Festival Lineup & Bios
Here is the full Festival Lineup at this time. Click on a poet's name to jump down to their biography.
Elizabeth Alexander* • Francisco Aragón • Renée Ashley • Ellen Bass* • Jan Beatty • William Brewer • Jericho Brown • Tina Chang • Cortney Lamar Charleston • Marilyn Chin* • Sandra Cisneros • Henri Cole • Aaron Coleman • Kwame Dawes* • Safia Elhillo • William Evans • Naomi Extra • Forrest Gander* • Ross Gay • Maria Mazziotti Gillan • Rigoberto González • Linda Gregerson* • Juan Felipe Herrera • Brenda Hillman* • David Hinton • Nicole Homer • Marie Howe* • Rob Hylton • Joy Ladin • Joseph O. Legaspi • Raymond Luczak • Khaled Mattawa* • Peter E. Murphy • Eileen Myles • Marilyn Nelson* • Aimee Nezhukumatathil • Hieu Minh Nguyen • Sharon Olds • Gregory Orr • Alicia Ostriker* • Gregory Pardlo • Kevin Pilkington • Khadijah Queen • Nancy Reddy • Alberto Ríos* • Mary Ruefle • Christine Salvatore • Sapphire • sam sax • Natalie Scenters-Zapico • Nicole Sealey • Ntozake Shange • Danez Smith • David St. John* • Krista Tippett • J.C. Todd • Paul Tran • BJ Ward • Rachel Wiley • Jenny Xie • David Young
* Academy of American Poets Chancellor.
List subject to changes and additions.
Elizabeth Alexander was born in Harlem, New York, and raised in Washington, D.C. Her most recent collections include Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990–2010 and American Sublime, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She is also the author of the memoir, The Light of the World, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. She has received the Jackson Poetry Prize, as well as fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. In 2015, Alexander was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She currently serves as the President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and lives in New York City.
Francisco Aragón, a native of San Francisco, is the son of Nicaraguan immigrants. Upon his return to the U.S. in 1998 after a decade in Spain, he completed graduate degrees in creative writing from UC Davis and Notre Dame, after which he joined Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, where he established Letras Latinas. His work in this area led him to serve the literary community at-large, including as a trustee of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). Letras Latinas is a founding member of the Poetry Coalition. In 2010, he was awarded the Outstanding Latino/a Cultural Arts, Literary Arts and Publications Award by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education and in 2015 a VIDO Award by VIDA, Women in the Literary Arts. In 2017, he was a finalist for Split This Rock’s Freedom Plow Award for poetry and activism. Aragón, a CantoMundo fellow and a member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop, is the author of Puerta del Sol and Glow of Our Sweat as well as editor of the anthology, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry. His third book, After Rubén, is forthcoming.
Renée Ashley’s recent books are The View from the Body and Because I Am the Shore I Want to Be the Sea. She has received fellowships in poetry and prose from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and a poetry fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts. A portion of her poem, “First Book of the Moon,” is included in a permanent installation by the artist Larry Kirkland in Penn Station, NYC. Ashley teaches in the low-residency MFA in Creative Writing and the MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her collection of essays, Minglements: Prose on Poems and Life, will be published in 2019. She lives in northern New Jersey.
Ellen Bass was born in Philadelphia and raised in New Jersey. She is the author of eight poetry collections, the most recent of which is Like a Beggar. Her other books include The Human Line, Mules of Love, and I’m Not Your Laughing Daughter. Bass is the recipient of fellowships from the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as the Lambda Literary Award for Poetry, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, and two Pushcart Prizes. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2017. She currently teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Pacific University and lives in Santa Cruz, California.
Jan Beatty’s fifth full-length book, Jackknife: New and Collected Poems, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press and won the 2018 Paterson Prize. Her last book, The Switching/Yard, was named one of ...30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry by Library Journal. The Huffington Post named her one of ten women writers for “required reading.” Her poem, “Shooter” was featured in a paper delivered in Paris by scholar Mary Kate Azcuy: “Jan Beatty’s ‘Shooter,’ A Controversy For Feminist & Gender Politics.” Other books include Red Sugar, Boneshaker, and Mad River, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. For twenty-five years, Beatty was host and producer of Prosody, a public radio show on NPR affiliate WESA-FM featuring the work of national writers. Beatty worked as a waitress for fifteen years, and as a welfare caseworker, abortion counselor, and a social worker and teacher in maximum-security prisons. She is the managing editor of MadBooks, a small press that published a series of books and chapbooks by women writers. She directs the creative writing program at Carlow University, where she runs the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops and directs the MFA program. For more about Jan, take a look at her Ask a Poet blog.
William Brewer is the author of I Know Your Kind, winner of the National Poetry Series, and Oxyana, selected for the Poetry Society of America's 30 and Under Chapbook Fellowship. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, The Nation, New England Review, The New Yorker, A Public Space, The Sewanee Review, and other journals. A former Stegner Fellow, he is currently a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.
Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please, won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. His poems have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Buzzfeed, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. He is the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University. For more about Jericho, take a look at his Ask a Poet blog.
Tina Chang was raised in New York City. She is the first female to be named Poet Laureate of Brooklyn and is the author of the collections of poetry Of Gods & Strangers and Half-Lit Houses. She is also the co-editor of the W.W. Norton anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond. She is the recipient of awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, and the Van Lier Foundation among others. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and she is also a member of the international writing faculty at the City University of Hong Kong.
Cortney Lamar Charleston is the author of Telepathologies, selected by D.A. Powell for the 2016 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. He was awarded a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and he has also received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Conversation Literary Festival and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Winner of a Pushcart Prize and finalist for The Missouri Review 2017 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize, his poems have appeared in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, New England Review, AGNI, TriQuarterly and many other publications. He serves as a poetry editor at The Rumpus where he focuses on curating original poetry alongside Carolina Ebeid. Charleston is originally from the Chicagoland area and now resides in Jersey City, NJ with his partner and college sweetheart.
Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of A Portrait of the Self as Nation: New and Selected Poems; Hard Love Province, which won the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; Rhapsody in Plain Yellow; The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty; and Dwarf Bamboo. Her many honors include the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at Bellagio, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and the PEN/Josephine Miles Award. In 2018, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She is currently professor emerita at San Diego State University. For more about Marilyn, take a look at her Ask a Poet blog.
Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, whose work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary doctorates and book awards nationally and internationally, and most recently Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the National Medal of the Arts, awarded to her by President Obama in 2016. The House on Mango Street has sold over five million copies, been translated into over twenty languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation. Founder of awards and foundations that serve writers and a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, Sandra Cisneros earns her living by her pen. For more about Sandra, take a look at her Ask a Poet blog.
Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan. He has published nine collections of poetry, including Middle Earth, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry. He has received many awards for his work, including the Jackson Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, the Lenore Marshall Award, and the Medal in Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent collection is Nothing to Declare, and a memoir Orphic Paris was published by New York Review Books this spring. He teaches at Claremont McKenna College and lives in Boston. For more about Henri, take a look at his Ask a Poet blog.
Aaron Coleman is the author of Threat Come Close and the chapbook St. Trigger, selected by Adrian Matejka for the 2015 Button Poetry Prize. A Fulbright Scholar and Cave Canem Fellow from Metro-Detroit, Aaron has lived and worked with youth in locations including Spain, South Africa, Chicago, St. Louis, and Kalamazoo. Aaron’s poems have appeared in journals including Boston Review, FENCE, and New York Times Magazine. As a poet and translator from Spanish, Aaron has received awards including the American Literary Translators Association’s Jansen Memorial Fellowship, the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Contest, and the Cincinnati Review Schiff Award. Aaron is currently a PhD student at Washington University St. Louis, studying 20th Century literature of the African Diaspora and Translation Studies in the Comparative Literature Program’s International Writers’ Track. For more about Aaron, take a look at his Ask a Poet blog.
Kwame Dawes has authored 35 books of poetry, fiction, criticism, and essays, including, most recently, City of Bones: A Testament. Speak from Here to There, co-written with Australian poet John Kinsella, appeared in 2016. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and Chancellor’s Professor of English at the University of Nebraska. He is also a faculty member in the Pacific MFA Program. He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival. Dawes is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Safia Elhillo, Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, is the author of The January Children. She was awarded the 2018 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and received the the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and is co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Safia is a Cave Canem fellow and holds an MFA in poetry from The New School. She is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me.
William Evans is an author, speaker, performer and instructor from Columbus, OH. As the founder of the Writing Wrongs Poetry Slam, William created one of the most reputable open mic and slam venues in the country. William is also the co-founder and editor-in chief of BlackNerdProblems.com, a website focused on pop culture and diversity. As an artist, William is one the most successful performance poets to come from Columbus and the state of Ohio as a whole. He appeared on three finals stages at the National level, most recently finishing fifth overall at the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam. He has performed on eight Columbus National Teams while being an artist in residence for both the Columbus Wexner Center and Columbus City Schools in beginning in 2012. William is as a Callaloo Fellow, the poetry recipient of 2016 Sustainable Arts Foundation Grant and the 2018 Spirit of Columbus Foundation Grant. William's newest poetry manuscript, Still Can't Do My Daughter's Hair, was released on Button Poetry in Fall 2017.
Naomi Extra is a freelance writer, poet, and doctoral candidate in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. In both her creative and scholarly work she explores the themes of agency and pleasure in the lives of black women and girls. Naomi has been awarded fellowships by Cave Canem, Poetry Incubator, the African American Intellectual History Society, and Imagining America. Her essays have appeared in Bitch, Lenny, Ms. Magazine Blog, Lit Hub, Broadly and elsewhere. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic, Bone Bouquet, The Rumpus, and elsewhere.
Forrest Gander is a writer, translator, and editor of several anthologies of writing from Spain and Mexico. His 2011 poetry collection Core Samples from the World was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books include two novels, As A Friend and The Trace; the poetry collections Eye Against Eye, Torn Awake, Science & Steepleflower; and the essay collection Faithful Existence: Reading, Memory & Transcendence. Gander’s essays have appeared in The Nation, The Boston Review, and the New York Times Book Review. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Library of Congress, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim, Howard, United States Artists, and Whiting Foundations. His most recent collection of poetry, Be With, was published in May of 2018. For more about Forrest, take a look at his Ask a Poet blog.
Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Ohioana Book Award, the Balcones Poetry Prize, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Ross's forthcoming book, The Book of Delights, is to be published in Spring of 2019. Ross is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens, in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, River. He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin', in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.
Maria Mazziotti Gillan is a recipient of the 2014 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature from the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP), the 2011 Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award from Poets & Writers, and the 2008 American Book Award for her book, All That Lies Between Us. She is the founder/executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, NJ, and editor of the Paterson Literary Review. She is also director of the Binghamton Center for Writers and the creative writing program, and professor of English at Binghamton University-SUNY. She has published 23 books, including Paterson Light and Shadow; What Blooms in Winter; The Girls in the Chartreuse Jackets; Ancestors’ Song; The Silence in an Empty House; Writing Poetry to Save Your Life: How to Find the Courage to Tell Your Stories; The Place I Call Home; and What We Pass On: Collected Poems 1980-2009. With her daughter Jennifer, she is co-editor of four anthologies. Visit her website at www.mariagillan.com. For more about Maria, take a look at her Ask a Poet blog.
Rigoberto González is the author of five books of poetry and numerous books of prose. His most recent volume of poetry is Unpeopled Eden, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets and the Lambda Literary Prize. The recipient of Guggenheim, NEA, NYFA, and USA Rolón fellowships, he is a contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine, writes a book column for NBC-Latino, and sits on the board of trustees of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP). In 2015, he received the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement from the Publishing Triangle.
Linda Gregerson is the author of seven collections of poetry, including New and Selected Poems; The Selvage; The Woman Who Died in Her Sleep, which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Prize and The Poets Prize; Magnetic North, which was a finalist for the 2007 National Book Award; and Waterborne, which won the 2003 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Gregerson’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, POETRY, Granta, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies.
Juan Felipe Herrera is the 21st Poet Laureate of the United States (2015-2016) and is the first Latino to hold the position. From 2012-2014, Herrera served as California State Poet Laureate. Herrera’s many collections of poetry include Notes on the Assemblage; Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award; and 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971-2007. He is also the author of Crashboomlove: A Novel in Verse, which received the Americas Award. His books of prose for children include: SkateFate, Calling The Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award; Upside Down Boy, which was adapted into a musical for young audiences in New York City; and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box. His book Jabberwalking, a children’s book focused on turning your wonder at the world around you into weird, wild, incandescent poetry, is forthcoming in 2018. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.
Brenda Hillman is the author of ten collections of poetry: White Dress, Fortress, Death Tractates, Bright Existence, Loose Sugar, Cascadia, Pieces of Air in the Epic, Practical Water, for which she won the LA Times Book Award for Poetry, Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire,which received the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize and the Northern California Book Award for Poetry; and her most recent Extra Hidden Life, Among the Days. In 2016 she was named Academy of American Poets Chancellor. Among other awards Hillman has received are the 2012 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the 2005 William Carlos Williams Prize for poetry, and Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation.
David Hinton’s poetry books include the just-released Desert, The Wilds of Poetry, the epic map-poem Fossil Sky, and many translations from classical Chinese. These translations have earned wide acclaim for creating compelling contemporary texts that convey the literary texture and philosophical density of the originals. Hinton has won many national awards, including most recently a lifetime achievement award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Nicole Homer is a full-time faculty member at Mercer County Community College in NJ, with an MFA from Rutgers-Newark. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Muzzle, The Offing, Winter Tangerine, Rattle, The Collagist and elsewhere. A The Watering Hole graduate fellow and Callaloo fellow, Nicole serves as an Editor and regular contributor at BlackNerdProblems, writing 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 first full-length collection of poems, Pecking Order, published by Write Bloody Press, was a Paterson Poetry Prize finalist. She was chosen to be the 2018 Poet-in-Residence at The Frost Place. She can be found online at nicolehomer.com or @realnicolehomer on Twitter and other things.
Marie Howe is the author of four volumes of poetry, Magdalene: Poems; The Kingdom of Ordinary Time; The Good Thief; and What the Living Do, and she is the co-editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, POETRY, AGNI, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others. She has been a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Radcliffe College and a recipient of NEA and Guggenheim fellowships, and Stanley Kunitz selected Howe for a Lavan Younger Poets Prize from the American Academy of Poets. In 2015, she received the Academy of American Poets Poetry Fellowship which recognizes distinguished poetic achievement. From 2012-2014, she served as the Poet Laureate of New York State.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica Robert Hylton has been performing poetry since 1996. He has been an English teacher in Newark, NJ for over 17 years as well as a poetry club curator in many public schools, universities, community centers, and churches in the tri-state area. He has performed at renowned venues, such as, the former Serengeti Plains, The Poet’s Corner (Bogies), Euphoria Café and NYC’s The Nuyorican Poet’s Café. Respected by his peers and younger poets alike, Hylton prides himself in mentorship and introducing writing and the art of slam poetry to young people across the tri-state area.
Joy Ladin is the author of nine books of poetry, including Lambda Literary Award finalists Impersonation and Transmigration, Forward Fives award winner Coming to Life, and two 2017 collections, Fireworks in the Graveyard and The Future is Trying to Tell Us Something: New and Selected Poems. Her memoir of gender transition, Through the Door of Life, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. Her work has appeared in many periodicals, including American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Southwest Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and North American Review, and has been recognized with a National Endowment of the Arts fellowship and a Fulbright Scholarship. She holds the David and Ruth Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University. Links to her poems and essays are available at wordpress.joyladin.com. For more about Joy, take a look at her Ask a Poet blog.
Joseph O. Legaspi, a Fulbright and New York Foundation for the Arts fellow, is the author of two poetry collections from CavanKerry Press, Threshold and Imago, winner of the Global Filipino Award in Poetry; and three chapbooks: Postcards; Aviary, Bestiary, winner of The David Blair Prize; and Subways. His works have appeared in POETRY, New England Review, World Literature Today, Best of the Net, Beloit Poetry Journal, Orion, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day. He cofounded Kundiman, a nonprofit organization serving generations of Asian American writers and readers. He lives with his husband in Queens, NY. For more about Joseph, take a look at his Ask a Poet blog.
Raymond Luczak lost much of his hearing at the age of eight months and grew up in a hearing family of nine children in a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He was not allowed to sign until he was 14 years old. He graduated with the legendary Class of ’88 from Gallaudet University. Luczak is the author and editor of over 20 books. Poetry titles include The Kiss of Walt Whitman Still on My Lips, Mute, and How to Kill Poetry. His Deaf gay novel Men with Their Hands won first place in the Project: QueerLit Contest 2006. Red Hen Press will bring out his next book Flannelwood in the spring of 2019. His work has been nominated nine times for the Pushcart Prize. Also a playwright, he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [raymondluczak.com] For more about Raymond, take a look at his Ask a Poet blog.
Khaled Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya, and immigrated to the United States in his teens. He is the author of Tocqueville, Amorisco, Zodiac of Echoes, and Ismailia Eclipse. Mattawa is the 2010 recipient of the Academy of American Poets Fellowship. He has also received a Guggenheim fellowship, a translation grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Alfred Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, the PEN American Center Poetry Translation Prize, three Pushcart Prizes, and a MacArthur Fellowship. In 2014, he was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. He currently teaches in the graduate creative writing program at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he resides.
Peter E. Murphy was born in Wales and grew up in New York City where he operated heavy equipment, managed a nightclub and drove a taxi. He is the author of Stubborn Child, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, Challenges for the Delusional and More Challenges for the Delusional: Peter Murphy’s Prompts and the Writing They Inspired, and five poetry chapbooks, most recently, Atlantic City Lives. A segment from his memoir-in-progress, You Go To My Head, won the 2018 Wilt Nonfiction Chapbook Prize. Retired from teaching at Atlantic City High School, he is the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University. www.peteremurphy.com
Eileen Myles the author of more than twenty books, including Evolution, Afterglow (a dog memoir), Chelsea Girls, and I Must Be Living Twice: New & Selected Poems 1974-2014. Myles’s many honors include four Lambda Literary Awards, the Clark Prize for Excellence in Arts Writing, the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Creative Capital’s Literature Award as well as their Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant, and a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant. Myles lives in Marfa, Texas, and New York City.
Marilyn Nelson is the author or translator of seventeen poetry books and the memoir How I Discovered Poetry. She is also the author of The Fields Of Praise: New And Selected Poems, which won the 1998 Poets’ Prize, Carver: A Life In Poems, which won the 2001 Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Flora Stieglitz Straus Award, and Fortune’s Bones, which was a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and won the Lion and the Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry. Nelson’s honors include two NEA creative writing fellowships, the 1990 Connecticut Arts Award, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, a fellowship from the J.S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, and the Frost Medal. She was the Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut from 2001-2006.
Aimee Nezhukumatathil was born in Chicago to a Filipino mother and a South Asian father. She is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Oceanic. With Ross Gay, she co-wrote the chapbook of epistolary nature poems, Lace and Pyrite. A book of illustrated nature essays is forthcoming from Milkweed. Recent work has appeared in POETRY, Ploughshares, Tin House, and American Poetry Review and featured in The New York Times Magazine and in PBS NewsHour. Awards include the Meridel Le Sueur Award for the Essay, a Pushcart Prize, a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, and being twice selected for the Best American Poetry Series. She is poetry editor of Orion magazine and is professor of English in the MFA program at the University of Mississippi. She lives with her husband and young sons in Oxford, Mississippi.
Hieu Minh Nguyen is the author of This Way to the Sugar which was a finalist for both a Minnesota Book Awards and a Lambda Literary Awards. His latest collection Not Here was released via Coffee House Press in April of 2018. A queer Vietnamese American poet, Hieu is a 2018 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow, a Kundiman fellow and a poetry editor for Muzzle Magazine. His work has also appeared in the Southern Indiana Review, Guernica, Ninth Letter, Devil's Lake, Bat City Review, the Paris-American, and elsewhere. Hieu is a nationally touring poet, performer, and teaching artist. He lives in Minneapolis where he flails his arms and forgets to take his clothes out of the dryer.
Born in San Francisco, Sharon Olds studied at Stanford University and Columbia University. Her numerous honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant; a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; the San Francisco Poetry Center Award for her first collection, Satan Says; and the Lamont Poetry Selection and the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Dead and the Living. She is the author of eleven volumes of poetry. Her other books of poetry are Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002, Blood, Tin, Straw, The Gold Cell, The Wellspring, One Secret Thing, The Unswept Room and The Father. Her poetry has appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review, POETRY, Atlantic Monthly, and New York Times. Her new book is entitled Odes.
Named New York State Poet Laureate (1998 – 2000), Olds teaches graduate poetry workshops at New York University and the writing workshop she helped found at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely disabled (now in its 30th year). She is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. Her poetry collection, One Secret Thing, was a finalist for the T. S. Eliot Prize & the Forward Prize, and her collection, Stag’s Leap, was named one of Oprah’s Favorite Reads of 2012 and won the T.S. Eliot Prize, and also the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. In 2014, Sharon Olds was awarded the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry. In 2015 she was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 2016 Sharon Olds received the Wallace Stevens Award, given annually to recognize outstanding and proven mastery in the art of poetry.
Gregory Orr is the author of eleven collections of poetry. His more recent volumes include The River Inside the River, How Beautiful The Beloved, and Concerning the Book that is the Body of the Beloved. His most recent book, A Primer for Poets and Readers of Poetry, serves as an innovative and accessible guide in bringing the young poet toward a deeper understanding of how poetry can function in their life, while also introducing the art in an exciting new way. His memoir, The Blessing, was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the fifty best non-fiction books of 2002. Orr has received many awards and fellowships, including an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two NEA Fellowships, and a Rockefeller Fellowship at the Institute for the Study of Culture and Violence.
Alicia Ostriker has published fourteen volumes of poetry, including Waiting for the Light; The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog; The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011; No Heaven; The Volcano Sequence; and The Imaginary Lover, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. She was twice a National Book Award Finalist, for The Little Space and The Crack in Everything. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Paris Review, Yale Review, Ontario Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Anthology, and many other journals and anthologies, and has been translated into numerous languages including Hebrew and Arabic. Ostriker’s critical work includes the now-classic Stealing the Language: the Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America, and other books on American poetry from Walt Whitman to the present. For more about Alicia, take a look at her Ask a Poet blog.
Gregory Pardlo's collection Digest won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is Poetry Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review. Air Traffic, a memoir in essays, was released by Knopf in April.
Kevin Pilkington is a member of the writing faculty at Sarah Lawrence College. He is the author of nine collections: Spare Change was the La Jolla Poets Press National Book Award winner; Getting By won the Ledge chapbook award; In the Eyes of a Dog received the New York Book Festival Award; The Unemployed Man Who Became a Tree was a Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award finalist. His poetry has appeared in many anthologies including: Birthday Poems: A Celebration, Western Wind, and Contemporary Poetry of New England. Over the years, he has been nominated for four Pushcarts. His poems have appeared in numerous magazines including: The Harvard Review, POETRY, Ploughshares, Iowa Review, Boston Review, Yankee, Hayden’s Ferry, Columbia, North American Review, etc. He has taught and lectured at numerous colleges and universities including The New School, Manhattanville College, MIT, University of Michigan, Susquehanna University, Georgia Tech. His debut novel Summer Shares was published in 2012 and a paperback edition was reissued in summer 2014. His collection Where You Want To Be: New and Selected Poems was a 2017 IPPY Award Winner. He completed a second novel and is working on a new collection of poems.
Khadijah Queen is the author of five books, most recently I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On—a finalist for the National Poetry Series, CLMP Firecracker Award in Fiction, the Balcones Poetry Prize and others. Earlier poetry collections include Conduit, Black Peculiar (winner of the Noemi Press Book Award, 2011) and Fearful Beloved. Her verse play Non-Sequitur won the Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Women's Performance Writing. As part of the prize, Fiona Templeton's The Relationship theater company staged a full production at Theaterlab NYC in 2015. Individual poems and prose appear in Fence, Tin House, American Poetry Review, Buzzfeed, Gulf Coast, The Offing, jubilat, Memoir, DIAGRAM, Powder: Writing by Women in the Ranks from Vietnam to Iraq, and widely elsewhere. Reviews of her work can be found in O Magazine, The New Yorker, Rain Taxi, BOMB Magazine, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, and other publications. She is an Assistant Professor of creative writing at University of Colorado at Boulder, and serves as core faculty for the low-residency Mile-High MFA program at Regis University.
Nancy Reddy is the author of Double Jinx, a 2014 winner of the National Poetry Series, and Acadiana. Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, Blackbird, The Iowa Review, Smartish Pace, and elsewhere. She holds a PhD in Composition and Rhetoric and an MFA in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the recipient of grants from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and she was awarded a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She teaches writing at Stockton University in southern New Jersey.
Alberto Ríos was born in Nogales, Arizona. His most recent collections include A Small Story about the Sky; The Dangerous Shirt; and The Smallest Muscle in the Human Body, which was nominated for the National Book Award. He has received six Pushcart Prizes, the Arizona Governor’s Arts Award, fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, and the 1981 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. In 2013, Ríos was named the inaugural state poet laureate of Arizona. He was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2014. He is currently Director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he resides.
Mary Ruefle is the author of My Private Property, Trances of the Blast, Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected Lectures, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, and Selected Poems, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has published ten books of poetry, a book of prose (The Most of It), and a comic book, Go Home and Go to Bed!; she is also an erasure artist, whose treatments of nineteenth century texts have been exhibited in museums and galleries, and published in A Little White Shadow. Ruefle is the recipient of numerous honors, including the Robert Creeley Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, and a Whiting Award. She lives in Bennington, Vermont.
Christine Salvatore received her MFA from The University of New Orleans and currently teaches literature and writing at Stockton University, in the MFA Program at Rosemont College, and at a public high school in South Jersey. She is a Geraldine R. Dodge Poet and a regular faculty member for Murphy Writing of Stockton University. Her poetry has recently appeared in Diode, The Turnip Truck[s], The Literary Review, The Cortland Review, Mead Journal, as well as many others. Her work is included in the craft book More Challenges for the Delusional and as part of the upcoming art project Mother Monument by Holly Trostle Brigham and Maryanne Miller. More information can be found at www.christinesalvatore.com.
Sapphire is the author of two bestselling novels, Push and The Kid. Push was made into the Academy Award-winning major motion film Precious, and the film adaptation received the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. Sapphire’s work has been translated into thirteen languages and has been adapted for stage in the United States and Europe. Her poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in The Black Scholar, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, The Teacher’s Voice, The New Yorker, Spin, and Bomb.
sam sax is a queer, jewish, writer & educator. The author of Madness, winner of The National Poetry Series and Bury It, winner of the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. He’s received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lambda Literary, & the MacDowell Colony. He’s the two-time Bay Area Grand Slam Champion with poems published in BuzzFeed, The Nation, The New York Times, POETRY and other journals. He’s a 2018 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow from the Poetry Foundation and currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Currently sam lives in Oakland California and is the poetry editor over at BOAAT Press.
Natalie Scenters-Zapico is a fronteriza from the sister cities of El Paso, Texas, U.S.A. and Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua, México. Her first book The Verging Cities won the PENAmerican/Joyce Osterweil Award, Great Lakes Colleges Association's New Writers Award, NACCS Foco Book Prize, Utah Book Award, and was featured in Poets and Writers, LitHub, and the Los Angeles Times. Lima :: Limón, her second collection, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in Spring of 2019.
She has won fellowships from the Lannan Foundation (2017) and CantoMundo (2015). This year she was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation (2018). Her poems have appeared in a wide range of anthologies and literary magazines including Best American Poetry 2015, POETRY, Tin House, Kenyon Review, and more. She is a professor of literature at Bennington College.
Born in St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast, finalist for the 2018 PEN Open Book Award, and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the 2015 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her other honors include a Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, a Daniel Varoujan Award and the Poetry International Prize, as well as fellowships from CantoMundo, Cave Canem, MacDowell Colony and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming to Best American Poetry 2018, The New Yorker, The New York Times and elsewhere. Nicole holds an MLA in Africana studies from the University of South Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. She is the executive director at Cave Canem Foundation and the 2018-2019 Doris Lippman Visiting Poet at The City College of New York. For more about Nicole, take a look at her Ask a Poet blog.
Ntozake Shange has given voice to, and embodied, the ongoing struggle of Black and all other women for equality, dignity, and respect as well as the recognition of their enormous contribution to human culture. The 2016-2017 season marked the 40th Anniversary of, her best-known theatre piece, for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the Rainbow Is enuf. Its stunningly successful, 2 ½ year run on Broadway stands as the most successful by an African American straight-play author in Broadway history. The play remains in continuous print since its publication in 1974, was made into a motion picture by Tyler Perry in 2010, and is a staple in the required reading lists of many major school districts, colleges and universities. The play, now passing its 40th year since staging, has been recognized by America’s largest dramatic publisher, Samuel French & Co., as one of its most-produced titles, nationally, in 2015, 2016 and 2017. “for colored girls” is currently optioned by the NY Shakespeare Festival/Public Theater for a 2019-2020 season revival presentation.
Ntozake is involved in an, as yet untitled, long-form, music and poetry “song–cycle” for concert presentation in collaboration with famed jazz instrumentalist, Craig Harris. Dr. Shange was named the 2016 Langston Hughes Medalist by City University of New York and is recently conferred the Percy Bush Shelley Award for 2018 by Poetry Society of America. Her newest volume of poetry, Wild Beauty, from Simon and Schuster was published this past November and is receiving strongly positive notices.
Danez Smith is a Black, queer, poz writer, teacher, & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead, a finalist for National Book Award, and [insert] boy, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. They are the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow as well as the winner of the inaugural Four Quartets Prize from the Poetry Society of America. Danez’s work has been featured widely, including in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Best American Poetry, PBS NewsHour, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
David St. John was born in Fresno, CA. He is the author The Last Troubadour, The Window, The Auroras, The Face: A Novella in Verse, Prism, The Red Leaves of Night, and Study for the World’s Body: New and Selected Poems, which was nominated for the National Book Award. He is the recipient of the Discovery/The Nation Prize, the James D. Phelan Prize, and the prix de Rome fellowship in literature. He has also received several National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship. He was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2017. He is the Chair of English at the University of Southern California and lives in Venice Beach, California.
Krista Tippett is a Peabody-award winning broadcaster, National Humanities Medalist, and New York Times bestselling author. She founded and leads The On Being Project, hosts the globally esteemed On Being public radio show and podcast, and curates the Civil Conversations Project, an emergent approach to conversation and relationship across the differences of our age. Krista grew up in a small town in Oklahoma, attended Brown University, became a journalist and diplomat in Cold War Berlin, and later received a Master of Divinity from Yale University. Her books include Becoming Wise: An Inquiry into the Mystery and Art of Living, and Einstein’s God: Conversations about Science and the Human Spirit.
J. C. Todd, a Pew Fellow and winner of the Rita Dove Poetry Prize, is author of What Space This Body, Nightshade and Entering Pisces and artist book collaborations, On Foot/By Hand and FUBAR. Current work focuses on human and environmental displacement and on war and its consequences. Fellowships and residencies include those from the Ucross and Ragdale Foundations, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hambidge Center, The Baltic Centre for Writers and Translators, the Latvian Cultural Capital Fund and Humboldt University in Berlin. Additional honors include a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship, two Leeway Foundation awards, a New Jersey Distinguished Teaching Artist Award and finalist designation for both the Robert H. Winner and the Lucille Medwick awards from the Poetry Society of America. Todd has taught in the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College, the MFA Program at Rosemont College and at Kutztown University, as well as in Artist in the Schools programs. She holds an MFA from the Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.
Paul Tran is a 2018 Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow and “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize winner. They live in Missouri, where they are Poetry Editor at The Offing Magazine and Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow in The Writing Program at Washington University in Saint Louis. Their work appears in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere, including the anthology Inheriting the War and movie Love Beats Rhymes. Paul is the first Asian American since 1993 to win the Nuyorican Poets Café Grand Slam, placing Top 10 at the Individual World Poetry Slam and Top 2 at the National Poetry Slam.
BJ Ward is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems 1990-2013, which received the Paterson Award for Literary Excellence. His poems have appeared in POETRY, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, The New York Times, and The Sun, among others, and have been featured on NPR’s “The Writer’s Almanac,” NJTV’s “State of the Arts,” and the website Poetry Daily. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and two Distinguished Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He co-founded and co-directs the A.F.A. in Creative Writing program at Warren County Community College. Other 2018 appearances include University of Delaware, Rutgers (New Brunswick) Writers’ Conference, Monmouth University’s Bruce Springsteen Symposium, and the Princeton Public Library. In a piece entitled “10 Dynamic Jersey Artists Not Named Springsteen,” The Star-Ledger cited Ward as “making a difference,” noting his poetry’s “music and physicality.” His website is bj-ward.com.
Rachel Wiley is a queer, biracial poet and performer from Columbus, Ohio where she somehow holds down a rather boring day job. She is an ardent and intersectional feminist and a fat positive activist. Rachel is a fellow and faculty member of the Pink Door Writing Retreat held each year in Rochester, New York for women and nonbinary writers of color. She has toured nationally performing at slam venues, colleges, and festivals. Her work has appeared on Upworthy, The Huffington Post, The Militant Baker, Everyday Feminism and PBS News Hour. Her first poetry collection, Fat Girl Finishing School, was published in 2014 by Timber Mouse Publishing. Her second collection, Nothing is Okay, was published in March 2018 by Button Poetry and spent some time as Amazon’s #1 Gay & Lesbian Poetry Collection. For more about Rachel, take a look at her Ask a Poet blog.
Jenny Xie is the author of Eye Level, selected by Juan Felipe Herrera as the winner of the 2017 Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets, and Nowhere to Arrive, recipient of the 2016 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize. Her poems have been published in POETRY, The New Republic, Tin House, Kenyon Review Online, among other publications. She holds degrees from Princeton University and New York University's Creative Writing Program, and has received fellowships and support from Kundiman, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Elizabeth George Foundation, and Poets & Writers. She teaches at New York University.
Over nearly fifty years, David Young has published ten collections of his poetry, culminating in Field of Light and Shadow: Selected and New Poems. During that time he also edited FIELD, a twice-yearly journal of contemporary poetry and poetics. The journal in turn led to the founding of Oberlin College Press, which publishes poetry in translation and new work by contemporary American poets. Thirty other books bear Young’s name, all poetry-related: literary criticism (Shakespeare, Yeats, modernist poetry), anthologies (e.g. Models of the Universe, an anthology of the prose poem) and volumes of poetry in translation. This last category is diverse: Rilke, Tang Dynasty poets, Basho, Petrarch, Montale, Neruda, Miroslav Holub, Paul Celan. He has often been called the best translator of his generation. Young taught at Oberlin College from 1961 until his retirement in 2003. His honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the U.S. Award of the International Poetry Forum, the Ohioana Award, designation as a treasure of the state of Ohio,and a Distinguished Achievement Award from his alma mater, Carleton College.