Aaron Levy Samuels
Aaron Samuels is the Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer of Blavity, a digital community for Black Millennials. When not at Blavity, Aaron has written a book of poetry, toured the country, performed on television, and landed himself on Forbes' coveted 30 under 30 list as a rising star in the tech and media space. His debut collection of poetry, Yarmulkes & Fitted Caps, was released on Write Bloody Publishing in 2013.
Gibson, a four-time Denver Grand Slam Champion, finished fourth at the 2004 National Poetry Slam and third at the 2006 and 2007 Individual World Poetry Slam. In 2008, Gibson became the first poet ever to win the Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWps) in Detroit. They are the author of four poetry collections, including Lord of the Butterflies (Button Poetry, 2018), Pansy (Write Bloody Publishing, 2015), The Madness Vase (2011), and Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns(2010). They also edited We Will Be Shelter: Poems for Survival(Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), an anthology of poems that address social justice issues. Gibson lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Annelyse Gelman's work has appeared in The New Yorker, BOMB Magazine, TriQuarterly, The Iowa Review, the PEN Poetry Series, American Poetry Review, and Hyperallergic. She is the author of the poetry collection Everyone I Love Is a Stranger to Someone (Write Bloody, 2014), the artist's book POOL (NECK Press, 2020), and the EP About Repulsion (Fonograf Editions, 2019). She was the inaugural poet-in-residence at UCSD's Brain Observatory in 2012, the Lavinia Winter Fellow at New Pacific Studio in 2013, a 2016 Fulbright grantee in Berlin, and a resident artist at the Fondation Jan Michalski in 2019. Her poetry films have been screened in festivals around the world, including in Germany's ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival, the FilmPoem Festival in Antwerp, dotdotdot in Vienna, Arcanum Video & Animation Festival in Slovenia, and the Rabbit Heart Poetry Film Festival. She is the founder, director, and curator of Midst, a digital platform for poetry.
Ben Clark grew up in Nebraska and now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his wife, Dana, and cat Joni. He works as an editor for Muzzle Magazine and Thoughtcrime Press. Clark has two poetry collections: if you turn around I will turn around (2015) and Reasons to Leave the Slaughter (Write Bloody Publishing, 2011). He’s currently working on a full-length manuscript with Dana McKenna, tentatively titled Tell Me Again.
Brian S. Ellis
Brian S. Ellis is a writer and performer based out of Portland, OR. He ha.s published poetry books: Yesterday Won’t Goodbye (Write Bloody 2011) and Uncontrolled Experiments in Freedom (Write Bloody 2008). He's represented the Boston Poetry Slam at the National Poetry Slam and the Individual World Poetry Slam and co-founded the Whitehaus Family Record, a venue and arts collective in Jamaica Plain. His writing has appeared online in Danse Macabre magazine and in England in Lunchbox Quarterly. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice.
Clint Smith is a staff writer at The Atlantic. He is the author of the narrative nonfiction book, How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning With the History of Slavery Across America, which was a #1 New York Times bestseller and New Yorker Longlist pick for non-fiction, and the poetry collection Counting Descent, which won the 2017 Literary Award for Best Poetry Book from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Clint has received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, New America, the Emerson Collective, the Art For Justice Fund, Cave Canem, and the National Science Foundation. His essays, poems, and scholarly writing have been published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review, the Harvard Educational Review, and elsewhere. He is a 2014 National Poetry Slam champion and a 2017 recipient of the Jerome J. Shestack Prize from the American Poetry Review. Previously, Clint taught high school English in Prince George’s County, Maryland, where, in 2013, he was named the Christine D. Sarbanes Teacher of the Year by the Maryland Humanities Council. He currently teaches writing and literature in the D.C. Central Detention Facility. He is also the host of the YouTube series Crash Course Black American History. Clint received his B.A. in English from Davidson College and his Ph.D. in Education from Harvard University. Born and raised in New Orleans, he currently lives in Maryland with his wife and two children.
Daniel McGinn is the author of The Moon, My Lover, My Mother & The Dog (Moon Tide Press, 2018) and 1000 Black Umbrellas (Write Bloody, 2011). He is a native of Southern California who's led writing workshops at Half Off Books, The Orange County Rescue Mission, charter schools, and poetry venues. After retiring as a maintenance coordinator at a paper recycling plant, Daniel returned to school and received his MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. He's been married to the poet and painter Lori McGinn for 41 years.
David Perez is an award-winning poet, author, and English composition professor at Ohlone College in Fremont, California. He is currently serving as the poet laureate of Santa Clara County, California. He is the author of the Write Bloody poetry collection, “Love in a Time of Robot Apocalypse,” the Recipient of the Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowship for Literary Art, a regular guest on NPR’s Snap Judgment, and Voted 2012’s “Best Author in the Bay” by SF Bay Guardian.
Eliana M Ellis
Elaina M. Ellis is a poet, editor, curator, and performing artist. She is the author of the poetry collection WRITE ABOUT AN EMPTY BIRDCAGE (Write Bloody). Her poems have appeared in Vinyl Poetry, Muzzle Magazine, The Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, and Horsethief. Elaina has produced more than a dozen cross-disciplinary, collaborative art events, including 2012: POETRY APOCALYPSE, an original libretto devised and performed with the Seattle Rock Orchestra. She is a Lambda Literary Fellow and a founding member of the Kulshan Academy for Queer Artists. She has served as a consultant for organizations including Jewish Voice for Peace, Solid Ground, and Bent Writing InstituteC and is proud to work as Editor at Copper Canyon Press. Elaina received 2018 GAP Award funding to revise and complete I’M ONLY PRAYING TO BELIEVE WHAT’S TRUE, her second poetry collection.
Hieu Minh Nguyen
Hieu Minh Nguyen is a queer Vietnamese American poet and performer based out of Minneapolis. Recipient of 2017 NEA fellowship for poetry, Hieu is a Kundiman fellow, a poetry editor for Muzzle Magazine, and an MFA candidate at Warren Wilson College. His work has appeared in PBS Newshour, POETRY Magazine, Gulf Coast, BuzzFeed, Poetry London, Nashville Review, Indiana Review, and more. His debut collection of
poetry, This Way to the Sugar (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), was named a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award and the MN Book Award. His second collection of poetry, Not Here, was published by Coffee House Press in 2018.
J. Sylvan (they/them) is a theater creator, songwriter, playwright, essayist, and minister-in-training. They are currently working on their second musical, a queer Bible musical called Beloved King, pursuing ordination through the Unitarian Universalist Church. J. is also the creator of It’s in the Book: A Queer Bible Podcast. J.’s prior creations include Kissing Oscar Wilde (Write Bloody 2013), a novelized memoir about the author’s experience as a touring poet in Paris. They’ve also had essays published in places like The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, The Toast (NEVER FORGET), poetry in numerous journals and collections, a story in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and other things in other places. J. was once called a “risque queer icon” by the Boston Globe.
Jason Bayani is a graduate of Saint Mary’s MFA program in Creative Writing. He is a Kundiman fellow and a veteran of the National Poetry Slam scene. His work has been published in World Literature Today, Fourteen Hills, Muzzle Magazine, and Mascara Review. He’s a National Poetry Slam finalist and represented Oakland at the International World Poetry Slam. He is also one of the founding members of the Filipino American Spoken Word troupe, Proletariat Bronze. He has been an organizer for the Asian and Pacific Islander Poetry and Spoken Word Summit. His first book, Amulet, was published in 2013 through Write Bloody Press and has garnered acclaim in literary magazines such as Zyzzyva and Glint. He is currently the artistic director for Kearny Street Workshop.
Jon Sands won the 2018 National Poetry Series, selected for his second book, It’s Not Magic (Beacon Press, 2019). He is the Emotional Historians workshop facilitator, a series of generative writing workshops that you can learn more about on Instagram at @iAmJonSands. His work has been featured in the New York Times and anthologized in The Best American Poetry. He teaches at Brooklyn College, Urban Word NYC, and for over a decade has facilitated a weekly writing workshop for adults at Baily House, an HIV/AIDS service center in East Harlem. He tours extensively as a poet but lives in Brooklyn.
Lauren B. Zuniga is an internationally touring poet and teaching artist. She is the author of The Nickel Tour (Penmanship Books, 2009) and The Smell of Good Mud (Write Bloody, 2012), a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. Her work has been featured on Button Poetry, Upworthy, Everyday Feminism, MoveOn.org, and Autostraddle. She has over a million views on YouTube and is a three-time international poetry slam finalist. In 2012, she served as Activist-in-Residence at the University in Oklahoma, Center for Social Justice, and in 2016 she was a Generative Fellow for Core Align. This program teaches innovation in social justice. She lives with her two kids and her partner in Oklahoma City.
Matty Byloos's first collection of short stories, Don't Smell the Floss, was published in 2009 by Write Bloody Publishing. His work has appeared in Everyday Genius, Matchbook, Bomb, and The Magazine of Bizarro Fiction. He's also been included in the anthologies In Heaven, Everything is Fine: Fiction Inspired by David Lynch (Eraserhead Press, 2013) and The People's Apocalypse (Microcosm Publishing, 2013). With Carrie Seitzinger, he runs NAILED Magazine from Portland, where he lives and works.
Mighty Mike McGee is a well-traveled “stand-up poet” and storyteller from San José, California. He is the first to win both the 2003 National Poetry Slam Individual Grand Championship, and the 2006 Individual World Poetry Slam Grand Championship in the poetry slam world. Since 2002, he has toured very extensively throughout United States, Canada, and Europe. McGee has been featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, CBC Radio and Television, and NPR’s Snap Judgment. He was appointed Poet Laureate of Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley) for 2018 & 2019. McGee’s first collection of humor and poetry, In Search of Midnight, was published by Write Bloody.
Nicole Homer is an Associate Professor of English at a community college in Central New Jersey. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Muzzle, The Offing, Winter Tangerine, Rattle, The Collagist, and elsewhere. A fellow of both The Watering Hole and Callaloo, Nicole serves as an Editor and regular contributor at BlackNerdProblems, writing a critique of media and pop culture, and as faculty at the Pink Door Writing Retreat for Women and Gender Non-conforming Writers of Color. Her full-length collection of poems, Pecking Order (Write Bloody 2017), was a Paterson Poetry Prize and Eric Hoffer Awards finalist. She was the 41st Dartmouth Poet-in-Residence at The Frost Place.
Rob “RatpackSlim” Sturma
Rob "Ratpack Slim" Sturma has been a performance poet since 2000, where, while he was in Los Angeles, he took his pop culture smarts from years of open mics and slams to dropping poetry with diverse collaborators such as DJ Z-Trip and TNA Wrestling. He currently lives in Oklahoma City, OK, where he is seen every Sunday on Geekweek.com's "USB Boys" video podcast making the world safe for nerds and poets everywhere.
Sarah Kay is a poet from New York City who has been performing her spoken word poetry since she was 14 years old. In 2006, she featured on HBO's "Def Poetry Jam" and was the youngest poet to compete at the National Poetry Slam. Sarah is perhaps best known for her talk at the 2011 TED conference, which garnered over 3 million online views. Sarah's first book, B, was a #1 Bestselling Poetry Book on Amazon, and her other work has appeared in Pear Noir!, The Literary Bohemian, Damselfly Press, The Huffington Post, and CNN.com, among others. She is the founder and co-director of Project VOICE.
Shanny Jean Maney
Shanny Jean Maney is both a performance poet and teacher. She published I Love Science! in 2012 with Write Bloody Publishing. With Robbie Q. Telfer, she co-founded The Encyclopedia Show, a radical literary reading/spectacular which now runs in venues across the globe. In March 2010, the Chicago Encyclopedia Show won the Orgie (short for Original) Theatre Award for 2009's "Best Creation/Curators." Maney continues to co-curate the original show in Chicago.
Sierra DeMulder is an internationally touring performance poet and educator, a two-time National Poetry Slam champion, and the Director of bluapple Poetry Network, a program of the Jason Taylor Foundation. In addition to performing, Sierra is the co-founder of the Slam Camp, an annual writing summer camp for high school students, and Button Poetry. She is a four-time published author of The Bones Below, New Shoes on a Dead Horse (2010, 2012, Write Bloody Publishing), We Slept Here (Button Poetry, 2015) and Today Means Amen (Andrews McMeel, 2016). She is the co-host of the relationship advice podcast Just Break Up and lives in Minneapolis with her dog, Opal.
Taylor Mali is the author of The Whetting Stone (Rattle 2017), Bouquet of Red Flags (Write Bloody Books 2014), What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World (Putnam 2012), The Last Time As We Are (Write Bloody Books 2009) and What Learning Leaves (Hanover 2002). He received a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant in 2001 to develop Teacher! Teacher!, a one-person show about poetry, teaching, and math, won the jury prize for best solo performance at the 2001 Comedy Arts Festival. Mali was the former president of Poetry Slam, Inc., the non-profit organization that oversees all poetry slams in North America. He has performed or taught poetry in over 50 foreign countries and every state of the U.S. (except Wyoming!).
Amber Flame is an interdisciplinary creative, activist, and educator whose work has garnered residencies with Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and more. A 2016 and 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee and Jack Straw Writer Program alum, Amber Flame’s first full-length poetry collection, Ordinary Cruelty, was published in 2017 through Write Bloody Press. Flame was a recipient of the CityArtist grant from Seattle’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs for her one-person play, Hands Above the Covers. Recently named Program Director for Hedgebrook, she works as a writing instructor while working on a third collection of poetry, remounting her full-length play, developing a few nonfiction anthologies, and raising her daughter.
Anis Mojgani was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. He is the author of five books of poetry, most recently In the Pockets of Small Gods (Write Bloody Publishing, 2018). He also wrote the libretto for the opera Sanctuaries (Third Angle Music, 2021), which revolves around the gentrification and displacement of North Portland and the African Diaspora. In 2021, he received an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship while serving as Oregon’s 10th Poet Laureate. A two-time National Poetry Slam Individual Champion and a winner of the international World Cup Poetry Slam. He lives in Portland, OR.
Arhm Choi Wild
Arhm Choi Wild is a queer, Korean-American poet who grew up in the slam community of Ann Arbor, Michigan, and went on to perform across the country, including at Brave New Voices, the New York City Poetry Festival, the Bowery Poetry Club, and Asheville Wordfest. Their debut book of poems, CUT TO BLOOM, won the 2019 Write Bloody Book Contest. Arhm is a Kundiman fellow with an MFA in Poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, a finalist for the Jake Adam York Prize in 2019, and a finalist for the Button Poetry video contest in 2020. They have been supported by Cave Canem and VONA, and published by Barrow Street, The Massachusetts Review, Pleiades, Split this Rock, and others. They work as the Director of the Progressive Teaching Institute and as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator at a school in New York City.
Brendan Constantine is the author of Birthday Girl with Possum (Write Bloody 2011). He has received grants and commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brendan has presented his work to audiences throughout the U.S. and Europe, appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, KPFK’s Poetry Cafe, numerous podcasts, and YouTube. He currently teaches creative writing at the Windward School. Constantine brings poetry workshops to veterans, hospitals, foster care centers, shelters for the homeless, and the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. He spent much of 2017 working with speech pathologist Michael Biel to create one of the first poetry workshops for people dealing with Aphasia.
Bucky Sinister is a poet, self-help author, and comedian. He has published four books of poetry and two self-help books, including Get Up: A 12-Step Guide to Recovery for Misfits, Freaks, and Weirdos. His journalism, film reviews, and short stories have appeared on The Rumpus, The Bold Italic, and other online and print publications. You can also spot him in Willow Creek, a film by Bobcat Goldthwait.
Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1978. She received a BFA from New York University, where she co-founded the NYC-Urbana Poetry Slam. She is the author of several poetry collections, including How to Love the Empty Air (Write Bloody Publishing, 2018); The Year of No Mistakes (Write Bloody Publishing, 2013), winner of a Book of the Year Award from the Writers’ League of Texas; Everything Is Everything (Write Bloody Publishing, 2010); Hot Teen Slut (The Wordsmith Press, 2001); and Dear Future Boyfriend (The Wordsmith Press, 2000). She is also the author of two nonfiction books, including Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam (Soft Skull, 2007). Aptowicz has received an Amy Clampitt Residency and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Daniel Nester is the author of Harsh Realm: My 1990s (Indolent Books 2022). His previous books include Shader, How to Be Inappropriate, and The Incredible Sestina Anthology, which he edited. He currently edits Pine Hills Review, the literary journal of The College of Saint Rose, where he is also a professor of English. His first two books, God Save My Queen: A Tribute and God Save My Queen II: The Show Must Go On, are hybrid collections on his obsession with the rock band Queen. His third, The History of My World Tonight, is a book of poems. As a journalist, essayist, and poet, his work has appeared in a variety of places, such as Salon, New York Times, Buzzfeed, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, and the Poetry Foundation website, and anthologized in such collections as Lost and Found, The Best American Poetry, The Best Creative Nonfiction, Third Rail: The Poetry of Rock and Roll, and Now Write! Nonfiction.
Derrick C. Brown is a novelist, comedian, poet, and storyteller. He is the winner of the 2013 Texas Book of The Year award for Poetry. He is a former paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne. He is the owner and president of Write Bloody Publishing, which Forbes and Filter Magazine call “…one of the best independent poetry presses in the country.” He is the author of eight books of poetry and four children’s books. The New York Times calls his work “…a rekindling of faith in the weird, hilarious, shocking, beautiful power of words.” He lives in Portland, Oregon.
She is the author of two poetry collections, Soft Science (Alice James Books) and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing), as well as a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press). Her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, the New England Review. She is a Kundiman Fellow, a 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow, a recipient of Princeton’s Holmes National Poetry Prize, and a graduate of the University of Michigan's Helen Zell Writers Program. She is the founder of Brew & Forge and co-hosts the podcast VS alongside Danez Smith. She currently teaches at Williams College as a Levitt Artist-in-Residence.
Jacqueline is the author of three books: The Collected (Publication Studio, 2010), Go Ahead & Like It (Ten Speed Press, 2014), and The Edge of The Continent Volume One (Rare Bird, 2018). Known for her multidisciplinary project Poem Store, Jacqueline composes improvisational poetry for patrons on her manual typewriter. She has written for Oprah, Maria Shriver, Drew Barrymore, Cheryl Strayed, and Gwyneth Paltrow. She has collaborated with Nike, PayPal, Alice + Olivia, and more, finding endless ways to bring poetry into the mainstream. Michelle Obama honored Jacqueline at the White House for her work as a Turnaround Artist and has been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, and many others.Her forthcoming book with Write Bloody was published in 2019.
Janae Johnson is an award-winning poet, performer, and educator. Her writing celebrates and centers Black queer masculinity, kinship, and belonging. She is a former National Poetry Slam Champion, Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, and a founder of two nationally recognized poetry venues: The Root Slam (Oakland, CA) and The House Slam (Boston, MA). Janae’s full-length poetry collection Lessons on Being Tenderheaded is forthcoming in Spring 2022 by Write Bloody Publishing. Janae currently resides in Tacoma, WA.
Jeanann Verlee is a poet, editor, and former punk rocker. She is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellow and the author of three books: prey, first runner-up for the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award (forthcoming, Black Lawrence Press, 2018), Said the Manic to the Muse (Write Bloody Publishing, 2015) and Racing Hummingbirds, silver medal winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards (Write Bloody Publishing, 2010). She won the Third Coast Poetry Prize and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry. Her work appears in Adroit, BOAAT, Rattle, PANK, VIDA, and BuzzFeed.
Khary Jackson is a poet, playwright, dancer, and musician. He has written several plays, including Water, produced in 2009 at Ink and Pulp Theatre in Chicago. As a hip hop/street dancer, he created and performed a piece at the 2018 Choreographers' Evening at Walker Arts Center. He has received several grants, including the 2016 McKnight Artist Fellowship in Writing, the Minnesota State Arts Board's 2012 Cultural Community Partnership Grant and 2010 Artist Initiative Grant for Poetry, the Many Voices Fellowship from the Playwrights' Center in 2005, and 2007, and the 2009 VERVE Spoken Word Grant from Intermedia Arts. He is an alumnus of Cave Canem, the esteemed writing fellowship for black writers. His first poetry book, Any Psalm You Want, was published with Write Bloody Publishing in 2013.
Lino Anunciacion is a Texas-transplant spoken word artist based in Bryan, Texas. He serves as President of Mic Check Poetry, a 501(c)3 non-profit poetry organization, and Director of Texas Grand Slam Poetry Festival, Texas’s largest individual poetry festival. Lino was the 2016 Mic Check Slam Champion and took 2nd place at the 2017 Southwest Shootout Individual Slam. He is the author of And Then You Begin to Sing, as well as four other books. His most recent poetry collection, The Way We Move Through Water, was published by Write Bloody Publishing in September 2018.
Megan Falley is the queer femme author of two full-length collections of poetry on Write Bloody Publishing. Her chapbook, Bad Girls Honey (Poems About Lana Del Rey), won the 2015 Tired Hearts Competition. Falley is a Woman of the World and National Poetry Slam Finalist and a Pushcart Prize Nominee. She has been featured twice on TV One's Verses and Flow, is the co-founder of the touring group SPEAK LIKE A GIRL and the creator of the online writing course Poems That Don’t Suck. Her YouTube videos have garnered over one million views, and she has toured over 100 colleges nationwide. Her Work focuses on LGBTQ issues, sex and body positivity, combating sexism and homophobia, and love. Her fourth collection of poetry, Drive Here and Devastate Me (Write Bloody Publishing), was released on September 26, 2018.
Mindy Nettifee, MA, is an award-winning writer, performance poet, and storyteller. She is the author of three full-length collections of poems: Sleepyhead Assassins (Moon Tide Press), Rise of the Trust Fall (Write Bloody Publishing), and Open Your Mouth Like a Bell (Write Bloody Publishing), as well as a collection of essays on writing Glitter In The Blood: A Poet’s Manifesto for Better, Braver Writing (Write Bloody Publishing). She is a three-time nominee for the Pushcart Prize, a Powell’s Books Indie Press Bestseller, and co-editor of the anthology Courage: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (Write Bloody Publishing).
Pages D Matam
Pages Matam (They/He) - the Motion-Picture Poet - is an interdisciplinary artist, event coordinator, & educator born and raised in Cameroon, then Washington Metro area, currently living in Los Angeles. Pages is a pleasure activist (word to Adrienne Maree Brown) with work centering Black Queer liberation. Pages is a recipient of the DC Commissions Arts and Humanities Fellowship, a Callaloo Fellow, and author of the award-winning full-length collection The Heart of a Comet (Write Bloody, 2014). A polyglot National poetry slam champion and National Fair Housing Alliance Cultural Ambassador, with over a decade of experience in youth programs, creative writing with social justice lens, cultural competency workshops, and performance transmedia art. When not being an Anime fanatic, Pages is translating all their work into new and exciting mediums working in screenwriting, dubbed “the motion-picture poet” creating poetic Dramas that center vibrant Black characters and their stories in a way that is fantastical, gritty as it is joyous, and culturally competent.
Ryler Dustin is the author of the poetry collection Heavy Lead Birdsong from Write Bloody Publishing. He has represented Seattle on the final stage of the Individual World Poetry Slam and headlined at slam venues across the U.S. He has been awarded residencies from the Jack Kerouac Project of Orlando and the Margery Davis Boyden Wilderness Writing Residency. His poems appear in American Life in Poetry, Verse Daily, Gulf Coast, and The Best of Iron Horse.
A passionate educator, he has led an award-winning after-school poetry program in Houston, visited classrooms through Writers in the Schools, and facilitated community writing with InPrint. He currently teaches writing and literature at Albion College in Michigan.
Seema Reza wrote When the World Breaks Open, a memoir of essays and poetry (Red Hen Press) and A Constellation of Half-Lives (poetry, Write Bloody Publishing). Based outside of Washington, DC, she coordinates and facilitates a unique multi-hospital arts program that encourages the arts as a tool for narration, self-care, and socialization among a population struggling with emotional and physical injuries. Her writing has appeared in print and online in Entropy, The Feminist Wire, Bellevue Literary Review, The Offing, Full Grown, People, and The Nervous Breakdown. She is the Chair of Community Building Art Works. Reza’s work with veterans is featured in the 2018 HBO documentary We Are Not Done Yet. The USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore awarded her the Col John Gioia Patriot Award for her work with veterans.
Sheleen McElhinney is a poet who currently lives in Philadelphia, PA, with her three miraculous children. Her work has appeared in Whiskey Island Magazine, Dogzplot Flash Fiction, Abandon Journal, Poetica Review, West Trade Review, and others. Her debut book, Every Little Vanishing, was the winner of the Write Bloody Publishing book award.
Tara Hardy is a working-class, Queer, Femme, chronically ill writer and founder of Bent, a writing institute for LGBTQ people in Seattle. Her most recent book of poems, My, My, My, My, My, won a 2017 Washington State Book Award and explores the links between childhood trauma and chronic illness. She is a former Hugo House Writer in Residence, Seattle Poet Populist, and Hedgebrook alumna. She teaches at Richard Hugo House, Path With Art, and Gay City Arts.
Tim was born and raised in Kingsport, Tennessee. He taught at different colleges and universities until he formed Blue Highway in 1994 with Wayne Taylor, Shawn Lane, Rob Ickes, and Jason Burleson. The band is one of the most decorated and influential in Bluegrass history, having been nominated for 3 Grammys, winning a Dove Award, and nearly 30 IBMA Awards. In March 2016, Blue Highway was named the most popular bluegrass artist in history in an online poll by Bluegrass Today. In 2010, he and Caroline Wright co-authored Still Inside: The Tony Rice Story, the critically-acclaimed authorized biography of bluegrass Hall of Fame member and living legend Tony Rice. On May 8, 2015, Tim was named a Distinguished Alumnus in the Arts by the East Tennessee State University National Alumni Society.