Printers' Row Lit Fest/The New York City Poetry Festival/EXB NYC
Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Shilpi Somaya Gowda was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. In college, she spent a summer as a volunteer in an Indian orphanage, which seeded the idea for her first novel, Secret Daughter, published in 2010. It was a New York Times and #1 international bestseller, and was translated into over 30 languages. Secret Daughter was an IndieNext Great Read, a Target Book Club Pick, a ChaptersIndigo Heather’s Pick, and an Amnesty International Book Club Pick. It was a finalist for the South African Boeke Literary Prize and the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Her second novel, The Golden Son, was published in 2015 around the world, was a #1 international bestseller, a Target Book Club Pick, a Costco Buyer’s Pick, and was awarded the French literary prize, Prix des Lyceens Folio. Her third novel, The Shape of Family, was published in 2019. It was on the Canadian national bestseller list for several months, then debuted at #2 on the LA Times bestseller list. More territories are slated for 2021 onward. Her novels have sold over two million copies worldwide.
Shilpi holds an MBA from Stanford University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain scholar. She has served on the Advisory Board of the Children's Defense Fund, and is a Patron of Childhaven International, the organization for which she volunteered in India. She lives in California with her husband and children.
I.S. Jones is an American / Nigerian poet and essayist. Her chapbook Spells of My Name (2021) was selected for the Newfound Emerging Poets Series. Her poems and long-form writing have appeared in Complex, Guernica, NBC News THINK, Washington Square Review, LA Review of Books, and elsewhere. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Creative Writing, where she was the Kemper K. Knapp Fellowship and the Hoffman-Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship, she holds fellowships from The Watering Hole, Callaloo, Brooklyn Poets, and the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. From 2019 to 2022, she served as the Director of the Watershed Reading Series with Art + Literature Laboratory, a community-driven contemporary arts center. Formerly serving as the Literary Arts Program Manager of Hurston Wright and the Editor-in-Chief of Frontier Poetry, she is currently the Donor Relations Manager for the Chicago-based non-profit, Arts of Life.
Alexandrine Ogundimu is a Nigerian-American transgender writer from Indiana. Her debut novella Desperate is available now. Her fiction can be found in Five:2:One, Flapperhouse, Maudlin House, Exposition Review, X-R-A-Y, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in Fiction at New York University and is pursuing a PhD in English at University of Illinois at Chicago. She runs the online literary magazine FILTH at filthlitmag.com, and can be found on Twitter @cross_radical.
donia salem harhoor
donia salem harhoor (they/she) is an egyptian-american bibliophile. Executive Director of The Outlet Dance Project, founder of the Duniya Collective, they are an alumna of Community of Writers, Open Mouth Poetry Retreat, Urban Bush Women's Summer Leadership Institute, and several Winter Tangerine Review Workshops. In 2019 they were Grounds For Sculpture’s inaugural Performing Artist in Residence. A 2021 runner-up for Spoon River Poetry Review Editor's Prize and a 2021 finalist for Palette Poetry’s Sappho Prize, they are one of Swim Pony’s TrailOff Project authors. Their poetry has also appeared in Anomaly and Sukoon magazines and is forthcoming in an anthology of SWANA love poems (We Call to the Eye & the Night, Persea Books, Fall 2022). donia's was honored to have poems in I Want Sky, a notebook in honor of Sara Hegazy presented by Mizna and AAWA.
donia is a principal dancer and choreographer with Sakshi Productions and has been a student of acclaimed Odissi Guru, Durga Charan Ranbir for the past 19 years. She works closely with the virtuosic Rahul Acharya. Performances include The Sheen Center, Princeton University, The Painted Bride, the 14th Street Y, and Alvin Ailey. They were a founding member of Kalamandir Dance Company and are a member of the Brown Girl in the Ring Collective. An apprentice of Empress Karen Rose of Sacred Vibes Apothecary, harhoor has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Goddard College.
Ryan D. Matthews
A Hawthornden Castle Fellow, Ryan D. Matthews has also been recognized with fellowships from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Millay Colony, Ucross Foundation, and others. He was recently nominated for the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize and was a semi-finalist for the 2021 George Bennett Fellowship from Phillips Exeter Academy. His work has appeared most recently in Lit Hub, Litro, Joyland, and the Michigan Quarterly Review.
(Listed In Order of Appearance)
JOSS BARTON is a writer, journalist, and spoken word performance artist exploring and documenting queer and trans* life, love, and liberation. Her work blends femme-fever dreams over the soundtrack of the American nightmare. Combining prose poetry, non-fiction confessional essays, drag artistry, and spoken word stage performances, Joss examines the myriad states of queer trans womanhoods from historical, political, and pop cultural identities of death, desires, dreams, and disco.
DANIEL W. WRIGHT
Daniel W. Wright lives in St. Louis, MO. A longtime writer of wild nights and whiskey tributes, Wright is a poet of the no-collar workforce. His work has appeared in print journals such as BUK100, 365 Days, and Gasconade Review. His most recent book, Love Letters from the Underground (2021, Spartan Press) is currently available for purchase.
Nué is a Blk queer artist from the far south side of Chicago where they call The Hunnids home. They were deemed Chicago’s 2020 Youth Poet Laureate and have had their work featured on many reputable platforms such as The Aids Foundation Chicago, BBC Radio, and Nike. Their work has also been performed on the stages of Pitchfork’s Music Festival, Windy City Live, Newberry Library, Driehaus museum, Wndr Museum, and Young Chicago Authors’ Louder Than A Bomb poetry festival in which they won in 2020 as an individual.
They were a two time participant in the Bomb Squad internship and a current participant of YCA’s Next Gen apprenticeship. Nué’s poetry journeys through self discovery in a coming of age fashion where accountability prohibits them from being centered as a hero in their stories. Their poetry is offered as an invitation to accompany them in interrogating their truths.
Courtney Cook is a writer, illustrator, teacher, and mental health advocate. Her debut graphic memoir, The Way She Feels: My Life on the Borderline in Pictures and Pieces, was released by Tin House in June of 2021 and has received praise from the literary and mental health communities alike. This praise includes being awarded a starred review from Kirkus, named a Book Riot Best Book of the Year, selected as a July 2021 Indie Next Pick, and is currently a Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Bisexual Nonfiction. Courtney's writing has been published by outlets such as TIME, The Guardian, The Rumpus, Hobart, Lunch Ticket, and Split Lip Magazine. She received her BA from the University of Michigan and MFA from the University of California, Riverside. Courtney lives in Chicago and teaches creative writing from her living room with the help of her senior cat, Bertie.
S. Yarberry is a trans poet and writer. Their poetry has appeared in AGNI, Tin House, Indiana Review, Redivider, jubilat, Notre Dame Review, The Boiler, among others. Their other writings can be found in Annulet: A Journal of Poetics, Bomb Magazine, The Adroit Journal, and Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly. They currently serve as the Poetry Editor of The Spectacle. S. has their MFA in Poetry from Washington University in St. Louis and is now a PhD candidate in Poetry & Poetics at Northwestern University. Their first book, A Boy in the City, is forthcoming from Deep Vellum.
DAVID WRIGHT FALADÉ
David Wright Faladé is the author of three books: the narrative history Fire on the Beach: Recovering the Lost Story of Richard Etheridge and the Pea Island Lifesavers, and the novels Away Running and most recently, Black Cloud Rising. A former Fulbright Fellow to Brazil, Wright Faladé teaches at the University of Illinois and is the 2021-22 Mary Ellen von der Heyden Fellow of the NY Public Library’s Cullman Center for Writers. His work has been recognized by the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Texas Institute of Letters. An excerpt from Black Cloud Rising, entitled “The Sand Banks, 1861,” appeared in the New Yorker.
Jody Chan is a writer, drummer, organizer, and therapist based in Toronto/Tkaronto. They are the author of haunt (Damaged Goods Press), all our futures (PANK), and sick, winner of the 2018 St. Lawrence Book Award and 2021 Trillium Award for Poetry. They can be found online at https://www.jodychan.com/.
Barbarita Polster (b. Cleveland, OH (1987); l. Chicago, IL) is an artist, writer, and current faculty at both the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and North Park University, Chicago, IL. Solo exhibitions include: Critical Practices, NYC; GLASSBOX, Seattle; William Busta Gallery, Cleveland. Group exhibitions include: Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago; Field Projects Gallery, NYC; AIR Gallery, Brooklyn; Cleveland Museum of Art. Publications include Flatland, Critic’s Union and Shifter Magazine. Residencies include: Studios at Mass MOCA (2019), supported by an Illinois Arts Council Agency IAS Professional Development Grant and a City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Individual Artists Program (IAP) Grant. She was awarded the MOCA Cleveland Neznadny + Schwartz Visiting Curator Selection by João Ribas, Steven D. Lavine Executive Director, REDCAT. MFA 2018, School of the Art Institute of Chicago; BFA 2010, Cleveland Institute of Art.
Cecilia Pinto's recently published novella, Imagine the Dog was the winner of the Clay Reynolds novella prize from Texas Review Press. Her fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in a variety of places including locally in TriQuarterly, The Chicago Quarterly Review, Fifth Wednesday and Jet Fuel Review. She was one of the Guild's 25 Writers to Watch. She teaches writing at the Chicago High School for the Arts.
Kim Vodicka is the spokesbitch of a degeneration and author of four full-length poetry collections—most recently, The Elvis Machine (CLASH Books, 2020) and Dear Ted (Really Serious Literature, 2022). She also writes erotica and her short story, A Dirty Story as You Like It, was published in 2021 as part of the Pocket Erotica Series by New Urge Editions. She is the creator of several experimental chapbooks, including a poetic comic book, a 7” vinyl EP of sound poems, and a book of poetry illustrated by various artists local to Memphis. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and recipient of artist grants from PEN America, Poets & Writers, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and Authors League Fund. Her poems, prose, and visual art have been featured in The Thought Erotic, New Urge Reader, SPREAD, Forbidden Futures, Be About It, OOMPH!, Best American Experimental Writing, Nasty! and many others. For the past decade, she has toured the nation performing spoken word with musical accompaniment in venues both illustrious and disreputable, including the legendary Sun Studio. Originally from South Louisiana, she lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her beloved cat, Lula. Cruise her at kimvodicka.com.
Jose Nateras is an L.A. based Actor & Writer from Chicago. A graduate of Loyola University Chicago, Jose has his MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). A screenwriter and playwright, Jose is also a contributor for The A.V. Club and elsewhere. His debut novel, Testament, was published by Ninestar Press and one of his feature-length horror screenplays, Zero Feet Away, was included on 2021’s Bloodlist and has been optioned by Village Roadshow Pictures/Brillstein Entertainment Partners. He can be found on Twitter: @JoseNateras & Instagram: @JLorca13
Monica Prince teaches activist and performance writing at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. She is the author of How to Exterminate the Black Woman: A Choreopoem ([PANK], 2020), Instructions for Temporary Survival (Red Mountain Press, 2019), and Letters from the Other Woman (Grey Book Press, 2018). She is the managing editor of the SFWP Quarterly, and the co-author of the suffrage play, Pageant of Agitating Women, with Anna Andes. Her work appears in Wildness, The Missouri Review, The Texas Review, The Rumpus, MadCap Review, American Poetry Journal, and elsewhere.
Cody Lee is the author of The Everys (Long Day Press). His work has been featured in The Rumpus, Hobart, 3:AM Magazine, and elsewhere. He is a daily editor at the Chicago Review of Books and lives in Los Angeles with his wife.
rexylafemme (aka rex renée leonowicz) is a trans multi-gendered, multi-genre writer, visual + drag artist, performer, organizer, and healer from Jackson Heights, NYC. As a working class, gender-abundant femme, rexy’s work is a love letter to NYC and radical communities grounded in a politics of resistance, healing, and resilience. In all of rexy’s creative forms, s/he explores the power of revolutionary love in the face of loveless political structures. rexy is also a practicing witch and offers workshops and spiritual mentorship in divination, spellwork, and building intuition with a focus on healing as a practice toward liberation. rexy's book of poems and illustrations, when there is no one and there is everyone is available from Magic Helicopter Press.
Kemi Alabi was born on a Sunday in July. The author of Against Heaven (Graywolf Press, 2022), selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Academy American Poets First Book Award, their work appears in Poetry, The Atlantic, Best New Poets 2019, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2, and elsewhere. Alabi is coeditor of The Echoing Ida Collection (@Femitpress Press, 2021) and lives in Chicago, IL.
Sylvie Boulette is a writer and scholar living in Chicago. She teaches research writing at the University of Chicago, where she received her PhD in English Language and Literature in 2020. In her scholarly work the animating questions concern how appetitive bodies converge on the margins of freedom yielded by states of altered sentience, ecstatic self-loss, and autonomous movement across the dispossessive terrains of life under industrial settler capitalism. You can find some pieces of this work in American Quarterly and Modern Philology.
C. LOFTY BOLLING
C. Lofty is a Black, southern and queer poet who has recently completed undergrad at Hampshire College in May of 2021. As an active writer and poet from Richmond, Virginia, former slave breeding state and former capital of the confederacy. C. Lofty In their work explores notions of identity formations, the quantum imagination, history, ontology, class and religious and spiritual practices. Identifying as a theorist, writer, and anarchist, In their free time you can find them brewing coffee, writing poetry and baking pastries.
ATENA O. DANNER
Atena O. Danner is an unapologetically Black time-travelling poet-activist who dwells in the past to survive the future. She writes toward Beloved Community, Black liberation, and collective imagination. Atena has poems published in 'Shelter in This Place: Meditations on 2020,' 'Struggle, Elevate, Celebrate: An Anthology of Women’s Voices' and in the inaugural issue of ‘understory quarterly' an independent online zine. She lives north of Chicago with her partner and 2 free Black children.
Alexander Cheves is one of America's leading sex writers, best known as a contributing editor at The Advocate and his widely read "Sexy Beast" column. He is presently a columnist for Out Magazine and also runs the popular Love, Beastly advice blog, notable for its frank, unflinching answers to questions about Queer sex. He is a recipient of a 2021 Excellence in Journalism award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.
Carlo Matos is a bisexual-plus author who has published ten books, including The Quitters and It’s Best Not to Interrupt Her Experiments. His poems, stories, and essays have appeared in such journals as Hobart, DMQ Review, and PANK, among others. He currently lives in Chicago, Illinois, is a professor at the City Colleges of Chicago, and a former MMA fighter.
Michael Burton is an artist working within the mediums of music and painting. His self-recording project (The Cheap Soap) has been the backbone of his artistic endeavors since age 16. Now in 2021, he has 26 of his 40+ albums available on Spotify. His ability to communicate with himself is his sharpest tool. A tool that comes in handy he as explores homosexuality through painting/sketching. He currently lives in Chicago.
IGNATIUS VALENTINE ALOYSIUS
Ignatius Valentine Aloysius earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University and is the author of the literary novel Fishhead. Republic of Want (Tortoise Books, Chicago). He teaches writing at Northwestern University and in the Writing Program at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His prose and poetry have appeared in or are forthcoming in, among other venues, Cold Mountain Review and Tofu Ink Arts Press. Ignatius is co-curator of the reading series Sunday Salon Chicago. He is also the creator of The Imaginal Stage by WOOND, a doom/sludge metal studio album on Mental Illness Recordings. He sits on the curatorial and diversity boards at Ragdale Foundation.
Photo: Sandra Wong Geroux
Ruben Quesada is a poet and editor. He is editor of Latinx Poetics: The Art of Poetry, author of Revelations, Next Extinct Mammal, and translator of Selected Translations of Luis Cernuda. He serves on the board of the National Book Critics Circle.
Mojdeh Stoakley is an award-winning writer, performer, and trauma-informed educator. They've performed/taught all over the US, UK, Europe, and Turkey, and featured the BBC, Button Poetry, Warner Bros, WBEZ, and SlamFind. 2019+2021 nominee for “Best Spoken Word Artist” at the Chicago Music Awards, and named a Writer to Watch by Guild Literary Complex. For more info mojdehstoakley.com or @themojdeh
Nicholas Ward is an essayist, arts administrator, and long-time company member with 2nd Story, a Chicago-based storytelling collective. His first book, ALL WHO BELONG MAY ENTER, won the 2020 Autumn House Press Nonfiction Prize and was published in 2021. He lives in Chicago and is an organizer with the 48th Ward Neighbors for Justice.
Darius Simpson is a writer, educator, performer, and skilled living room dancer from Akron, Ohio. Much like the means of production, he believes poetry belongs to and with the masses. He aims to inspire that feeling you get that makes you frown and slightly twist up ya face in approval. Darius believes in the dissolution of empire and the total liberation of Africans and all oppressed people by any means necessary. All Power to the People. Free The Land. Free All Political Prisoners. Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship. He hopes to inspire that feeling you get that makes you scrunch up your face after a good bite of homemade Mac N Cheese.
Marina Cavadini directs rhizomatic gestures in which the body is holding, wearing, in the process of becoming. Her practice combines organic and inanimate matter involving processes of decadence,
mimicry, and of symbiosis. With a surrealistic and erotic tone, their work invites to experience the post-natural realm with vulnerability and intimacy. Marina is a recipient of the Eldon Danhausen Fellowship 2017 and exhibited in Italy and Chicago at 6018 North, the Sullivan Galleries, Hyde Park Center, the Joan Flasch Artists’ Book Collection, IN/HABIT, The Address gallery, HotHouse Series, PAV, La Triennale, Residenza La Fornace, Roma Fashion Week and Traffic Festival.
féi hernandez (b.1993 Chihuahua, Mexico) is a trans, Inglewood- raised, formerly undocumented immigrant artist, writer, healer. They have been published in POETRY, Pank Magazine, Oxford Review of Books, Frontier Poetry, The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, amongst others. They are a Define American Fellow for 2021 and are currently the Board President of Gender Justice Los Angeles. féi is the author of the full-length poetry collection Hood Criatura (Sundress Publications 2020) which was on NPR’s Best Books of 2020. féi collects Pokémon plushies.
ALLISON BROOKE YOUNG
Originally from rural Virginia, Allison B. Young brings her love for storytelling to both her writing and floral design. She earned a B.F.A. in art history at Savannah College of Art and Design and stumbled into the floral industry, working from assistant to designer. After completing her M.F.A. in writing at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, she developed the podcast, Gathered: Storied Botanicals, in order to marry her writing and floral work. She continues to find ways the two fields intertwine all with Flemish Giant, Clover, in tow.
Loria Mendoza is a queer Chicanx writer and performance artist from Austin, Texas with an MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. When they’re not curating #RedLightLitAustin, they’re leading writing and performance workshops @POVStudioATX, or simply curled up with their bunny and chihuahua reading a book of poetry. Their book of short stories, Life’s Too Short, won the Michael Rubin Book Award and their work has been published in The Vassar Review, Fourteen Hills, Red Light Lit’s anthology Love is the Drug & Other Dark Poems, great weather for MEDIA’s anthology Paper Teller Diorama, and more.
SOPHIE LUCIDO JOHNSON
Sophie Lucido Johnson is an artist and writer who lives in Chicago, Illinois.
She teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and The Chicago High School for the Arts.
Natasha Mijares is an artist, writer, curator, and educator. Her debut poetry collection, violent wave, is forthcoming from PANK Books. She received her MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited at various international and national galleries. Her work has appeared in Gravity of the Thing, Hypertext Review, Calamity, Vinyl Poetry, and more.
Rachel Swearingen is the author of How to Walk on Water and Other Stories, winner of the 2018 New American Press Fiction Prize. Her writings have appeared in VICE, The Missouri Review, Kenyon Review, Off Assignment, Agni, American Short Fiction, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of the 2015 Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in Fiction, a 2012 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and the 2011 Mississippi Review Prize in Fiction. In 2019, she was named one of 30 Writers to Watch by the Guild Literary Complex. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago.
Sam Heaps is a genderqueer writer, visual artist, and organizer, currently living in Philadelphia where they teach writing at the University of the Arts. They have published essay and fiction in Communion Arts Journal, Expat Lit, Entropy, Taco Bell Quarterly, and many other brave places. They are a 2022 VCCA Fellow. Heaps' debut PROXIMITY is forthcoming from CLASH Books January 2023.
Anaïs Duplan is a trans* poet, curator, and artist. He is the author of newly released book I NEED MUSIC (Action Books, 2021), and a book of essays, Blackspace: On the Poetics of an Afrofuture (Black Ocean, 2020). He has taught poetry at The New School, Bennington College, Columbia University, and Sarah Lawrence College, amongst others. As an independent curator, he has facilitated curatorial projects in Chicago, Boston, Santa Fe, and Reykjavík. He was a 2017-2019 joint Public Programs fellow at the Museum of Modern Art and the Studio Museum in Harlem, and in 2021 received a Marian Goodman fellowship from Independent Curators International for his research on Black experimental documentary. In 2016, he founded the Center for Afrofuturist Studies, an artist residency program for artists of color, based at Iowa City’s artist-run organization Public Space One.
Photo credit: Lyndsy Welgos
Tuan Bui is a photographic artist. He works mostly with people, sometimes animals. He has been taking photos since he was eight, and has exhibited in LA, Chicago, New York, and been published in Esquire, Forbes, People, and other magazines. He lives life 35mm at a time, can count to three in seven languages, is soft in the midsection, and takes himself extremely seriously.
Shailen Mishra holds a PhD in English Studies from Illinois State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from North Carolina State University. At Illinois State University, his work was recognized with the Tom Kuster Creative Writing Award, and he served on the masthead of the poetry journal Spoon River Poetry Review in different capacities. Currently, he is a Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Swarthmore College. His stories have appeared in The Baltimore Review, The Bookends Review, and The Shine Journal.
A member of the Bum Sophisticate, Ian Eric Wojcikiewicz writes from Chicago. He has a dog. @thebumpm
JOSE HERNANDEZ DIAZ
Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020). His work appears in The American Poetry Review, Bat City Review, Cincinnati Review, Georgia Review, Huizache, Iowa Review, The Nation, Poetry, The Progressive, The Southeast Review, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading. He tweets at @JoseHernandezDz.
Emily Martin is a writer and teacher from Brooklyn.
Abigail Chabitnoy is the author of How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan 2019), winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award for Poetry and shortlisted in the international category of the 2020 Griffin Prize for Poetry. She was a 2016 Peripheral Poets fellow and her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, LitHub, and Red Ink, among others. She earned her MFA in Poetry at Colorado State University. Most recently, she was the recipient of the Witter Bynner Funded Native Poet Residency at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, CO. She is a mentor for the Institute of American Indian Arts MFA in Creative Writing and an instructor at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She is a Koniag descendant and member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak.
Born and raised in San Francisco, California, Thea Matthews is a Brooklyn-based Black Indigenous Mexican poet and educator. She attained her BA in Sociology at UC Berkeley, where she studied and taught June Jordan’s program Poetry for the People led by Aya de Leon. Her debut poetry collection Unearth [The Flowers] was published June 2020 by Red Light Lit Press and is listed as part of the Best Indie Poetry of 2020 by Kirkus Reviews. She has work in The New Republic, Atlanta Review, The Rumpus, and others. Currently, Thea Matthews is a MFA Poetry candidate at New York University.
MARY KATE CERNEY
Mary Cerney is a poet who dabbles in nonfiction, collage, and trying to keep her houseplants alive. She's finishing up her MFA in Writing at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she's currently working on her first book, a hybrid-genre project about family trauma, hereditary illness, and evoking the voices of those who've passed.
Benji Hart is a Chicago-based author, artist, and educator whose work centers Black radicalism, queer liberation, and prison abolition. Their words have appeared in numerous anthologies, and been published at Teen Vogue, Time, The Advocate, and elsewhere. They have led workshops for organizations and at academic institutions internationally, and facilitated convenings for groups like Law For Black Lives, National Bail Out, and Project NIA. Their performances have been featured at such venues as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2021); Den Frie, Copenhagen (2021); Museo del Chopo, Mexico City (2020); and the Amsterdam University of the Arts, Amsterdam (2019). They have been a fellow with the Rauschenberg Foundation, MacDowell, and are a 3Arts awardee in the Teaching Arts.
ALEX WELLS SHAPIRO
Alex Wells Shapiro (he/him) is a poet and artist from the Hudson Valley, living in Chicago. He reads submissions for Frontier Poetry, serves as Business and Grants Manager for Another Chicago Magazine, and co-curates Exhibit B: A Reading Series presented by The Guild Literary Complex. His debut poetry collection, Insect Architecture, is forthcoming in Spring 2022 with Unbound Edition Press. More of his work may be found at www.alexwellsshapiro.com.
VASHON JORDAN JR.
Vashon Jordan Jr. is a 22-year-old visual artist born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He uses photography and videography to showcase authentic stories and moments that reflect the people of Chicago. Vashon enjoys engaging with youth across the city to inspire and encourage them to follow their dreams. He received his Associate in Arts from Kennedy-King College, and Bachelor's degree from Columbia College Chicago.
Rabha Ashry is Egyptian, from Abu Dhabi, and based in Chicago. A New York University Abu Dhabi graduate, she has recently completed an MFA in Writing at the School of the Arts Institute of Chicago. She spends a lot of time scribbling short poems in her notebook on the train. She writes about exile, the diaspora, and living between languages. She speaks to her roommate's cats in Arabic because she knows they speak Arabic too.
Daniel Woody is a creature of the city: born in Los Angeles, raised in Las Vegas, educated in Chicago, and now lives in Shanghai where he teaches in the writing program at New York University, Shanghai. His writing is published or forthcoming in RHINO, The Chicago Review, BOAAT, The Volta and elsewhere.
Elizabeth Marino is a Chicago-based poet and educator. Her work explores issues arising from lived experiences of color, class, and gender, from a mixed-race perspective. She was a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee for a poem and a prose memoir piece, both appearing in her full-length collection Asylum (Vagabond, 2020). Forthcoming work will appear in the print anthologies Reimagining America (Vagabond, 2022) and Play (Outrider Press/TallGrass Writers Guild series 2021). Recent publications include the 2021 Revolutionary Poets Brigade anthology Building Socialism II: Fighting Fascism, poems in LivesandLegends.com, and a memoir piece in Quiet Lightning/sPARKLE + bLINK #112. Her chapbooks include Debris (Puddin'head Press) and Ceremonies (dancing girl press). She holds an MA in English from UIC's Writers Program.
Sejake Matsela is a writer, film practitioner and photographer from Lesotho, Southern Africa. Working as a writer for screen, an art director and script supervisor, Sejake has contributed in the making of a number of films which have screened on various television stations and film festivals. In 2019 he completed the script editing and translation for a feature film titled: ‘This is not a Burial, it’s a Resurrection’, which premiered in Cannes in 2019, and is currently in the festival circuit around the world. He is currently a candidate in the MA Visual Culture program at Illinois State University.
Sky Goodman is a new media artist, poet, and educator living in Chicago, IL. Their work has been exhibited locally and internationally and they are the author of Starfish (2018, Lettered Streets Press) and Deep Dream (2021, Sybil Press). Sky has an MFA in poetry from Columbia College.
Naomi Washer is the editor-in-chief of Ghost Proposal and the author of Trainsongs (Greying Ghost Press), American Girl Doll (Ursus Americanus Press), and Phantoms (dancing girl press). She is also the translator of Sebastián Jiménez Galindo’s Experimental Gardening Manual (toad press). Her work has appeared in Seneca Review, Essay Daily, Asymptote, Entropy Magazine, and other journals. She has received fellowships and residencies from Yaddo, Vermont Studio Center, Studio Faire and Chateau Orquevaux in France, and Columbia College Chicago where she earned her MFA in Nonfiction. Her debut novel, Subjects We Left Out, is forthcoming from Veliz Books in March 2021.
JAMES STEWART III
James Stewart III is a Black writer whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Zone 3, The Forge, 580 Split, Pangyrus, Cleaver, Another Chicago Magazine, and Cowboy Jamboree. He earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MA from North Central College. He also co-curates the text-based performance series “The Guild Complex presents Exhibit B." He lives in Chicago with his wife and daughter. www.jamesstewart3.com
Jazzy still owes money to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for her MFA in Writing. She has a bet that she will be writing as long as she owes SAIC money, which is, guess how long. She works with runaway and homeless young people. Lives in and loves Brooklyn.
J. HOWARD ROSIER
J. Howard Rosier sits on the board of the National Book Critics Circle. His writing has appeared in Bookforum, 4Columns, Art in America, the Nation, and elsewhere. He lives in Chicago, where he edits the journal Critics' Union, teaches in the New Arts Journalism Department of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and co-curates Exhibit B, a multidisciplinary performance series sponsored by the Guild Literary Complex.
ROBIN REID DRAKE
Robin Reid Drake (she/they) is a Chicago (Kiikaapoi, Peoria, Kaskaskia, Bodéwadmiakiwen & Myaamia lands) based writer, artist and educator originally from Greensboro, North Carolina (Eno, Sappony & Shakori lands). White, trans & queer, Drake is passionate about combining abolitionist somatics, creative practice and popular education to heal lines of violence in herself and her communities. She holds an MFA in writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, a BA in writing from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and certification in meditation & mindfulness instruction from MNDFL Studio in New York City. Drake’s written work can be found in DREGINALD, Palimpsest, WUSSY, Understory Quarterly, and Foglifter Press’ Home Is Where You Queer the Heart, among others.