calls the Frontier Jazz Orchestra — a stylistic mash-up of jazz, bluegrass, orchestral/chamber music (plus some pop and R&B). Her debut CD, Billie & Dolly, is an homage to her two vocal heroes, Billie Holiday and Dolly Parton. The second CD, Notes From the Frontier, further integrates bluegrass into the jazz sound. The Orchestra has had six-week runs in the Top 40 on the CMJ jazz charts, international radio play, and a prominent spot in the 2013 Jazz Times print magazine, sharing the page with Tony Bennett and Barbara Cook, with a positive review inside. The upcoming project, American Anthem, will be a multi-media meditation on what it is to be American. Read more and listen here and here.
Arseny Tarkovsky lived from 1907 until 1989, and spent most of his life as a translator of Turkmen, Georgian, Armenian, Arabic, and other Asian poets, only publishing his own poems after Stalin’s death (beginning in 1962). Of a younger generation than Akhmatova, Mandelstam, and Tsvetaeva, he both absorbed the Silver Age tradition and hearkened back to the simple and primordial music of Pushkin. He was wounded in World War II, lost a leg to gangrene, and wrote some of the most powerful poems about the Second World War. Later, his son Andrei became an internationally celebrated filmmaker; in a number of his great films, Andrei features his father’s poems, demonstrating the aesthetic continuation of the Russian tradition from poetry to film.
Miles Waggener’s translations of Spanish poetry have appeared in numerous publications, such as Salt Hill, The International Poetry Review, Cutbank, South Dakota Review, Basalt, and Hubbub.
Claire Wahmanholm’s work most recently appears in or is forthcoming from BOAAT, Memorious, Unsplendid, Mid-American Review, Third Coast, Sugared Water, and The Cincinnati Review, and has been featured on Verse Daily. She is a PhD student at the University of Utah, where she co-edits Quarterly West.
Michael Wasson is nimíipuu from the Nez Perce Reservation and lives in rural Japan.
Melissa Yancy’s short fiction has appeared in One Story, Glimmer Train, Zyzzyva, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. You can visit her online at melissayancy.com.