Cameron Awkward-Rich’s most recent book is The Terrible We: Thinking with Trans Maladjustment (Duke University Press, 2022). He is also the author of two collections of poetry: Dispatch (Persea Books, 2019), winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award, and Sympathetic Little Monster (Ricochet Editions, 2016), finalist for a LAMBDA Literary Award. His work has been featured in The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere, and he has received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Watering Hole, and the Lannan Foundation.
Also a scholar of trans theory and expressive culture in the U.S., Cameron earned his PhD from Stanford University’s program in Modern Thought & Literature. His more critical writing can be found in Signs, Trans Studies Quarterly, American Quarterly, and elsewhere, and has been supported by fellowships from Duke University and the American Council of Learned Societies.
Asked in an interview if books can influence social change, Awkward-Rich responded: “I actually think it’s quite weird to imagine that social change can happen without literature, since books of various kinds (and I’m counting oral traditions as “books” here) tend to be where ideas are stored and transmitted, where each generation learns all over again what the world is like, and has been like, and might be. How do you have collective action without collective imagination?”
Awkward-Rich was Postdoctoral Fellow in the Transgender Studies & Humanities Project with the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University. Presently, he is an assistant professor of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Franny Choi is a queer, Korean American writer of poems, essays, and more. Her most recent book is The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On (HarperCollins, 2022), an NPR 2022 Books We Love and Goodreads Readers Choice Award Semifinalist. Her other books are Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019), a Rumpus and Paris Review staff pick that Lit Hub praised as “a profoundly intelligent work which makes you feel.” It was a Nylon Best Book of 2019, was awarded the Elgin Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association in 2020, and was a finalist for awards from Lambda Literary, Publishing Triangle, and the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Choi is also the author of the chapbook Death By Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017) and the debut collection Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2019). She was a 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow and has also received awards from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and Princeton University’s Lewis Center. Her poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She co-hosts the poetry podcast VS with Danez Smith.
A Kundiman Fellow and graduate of the VONA Workshop, she founded the Brew & Forge Book Fair, a fundraising project that brings together readers and writers to build capacity in social justice community organizations. In 2019, she launched the Brew & Forge Lecture Series at Williams College, which puts poets and organizers in conversation with each other to discuss the intersections of activism and literary arts. As a curator, she has worked with organizations including Split This Rock and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and she is particularly passionate about highlighting the voices of queer and trans poets of Asian/Pacific diasporas.
In an interview with The Paris Review, she was asked about how she uses form in her work: “I think when we play with form what we’re engaging with is the technology of the poem. And so when I play with form, what I’m doing is saying that I’m a coauthor of this text along with the machine of poetry—the mechanics of the lyric—in order to produce this thing. The mechanics of the poem and I are collaborating in order to make something new with language that didn’t belong to either of us to begin with. I’m still in the process of figuring out what a cyborg poetics is, but that feels like a clue to me.”
A seasoned performer, Choi is a two-time winner of the Rustbelt Poetry Slam and has performed her work in schools, conferences, theaters, and bars across the country. As a teaching artist, she has taught students of all ages and levels of experience, both in formal classroom settings and through organizations like Project VOICE and InsideOut Literary Arts Project.
Choi is faculty in Literature at Bennington College.
Katie Farris’s work appears in American Poetry Review, Granta, The Nation, and Poetry, and has been commissioned by MoMA. Her first book of poems, Standing in the Forest of Being Alive, is forthcoming from Alice James Books (US) and Liverpool University Press (UK) in 2023. She is also the author of the chapbook A Net to Catch My Body in its Weaving, which won the 2020 Chad Walsh Poetry Award from Beloit Poetry Journal, and boysgirls, a hybrid-form book, as well as co-translator of many books of poetry. Her work has been published in Best New Poets, and she has won several awards, including a Pushcart Prize. She teaches at Princeton University.
Kimiko Hahn is the author of ten books of poems, including: Foreign Bodies (W. W. Norton, 2020); Brain Fever (WWN, 2014), and Toxic Flora (WWN, 2010), all collections prompted by science; The Narrow Road to the Interior (WWN, 2006), a collection that takes its title from Basho’s famous poetic journal; The Unbearable Heart (Kaya, 1996), which received an American Book Award; Earshot (Hanging Loose Press, 1992), which was awarded the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and an Association of Asian American Studies Literature Award.
About the process of writing her most recent book, Foreign Bodies, Hahn reflects in an interview with The Rumpus: “I think things are exotic because they are the Other. Japanese things are not exotic to me but there are other things that are exotic. The insect world, for example. I don’t know anything about it, I’m not an entomologist so the language is exotic, and the information has an otherworldly feel. I think there will always be the Other. It’s not always positive but it can be. In early childhood development, the mother is the other to the infant, the love object. There will always be the other and I think that’s where the exotic resides. Regarding preservation, I’m very interested in it socially. In order to preserve some things we need to move backwards and clean things up. I am literally interested in preservation.”
As part of Hahn’s service to the CUNY community, she initiated a Chapbook Festival that became an annual event co-sponsored by major literary organizations. Since then, she has added chapbooks to her list of publications: (Write it!): a collection of odes, Brittle Process, Brood, Ragged Evidence, A Field Guide to the Intractable, Boxes with Respect, The Cryptic Chamber, and Resplendent Slug. In 2017, she and Tamiko Beyer collaborated on the chapbook Dovetail.
She takes pleasure in the challenges of collaboration: writing text for film including: Coal Fields, the 1985 experimental documentary by Bill Brand; Ain’t Nuthin’ but a She Thing a 1995 HBO special; and Everywhere at Once, a 2008 film based on Peter Lindbergh’s still photos and narrated by Jeanne Moreau).
Hahn’s honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, PEN/Voelcker Award, Shelley Memorial Prize, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Writers’ Award as well as fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the N.Y. Foundation for the Arts. She has taught in graduate programs at the University of Houston and New York University. Hahn has also taught for literary organizations such as the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and Kundiman. From 2016-2019, Hahn was President of the Board of Governors, Poetry Society of America. In 2023, she was named a Chancellor for the Academy of American Poets.
She lives in New York where she is a distinguished professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Literary Translation at Queens College, The City University of New York.
Ilya Kaminsky was born in Odesa, Ukraine. He is the author of Deaf Republic (Graywolf Press), which was The New York Times’ Notable Book for 2019 and was a National Book Award finalist, and Dancing In Odessa (Tupelo Press), and is the co-editor and co-translator of many other books, including Ecco Anthology of International Poetry (Harper Collins). His work received The Los Angeles Times Book Prize.
Matthew Olzmann is the author of Constellation Route as well as two previous collections of poetry: Mezzanines and Contradictions in the Design. A recipient of fellowships from Kundiman, MacDowell, and the National Endowment for the Arts, Olzmann’s poems have appeared in the New York Times, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prizes, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He is an assistant professor at Dartmouth College and also teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
January Gill O’Neil is an associate professor at Salem State University, and the author of Glitter Road (forthcoming, 2024),Rewilding (2018), Misery Islands (2014), and Underlife (2009), all published by CavanKerry Press. From 2012-2018, she served as the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and currently serves as the 2022-2023 board chair of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). Her poems and articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series, American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Sierra magazine, among others. Her poem, “At the Rededication of the Emmett Till Memorial,” was a co-winner of the 2022 Allen Ginsberg Poetry award from the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College. The recipient of fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Cave Canem, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, O’Neil was the 2019-2020 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. She lives with her two children in Beverly, Massachusetts.
Mosab Abu Toha is a Palestinian poet from Gaza. He is the founder of the Edward Said Library, Gaza’s first English-language library. Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear is his debut book of poems and was named a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. It also won a 2022 Palestine Book Award.
Abu Toha’s writings from Gaza have appeared in The Nation and Literary Hub. His poems have been published in Poetry, The Nation, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day, Poetry Daily, the New York Review of Books, Arrowsmith, and Solstice, among others.
Andrea Cohen’s poems and stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Threepenny Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Republic, Glimmer Train, The Hudson Review, etc.
A new book of poems, The Sorrow Apartments, is forthcoming from Four Way Books. Other collections include Everything (Four Way, 2021), Nightshade (Four Way, 2019). Unfathoming (Four Way, 2017), Furs Not Mine (Four Way, 2015), Kentucky Derby (Salmon Poetry, 2011), Long Division (Salmon Poetry, 2009), and The Cartographer’s Vacation (Owl Creek Press, 1999).
Awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, Glimmer Train’s Short Fiction Award, and several fellowships at MacDowell. Over the years, she has taught at The University of Iowa, Emerson College, UMASS-Boston, Boston University, The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and Merrimack College, where she was the founding director of the Writers’ House. She directs the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, MA.
Mahogany L. Browne, selected as Kennedy Center‘s Next 50 and Wesleyan’s 2022-23 Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, the Executive Director of JustMedia, Artistic Director of Urban Word, is a writer, playwright, organizer, & educator. Browne has received fellowships from All Arts, Arts for Justice, Air Serenbe, Baldwin for the Arts, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research, & Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: Vinyl Moon, Chlorine Sky (optioned for Steppenwolf Theater), Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice, Woke Baby, & Black Girl Magic. Founder of the diverse lit initiative Woke Baby Book Fair, Browne is currently touring her latest poetry collection Chrome Valley received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and was highlighted in the New York Times.
She is the first-ever poet-in-residence at the Lincoln Center and lives in Brooklyn, NY.