Contributors to Issue XI
Dilruba Ahmed’s debut book, Dhaka Dust (Graywolf Press, 2011), won the Bakeless Literary Prize. Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Blackbird, American Poetry Review, Indiana Review, and New England Review. New work is recent or forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, PEN America, Hunger Mountain, Agni, Copper Nickel, and Kenyon Review. Her poems have also been anthologized in Literature: The Human Experience (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2016), Indivisible: An Anthology of Contemporary South Asian American Poetry (University of Arkansas, 2010), and elsewhere.
Sitaramayya Ari has written short stories in Telugu and translated Telugu fiction into English. He lives in Michigan and teaches biochemistry at Oakland University.
Fred Arroyo is the author of Western Avenue and Other Fictions, shortlisted for the 2014 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and The Region of Lost Names, a finalist for the 2008 Premio Aztlán Prize. A recipient of an Individual Artist Program Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, Fred’s fiction is included in the Library of Congress series “Spotlight on U.S. Hispanic Writers.”He’s currently completing a book of nonfiction stories, The Next Country: Stories in Memory. Fred has published widely in a variety of literary journals, and is included in the anthologies Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and The Colors of Nature: Essays on Culture, Identity and the Natural World. Fred is the Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative Writing (2016-17) at St. Lawrence University. In the Spring of 2017, Western Humanities Review will publish a portfolio of brief ekphrastic prose Fred edited in conjunction with the Smithsonian exhibit Our America: The Latino Presence in American Art. “Sleeping Bear: An Autobiographical Fable” is from a book of short fictions in progress, The Book of Manuels.
Layla Benitez-James (Austin, 1989) is a poet and translator currently based in Spain. Her work has appeared in Guernica, Matter, Acentos Review, Autostraddle, Gulf Coast, The San Antonio Current, La Galla Ciencia, Revista Kokoro, La Caja de Resistencia, and Asymptote, where she is the current Podcast Editor. A translation of an excerpt from the Spanish novel Hombre en azul by Óscar Curieses was published in Drunken Boat in December 2016.
Robin Black is the author of three books, the story collection If I loved you, I would tell you this, the novel Life Drawing, and the essay collection Crash Course: Essays from Where Writing and Life Collide. She lives in the Philadelphia area and teaches in the Rutgers-Camden MFA Program.
Traci Brimhall is the author of three collections of poetry: Our Lady of the Ruins (W.W. Norton), Rookery (Southern Illinois University Press), and Saudade (forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press); as well as an illustrated children’s book, Sophia & The Boy Who Fell (Pleiades Press/SeedStar Books). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, Slate, The Believer, The New Republic, Orion, and Best American Poetry 2013 & 2014. She’s received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Kansas State University.
Victoria Chang’s fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press. Her most recent book is The Boss, published by McSweeney’s. It won the PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Other books are Circle and Salvinia Molesta. Her picture book, Is Mommy?, illustrated by Marla Frazee, was named a New York Times Notable Book. She lives in Southern California. You can find her at victoriachangpoet.com.
Cortney Lamar Charleston
Cortney Lamar Charleston is the author of Telepathologies, selected by D.A. Powell for the 2016 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. A recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem and The Conversation Literary Festival, his poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Beloit Poetry Journal, Gulf Coast, The Iowa Review, The Journal, New England Review, POETRY, River Styx, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere.
Ryan Dzelkalns has work appearing or forthcoming in Assaracus, DIAGRAM, The Offing, Rattle, Tin House, and others. He completed an MFA at New York University and a BA at Macalester College, where he received the Wendy Parrish Poetry Award. He works for the Academy of American Poets and is the tallest man in New York.
Brianna Flavin is from Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she grows a garden and works as a freelance writer and adjunct professor. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Virginia. Her poems have appeared in The Nashville Review, H_NGM_N, Rock & Sling, The Cresset, and Reservoir Literary, among others. If you happen to be wandering the east side of Saint Paul, you might walk over one of her poems somewhere in the 7th Street sidewalk.
Dom Flemons is a Grammy Award winning musician, singer-songwriter, and slam poet. Carrying on the songster tradition, Flemons strives to mix traditional music forms with a contemporary approach, to create new sounds that will appeal to wider audiences. In his recent solo album Prospect Hill (2014), Flemons drew from a wide range of styles, including ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern traditional music, string band music, fife and drum music, and jug-band music. He began his career as a performer in the Arizona music scene, where he produced twenty-five albums for singer-songwriters and slam poets in Phoenix. In 2005, Flemons co-found the Carolina Chocolate Drops, an African American string band that won a Grammy for its 2010 album Genuine Negro Jig. In September 2016, Dom performed at the opening ceremonies for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC. Dom’s newest album to be released through Smithsonian Folkways will be celebrating the stories and songs of the black cowboys.
Max Jacob was born in Quimper, Brittany, in 1876. After studying law, he moved to Paris to become a full-time writer and painter. Jacob was friends with Picasso, Apollinaire, Cocteau, and many other members of the French avant-garde. Born into a non-observant Jewish family, Jacob converted to Catholicism in 1915. Despite the originality and influence of his work, especially his book of prose poems The Dice Cup, which he self-published in 1917, Jacob suffered throughout his life from poverty and other forms of marginalization. He died in the internment camp at Drancy in 1944.
Joe Jiménez is the author of The Possibilities of Mud (Korima 2014) and Bloodline (Arte Público 2016). Jiménez is the recipient of the 2016 Letras Latinas/Red Hen Press Poetry Prize. His writing has recently appeared in Entropy, Gulf Stream, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and on the PBS NewsHour and Lambda Literary sites. He lives in San Antonio, Texas, and is a member of the Macondo Writing Workshops. Sections of this essay will be used in an installation at the Whitney Museum of American Art in March, including audio files played from adobe bricks. For more information, visit joejimenez.net.
Stephen Graham Jones
Stephen Graham Jones is the author of sixteen novels and six story collections. Most recent is the werewolf novel Mongrels, from William Morrow. Next are the comic book My Hero, from Hex Publishers, and Mapping the Interior, from Tor. Stephen lives and teaches in Boulder, Colorado.
Jen Karetnick has published three full-length books of poems, including American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publishing, 2016) and The Treasures That Prevail (Whitepoint Press, 2016), as well as four poetry chapbooks. Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in the TheAtlantic.com, The Evansville Review, Guernica, One, Painted Bride Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Spillway, and Verse Daily. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Award nominee, she is the Creative Writing Director at Miami Arts Charter School, a freelance lifestyle journalist and dining critic, and a cookbook author.
Madhu H. Kaza
Madhu H. Kaza was born in Andhra Pradesh, India, and now works as a writer, educator, translator and artist in New York City. She is currently curating a series of events on Translation and Migration (with The Bridge Series, The Asian American Writers’ Workshop, and The PEN Translation Committee), and is editing Kitchen Table Translation: Migration, Diaspora, Exchange, the Spring 2017 issue of the literary journal Aster(ix).
Jesse Lee Kercheval
Jesse Lee Kercheval is the author of fourteen books of poetry, fiction, and memoir. Her translations include Invisible Bridge / El puente invisible: Selected Poems of Circe Maia and Fable of an Inconsolable Man / Fábula de un hombre desconsolado by Javier Etchevarren.
Ada Limón is the author of four books of poetry, including Bright Dead Things, which was named a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, a finalist for the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award, and one of the Top Ten Poetry Books of the Year by The New York Times. Her other books include Lucky Wreck, This Big Fake World, and Sharks in the Rivers
David Kirby’s collection The House on Boulevard St.: New and Selected Poems was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2007. Kirby is the author of Little Richard: The Birth of Rock ‘n’Roll, which the Times Literary Supplement of London called “a hymn of praise to the emancipatory power of nonsense.” Kirby’s honors include fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His latest poetry collection is Get Up, Please.
Sophia Lecker is an American translator and poet who currently lives in Canada. A few years ago she discovered the work of the French poet Max Jacob while visiting his hometown of Quimper, Brittany. She has since rendered a complete translation of Jacob’s book of prose poems The Dice Cup that is awaiting publication. Her own poetry has been published in Canadian journals such as Prism International, Event, Grain, and others. Her translations of Max Jacob’s work have appeared recently in the Denver Quarterly and in Circumference.
Gérard Macé, born in Paris in 1946, is a poet, essayist, translator, and photographer, among the most acclaimed and distinctive voices of his generation in France. In 2008 he was awarded the Grand Prize for Poetry by the Académie Française for his body of work. Most recently, he has published the third installment in a series of short prose reflections collectively entitled Pensées simples [Simple Thoughts]. The poem here is taken from his 2015 collection Homère au royaume des morts a les yeux ouverts [Homer’s Eyes Are Open in the Realm of the Dead], published by Le Bruit du Temps. Grateful acknowledgement is made to Antoine Jaccottet for his permission to reprint the text, which appears on page eighteen of the French edition.
Don Mager’s chapbooks and volumes of poetry are To Track the Wounded One, Glosses, That Which Is Owed to Death, Borderings, Good Turns, The Elegance of the Ungraspable, Birth Daybook, Drive Time, and Russian Riffs. He is retired and was the Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University where he also served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (2005-2011). As well as a number of scholarly articles, he has published over two hundred poems and translations from German, Czech, and Russian. Translations have appeared in Life and Legends, UCity Review, Interim, River Styx, Third Coast, Natural Bridge, The Los Angeles Review, Ezra, Roger the New Renaissance, The New Press Literary Quarterly, New Orleans Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. He lives in Charlotte, NC, with his partner of thirty-five years, Bill.
Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938) was a Russian poet and essayist. He was a founding member of the influential Acmeist movement during the Silver Age before the Russian Revolution. Acmeism opposed the dominant Symbolist aesthetic and placed emphasis on clarity of the word and precision of the image. His first volume Stone (1913) impacted Russian poetry for the next two decades. In the 1930s he ran afoul of the Soviet authorities and was sent to a gulag in Siberia with his wife Nadezhda (1890-1970). Her autobiography Hope Against Hope — one of the great autobiographies of all time — recounts their years under Stalinist persecution. He was brought back and banished from Moscow to “internal exile” in the city of Voronezh where for three years he and Nadezhda struggled to survive while he wrote some of his most astonishing poems collected in Voronezh Notebooks — a manuscript hidden from the authorities until the “Khrushchev thaw” in 1956. In 1938 he was re-sentenced to hard labor and died near Vladivostok in transit to a far-eastern gulag.
Samuel Martin teaches in the French and Francophone Studies program at the University of Pennsylvania. His translations have appeared or are forthcoming in such journals as Jacket2, Visions International, The Adirondack Review, and Drunken Boat.
Simone Martin-Newberry is a black woman, nature writer, artist, and outdoor advocate. Originally from Los Angeles, she has called Chicago home since 2003. Her writing explores intersections and interactions between black culture and the natural environment. More of her work can be found at darkerthangreen.com.
Cristina Morano (Madrid, 1967) is a poet, feminist, freelance writer, and graphic designer. Her works of poetry include Las rutas del nómada (Murcia, 1999); La insolencia (Madrid, 2001); El arte de agarrarse (Ed. La Bella Varsovia); El ritual de lo habitual (Ed. Amargord, 2010); and Cambio climático (Ed. Bartleby 2014). In 2010 she wrote an article for “Yo Dona” of El Mundo Newspaper about the women of Cartegena for their “Radiografía de la mujer española” series. Her work was also featured in the book “Disidentes” by Alberto Garcia Teresa. Morano's most recent work is “Hazañas de los malos tiempos,” a chronicle of her years on unemployment after the Spanish Crisis, published by Editorial NewCastle, Murcia 2015. She has presented at the International Festival for Poetry in Córdoba: Cosmopoética, directed by Elena Medel. Morano's work has been translated into English, Spanish, Esperanto, Armenian, and Swedish in various journals and anthologies. She currently lives in Murcia, Spain, and is an elected member of CambiemosMurcia.
Tomás Q. Morín
Tomás Q. Morín is the author of the poetry collections A Larger Country, and Patient Zero, forthcoming from Copper Canyon in 2017. He is the translator of Pablo Neruda’s The Heights of Macchu Picchu, as well as the co-editor with Mari L’Esperance of Coming Close: Forty Essays on Philip Levine. He teaches at Texas State University and in the low residency MFA program of Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) was born Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto in Parral, Chile. As a young man he served for well over a decade as consul in Europe and East Asia. He lived in hiding and exile from 1947-1952 due to his support of workers protesting government mistreatment. He made a home on Isla Negra upon his return to Chile. his output was immense, and his collected works number well over 3,000 pages. In awarding Pablo Neruda the Nobel Prize in Literature for 1971, the Nobel Committee extolled his “poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent’s destiny and dreams.”
Willy Palomo is the son of two undocumented immigrants from El Salvador. He learned poetry from the worlds of hip-hop and slam. In 2016, he was named the runner-up Latin@ Scholar at the Frost Place Conference on Poetry. He is currently working on his MFA in poetry and MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Indiana University, where he teaches Poetics of Rap and helps lead the UndocuHoosier Alliance. He runs the Bloomington Poetry Slam and writes books reviews for Muzzle. His work is published or forthcoming in Vinyl, HeArt Online, The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States, and more.
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.
Colin Rafferty teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Mary Washington. He is the author of Hallow This Ground, a collection of essays on monuments published by Break Away Books/Indiana University Press earlier this year. This essay, and four others published in Waxwing Issue X, are all part of a series of essays on the presidents; read more at colinrafferty.com.
David Rutschman is a Soto Zen priest and hospice grief counselor. His work has appeared most recently in Kenyon Review Online and The Sun. The pieces published here are from his first collection, forthcoming this year from Forklift Books. He lives in California with his wife and two young children.
Brynn Saito is the author of two books of poetry, Power Made Us Swoon (2016) and The Palace of Contemplating Departure (2013), which won the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award from Red Hen Press and was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. Her poetry has been anthologized by Helen Vendler and Ishmael Reed; it has also appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Poetry Northwest, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Originally from Fresno, CA, Brynn teaches and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Teresa Scollon is the author of To Embroider the Ground with Prayer, from Wayne State University Press, and a chapbook from Michigan Writers Cooperative Press. Scollon is a National Endowment for the Arts fellow, and alumna and former writer-in-residence at Interlochen Arts Academy. She teaches at Northwestern Michigan College and the Front St. Writers program at Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District.
Jeneva Burroughs Stone
Jeneva Burroughs Stone is the author of MONSTER (Phoenicia Publishing, 2016), a collection of linked essays and poems on caregiving, disability, and medicine. She’s published poetry in The Colorado Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, and other journals. Her work in nonfiction has been honored with fellowships from the MacDowell and Millay Colonies. Jeneva does volunteer work for Rare Genomics Institute and CareGifted, the first dedicated to helping families of undiagnosed children find answers, the second to long-term caregiver respite.
Liz Sweibel is a multidisciplinary artist whose spare, personal language of abstraction transforms ordinary materials into statements about connectedness and responsibility: every action has an impact, the effects persist in space and over time, and we are accountable. Her intention is to reinvigorate viewers’ awareness of the everyday in hopes that they might bring heightened senses of sight and care to their daily lives. Sweibel has participated in solo, two-person, and group exhibits in New York, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, Michigan, and Tennessee since 1998. She received her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and her MFA from Maine College of Art. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Her website is lizsweibel.com
Sidney Thompson is the author of the short story collection Sideshow, winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Silver Award for Best Short Story Collection (2006). His fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies, and in Atticus Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Cleaver Magazine, The Cortland Review, Danse Macabre, Flash: The International Short-Short Story Magazine, Grey Sparrow Journal, Prick of the Spindle, Ragazine.cc, The Southern Review, storySouth, and elsewhere. He has recently completed a novel, titled Bazz, about legendary Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves. He lives in Fort Worth, where he teaches writing at Texas Christian University. Follow him @sidneythompson1.
Vimala is a poet, writer, and an activist. Well known for the revolutionary and feminist perspective in her writings, she edited a Telugu political magazine, Vimochana, for ten years and also edited a women’s magazine Stree Vimukti in the 1990s. She has also served as a screenwriter for “Sakhi,” a program on ETV, a Telugu television channel. She has published numerous books and her works have been translated into Hindi and English. More than a dozen of her short stories have appeared in various magazines. A collection of her short stories, Few Stars and Some Tears, was published in April 2016.
Donna Vorreyer is the author of Every Love Story is an Apocalypse Story (Sundress Publications, 2016) and A House of Many Windows (Sundress Publications, 2013); as well as eight chapbooks, including The Girl (forthcoming from Porkbelly Press). She serves as the reviews editor for Stirring: A Literary Collection and teaches middle school in the suburbs of Chicago.