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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. Herrera is also a performance artist and activist on behalf of migrant and indigenous communities and at-risk youth.
Alyssa Striplin was born and raised in the Kansas City, Missouri suburbs. She is an MFA candidate at Minnesota State University, Mankato, the managing editor for the Blue Earth Review, and the 2017-18 Nadine B. Andreas Graduate Assistant.
Marcus Wicker is the recipient of a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a Pushcart Prize, The Missouri Review‘s Miller Audio Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem and the Fine Arts Work Center. His first collection Maybe the Saddest Thing, a National Poetry Series winner, was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award. Wicker’s poems have appeared in The Nation, American Poetry Review, Poetry, Oxford American, and Boston Review. His second book, Silencer, is forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2017. He is the poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review.
Meg Day is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowshipin Poetry, and the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street 2014), winner of the Barrow Street Poetry Prize and the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award, and a finalist for the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award from Claremont Graduate University. Day is Assistant Professor of English & Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College and lives in Lancaster, PA.
Stephen Graham Jones was raised as pretty much the only Blackfeet in West Texas―except for his dad and grandma and aunts and uncles and cousins. He’s had more than fifteen novels and several story collections published, including, from William Morrow, the werewolf novel Mongrels. He has published over one hundred and seventy stories in journals ranging from Alaska Quarterly Review to Weird Tales, from Asimov’s to Prairie Schooner. His books have been finalists for the Bram Stoker Award, three Shirley Jackson Awards, the Colorado Book Award, and he’s won the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Fiction, the This is Horror “Novel of the Year,” the Independent Publisher’s Award for Multicultural Fiction, and he’s been an National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Fiction. Stephen earned his Ph.D. from Florida State University. He lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Lesley Nneka Arimah was born in the UK and grew up wherever her father was stationed for work, which was sometimes Nigeria, sometimes not. She is the author of two books: the short story collection What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky and a forthcoming novel. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, GRANTA, and elsewhere. The recipient of the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, an O’Henry Award, and support from the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and other organizations, her stories have been shortlisted for the Caine Prize, a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and included in The Best American Nonrequired Reading and O’Henry Prize anthologies. She lives in Minneapolis.
Fiction and creative nonfiction writer Jessica Guess hails from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She is an MFA candidate in the Creative Writing Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, a composition instructor, and a workshop leader for the Good Thunder Reading Series community outreach program. Her work has been featured in Luna Station Quarterly and Mused BellaOnline Literary Review, and in 2017, she attended the Voices of Our Nation (VONA) workshop where she studied with comic writer Marjorie Liu. She is the recipient of the 2017 Robert C. Wright award.
Nicole Walker is the author of two forthcoming books Sustainability: A Love Story, and Microcosm. Her previous books include Egg, Micrograms, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, and This Noisy Egg. She also edited Bending Genre with Margot Singer. She’s the nonfiction editor at Diagram and Associate Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona where it rains like the Pacific Northwest, but only in July.