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MFA Presents and Community Writers

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Deadline: April 1, 2024

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Deadline: April 1, 2024

2024 MFA Presents

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April Bannister is a current MFA candidate in fiction at Arizona State University (ASU) and received her BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Iowa. Her work has appeared in The Raven Review, The Pittsburgher (formerly The Dog Door Cultural), and The Foundationalist. Outside of reading and writing, often within a mental health focus, she enjoys rock climbing, chai lattes, and spending time with her dog, Scooter.

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Brandon Johnson aka Brandon Blue is a black, queer poet, educator and MFA candidate at ASU from Washington, DC. He is an assistant editor for Storm Cellar Magazine and his work has or will appear in Barzakh, the Saints and Sinners Literary Festival Poetry Anthology, [PANK], and more. His work is also featured in the Capital Pride Poem-a-Day event. His work has received the support of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. His chapbook, Snap.Shot, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

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Frankie Concepcion is a writer, educator, and organizer from the Philippines currently living in Somerville, MA. Her work has been published internationally in journals such as Bodega Magazine, Waxwing Literary Journal, The Toast, and Filipino news platform, Rappler, amongst others. She has served on the editorial teams of Boston-based food journal GRLSQUASH, Winter Tangerine, and Side B Magazine, and is an alumnus of the Tin House Summer Writing Workshop and the GrubStreet Short Story Incubator. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, received Honorable Mention for the 2020 Miami Book Fair Emerging Writers Fellowship, and has been a Finalist for the 2020 Passages North Waasnode Fiction Prize and 2018 F(r)iction Summer Literary Contest.

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Patrick De Leon is a writer originally from Southern California. Patrick has called Phoenix, Arizona, home for over a decade and is currently a student at ASU pursuing an MFA in poetry. He has worked for various non-profit organizations and museums in his local community. Throughout Patrick's work, he explores queer realities and queerness in conjunction with Catholicism, heterosexuality, and queer futures. In addition to his poetic practice, he is an interdisciplinary artist in text, video, printmaking, and photography. In addition, Patrick has received fellowships through the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.

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David Dell'oso is a graphic artist and storyteller based in Phoenix, Arizona. His skills in brushwork and digital art have been exhibited at local galleries and art shows, including Phoenix Fan Fusion and the Arizona Comicbook Art Festival. His influences include Paul Pope, Mike Allred, and writer Grant Morrison. David's seminal work, The Vasic, is scheduled for publishing this spring. His email is thevasic@gmail.com.

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Ayling Dominguez is a poet, mixed media artist, and youth arts educator from Bronx, NY, with roots in Mexico and the Dominican Republic. As a creative in an abolitionist mindset, their work aims to forge community; to affirm belonging as the first step toward liberation; to imagine new, better, and more radically loving worlds. They believe in art that dares to ask, “Who are we at our most free?” They have been a Laundromat Project Create Change Fellow, awarded a seat at Cave Canem workshops, and The Watering Hole Poetry Retreat. Ayling is currently pursuing an MFA at ASU.

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Kinsale Drake (Diné) is a 23-year-old poet/editor/playwright whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Best New Poets, Poets.org, Poetry Northwest, The Slowdown, Black Warrior Review, Teen Vogue, MTV, NYLON, TIME, NPR, and elsewhere. Her first book, THE SKY WAS ONCE A DARK BLANKET (University of Georgia Press, 2024), won the 2023 National Poetry Series. She teaches mental health and storytelling programming for Native youth and is the founder of Changing Wxman Collective & NDN Girls Book Club. She graduated from Yale in Fall 2022.

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Matt Ferraz is a Brazilian author and ghostwriter with works released in the UK, US, Italy, and Bolivia.

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Jack Galati is a writer and MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University. His works have been featured in a number of publications including Beaver Magazine, The Closed Eye Open, Pinky Thinker Press, Fifty Word Stories, and the Moonstone Arts Center New Voices in Poetry anthology. Jack has been a teaching artist through the northern Arizona chapter of Poetry Out Loud. He is interested in the human heart above all else, whether that shows itself through fiction, poetry, playwriting, or other multi-genre, interdisciplinary means.

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Emad Jabini is an Iranian American writer and educator based in Phoenix, AZ. He earned his MA in literary and cultural studies from the University of Utah and is currently an MFA candidate in fiction at ASU. His interdisciplinary research and artistic work revolve around themes of liminality, displacement, assimilation, mass media, and pop culture. He has received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Kenyon Review, the Center for Imagination in the Borderlands, and Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing. He is the incoming Nonfiction Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review.

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Siobhan Jean-Charles graduated with her Bachelor's rom Salisbury University and is an MFA candidate at ASU. She is the blog editor for The Shore Poetry and her work has appeared in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, The Tusculum Review, Furrow, Atlanta Review, and elsewhere.

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Chloe L. Jensen is a fiction and creative nonfiction writer living in Mesa, Arizona. She is a student in the MFA in Creative Writing program at ASU, where she also teaches writing. She is also a writing tutor at Mesa Community College, a freelance copyeditor, and an event bartender. Originally from Salem, Massachusetts, she has lived in Brooklyn, New York and Berlin, Germany. Her work has been produced for the streaming audio platform femtasy and her writing on investing and finance has appeared in numerous outlets.

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Russ Kazmierczak, Jr. is a Phoenix-based storyteller and the self-publisher of over 75 comics and zines. He was the Phoenix New Times' 2018 Best Storyteller and currently teaches regular comics-making classes for teens at Bookman's in Phoenix and Mesa. Russ also currently hosts Esso Poetry Open Mic, and he's unabashedly the biggest fan of The Monkees you'll ever meet.

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Tarah Knaresboro (she/they) is a writer/designer from San Jose California. She loves vegetable gardens, French fries, maligned animals (especially possums and cockroaches), bourbon whiskey, looking at cacti (both alive and dead), and most of all their pit mix Leona. Their writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Review, Electric Literature, and Muff Magazine. Their work deals with intimacy, deviance, absurdity, trauma, and AI.

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Zack Lesmeister is a poet, performer, playwright, and filmmaker from St. Louis, Missouri. They are the Poetry Editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review. Zack's writing has been supported by Lambda Literary, Tin House, and OMAI First Wave. Their writing is published in The Missouri Review, Foglifter, The Offing, The Margins, Nimrod International, and elsewhere. Zack has written and performed for venues including The Lincoln Center, Washington University in St. Louis, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Maui Arts Cultural Center, Brave New Voices, The Theatre Communications Group National Conference, and elsewhere. Their debut film was published by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

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Polly Llewellyn is a performer from Salt Lake City, Utah who is currently an MFA candidate at University of Nevada Las Vegas.

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M McDonough is a trans poet residing in Mesa Arizona where they live with their wife. Their work hinges on questions of queer grief, joy, desire, humor and pop culture. Their poems have been published in Exposition Review, Defunct Magazine, nameandnone, and others. They are pursuing their MFA in poetry at ASU.

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Amanda E. Machado (she/they) is a writer, public speaker and facilitator with ancestry from Mexico and Ecuador. Their work has been published in The Atlantic, Guernica, The Washington Post, Adroit Journal, Slate, The Guardian, Sierra Magazine, among many other outlets. In addition to their essay writing, Amanda also is a public speaker and workshop facilitator on issues of justice and anti-oppression for organizations including Patagonia, The North Face, Seattle Public Library, The Aspen Institute, HipCamp, and many others. She is also the founder of Reclaiming Nature Writing, a multi-week online workshop that centers the experiences of people of color in how we tell stories about the outdoors. Amanda has a degree in English Literature and Nonfiction Writing from Brown University, and currently lives on unceded Ohlone land in Oakland.

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Mona Morsy is a Phoenix-based writer and poet. She recently published her first comic book anthology of poetry, called Love by Lamplight, now available on buymeacoffee.com/monamorsy. She’s traveled all over the world and is the biggest Harry Potter fan you’ll ever meet. Her email is m.morsy89@gmail.com.

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Ames O’Neill is a fiction writer from Maryland and an MFA candidate at ASU. Their work explores themes of body, belonging, and catastrophe, has appeared in Susquehanna Review and Halfway Down the Stairs, and was a finalist for the Stony Brook Short Fiction Prize.

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Destiny Pinder-Buckley graduated from Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD, with a dual bachelor’s degree in English and French. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA in Nonfiction Creative Writing at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her work has appeared (or is forthcoming) in The Sun, the Desert Companion, Drunk Monkeys, Popular Culture Review, Prairie Winds, and Las Vegas Writes Vol. 15.

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Timothy Provenzano is a writer, musician and librarian based in Arizona. Currently an MFA in Writing (Fiction) candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts, where he was the recipient of a merit award for outstanding incoming students, his writing centers on issues of subcultures and belonging for the dispossessed. His work will be forthcoming in the Hunger Mountain Journal. As an academic librarian at ASU, Timothy also has work forthcoming regarding alternate publication outlets.

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Hana Saad is a Lebanese American storyteller from Tulsa, OK, which is on the traditional lands of the Ni-u-kon-ska (Osage), Kitikiti’sh (Wichita), Kadohadacho (Caddo), Mvskoke (Muscogee [Creek]), and Tsálăgĭ (Cherokee) Tribal Nations. She primarily writes poetry, although she is also passionate about fiction and screenwriting. She has served as an artist-in-resident at the National Arab American Museum. Her poetry is featured in Mizna, Pomona Valley Review, and elsewhere. When she’s not writing or volunteering at a local animal rescue, she can be found making copious cups of tea, singing her favorite songs, or walking in a park somewhere.

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Winslow Schmelling is an MFA candidate in fiction at ASU, where her creative work explores patterns of the desert, of addiction, and the layers of survival that exist within those spaces. She is the recipient of the Virginia G. Piper Creative Engagement Fellowship, a resident of the Rockvale Writer's Colony, and her work is published or forthcoming in The Tunnels, Welter Review, and The Tempe Writer's Forum. She works as a ghostwriter and teacher in the desert she grew up in.

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Jacob Simmons writes about the duality of sociopolitical humanity, drawing much from his experience loving beautiful people and places with ugly ideas and history. Previous work of his is to be published in the upcoming Spring issue of Under the Sun literary magazine. He teaches high school in California's Central Valley and is trying to become less of a scoundrel every day. 

Hana Saad is a Lebanese American storyteller from Tulsa, OK, which is on the traditional lands of the Ni-u-kon-ska (Osage), Kitikiti’sh (Wichita), Kadohadacho (Caddo), Mvskoke (Muscogee [Creek]), and Tsálăgĭ (Cherokee) Tribal Nations. She primarily writes poetry, although she is also passionate about fiction and screenwriting. She has served as an artist-in-resident at the National Arab American Museum. Her poetry is featured in Mizna, Pomona Valley Review, and elsewhere. When she’s not writing or volunteering at a local animal rescue, she can be found making copious cups of tea, singing her favorite songs, or walking in a park somewhere.

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Winslow Schmelling is an MFA candidate in fiction at ASU, where her creative work explores patterns of the desert, of addiction, and the layers of survival that exist within those spaces. She is the recipient of the Virginia G. Piper Creative Engagement Fellowship, a resident of the Rockvale Writer's Colony, and her work is published or forthcoming in The Tunnels, Welter Review, and The Tempe Writer's Forum. She works as a ghostwriter and teacher in the desert she grew up in.

2024 Community Writers

Sasha Anaya (she/her) is a marketing writer for Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. Sasha holds a Doctorate of Education from ASU’s Leadership and Innovation program, and her research interests focus on the importance of arts-based engagement strategies as a tool for curating conditions for holistic wellness. An avid art journaler and mixed media artist, Sasha gravitates towards ekphrastic experimentation in writing. She teaches the intrinsic value of creative expression and believes all people, regardless of whether or not they self-identify as creatives, benefit from habitual creative practices and a commitment to play and curiosity.

Daisy Atterbury is a writer based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Their debut book of poetry and prose is forthcoming in Fall 2024 from Rescue Press. The book has been described as "a new cosmology" (Lucy Lippard) and "a cerebral altar to the desert" (Raquel Gutierrez). Atterbury is a scholar and full-time continuous lecturer in American Studies and the Program for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of New Mexico, and teaches courses in queer and trans methods, the politics of sex, and poetics. They received their MFA at Bard College and PhD at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Angie Dell directs Shut Eye Press is a print and bookmaking studio that specializes in storytelling, design, and creative collaboration. They make artists’ books, zines, stationery, and other handmade items using sustainable processes, playful materials, and traditional letterpress techniques. The studio is equipped with a 1911 Chandler & Price New Style platen press, a Sigwalt Ideal 3 platen press, a galley proof press, an Ettan MS-3 etching press, a RISO EZ390 printer, a Glowforge laser cutter, a Challenge guillotine paper cutter, and other artistic tools. 

María Esquinca is a poet and journalist. A fronteriza, she was born in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico and grew up in El Paso, Texas. She’s currently a producer for The Bay podcast, a production of KQED. Prior to that, she was New York Women’s Foundation IGNITE Fellow with Latino USA, and a 2020 Report for America Corps Member at Radio Bilingue. Her poetry has appeared in Waxwing, The Florida Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Scalawag, Acentos Review, and No Tender Fences: An Anthology of Immigrant & First-Generation American Poetry. In 2018, she won the Alfred Boas Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets judged by Victoria Chang. Her book reviews and interviews have appeared in Adroit Journal and ANMLY.

David T E (Dave by preference) Foster is a lifelong avid reader and storyteller with a special interest in world-building, fantasy, and science fiction. He has always been a writer. His first book Into the Magic – Book 1 of Fay’s Antique was published in print and e-book format by Headspring Publications and will be available as an audiobook later in 2024. Dave graduated with an MDes (Master of Design) from OCADU after completing an honors BFA at York University. Dave resides in Toronto, Canada with his partner and their furry companion.

Wendy J. Fox is the author of four books of fiction, including What If We Were Somewhere Else (SFWP, 2021), which won the Colorado Book Award and received a star for excellence in the genre of short stories in Booklist. Her 2019 novel, If the Ice Had Held, was a top pick in audio for LitHub. She has written for many national publications including Self, Business Insider, BuzzFeed, and Ms. and authors a quarterly column in Electric Literature focusing on independent books. She is a former SVP of marketing for a green tech firm and lives outside of Phoenix. More at wendyjfox.com

Catherine Garbinsky is a writer living in Knoxville, Tennessee. They are a PhD student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Catherine’s poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. They serve as poetry editor for Grist. Catherine has written two chapbooks: All Spells Are Strong Here (Ghost City Press, 2018) and Even Curses End (Animal Heart Press, 2019), and her work has been featured in Yes Poetry, Coffin Bell Journal, Cream City Review, and elsewhere.

Anna Abraham Gasaway (She/Her) is an emerging, disabled writer who has been published in Poetry International, Cream City Review, Literary Mama, One Art and others. She received her MFA at San Diego State University and serves as a reader for the Los Angeles Review. She can be found on Twitter/X @Yawp97.

Hanna Uí Ghabhain is an award-winning journalist who has spent the past decade writing stories that explore the depth of the human experience. With a degree in psychology and as a Master of Counseling candidate, Hanna is passionate about connecting people through the healing power of storytelling to develop their narratives, share ancestral wisdom, and strengthen community. She utilizes archetypal storytelling and Jungian symbolism to explore consciousness through tarot. Hanna explores symbology in art and legend, origins of rumors, ghost stories, how subjective experience is integrated with universal archetypes, storytelling as social justice, and applying mythology to make meaning of the human experience and psyche.

Michelle Gurule (she/her) is a writer and educator based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her creative work, which explores the complexities of sex work, class, power and Michelle’s intersectional identity as a queer, mixed-ethnicity (white / Chicana) woman, has appeared in Joyland, StoryQuarterly, Homology, and Alien. In 2021, her essay, “Exit Route,” won StoryQuarterly’s Nonfiction Prize, judged by T Kira Madden. She currently teaches writing at The University of Colorado, Boulder and Arizona State University.

Saúl Hernández is a queer writer from San Antonio, TX who was raised by undocumented parents. Saúl has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas at El Paso. His debut poetry collection, How to Kill a Goat & Other Monsters (University of Wisconsin Press), is out Spring 2024. He’s the winner of the 2022 Pleiades Prufer Poetry Prize judged by Joy Priest & the 2021 Two Sylvias Press Chapbook Prize judged by Victoria Chang. His poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net. Saúl’s work is forthcoming/featured in Literary Hub, Pleiades, Split This Rock Poem a Week Series, & elsewhere.

Jane Kalu’s work has been featured or is forthcoming in American Short Fiction, Boston Review, The Hopkins Review, Isele Magazine, Munyori Journal, and elsewhere. She’s a graduate of the MFA program at the University of New Mexico, where she was the recipient of the Joseph Badal Prize and the Hillerman/McGarrity Prize. Other awards include residencies and fellowships from StoryKnife and American Short Fiction. She is at work on a novel and a collection of short stories.

Saba Keramati's debut poetry collection, Self-Mythology, was selected by Patricia Smith for publication in the Miller Williams Poetry Series at University of Arkansas Press and is forthcoming in Spring 2024. A winner of the 2023 92NY Discovery Poetry Prize, Saba holds an MFA from UC Davis, where she was a Dean’s Graduate Fellow for Creative Arts. She is the Poetry Editor at Sundog Lit.

As a kid, Cindy Kibbe wrote stories under the covers with a flashlight. The award-winning journalist and self-described “unsuccessful quitter” went on to release her first novel under the pen name C.K. Donnelly, Trine Rising, The Kinderra Saga: Book 1, in 2020. Since then, she has published two sequels, Trine Fallacy: Book 2 and Trine Revelation: Book 3, earning 18 literary awards for the fantasy series. As a sought-after workshop leader and panel moderator, she resides in Arizona with her husband and little black dog. She no longer writes under the covers by flashlight. Usually.

Charissa Lucille is part of Wasted Ink Publishing, an expansion of Wasted Ink Zine Distro now providing printing and binding services for zine makers, artists, and creators. Wasted Ink has always valued personal narratives and they are here to help bring them to life on some real neat paper. Equipped with multiple Kyocera laser printers (one that has a finisher that folds and staples zines), a Risograph RP 3700 printer, a perfect binder, coil binder, and longarm staplers, they're a one-stop-shop to design, print, and distribute self-published projects.

jj peña, (pronouns he/they) is the winner of 92NY Discovery Poetry Contest (2023), Fractured Literature's Micro Contest (2021), Tinderbox Journal Editor's Prize (2021), Santa Clara Review's Flash Contest (2021), Mythic Picnic's Post Card Prize (2020), CutBank's Big Sky/Small Prose Contest (2019), & Blue Earth Review's Flash Non-fiction Contest (2019). jj is a 2021 Periplus Fellow, a 2022 Woody & Gayle Hunt Fellow for Aspen Summer Words, & a 2023 Editorial Fellow for Shenandoah Literary. jj holds a BA in both English and Anthropology, & an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. jj's work has been published widely & anthologized in places like Best Short Fictions of 2022, Best Micro-Fictions of 2020, & Wigleaf Top 50 Short-Shorts. jj currently reads for Split Lip Magazine.

Devin Kate Pope is an arts, culture, and food writer living in Tempe, AZ. She writes The Good Enough Weekly, a newsletter about food and liberation. And her work has appeared in BOMB, Autofocus, The Rumpus, Rejection Letters, and elsewhere.

Juan Carlos Reyes was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. His debut fiction collection Three Alarm Fire, forthcoming with Hinton Publishing, reflects the grief, intimacies, and comedies of American life. He is an associate professor of creative writing at Seattle University, and he has published short stories and essays with The Under Review, Yellow Medicine Review, West Branch, Moss, and Waccamaw, among others. He has received fellowships from PEN, Jack Straw Writers, and the Washington State Artist Trust. He was formerly the board president at Seattle City of Literature and formerly served as executive editor of Big Fiction magazine.

Born in the Republic of Panama in 1979, Karen Rigby now lives and writes in Arizona. Her latest poetry book, Fabulosa, is forthcoming from JackLeg Press in 2024. Her debut poetry book, Chinoiserie (Ahsahta Press, 2012), was selected by Paul Hoover for a 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize, and described by Booklist as “poignant, powerful, and urgent.” Karen’s work has been honored by a National Endowment for the Arts literature fellowship, a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship, and an Artist Opportunity Grant from the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council. She is a 2023 recipient of an Artist Opportunity Grant from the Arizona Commission on the Arts. Her poetry is published in journals such as The London Magazine, Poetry Northwest, The Oxonian Review, and Australian Book Review.

Vic Saturnhex represents SATURNHEX, an independent art studio focused on exploring illustration, storytelling, & design through silkscreen and risograph printing, merch making, & apparel. Vic + Julian offer services in Risograph experimenting and printing, 3D modeling & Printing.

Cecilia Savala is a Shrek-obsessed Latinx poet, teacher, and mom who writes about fatphobia, body image, and gender 1200 miles from home. She is a morning person, a cat person, an Assistant Director to ASU Writing Programs, and the poetry editor of Hayden’s Ferry Review. She has been anthologized in Curating Home and Lift Every Voice: An Anthology of Poetry, and her work can be found in Red Ogre Review, the Boiler, and Poetry South, among others. Follow her at @cecsav on Instagram.

Angela Siew is a multilingual poet with a BA from Brown University and an MFA from Emerson College. She was most recently a Peter Taylor Fellow for the 2023 Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and has received support from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the City of Boston and the Community of Writers Poetry Workshop. Her work has been published in Salamander, Crab Orchard Review and Art New England, among others. A chapbook, Coming Home, will be published by Cut Bank (University of Montana) in 2024. A former private tutor and English language teacher, she has also taught overseas in Chile and Italy. She currently teaches online poetry workshops for Grub Street and the International Women’s Writing Guild. Learn more at angelasiew.com.

Marisa Tirado is the author of Selena Didn’t Know Spanish Either (Texas Review Press, 2022), winner of the 2021 Robert Phillips Chapbook Prize. Tirado studied poetry and literary translation at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She has held fellowships from Image Journal, Macondo, Kenyon Review, University of Wellington, and Eckerd College. Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Denver Quarterly, Triquarterly, and other journals. She currently lives in the Southwest with her husband and teaches writing at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Denise Tolan’s work has been included in places such as The Penn Review, Atlas and Alice, Hobart, Lunch Ticket, and The Best Small Fictions. Denise was a finalist for Best of the Net 2022 and both the 2019 and 2018 International Literary Awards: Penelope Niven Prize in Nonfiction. She has written a memoir, Italian Blood, recently published by CavanKerry Press.

Judith van Praag is an ESL writer with a background in multicultural theater. As the Arts & Lit writer for The International Examiner, she covered the Asian American community in Seattle. The author of Creative Acts of Healing: After a Baby Dies (Paseo Press 1999), her writing has appeared in Dutch and American publications, and remains focused on the arts, the aftermath of the Holocaust, mental health, and caregivers. She hosts co-work sessions via Zoom, and IRL Meetups, and is an inspired public speaker who enjoys coaching others to shine.

Lorraine Wheat, a USC MFA graduate in Film and Television Production, balances her writing and filmmaking career with her role in Paramount Global’s post-production operations. Having crafted promos for Paramount, she excels in supporting digital content. Beyond Paramount, she has earned the Panavision New Filmmaker Program award for writing and directing her social justice short film Heart of Compton, and has been published in The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, and Palaver Arts Magazine. She is also a 2024 cohort member of the Anaphora Arts Publishing Program and is in the process of finalizing a young adult romance novel.