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Benjamin Alfaro is a Detroit-based writer and teaching artist. He is the coauthor of a collaborative poetry collection, Home Court (Red Beard Press, 2014) and has been published widely. He is a writer in residence and youth leadership coordinator with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, serving area high schools and community centers.
Lemon Andersen is a Brooklyn-based playwright, television writer, brand creative, and Tony Award–winning poet. He has been interviewed and profiled by National Public Radio, the New York Times, NBC, and the Wall Street Journal and published in the Nation magazine. His engaged YouTube audience totals upwards of one million viewers.
Fatimah Asghar is a poet, scholar, and performer. Her work appears in the Paris-American, Drunken Boat, Word Riot, and elsewhere. She created Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first spoken-word poetry group, REFLEKS, while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-violent contexts. Her chapbook Rewind/Play is forthcoming from YesYes Books in summer 2015.
Joshua Bennett is a Princeton University doctoral candidate and has received fellowships from the Ford Foundation and Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop. Joshua’s wirk has won the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and is published in Anti-, Callaloo, and the Collagist. He is also founding editor of Kinfolks: A journal of black expression.
Sarah Blake is the founder of the online writing tool Submittrs, an editor at Saturnalia Books, and a recipient of an NEA Literature Fellowship. Her first book, Mr. West, is an unauthorized lyric biography of Kanye West published by Wesleyan University Press. She lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Reed Adair Bobroff is To’dich’ííníí Diné from New Mexico and a student at Yale University. Primarily a spoken-word artist, he has been featured on HBO’s Brave New Voices and performed in numerous cities. Reed is the founder of Spoken Roots, which teaches poetry in underserved and Native American communities.
Roger Bonair-Agard was born in Trinidad and Tobago. His collections of poetry include Tarnish and Masquerade, Gully, and Bury My Clothes (long-list finalist for a National Book Award). He is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion and a Cave Canem fellow and teaches poetry at a juvenile detention facility in Chicago.
Jericho Brown is the recipient of fellowships from Harvard University and the NEA. His first book, Please, won the American Book Award and his second book, The New Testament, was published by Copper Canyon Press. He is an assistant professor in the creative writing program at Emory University in Atlanta.
Jason Carney is an award-winning poet, writer, and educator from Dallas, Texas. A four-time National Poetry Slam Finalist, he appeared on three seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. He is a graduate of Wilkes University MFA program for creative writing and an adjunct instructor at Brookhaven College and Parker University.
Michael Cirelli is author of four poetry collections, most recently The Grind (Best Book of 2014 from Amazon Editors’ Favorites). He is executive director of Urban Word and teaches at New York University. The follow-up to his award-winning curriculum, Hip-Hop Poetry & the Classics, is forthcoming from Street Smart Press.
Kristiana Colón is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, activist, and Cave Canem Fellow. Her play Octagon is the winner of Arizona Theater Company’s 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award and Polarity Ensemble Theater’s Dionysos Festival of New Work. Kristiana appeared on season 5 of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.
Kevin Coval is the author of Schtick, L-vis Lives!: Racemusic Poems, Everyday People, Slingshots: A Hip-Hop Poetica, and More Shit Chief Keef Don’t Like. Coval is the founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival and artistic director of Young Chicago Authors. Coval won a New Voices/New Visions award from the Kennedy Center for a play coauthored with Idris Goodwin about graffiti writers called This is Modern Art, which premiered at Steppenwolf Theater.
Kyle Dargan is the author of Honest Engine, Logorrhea Dementia, Bouquet of Hungers, and The Listening. He has received the Cave Canem Poetry Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. He is an associate professor and director of creative writing at American University and also editor of POST NO ILLS magazine.
Mitchell L. H. Douglas is a cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets and associate professor of English and director of creative writing at IUPUI. His second poetry collection, \blak\ \al-fa-bet\_ (Persea Books), was a winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award. He is a native of Louisville, Kentucky.
Thomas Sayers Ellis is the author of The Maverick Room and Skin, Inc. His poems have appeared in Poetry, Tin House, the Nation, the Paris Review, and Best American Poetry. Ellis has recently been a visiting writer at Wesleyan University, the University of San Francisco, and the University of Montana.
Eve Ewing is a Chicago-born writer, teacher, scholar, and artist. Her poems and essays have appeared in Bird’s Thumb, joINT, Union Station, Blackberry, In These Times, AREA Chicago, Newcity, and the Chicago Weekly. She is managing editor of Kinfolks: A journal of black expression and cochair of the Harvard Educational Review.
Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn and raised in West Texas. She is the author of Seam (SIU 2014). Her poems appear in jubilat, Poetry Magazine, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Best New Poets 2013, and elsewhere. She is a visiting professor of poetry at the University of Michigan.
Krista Franklin is an interdisciplinary artist whose work floats between the literary and the visual with a focus on personal narrative, African diasporic cultures, and the interiority of women of color, folklore, and spiritualism. Willow Books published her chapbook Study of Love & Black Body in 2012.
Aracelis Girmay is the author of Teeth (GLCA New Writers Award) and Kingdom Animalia (Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award). Girmay is a faculty member of Hampshire College’s School for Interdisciplinary Arts and also teaches poetry for Drew University’s low-residency MFA program.
Idris Goodwin is a breakbeat poet, playwright, and essayist. He is the author of the Pushcart-nominated essay collection These Are The Breaks (Write Bloody, 2011) and the award-winning, widely produced play How We Got On (Playscripts, 2013) He has performed on HBO, Sesame Street, and the Discovery Channel.
Aleshea Harris is a playwright and performer who received an MFA in writing for performance from California Institute of the Arts. Her work has been shown many places including: the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the Costume Shop at A.C.T., and L’École de la Comèdie de Saint-Étienne. She currently teaches at CalArts.
Alysia Nicole Harris is a poet, teaching-artist, and former member of the Strivers Row performance poetry collective. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in linguistics at Yale University and her MFA in poetry at New York University. She hails from Alexandria, Virginia, and currently lives in New Haven, Connecticut.
francine j. harris is a Cave Canem fellow and teaches at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Her first collection, allegiance, was a finalist for the 2013 Kate Tufts Discovery and the PEN Open Book Award. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Boston Review, Rattle, Ninth Letter, and Ploughshares.
Chinaka Hodge received The 2014 San Francisco Foundation’s Community Leadership Award, has been a Sundance Feature Film Lab Fellow, and was visiting editor for the California Sunday Magazine. She serves on the board of directors for Headlands Center for the Arts and is playwright in residence at SF Playwrights Foundation.
Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award, and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature, and an assistant professor of English at the University of New Haven. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press published Randall’s latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy.
Britteney Black Rose Kapri is a Chicago teaching artist, writer, performance poet, and playwright. A former ensemble member for Kuumba Lynx, she is an alumna turned teaching artist of Young Chicago Authors. She is a member of the Not Enough Mics. Britteney’s chapbook, Winona and Winthrop, was published in 2014.
Douglas Kearney is a poet/performer/librettist and author of Patter and the National Poetry Series selection The Black Automaton. He has received residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, the Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. His work has appeared in journals such as Poetry, nocturnes, Pleiades, the Boston Review, and Callaloo. He teaches at CalArts.
Onam Lansana attends Jones College Preparatory High School in Chicago and is a member of the Rebirth Poetry Ensemble. He is the youngest storyteller ever to feature at the National Association of Black Storytellers Conference. Onam has also participated in a variety of programs, including Young Chicago Authors.
Quraysh Ali Lansana is the author of eight poetry books, three textbooks, and a children’s book, the editor of eight anthologies, and the coauthor of a book of pedagogy. He is a faculty member of the Creative Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute and the Red Earth MFA Creative Writing Program at Oklahoma City University. He is also a former faculty member of the Drama Division of the Juilliard School. Lansana served as director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002 to 2011, where he was also associate professor of english/creative writing. Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy and Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in March 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. His most recent books include The Walmart Republic, with Christopher Stewart (Mongrel Empire Press, September 2014), and reluctant minivan (Living Arts Press, May 2014).
Nate Marshall is from the South Side of Chicago. His first book, Wild Hundreds, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize and is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press. He received his MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Center at the University of Michigan and is a Cave Canem Fellow. His work has appeared in Poetry, the New Republic, and elsewhere. Nate won the 2014 Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award and the 2013 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award. He is a founding member of the poetry collective Dark Noise. He is also a rapper.
Marty McConnell lives in Chicago, Illinois, and received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has recently appeared in Best American Poetry 2014, Southern Humanities Review, Gulf Coast, and Indiana Review. Her first full-length collection, wine for a shotgun, was published in 2012 by EM Press.
Ciara Miller is a poetry MFA candidate and an African American/African diaspora studies MA candidate at Indiana University. She has published poems and scholarly essays in Callaloo, SLC Review, Alice Walker: Critical Insights, PLUCK, Chorus, Toegood Poetry, Cave Canem Anthology XII, African American Review, Muzzle, and Blackberry.
Tracie Morris is a poet and multimedia performer whose most recent collection, Rhyme Scheme, includes a sound poetry CD. She holds an MFA from Hunter College, has studied classical British acting technique at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and holds a Ph.D. in performance studies from New York University.
John Murillo teaches creative writing at New York University and is also an assistant professor of creative writing and African-American literary arts at Hampshire College. His first poetry collection Up Jump the Boogie was a finalist for both the 2011 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the PEN Open Book Award.
Willie Perdomo is the author of The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Smoking Lovely, winner of the PEN Beyond Margins Award, and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime, a finalist for the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. He is founder/publisher of Cypher Books, a core member of the VONA/Voices faculty and is currently an Instructor in English at Phillips Exeter Academy.
Patrick Rosal has authored four poetry books, most recently Brooklyn Antediluvian. His essays and poems appear in Grantland, the New York Times, Tin House, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, and Best American Poetry. A faculty member of the Rutgers-Camden MFA program, he is founding co-editor of Some Call It Ballin’.
Evie Shockley is the author of a half-red sea, the new black (winner of the 2012 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in Poetry), and Renegade Poetics: Black Aesthetics and Formal Innovation in African American Poetry. The creative writing editor for Feminist Studies, Shockley is an associate professor of English at Rutgers University.
Danez Smith is the winner of a 2014 Ruth Lilly/Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He is the author of [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014). He is a Cave Canem, VONA, and McKnight Foundation Fellow. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Ludacris was his favorite rapper for years.
Enzo Silon Surin is a Haitian-born poet and social advocate. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications and he is the author of HIGHER GROUND (Finishing Line Press, 2006). He holds an MFA in creative writing and currently serves as an assistant professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College.
Kush Thompson is an emerging teaching artist for Young Chicago Authors. In Fall 2014, she joined, as a German consulate, the Berlin-based Wort.Word.Lich collaboration for its first-ever bilingual showcase tour. Her debut chapbook, A Church Beneath the Bulldozer, was recently published with New School Poetics.
Marcus Wicker is the author of Maybe the Saddest Thing. He has received the 2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowship and Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Cave Canem and the Fine Arts Work Center. Marcus is an assistant professor of English at the University of Southern Indiana and poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review.
avery r. young is a writer, performer, and visual artist. He is a Cave Canem alum and his work appears in several publications. As artist in residence at The University of Chicago, young completed a collection of sound designs to be featured in his first full-length album booker t. soltreyne: a race rekkid.