Kirsten Vail Aguilar was born and raised in Sonoma, California. Her writing has appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Crazyhorse, among others. She holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame and currently lives in Chicago, where she is at work on a book about grief and hummingbirds. You can find her online at kirstenaguilar.com.
Delali Ayivor is a Ghanaian-American writing poetry for Black women and those who hope to love them. Delali is a 2011 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts and member of the second class of Kehinde Wiley’s Black Rock Senegal residency. A 2020 Tin House Summer Workshop Scholar, Delali has been artist-in-residence in 2018 at Atlantic Center for the Arts with Tracie Morris and at the STONELEAF Retreat. Delali has moderated discussion at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum as part of their Works & Process series and delivered a keynote speech at Americans for the Arts’ 2014 Annual Convention in Nashville, Tennessee. Her work has been published most recently online by The Rumpus and Coven Berlin. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Daniel Barnum’s poems and essays appear in or are forthcoming from Washington Square Review, Bat City Review, Muzzle, The Hopkins Review, The Offing, and elsewhere. Their debut chapbook, Names for Animals, came out in March 2020 from Seven Kitchens Press. They live outside Washington, DC.
Steve Cannon (1935–2019) was a legendary American poet, playwright, novelist, and educator. Born in the cultural hotbed of New Orleans, Steve was reborn in 1962 when he moved to the Lower East Side of New York City. His first connection was Umbra, a collective of avant-garde downtown African American poets, musicians, and artists. In 1969, his underground classic coming-of-age novel, Groove, Bang, and Jive Around, was published. As an educator, Steve taught humanities at The City University of New York. While his unfortunate loss of eyesight to glaucoma led to his retirement from teaching, it only sharpened his vision to advance the arts. In 1991, Steve converted a portion of his apartment into a grassroots organization, A Gathering of the Tribes. As founder and executive director, Steve oversaw the nonprofit’s development into a small press, art gallery, performance and community space until his passing in 2019. When honoring Steve in 2017, Poets and Writers called him “the impresario responsible for A Gathering of the Tribes, the unclassifiable, cross-disciplinary, multi-cultural East Village institution … Tribes has nurtured a generation of young writers—fueled by Cannon’s passion, and often funded out of his pension.” Steve’s enduring legacy thrives to this day and is celebrated, along with his beloved organization Tribes, at The Whitney Biennial 2022.
Liza Cochran is the education director at Write the World, an international creative writing platform for high school students. She lives in Vermont.
Marian Crotty is the author of the short story collection What Counts as Love, which was published by the University of Iowa Press (John Simmons Short Fiction Award) in 2017 and won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize. Her short stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Best American Short Stories 2020. She is an associate professor of writing at Loyola University Maryland.
Dessa is a musician and writer based in Minneapolis and Manhattan. She’s published essays in The New York Times and National Geographic; presented a TED Talk with more than two million views; appeared on the Billboard Top 200 charts; and performed in fancy theaters and grimy basement clubs on five continents. Dessa’s memoir-in-essays, My Own Devices (Dutton Books), tells the story of her life, career, and an ambitious plan to fall out of love. She is also the host of Deeply Human, a podcast created by the BBC and American Public Media. Find her online at @dessadarling on Twitter and Facebook, @dessa on Instagram, and at dessawander.com.
Sara Elkamel is a poet and journalist living between her hometown, Cairo, and New York City. She holds an MA in arts journalism from Columbia University and is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at New York University. Elkamel’s poems have appeared in The Common, Michigan Quarterly Review, Four Way Review, The Boiler, Memorious, wildness, Nimrod International Journal, and as part of the anthologies Best New Poets 2020, Halal If You Hear Me and 20.35 Africa, among other publications. Elkamel was named a 2020 Gregory Djanikian Scholar by The Adroit Journal, and a finalist in Narrative Magazine’s 30 Below Contest.
Blas Falconer is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Forgive the Body This Failure (Four Way Books), and a co-editor of two anthologies, including The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity (University of Arizona Press). The recipient of an NEA fellowship and the Maureen Egen Writers Exchange, he has had poems in Poetry, New England Review, and The New York Times. He teaches in the MFA Program at San Diego State University.
Tim Fielder is an illustrator, concept designer, cartoonist, and animator born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and raised in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He has a lifelong love of Visual Afrofuturism, pulp entertainment, and action films. He holds other Afrofuturists such as Samuel R. Delany, Octavia Butler, Pedro Bell, and Overton Loyd as major influences. He is known for the graphic novel INFINITUM: An Afrofuturist Tale, published by HarperCollins Amistad in 2021, and the Glyph Award–winning Matty’s Rocket.
Joanne V. Gabbin is the executive director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center and professor of English at James Madison University. She is author of Sterling A. Brown: Building the Black Aesthetic Tradition and a children’s book, I Bet She Called Me Sugar Plum. She is also the editor of The Furious Flowering of African American Poetry; Furious Flower: African American Poetry from the Black Arts Movement to the Present; Mourning Katrina: A Poetic Response to Tragedy; Shaping Memories: Reflections of African American Women Writers; and Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry with co-editor Lauren K. Alleyne. As executive director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center, Gabbin has organized three international conferences for the critical exploration of African American poetry. In all her work, her mantra is to live life to the fullest so that it becomes its own masterpiece.
Lois Elaine Griffith, an artist/writer and one of the founding poets of the Nuyorican Poets Café, has initiated the NPC Founders Archive Project to preserve the Cafe’s artistic legacy. Currently, she is working on a series of poems, La Lengua Prestada, in hopes of discovering the American tongue.
Duriel E. Harris is a writer, performer, conceptual artist, and scholar. She is author of three critically acclaimed volumes of poetry, including No Dictionary of a Living Tongue (Nightboat, 2017), Drag (2003), and Amnesiac: Poems (2010). Multi-genre works include the one-woman theatrical performance Thingification, the video collaboration Speleology (2011), and the sound+image project “Blood Labyrinth.” Cofounder of The Black Took Collective, Harris is professor of poetry and poetics at Illinois State University and editor in chief of the award-winning publishing platform Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora.
Yona Harvey is the author of two poetry collections, You Don’t Have to Go to Mars for Love, winner of the Believer Book Award for Poetry, and Hemming the Water, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award.
Terrance Hayes’s recent publications include American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin and To Float in the Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight. Two collections, So to Speak: Poems and Sow to Speak: Creative Essays, are forthcoming in 2023. He is a professor of English at New York University.
Daisy Hernández is the author of The Kissing Bug: A True Story of a Family, an Insect, and a Nation’s Neglect of a Deadly Disease (Tin House). She’s also the author of the award-winning memoir A Cup of Water Under My Bed (Beacon Press) and coeditor of the anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism (Seal Press). She is an associate professor in the creative writing program at Miami University in Ohio.
Jared Joseph is boring.
Douglas Kearney has published seven books ranging from poetry to essays to libretti. His most recent collection, Sho (Wave Books), is a National Book Award finalist. He is the 2021 recipient of OPERA America’s Campbell Opera Librettist Prize, created and generously funded by librettist/lyricist Mark Campbell. A Whiting Writer’s and Foundation for Contemporary Arts Cy Twombly awardee with residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, the Rauschenberg Foundation, and others, he teaches creative writing at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.
Colin Kostelecky is from Topeka. He’s a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. When he’s not writing palindromes, he’s working on his first book—a memoir called Strong like Gilad: How Body Fascism and Getting Ripped are Part of the American Dream. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Danica Li is a union lawyer and emerging writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. She won the Eisner Prize in Prose as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, the institution from which she received both her BA and law degree. Her writing has been published or is forthcoming in The Missouri Review and The Citron Review and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Julia LoFaso’s writing has appeared or will soon appear in Conjunctions, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Cincinnati Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and Electric Literature’s The Commuter, among other places. She has been shortlisted for the Southeast Review’s World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest and PRISM international’s Grouse Grind Lit Prize for V. Short Forms, and featured in Wigleaf’s Top 50 Very Short Fictions 2021. She lives in Queens, where she’s writing a hybrid collection about weird motherhood. More of her writing is available at julialofaso.com.
Janice A. Lowe (she, her, hers) is a multidisciplinary composer-poet and pianist. She is the author of Leaving CLE: poems of nomadic dispersal and SWAM. Her musical theater composition, Lil Budda, text by Stephanie L. Jones, was presented at the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theater Conference. She is the composer of Millie and Christine McKoy Sisters’ Syncopated Sonnets in Song, a collaboration with librettist Tyehimba Jess. Her poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies including The Hat, Interim Poetics: Black Aliveness, Callaloo, Solstice, Best American Experimental Writing, Radiant Re-Sisters, and Respect: The Poetry of Detroit Music. She performs and records with her band Janice Lowe & NAMAROON. Her solo and collaborative works have been recognized by Creative Capital, City Artists Corps, and the Rauschenberg Foundation.
Nathaniel Mackey is the author of numerous books and chapbooks of poetry, most recently Double Trio (New Directions, 2021), a boxed set of three new books: Tej Bet, So’s Notice, and Nerve Church. He is the editor of the literary magazine Hambone and coeditor, with Art Lange, of the anthology Moment’s Notice: Jazz in Poetry and Prose (Coffee House Press, 1993). His awards and honors include the National Book Award for poetry and the Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, and teaches at Duke University.
Susan Leslie Moore’s poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry, The New York Times Magazine, New York Quarterly, Poetry Northwest, Willow Springs, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the 2019 Juniper Prize in Poetry, and her first full-length collection, That Place Where You Opened Your Hands, was published by University of Massachusetts Press. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
Tracie Morris holds an MFA (Poetry, Hunter College, CUNY) and a PhD (Performance Studies, NYU). She also trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Dr. Morris was the inaugural Distinguished Visiting Professor of Poetry at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop before joining the Workshop as its first African American tenured professor of poetry. Tracie has presented innovative poetry, performance art, and theory in over thirty countries and is the author/editor of ten books (three forthcoming in 2022–23). University creative fellowships include the Woodberry Poetry Room (Creative Fellow, Harvard University), Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing (Writing Fellow, University of Pennsylvania). She is a 2021 Guggenheim Poetry Fellow. Tracie is a Cave Canem alumna and former board member and designated a Master Artist of the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Residencies include Millay, Yaddo, and MacDowell colonies. Her installations and performances have been presented by the Whitney Biennial, Dia:Chelsea, The New Museum, The Kitchen Performance Space, Albertine, Furious Flower, Victoria and Albert Museum, Centre Pompidou, among others. Her debut short film, Black Spring, was commissioned by the Obermann Center and the department of cinematic arts of the University of Iowa.
Harryette Mullen’s books include Recyclopedia (Graywolf, 2006), winner of a PEN Beyond Margins Award, and Sleeping with the Dictionary (University of California, 2002), a finalist for a National Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize. A collection of essays and interviews, The Cracks Between, published in 2012 by University of Alabama, won an Elizabeth Agee Prize. Graywolf published Urban Tumbleweed: Notes from a Tanka Diary in 2013. A critical edition of her poetry is forthcoming from Edinburgh University Press in 2022. She teaches courses in American poetry, African American literature, and creative writing at UCLA.
Kevin Norwood was the winner of The Porch Poetry Prize 2020. He has work published or pending in District Lit, Edison Literary Review, Evening Street Review, Litbreak, The Magnolia Review, Nashville Review, Natural Bridge, and the Tulane Review, among other publications. He is a corporate attorney with a law degree from William & Mary. He obtained Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in English from the University of Virginia, where he studied creative writing with Peter Taylor and John Casey. He and his wife live in Brentwood, Tennessee.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Shelagh Wilson Patterson is a poet, scholar, and activist. Their poems have appeared in anthologies, newspapers, magazines, journals, experimental theater, bureaucratic documents, and a feature film. She has an MFA in creative writing from CUNY Hunter College, a PhD in English from the University of Pittsburgh, and is a Cave Canem fellow. Currently, per teaches at Montclair State University, and ze lives in Newark.
Aleyna Rentz is a fiction writer from rural Southwest Georgia. She now lives in Baltimore, where she recently finished her MFA in creative writing at Johns Hopkins University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in publications including Glimmer Train, Pleiades, Passages North, Wigleaf, and the Best Microfiction 2020 anthology, among others. She won first place in Pleiades’ 2019 R.M. Kinder Realistic Fiction contest, and third place in Glimmer Train’s Jan/Feb 2018 Short Story Award for New Writers. She currently serves as senior fiction reader for Salamander Magazine and teaches high school.
Jackson Saul has served as the editor of Black Warrior Review and an assistant editor at Restless Books. His work appears or will appear in The Literary Review and Hotel.
Brian Simoneau is the author of the poetry collections No Small Comfort (Black Lawrence Press, 2021) and River Bound (C&R Press, 2014). His poems have appeared in Boston Review, Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, Salamander, Waxwing, and other journals. Originally from Lowell, Massachusetts, he lives near Boston with his family.
Jo Stewart (they/them) is a poet and theater maker of mythic and archetypal worlds. They look to the dead, unborn, flora, and animal life as guides and protagonists in their stories. Their work appears or is forthcoming in BOMB, Poetry magazine, Poetry Project Newsletter, Danspace Project Journal, and others. As the inaugural recipient of the David Dornstein ’85 Artist Grant, they are currently completing a manuscript in residence at High Meadow Farm in Freedom, New Hampshire.
Su Tong is one of China’s most acclaimed fiction writers. He was a finalist for the 2011 Man Booker International Prize and was awarded the 2009 Man Asian Literary Prize. His prolific oeuvre includes more than a dozen novellas (such as Raise the Red Lantern, which was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film by director Zhang Yimou), seven novels, and more than one hundred short stories. His works have been translated into multiple languages.
Steffan Triplett is a Black, queer essayist from Joplin, Missouri. His criticism has appeared in Electric Literature, Lit Hub, Vulture, and Slate. His nonfiction and other creative work has appeared in Longreads, Waxwing, Fence, and DIAGRAM, and is anthologized in Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color.
Alice Turski’s recent or forthcoming work can be found in Verse Daily, The Greensboro Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Copper Nickel, and elsewhere. Alice received her MFA from Cornell University, where she then taught creative writing and literature. An English literature PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia, Alice lives in Vancouver.
Asiya Wadud is the author of Crosslight for Youngbird, day pulls down the sky/a filament in gold leaf (written with Okwui Okpokwasili), Syncope, and No Knowledge Is Complete Until It Passes Through My Body. Her recent writing appears in e-flux journal, BOMB Magazine, Poem-a-Day, Triple Canopy, and elsewhere. She also regularly collaborates with Fortnight Institute to write exhibition texts. Wadud’s work has been supported by the Foundation Jan Michalski, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Danspace Project, Finnish Cultural Institute of New York, Mount Tremper Arts, and Rosendal Theater (Norway), among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York where she teaches poetry at Saint Ann’s School and Columbia University.
Ting Wang’s translations have appeared in Ploughshares, The Southern Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Massachusetts Review, Asymptote, and elsewhere. She’s currently translating a collection of short stories by Su Tong. The recipient of a Vermont Studio Center/Henry Luce Foundation Fellowship, she holds a PhD from Northwestern University, and is based in the Washington metropolitan area.
Poet, singer, educator, and curator Yolanda Wisher is author of Monk Eats an Afro and co-editor of the anthology Peace is a Haiku Song with mentor Sonia Sanchez. Wisher was named inaugural poet laureate of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania in 1999 and third poet laureate of Philadelphia for 2016 and 2017. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and Poem-a-Day and has been commissioned by the Institute for Contemporary Art, HealthSpark, the Statue of Peace Plaza Committee, CBC Radio, and Philadelphia Jazz Project. A Pew and Cave Canem Fellow, Wisher received the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award in 2019 for her commitment to art for social change. She performs a blend of poetry and song with her band Yolanda Wisher & The Afroeaters. Doublehanded Suite, their debut album, will be out in 2022.
Mariano Zaro is the author of six poetry collections, including Padre Tierra (Olifante 2019, Zaragoza, Spain), a book-length poem inspired by the author’s own relationship with his father, a farmer, and the rugged landscape of his home in Northern Spain. Through recurring references to nature and vivid memories of the speaker’s father, the poem offers readers a glimpse into a private universe, imbuing everyday scenes with symbolic meaning. In a quiet, intimate voice reminiscent of Luis Cernuda’s poetry, this ambitious work considers the father’s life and legacy as a means of understanding the son’s own identity: his fears, his revelations, and his transformation from childhood to adulthood. Zaro earned a PhD in linguistics from the University of Granada (Spain) and a Master’s in literature from the University of Zaragoza (Spain). He is a professor of Spanish at Rio Hondo Community College in Whittier, California.
Maria Zoccola is a queer Southern writer with deep roots in the Mississippi Delta. She has writing degrees from Emory University and Falmouth University. Her work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Ploughshares, 32 Poems, The Massachusetts Review, Salamander, and elsewhere.