Naomi Shihab Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, the Robert Creeley Prize, and “The Betty Prize” from Poets House, for service to poetry, and numerous honors for her children’s literature, including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards. In 2011 Nye won the Golden Rose Award given by the New England Poetry Club, the oldest poetry reading series in the country. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her work has been presented on National Public Radio on A Prairie Home Companion and The Writer’s Almanac. She has been featured on two PBS poetry specials including “The Language of Life with Bill Moyers” and also appeared on NOW with Bill Moyers. She has been affiliated with The Michener Center for writers at the University of Texas at Austin for 20 years and also poetry editor at The Texas Observer for 20 years. In 2019-2020 she was the editor for New York Times Magazine poems. She is Chancellor Emeritus for the Academy of American Poets, a laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Award for Children’s Literature, and in 2017 the American Library Association presented Naomi Shihab Nye with the 2018 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. In 2018 the Texas Institute of Letters awarded her the Lon Tinkle Award for Lifetime Achievement. She was named the 2019 – 2021 Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. In 2020 she was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Award for Lifetime Achievement by the National Book Critics Circle. Nye is Professor of Creative Writing – Poetry at Texas State University.
Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio. Olio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. It was also nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN Jean Stein Book Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Leadbelly was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.”
Jess, a Cave Canem and NYU Alumni, received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004–2005 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. Jess is also a veteran of the 2000 and 2001 Green Mill Poetry Slam Team, and won a 2000–2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry, the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award, and a 2006 Whiting Fellowship. He presented his poetry at the 2011 TedX Nashville Conference and won a 2016 Lannan Literary Award in Poetry. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2018. Jess is a Professor of English at College of Staten Island.
Jess’ fiction and poetry have appeared in many journals, as well as anthologies such as Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry, Beyond The Frontier: African American Poetry for the Twenty-First Century, Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Power Lines: Ten Years of Poetry from Chicago’s Guild Complex, and Slam: The Art of Performance Poetry.
Khadijah Queen is the author of five books of poetry, most recently I’m So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On (YesYes Books 2017), a finalist for the National Poetry Series, which was praised in O Magazine, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Review, and elsewhere as “quietly devastating,” and “a portrait of defiance that turns the male gaze inside out.” Earlier poetry collections include Conduit (Akashic / Black Goat 2008), Black Peculiar (Noemi Press 2011) and Fearful Beloved (Argos Books 2015). Her forthcoming collection, Anodyne, will be published by Tin House Books in August 2020. Her verse play Non-Sequitur (Litmus Press 2015) won the Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women’s Performance Writing. The prize included a full staged production of the play at Theaterlab NYC from December 10 – 20, 2015 by Fiona Templeton’s The Relationship theater company. Individual poems and prose appear in Poetry, Fence, Tin House, American Poetry Review, Buzzfeed, Gulf Coast, Poor Claudia, The Offing, jubilat, Memoir, Tupelo Quarterly, DIAGRAM, LitHub, New Delta Review, The Force of What’s Possible and elsewhere. Her 2019 op-ed on poetry and disability, co-edited with Jillian Weise, appeared in The New York Times.
When asked about perceptions of her work as experimental, she responded, “Labels don’t disturb me as much perhaps as they should, mostly because I know they don’t truly define me or my work, just aspects. My 13-year-old son says to call it experimental could cause the work to not be treated as legitimately as it should. Black Peculiar, I feel, does experiment with form/genre, just as my first book, Conduit, experiments with language. But no one could successfully argue that the work isn’t poetry or isn’t literature, or that the intellectual and emotional undercurrents don’t come through.”
Queen received her Ph.D in English from the University of Denver, and her MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. She is an Assistant Professor of creative writing at University of Colorado, Boulder, and serves as core faculty for the Mile-High MFA in creative writing at Regis University.
Martín Espada has published more than twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His new book of poems from Norton is called Floaters. Other books of poems include Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (2016), The Trouble Ball (2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006) and Alabanza (2003). He is the editor of What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (2019). He has received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The title poem of his collection Alabanza, about 9/11, has been widely anthologized and performed. His book of essays and poems, Zapata’s Disciple (1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona, and reissued by Northwestern. A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Learn more at http://www.martinespada.net/.
Novelist and poet Lang Leav was born in a refugee camp when her family were fleeing the Khmer Rouge Regime. She spent her formative years in Sydney, Australia, in the predominantly migrant town of Cabramatta. Among her many achievements, Lang is the winner of a Qantas Spirit of Youth Award, Churchill Fellowship and Goodreads Reader’s Choice Award.
Her first book, Love & Misadventure (2013) was a breakout success, and her subsequent poetry books have all been international bestsellers. In 2016, Lang turned her attention to fiction, and her debut novel Sad Girls shot to #1 on the Straits Times and other bestseller charts internationally.
Lang actively participates in international writers festivals and her tours consistently draw massive crowds. With a combined social media following of two million, Lang’s message of love, loss and female empowerment continues to resonate with her multitude of readers.
Lang has been featured on CNN, SBS Australia, Intelligence Squared UK, Radio New Zealand and in various publications, including Vogue, Newsweek, the Straits Times, the Guardian, and the New York Times. She currently resides in New Zealand with her partner and fellow author, Michael Faudet.
Dara Wier‘s books include In the Still of the Night (Wave Books, 2017), You Good Thing (Wave Books, 2013), Selected Poems (Wave Books, 2009), Remnants of Hannah (Wave Books, 2006), Reverse Rapture (Verse Press, 2005, 2006 Poetry Center Book Award), Hat On a Pond (Verse Press, 2002), and Voyages in English (Carnegie Mellon, 2001). Among her works limited editions THRU (Scram, 2020), (X In Fix) in Rain Taxi’s Brainstorm Series, Fly on the Wall (Oat City Press), and The Lost Epic, co-written with James Tate (Waiting for Godot Books, 1999). Fellowships and awards from the Lannan Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Massachusetts Cultural Council, American Poetry Review, The Poetry Center have supported her poems. Her editing work includes publishing limited edition chapbooks and broadsides for Factory Hollow Press. Forthcoming is Tolstoy Killed Anna Karenina from Wave Books.
Victoria Chang’s new book of poetry, OBIT, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2020 and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, long listed for a National Book Award, as well as long-listed for a PEN-Voeckler Award. OBIT was also named a TIME Magazine, Publishers Weekly, NPR, Boston Globe Best Book of the Year, and a New York Times Notable Book.
Other poetry books are Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. She also edited an anthology, Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation.
She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Katherine Min MacDowell Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, a Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and other awards. Her poems have been published in Best American Poetry.
Her children’s picture book Is Mommy? (Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster), was illustrated by Marla Frazee and was named a NYT Notable Book. Her middle grade verse novel, Love, Love was published by Sterling Publishing in 2020.
She is a contributing editor at Copper Nickel, Tupelo Quarterly, and On the Seawall.
She is the Program Chair of Antioch University’s low-residency MFA Program.
She lives in Los Angeles with her family and her weiner dogs, Mustard and Ketchup.
Learn more at https://victoriachangpoet.com/.
Arkansas born and raised; resident of New York City for more than four decades, Patricia Spears Jones is the recipient of The Jackson Poetry Prize, one the most prestigious awards for American Poets via Poets & Writers, Inc. The $50,000 prize is among the most substantial given to an American poet and is designed to provide what all poets need: time and encouragement to write. She is the eleventh winner. In language that is simultaneously sensuous, wise-cracking, explicit, and rollicking, Spears Jones describes a world rich in beauty and longing, with pain tempered always by joy.
Spears Jones was named by Essence as one of its “40 Poets They Love” in 2010. She is author of the poetry collections: Painkiller and Femme du Monde from Tia Chucha Press and The Weather That Kills from Coffee House Press and five chapbooks including Living in the Love Economy. Her fourth collection, A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems is out from White Pine Press (White Pine Press Distinguished Poets series) which features her 2016 Pushcart Prize winning poem, “Etta James at the Audubon Ballroom.” She was a finalist for the William Carlos Williams Prize from the Poetry Society of America and the Paterson Prize from the Passaic County Community College. Her work is widely anthologized. In 2015 she received a Barbara Deming Memorial Fund award for her memoir in progress.
Jos Charles is author of feeld, a Pulitzer-finalist and winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series selected by Fady Joudah (Milkweed Editions), and Safe Space (Ahsahta Press). In 2016 she received the Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship through the Poetry Foundation. Jos Charles has an MFA from the University of Arizona. She is a PhD student at UC Irvine and currently resides in Long Beach, CA.
Ariana Reines is an award-winning poet, playwright, and translator. Her most recent book of poetry is A Sand Book (Tin House, 2019), which was longlisted for the National Book Award. Her other books include Tiffany’s Poems (Song Cave, 2015), Ramayana (Song Cave, 2015), The Origin of the World (Semiotext(e), 2014), Beyond Relief (Belladonna*, 2013),Thursday (Spork Press, 2012), Mercury (Fence Books, 2011), Coeur de Lion (Fence Books, 2007), and The Cow (Fence Books, 2006). Her poems have been anthologized in Corrected Slogans (Triple Canopy, 2013), Miscellaneous Uncatalogued Materials (Triple Canopy, 2011), Against Expression (Northwestern University Press, 2011), and Gurlesque (Saturnalia, 2010). Reines has been described as “one of the crucial voices of her generation” by Michael Silverblatt on NPR’s Bookworm. In 2020, she won the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. She’s been a MacDowell Fellow, has judged the National Poetry Series, and writes regularly for ArtForum.
Reines’s first play Telephone (2009) was performed at the Cherry Lane Theater and received two Obie Awards. A re-imagining of its second act was featured as part of the Guggenheim’s Works+Process series in 2009, and the script was published in Play: A Journal of Plays in 2010. Telephone was published by Wonder in 2018. Reines’s translations include a version of Baudelaire’s My Heart Laid Bare (2009); Jean-Luc Hennig’s The Little Black Book of Grisélidis Réal: Days and Nights of an Anarchist Whore (2009); and Tiqqun’s Preliminary Materials Toward a Theory of the Young-Girl (2012).
Performances Reines has created include Miss St’s Hieroglyphic Suffering for the Guggenheim (2009); The Origin of the World for Stuart Shave/Modern Art, London (2012); Mortal Kombat for Le Mouvement Biel/Bienne, Galerie TPW Toronto, and The Whitney Museum of American Art, NY (2014), & more. Public Space, a 2017 sculpture collaboration with Oscar Tuazon, was shown at Stuart Shave/Modern Art London.
In an interview with The White Review, Reines as asked about the connection between writing the occult and writing female desire: “Writing is a transformative act and writing the occult, which I interpret as writing what’s invisible, or apparently invisible, is inevitably connected to writing my desire as a woman. Since the beginning of my career I’ve been haunted by the old mode of writing, which I think of as ‘righting’ – seeking redemption, somehow, by rendering past events into art; into fiction, into vision, into some form of intellectual lucidity that could somehow free me from the shit of the real. This is how the old dudes used to do it, and it’s not without its value. But what fascinates me is writing’s relationship to the future. Every book I’ve written has radically transformed my life. It has materially altered my lifestyle, brought me into contact with new friends and lovers, artworks and countries, ideas and vibrations I had neither the guts nor the imagination to visualize in advance.”
Reines has taught at Columbia University, NYU, The New School, and Tufts, and the European Graduate School, where she studied literature, performance, and philosophy. She has also been Visiting Critic in the Department of Sculpture at Yale In 2009 she was the Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at the University of California-Berkeley, the youngest poet to ever hold that position. She is currently at student at Harvard Divinity School. Since 2012, she has worked privately with clients through her astrology practice, Lazy Eye Haver.
Sadie Dupuis is the guitarist, songwriter & singer of rock band Speedy Ortiz, as well as the producer & multi-instrumentalist behind pop project Sad13. Sadie heads the record label Wax Nine, edits its poetry journal, and has written for outlets including Spin, Nylon, and Playboy. She holds an MFA in poetry from UMass Amherst, where she also taught writing. Mouthguard, her first book, was published in 2018 (Gramma, Black Ocean). Her most recent album is Sad13’s Haunted Painting, released in 2020.
Montreal-born Grenadian-Canadian Kaia Kater’s jazz-fueled voice and deft songcraft have garnered acclaim from NPR, CBC, Rolling Stone and No Depression. Her 2016 release ‘Nine Pin’ earned a Canadian Folk Music Award, sending her on 18-months of touring from Ireland to Iowa. Her most recent album ‘Grenades’ explores themes of migration and belonging and has been nominated for a 2019 JUNO award and long-listed for the Polaris Music Prize.