Adrian Ernesto Cepeda is an LA Poet and graduate of MFA program at Antioch University in Los Angeles where he lives with his wife and their cat Woody Gold. He is the author of the poetry chapbook So Many Flowers, So Little Time from Red Mare Press. His poetry has been featured in The Yellow Chair Review, Frontier Poetry, poeticdiversity, The Wild Word, Lunch Ticket and one of his poems was named the winner of Subterranean Blue Poetry’s 2016 "The Children of Orpheus" Anthology/Contest. You can connect with Adrian on his website: http://www.adrianernestocepeda.com/
Steve Levine has been a full-time, professional writer for nearly 30 years. Starting as a freelancer with a Philadelphia weekly, he has been a staff reporter at three daily newspapers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and at a national advertising newsweekly in New York. For a year he ran his own feast-or-famine P.R. firm from home and, for the past ten years, has been a writer in higher education
Levine is the author of BAD RABBI, published July 18, 2018.
David Wasserman is a product of New England. After growing up in Connecticut, he graduated from Stonehill College with degrees in English Literature and Elementary Education. A master’s degree in special education and ten years teaching later, David returned to poetry. It had been calling to him through the growing noise of texts tweets beeps buzzing ringing - and finally got through in its own tiny way.
David currently teaches second grade and lives in the mostly quiet woods of Connecticut with his wife and daughter. He likes to sit with a local craft beer and notebook on his front porch - pause and breathe in the crisp woodsy air chin up and eyes happily closed.
Tiny Footcrunch is David’s first book.
You can stay connected with David at his website and on social media:
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Chuck is a writer and Temple University graduate from the Philadelphia area. Captivated by storytelling led to his passion of crafting visual tales in various forms. His work can be found at Random Poetry Tree, 101 Words, Queen Mob’s Tea House, and Public Pool. He currently resides in Los Angeles.
Megan Dhakshini is a creative multidisciplinary who has delved into many industries including advertising, creative design, voice acting and singing. Her boutique creative ad shop, The Next Big Think avoids mainstream notions in favor of niche markets. When she isn’t caring for her business or her little girl, Megan is writing poetry, perfecting yoga poses or modeling Sarees for a designer friend. POISON APPLE is her debut collection.
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, author, poet, playwright and spoken word performer, John Biscello, has called Taos, New Mexico home since 2001. He is the author of the novels, Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale, and Raking the Dust, and a collection of stories, Freeze Tag. Broken Land was named Underground Book Reviews 2014 Book of the Year.
John Biscello's first two books Raking the Dust and Broken Land, a Brooklyn Tale are being reprinted by Unsolicited Press in advance of his newest publication, Nocturne Variations due out in November 2018.
Bill Rector is a retired physician. He is former editor of the Yale Journal of Humanities and Medicine. His autobiographical poetry book, bill, was published in 2007 by Proem Press. Biography of a Name is the third chapbook to be published in the last few months. Lost Moth, about the sudden loss of his daughter, won the Epiphany Prize in 2017. Two Worlds will appear this summer from White Knuckle Press.
Doug S. Haines is a Texas-born musician and writer. In 2013, he was the Senior Editor and majority contributor on the nonfiction book about sustainable living from Texas Review Press, Resurrecting Trash. His collection of short stories, Things I Pray I Never Forget, was a semi-finalist in the 2014 Elixir Press Fiction Award and a finalist for the George Garrett Fiction Prize. Most recently, his work has appeared in Slippery Elm, Down in the Dirt Magazine, West Trade Review, and Reed Magazine. He teaches English at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Roger Aplon was a founder and managing editor of Chicago’s CHOICE Magazine with John Logan & Aaron Siskind. He has had twelve books published: One of prose: Intimacies & eleven of poetry (most recently Improvisation: Poetic Impressions From Contemporary Music). He often reads his work with musicians from the Avant-Garde ensembles Wormhole (In Yokohama & Tokyo Japan) & the Trummerflora Collective (San Diego, CA). In the course of his career he’s been awarded prizes and honors including an Arts Fellowship from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, New Mexico. After an eight year writing retreat in Barcelona Spain, he now makes his home in Beacon, New York where he edits & publishes a poetry magazine: ‘Waymark – Voices of the Valley’ & has assembled his first collection of ‘Selected & New Poems’ You can read and hear examples of his work at: www.rogeraplon.com
Roger Aplon published MUSTERING WHAT'S LEFT in 2018 with Unsolicited Press.
Anne Babson’s first collection The White Trash Pantheon won the Colby H. Kullman prize from the Southern Writers Southern Writing Conference in Oxford, Mississippi. She wrote the libretto for the opera Lotus Lives, which has been performed in multiple cities and is slated for production once more in Montreal in 2018. She is the author of three chapbooks– Poems Under Surveillance is still in print with Finishing Line Press, and she has a forthcoming chapbook from Dancing Girl Press entitled Dolly Shot. She has been anthologized in the United States and in England, most recently in the notable collection Nasty Women Poets: an Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse released in 2017. Her work has appeared in literary journals on five continents and has won numerous editorial awards. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize four times. She has received residency grants from Yaddo and Vermont Studio Center. Her blog about moving south, The Carpetbaggers Journal, has close to 50,000 hits and has been picked up by Y’all Politics and PBS-related websites. She writes lyrics for a variety of musical projects, most recently a blues album. She teaches writing and literature at Southeastern Louisiana University. She writes and lives in New Orleans. She will read there at this year’s Tennessee Williams Festival.
You can get to know Anne better by reading her interview on our blog.
A resident of Quincy, Massachusetts, Robert Knox is a freelance correspondent with a thousand bylines in the Boston Globe, writing about the arts, books, the environment, Massachusetts history, and the workings of governments. With an academic background in philosophy (Yale) and literature (Boston University) and years of journalistic experience, he brings a wide variety of interests to his poetry and fiction.
A contributing editor for the online journal Verse-Virtual.com, his poetry appears online every month. His previous chapbook "Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty" received praise from other poets, including Robert Wexelblatt who stated, "Knox's well-tended garden of verses furnishes readers with elegant borders, unexpected vistas, gorgeous blossoms, and insights as sharp as thorns. His themes are as local as the backyard and as universal as the weather."
His poems have also appeared in periodicals such as Guide to Kulchur Creative Journal, The Poetry Superhighway, Party, & Disaster Society, Off the Coast, Misfit Magazine, and others.
A fiction writer with stories in many publications, he published his first novel "Suosso's Lane," based on the Massachusetts roots of the infamous Sacco-Vanzetti case, in 2015. The book was praised by reviewers. Novelist Patry Francis, author of "The Orphans of Race Point," called it "a beautiful novel, written with compassion, journalistic balance, and a deep sense of justice."
A prize winner in the Words With Jam short fiction contest, his story "Marriage" was published in the resulting anthology, An Earthless Melting Pot. After being named a Finalist in the Massachusetts Artist Grants Program, excerpts from his story "Lost" appeared on the Mass Cultural Council website.
Drawing on his background as a reporter, columnist and book reviewer, as well as his interest in gardening, nature, history, theater, photography, and politics, Knox is an active blogger at blog prosegarden.blogspot.com
Marilyn Ogus Katz was an author based in New York City. Her stories have been published in numerous journals, including the Tupolo Quarterly and Hadassah Magazine. Her short story, Life List, was a winner of Writer’s Digest best short shorts competition in 2015.
A new collection of stories, A Few Small Stones, is due out in 2018 (Unsolicited Press). It follows one of the characters in A Few Small Stones back to Eastern Europe in 1939-1940 where he and his family are caught between Hitler and Stalin. Katz served as the Dean of Studies and Student Life at Sarah Lawrence College for almost twenty years, and continued on as consultant to the president.
Read more about Katz at her website.
The linked stories of A FEW SMALL STONES follow Alice and her extended immigrant family in 1940s New York City as they cope with the upheavals before, during and after World War II. The stories show the pain of separation and the guilt of survival, the price of upward mobility, and the ultimate disintegration of family. In one story, the sexism of the period devastates a brother and sister. Another examines the city’s racial divide, and still another takes us to a rally on the beaches in the summer of 1940 and the violent conflict between neo-Nazi isolationists and those who wanted to enter the war against Hitler and prevent the annihilation of Jews.
Although A FEW SMALL STONES occurs in a particular place from 1939 to 1948, immigrants and their families in every era will recognize the difficulty of adapting and adjusting to a new culture, language and land. Readers from all backgrounds will identify with the alliances and feuds, the jealousies and pains, the illness and death that divide and destroy families and the surprising acts of generosity and love that can bring reconciliation.
Sam Love is an award-winning writer living in New Bern, NC. He has published numerous nonfiction articles in magazines that include Smithsonian, and Washingtonian. In addition to another poetry book, he has two published novels, Snap Factor, and Electric Honey. His poetry has been published in numerous journals.
Sandy Coomer is a poet, mixed media artist and endurance athlete. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies including Hypertrophic Literary, Qu Literary Magazine, Now and Then - The Appalachian Magazine, Big Muddy, and Chautauqua. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Continuum (Finishing Line Press), and The Presence of Absence (Winner of the 2014 Janice Keck Literary Award for Poetry). Sandy is a poetry mentor in the AWP Writer to Writer Mentorship Program and the founding editor of the online poetry journal Rockvale Review. She lives in Brentwood, TN.
Sandy Coomer’s, Rivers Within Us, is a collection of poems that allows readers to reevaluate and question the way in which they move through life on a daily basis. What does it mean to live and die? What should we expect in life? How can dreams come true and, still, we are faced with disappointment? This movement is portrayed in settings that are saturated with images of nature and, in particular, the river; symbolic of the life force that carries us all. Coomer further creates movement and illustrates mastery over her craft through purposeful stanza breaks and rhythmic lines that plunges readers into each poem. Experiences and notions, such as love and synesthesia, become tangible through concrete images derived from nature and abstraction; ants are no longer just ants but are a device to belittle and inspire awe, praise and religion are brought together to create something almost physical, and dreams showcase vulnerabilities we would rather hide but cannot. Notions about life are torn apart and rearranged again through similes and metaphors that become more real than the very thing itself. All of these elements culminate into a collection that tries to make sense of life, death, and love through the swift and crushing movement of our passions that move like a river. Coomer speaks to all of this in just three words, Rivers Within Us.
Buy your copy today.
Rebecca Watkins earned an M.F.A. in Poetry from the City College of New York and has been teaching writing and English as a Second Language at the college level for eight years in the Greater New York area. She has created and led poetry workshops in the public schools as well as smaller writing workshops for adults, and she is currently an editor for River River Literary Journal. In 2015, she was awarded a writing residency in Honduras and taught poetry at an orphanage and bilingual school. Rebecca has been published in The Promethean, The Red Mesa Review, Poetry and Performance, Anderbo and the SNReview among other literary journals. Currently, she is earning a Master’s of Science degree in English Education from Lehman College. Besides her background in education and writing, she has also lived and worked on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico, became a certified yoga instructor in Colorado, and worked on organic farms in Ohio and Georgia. Rebecca’s first full-length poetry book Sometimes, in These Places will be released by Unsolicited Press in September 2017.
About the Collection
What happens when poetry, “rises off the cracked surface of grief?” Rebecca Watkins explores both the grief and what rises in her newest collection, SOMETIMES, IN THESE PLACES. Through her thematic exploration of drug addiction, poverty, reticent religion, loneliness, and family, there is, throughout this collection, a frank dialogue that deftly puts us in the dirt, without letting us get grimy. The smooth motion and gentle imagery feels both deeply personal and wildly relatable, tackling dark concepts with sophistication and grace.
Jerrod E. Bohn has an MFA in poetry from Colorado State University. His work has appeared or is soon forthcoming in Phoebe, The Montreal Review, alice blue, FRiGG,Cleaver, SPECS, Word For/Word, smoking glue gun, Watershed Review and elsewhere.
Jerrod E. Bohn has written Animal Histories (debut collection) and PULP: A Manifesto, a lyrical full-length poetry book.
Art Zilleruelo’s "The Last Map" explores language’s role as the mediator between humanity and nature. Combining a deep reverence for the power of language with profound anxieties about language’s tendency to contaminate that which it represents, these poems reside between the impulse to succumb to the seductive qualities of words and the drive to penetrate through words into the unmediated world. Narrative modes ranging from history to mythology, from folklore to family legends, and from cosmology to apocalyptic eschatology are simultaneously exploited for their aesthetic potency and subjected to skeptical internal critique. Each poem engages ongoing human efforts to manage and articulate encounters with the radical otherness and uncanny familiarity of the natural world. The interpenetration of humanity and nature is revealed as both exhilarating and terrifying, and, as the cumulative effects of these encounters proliferate, the contact between these two worlds becomes increasingly fraught with complications for both. As the personae that populate these poems struggle with nature within and nature without, they come to question conventional ways of understanding themselves, their relationships, and their values. They consequently begin to perceive a new world ripe with strange possibilities, a world that all of their maps, both literal and figurative, seem ill-equipped to describe. Zilleruelo's poems display a deep commitment to pursuing poetry’s aesthetic dimensions. His disciplined, musical free verse reminds readers that poems are more than mere ideas meant to be interpreted--they are also aesthetic artifacts intended to be experienced.
What People Are Saying....
The Last Map is a spiritual journey that transcends our own minuscule limitations. Imagine putting on the lenses by which the poet Zilleruelo sees the world, and the reader finds a place full of unexpected treasure. While not afraid of the darkness, this collection makes a “livable fiction” of light, and the “long liquid fibers” a movable path for the eye and the spirit, a confirmation of magic—dragons and vines and worms. With a generosity sometimes rare in poetry, Zilleruelo invites us to traverse the darkness of the human spirit unafraid, often expressing what we’ve all desired: “light enough to lead us in through the verge… where the good kindling hid.” This is not a denial of evil, but rather a calm acceptance that where there is shadow, there can also be spark. Each new reading has rendered a new discovery in this landscape, another acknowledgement of this painful duality. And as seasons shift and change, so do the shadows shift. May we all be such fertile ground where we “bleed new greens into the grass.”
--- April Pameticky
What sticks with me when reading The Last Map is Zilleruelo's bridging of the natural world to what I'd call some kind of transcendental or spiritual realm, where one finds an appreciation for those things tangible and real. Poems like "Vines" and "Other Fires" stick out for their measured language and their invitations to readers to investigate not only the world around them but the soul within all things. Elsewhere, Zilleruelo reflects on the burdens of generations in the masterful centerpiece, "The Pipe-Tree," a poem of great depth and honesty, and amongst a great many stunning lines, he concludes the collection with some of my favorite:
Have you ever felt
your heart match the second hand?
They breathe together a moment,
If my breath is the first to break,
I’ll wait for you at the lake,
and meet you where the leaves put down their stain.
Kinnell once wrote: "I long for the mantle/of the great wanderers, who lighted/ their steps by the lamp/ of pure hunger and pure thirst,/ and whichever way they lurched was the way."
With the The Last Map, Zilleruelo embarks on a similar quest, and the results are frequently stunning and always inspiring.
Chris Ludovici has published articles in The Princeton Packet and online at Cinedelphia and Cleaver. In 2009, he won the Judith Stark awards in fiction and drama. His short story "Daisy" was published in the 2013 issue of Peregrine, the print journal of the University of Pennsylvania Creative Writing Program and in Cleaver Magazine. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, son, and too many cats.
Writing has always been a part of my life. It was the first art form I explored, and it remains the most poignant. I also enjoy pen and ink, yoyos, video games, classic literature. I am a denizen of the Southwest, originating in New Mexico. Take a stroll through my website: www.brianlooney.com.
Brian Looney's collection Alcoholic Murmurs is divided into two part: in the first part, we see the speaker struggling with an addiction to alcohol. We are invited to see the interior of an alcoholic's mind through AA meetings, relationships with loneliness and love, and the decision to quit drinking. In the second half of the collection, the speaker has new struggles...the battle to defeat addiction, and the mindset that comes along with the decision to stop drinking.
Having (mis)spent his youth in the halls of academia, Mr. Mann-Bertrand eventually abandoned towers of ivory in favor of variegated artistic pursuits, peripatetic adventures, and repeated attempts to be officially recognized as a “Renaissance Man” by all 193 Member States of the United Nations. Obsessed with the fields of theatre, film, and television, the author has devoted considerable energies to deepening his involvement in these interconnected artistic disciplines, all while attempting to fight the forces of evil (well, boredom) by exploring the four corners of our great globe. Spoonfeeding Casanova is his novelistic debut, a strong expository effort on behalf of the author to become a serious and upstanding adult; it is possible he may have failed. In unsubstantiated rumors, it is claimed that if writer Mann-Bertrand owned a hat, it would currently be hanging somewhere in British Columbia.
You can find information about his book, here.
Alison Hicks is the author of full-length poetry collection Kiss (PS Books, 2011), chapbook Falling Dreams (Finishing Line Press, 2006), novella Love: A Story of Images (AWA Press, 2004), and an anthology, Prompted (PS Books, 2010). Her work has appeared in Eclipse, Fifth Wednesday, Gargoyle, Licking River Review, The Ledge, Louisville Review, Passager, Permafrost, Sanskrit, Whiskey Island, and other journals. Her poem “Color” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Green Hills Literary Lantern. Awards include the 2011 Philadelphia City Paper Poetry Prize and two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships. She is founder of Greater Philadelphia Wordshop Studio, which offers community-based writing workshops. She lives with her husband and son in Havertown, Pennsylvania.
Her book You Who Took the Boat Out can be found here.
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Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His previous collections include Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015); Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. For more information, please visit www.markbelair.com
Gemma Cooper-Novack is a writer, arts educator, and writing coach. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in more than twenty journals, including Ballard Street Poetry Journal (Pushcart Prize nomination), Bellevue Literary Review (Pushcart Prize nomination), Cider Press Review, Hanging Loose, Santa Fe Writers Project, and Printer’s Devil Review. Gemma’s plays have been produced in Chicago, Boston, and New York, and she diablogs on sinnerscreek.com. She has been awarded multiple artist’s residencies from Catalonia to Virginia and a grant from the Barbara Deming Fund, and enjoys baking cookies and walking on stilts in her spare time. Her debut poetry collection We Might As Well Be Underwater will be published by Unsolicited Press in 2017.
About the Author
Alison Hicks is the author of poetry collections Kiss (PS Books, 2011), and Falling Dreams (Finishing Line Press, 2006), a novella, Love: A Story of Images, (AWA Press, 2004, and an anthology, Prompted (PS Books, 2010). Her poem “house in mind” was winner of Philadelphia City Paper 2011 poetry contest, and a second poem, “canoeing at night,” was selected as runner-up. Also in 2011, her poem “Autumn Lilies” received First Prize in the 2011 Charlotte Miller Simon Poetry Contest from the Ardmore (PA) Free Library. She has twice received Pennsylvania Council on the Arts fellowships, in creative non-fiction in 2003 and in fiction in 2007.
Her fiction, poetry and nonfiction have appeared in Apiary, The Alembic, Amoskeag, Blood Lotus, The Broadkill Review, Broad River Review, the Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin, Calibanonline, California Quarterly (CQ), Cottonwood, Crack the Spine, The Critical Pass Review, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Edison Literary Review, Eclipse, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Folly, Forge, Four Corners, Gargoyle, Grey Sparrow, The Griffin, Gulf Stream, the G.W. Review, HeartLodge, The Hollins Critic, The Ledge, Licking River Review, Literary Mama, The Lindenwood Review, The Louisville Review, Mad Poets Review, Melusine, Milk Money, The Muddy River Poetry Review, The Musehouse Journal, Organs of Vision & Sight (OVS), Pearl, The Penman Review, Peregrine, Permafrost, Pinyon, Philadelphia Poets, The Progressive, The Puritan, Quiddity, Rough Copy, Rougarou, Sanskrit, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Sliver of Stone, Softblow, Storyscape, Studio One, Whiskey Island, Wild Violet, Words and Images, Women. Period., The Wooster Review, and Xanadu. The story “The Reservoir” was performed for the 2002-2003 season of the Writing Aloud series hosted by the InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia and the poem “Twenty-Six Years” was included in the 2005 Poetry is Alive! Performance by the Ritz Theatre Company of Oaklyn, New Jersey.
A woman in middle-age takes a canoe out onto the water at night and must discern obstacles barely visible to keep her craft afloat. Her reward is a vision of stars transformed as they are reflected back through water. Her guide is the loon, whose red eye is capable of seeing underwater, and whose wail echoes and beckons. An adolescent whose mother has become ill must traverse the big county she finds inside herself to find a life worth living. A daughter mourns a father. In this collection, Alison Hicks looks beneath the surface of our emotional lives to murky shapes: the twists and turns we are unable to predict, the scrape of love and the experience of being lost, the whimsy of our fantasies, visitation by spirit guides of myth and legend, things we try to keep secret and yet seek to reveal, the hurt that has happened and the tasks to be undertaken toward a larger vision and understanding, and the flash of occasional illumination.
About the Author
An economist at his core, Ohan is a social scientist who aids people in maximizing their creative resources. It is something that has remained a constant throughout the many paths he’s made his way into, from starting a tshirt company, to running a newspaper, to presiding over a fraternity, then moving from financial analysis, to economic analysis, to building out an analytics department. Over time, this role of an economist evolved in to a wandering poet and community builder leading him to set up ‘Stageless Arts’ with a few other creative partners. Its results inspired him to spend more time in spreading art and promoting free expression, which is why he has now begun building a replicable model for an open arts community in Sri Lanka, one that can use the momentum of chapters in other cities to grow and connect its artists in a global network.
His book Scattered Allegories is available on December 28 through a limited print run.