Essayist and Poet Bios

Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press, 2014) and Honeyfish, which won the 2018 Green Rose Prize, and is forthcoming in 2019 from New Issues Press. Alleyne was born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, and currently lives in Harrisonburg, VA. She is Assistant Director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center and an Associate Professor of English at James Madison University.

Cameron Barnett holds an MFA from the University of Pittsburgh, where he was poetry editor for Hot Metal Bridge, and co-coordinator of Pitt’s Speakeasy Reading Series. He teaches middle school at Falk Laboratory School in Pittsburgh. His recent work has appeared in The Florida Review, The Minnesota Review, and Rattle. His first collection, The Drowning Boy’s Guide to Water (Autumn House Press) was a finalist for an NAACP Image Award.

Brother Yao (Hoke S. Glover III) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Modern Languages at Bowie State University. His poetry has been published in Ploughshares, African-American Review, Rattle, and other journals and anthologies.  His first book, Inheritance, was published by Willow Books in Summer of 2016. For fifteen years he ran and operated Karibu Books, one of the nation’s largest African American book stores. He also writes non-fiction and his essay “Hospital for the Negro Insane” was a finalist in the Crab Orchard John Guyon Non-Fiction Literary Prize in 2015, and his essay the “Fifty Four” on African American bookstores and book culture was a finalist in the Missouri Review Jeffrey E. Smith’s Editor’s Prize in 2018. Much of his current work focuses on reading “yin” in African American culture.

Paula Bohince is the author of three poetry collections, all from Sarabande, most recently Swallows and Waves. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, and Best American Poetry. She has been a Fellow of National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Pennsylvania.

Charlie R. Braxton is a poet, playwright and journalist born in McComb, MS. Braxton studied Journalism and Creative Writing at Jackson State University. He has published three volumes of poetry, Ascension from the Ashes (Blackwood Press, 1991), Cinders Rekindled (Jawara Press, 2013), and Embers Among the Ashes: Poems in a Haiku Manner (Jawara Press, 2018). His poetry has appeared in a number of literary journals, including The Black Nation, Black American Literature Forum, Cutbank, Drumvoices Review, Eyeball Literary Magazine, Sepia Poetry Journal, Specter Magazine, The Minnesota Review, The San Fernando Poetry Journal, and The Transnational. In addition, Braxton has been anthologized in several anthologies, such as Trouble the Waters, In The Tradition, Bum Rush the Page: the Def Jam Poetry Anthology, Roll Call, Step Into a World, and The African World in Dialogue: A Call to Arms!  

Maia L. Butler is an Assistant Professor of African American Literature at the University of North Carolina-Wilmington, where she is also affiliate faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies and Africana Studies. She researches and teaches in African American and Diasporic literary studies, Women’s Literature and Feminist Theories and Criticism, and Anglophone Postcolonial Literary Studies. She is co-editor of a volume titled Narrating History, Home, and Nation: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat, forthcoming from University Press of Mississippi, and has a book chapter titled “The Exigency of the Floating Homeland and Engaging Postnationalisms in the Classroom: Approaches to Teaching Edwidge Danticat’s Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work,” forthcoming in Approaches to Teaching the Work of Edwidge Danticat. She is the Co-founding Vice President of the Edwidge Danticat Society.

Chris Campanioni is a first-generation American, the child of immigrants from Cuba and Poland, and the author of the Internet is for real (C&R Press). His “Billboards” poem was awarded an Academy of American Poets College Prize in 2013, his novel Going Down was selected as Best First Book at the 2014 International Latino Book Awards, and his hybrid piece “This body’s long (& I’m still loading)” was adapted as an official selection of the Canadian International Film Festival in 2017. He is currently a Provost Fellow and MAGNET Mentor at The Graduate Center/CUNY, where he is conducting his doctoral studies in English and redrafting narratives of exile. He edits PANK, At Large Magazine, and Tupelo Quarterly, and teaches Latino literature and creative writing at Pace University and Baruch College.

Megan Feifer is an Assistant Professor of English at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York. She earned her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Wisconsin and Ph.D. at Louisiana State University. Her research and teaching addresses Afro-Caribbean Diasporas in the U.S., Multi-Ethnic Literatures, Postcolonial Literature and theory, and Feminist theories. Her dissertation focused on the collective counter-archival project created in the essays, fiction, and non-fiction work of authors Julia Alvarez, Edwidge Danticat, and Junot Díaz. She is co-editor of a volume titled Narrating History, Home, and Nation: Critical Essays on Edwidge Danticat, forthcoming from University Press of Mississippi, and author of a forthcoming article titled “The Remembering of Bones: Working through Trauma and the Counter-Archive in Edwidge Danticat’s Farming of Bones.” She is the Co-founding President of the Edwidge Danticat Society. 

Maureen Gallagher is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the English Department at Duquesne University, where she teaches courses in composition studies and literature. She earned her doctorate from Duquesne in 2015; her dissertation focused on ethics in contemporary innovative lyric poetry written by women. Her research and pedagogical interests include modern poetry, feminist theory, critical race studies, and visual rhetoric in popular culture.  

Danielle Legros Georges is the author of two books of poetry, Maroon and The Dear Remote Nearness of You, the chapbook Letters from Congo, and is the editor of City of Notions: An Anthology of Contemporary Boston Poems. Her essays, translations, reviews, and poems have appeared in numerous literary journals, books and publications, and she has won numerous awards for her literary work. As Boston’s Poet Laureate between 2015 and 2019, Legros Georges collaborated with Boston area museums, libraries, schools, artists and students; represented Boston internationally at literary festivals; presented occasional poems at official events; made commissioned work; co-founded a reading series and scholarships, created an elder poetry writing workshop; welcomed visiting poets and artists; created readings and panels; and held office hours with Boston residents interested in poetry.  She is a Professor of Creative Writing at Lesley University.

Sarah Giragosian is the author of the poetry collections Queer Fish (Dream Horse Press, 2017) and The Death Spiral (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming). Recent scholarly articles include “Elizabeth Bishop’s Evolutionary Poetics,” published in Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory and “‘To a Nation Out of its Mind: ’Joy Harjo’s Post-Pastoral,” published in the anthology Ecopoetics: Global Poetries and Ecologies (Lexington Books). She teaches in the department of Writing and Critical Inquiry at the University at Albany SUNY.

Nicholas Goodly is a recipient of the 2017 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. A Cave Canem Fellow, Nicholas received an MFA from Columbia University, was awarded the second place prize for New South Poetry Contest, was a semi-finalist in the 2018 Discovery/ Boston Review Contest, finalist in the 2017 Tennessee Williams Poetry Contest and a finalist in the 2016 Academy of American Poets Prize. Nicholas is the writing editor of WUSSY Magazine and Critic’s Choice for Best Poet 2018 in Creative Loafing Atlanta.

Jason Harris is an emerging writer/futurist based in Baltimore, Maryland. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. His work has appeared in Black Enterprise magazine, Voices from Haiti, FreeBlackSpace, BmoreArt online,and various other publications. He has participated in the Yale Writer’s conference and is a 2015 Kimbilio Fiction Fellow. He self-published the speculative fiction anthology entitled, Redlines: Baltimore 2028” in 2012, which has subsequently been adopted as curriculum material for creative writing and social studies departments in high schools and universities. He is the founder of the Parkside Literary Salon, a Baltimore based writing collective. In 2016, he co-curated Mothership Connection, an anchor exhibit for Artscape, the largest outdoor public art festival in the United States. In addition to his involvement in a myriad of community based futurist projects, he is currently working on his first novel, Upside Out, which he will publish this fall.

Angela Jackson-Brown is a writer, poet and playwright who teaches Creative Writing and English at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. She is a graduate of Troy State University, Auburn University and Spalding University where she received her MFA in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in various literary journals and her debut novel, Drinking from a Bitter Cup, was published by WiDo Publishing in 2014. Angela’s short play, Flossie Bailey Takeswas part of the Indiana’s Bicentennial Celebration at the Indiana Repertory Theatre in Indianapolis, IN in 2016 and also during that year, she wrote and directed her play, Anna’s Wings, during the 2016 DivaFest at the IndyFringe in Indianapolis, IN and her play It Is Well appeared at the IndyFringe and Muncie Civic Theatre. Recently the play she co-wrote with BSU graduate, Ashya Thomas, debuted at OnyxFest and the IndyFringe Festival in Indianapolis, IN. In 2018, her musical, Dear Bobby will be spotlighted at OnyxFest in Indianapolis. You can find her at and

Licia Morrow Hendriks is an associate professor of English at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. A California native, she attended Duke University before moving on to the University of Michigan’s doctoral program in English Language and Literature. Her first book, entitled Black Family (Dys)Function in Novels by Jessie Fauset, Nella Larsen, and Fannie Hurst (Peter Lang, 2003), examines representations of maternity and domesticity in novels written during the Harlem Renaissance. She is currently working on the manuscript of her second book, subtitled “The Anglo-American Fetishization of Black Female Domesticity.” In addition to lower-division service courses in composition and literature, she teaches upper-division and graduate courses in African American Literature, survey courses in World Literature, and special topics seminars for the college’s Honors program. Her scholarly interests encompass the race, class, and gender issues manifested in literary representations of people of color. 

Jacqueline Johnson, is a multi-disciplined artist creating in both poetry, fiction writing and fiber arts. She is the author of A Woman’s Season, on Main Street Rag Press, and A Gathering of Mother Tongues, published by White Pine Press and is the winner of the Third Annual White Pine Press Poetry Award. Ms. Johnson has received awards from the New York Foundation of the Arts, the Middle Atlantic Writers Association’s Creative Writing Award in poetry, and has done residences at MacDowell Colony for the Arts, Hurston Wright and Blue Mountain Arts. She is a Black Earth Institute fellow 2018-2020, and Cave Canem fellow. Ms. Johnson has taught poetry at Pine Manor College, City University of New York, Poets House, Very Special Arts, Imani House, the Frederick Douglass Creative Arts Center and African Voices. Recent publications include: The Brooklyn Poets Anthology, Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks, Speculating Futures: Black Imagination and the Arts, The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women’s Poetry, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Black Renaissance Noire, pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts & Culture, Cutting Down the Wrath Bearing Tree, Callaloo, Saints of Hysteria: A Half Century of Collaborative American Poetry, Softskull Press, and Streetlights: Illuminating Tales of the Black Urban Experience. Works in progress include The Privilege of Memory and How to Stop a Hurricane, a collection of short stories. She is a graduate of New York University and the City University of New York. A native of Philadelphia, PA., she resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Amanda Johnston earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. She is the author of two chapbooks, GUAP and Lock & Key, and the full-length collection Another Way to Say Enter (Argus House Press). Her poetry and interviews have appeared in numerous online and print publications, among them, CallalooPoetryKinfolks QuarterlyPuerto del SolMuzzlePluck!No, Dear and the anthologies, Small BatchFulldi-ver-city, The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, and Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism. The recipient of multiple Artist Enrichment grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Christina Sergeyevna Award from the Austin International Poetry Festival, she is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a Cave Canem graduate fellow. Johnston is a Stonecoast MFA faculty member, a cofounder of Black Poets Speak Out, and founding executive director of Torch Literary Arts. She serves on the Cave Canem Foundation board of directors and currently lives in Texas.

Almas Khan is a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Legal English at Georgetown Law. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Virginia and a J.D. with honors from the University of Chicago Law School. Her scholarship analyzes the connections between disciplinary developments in postbellum American literature and law, focusing on African diasporic and working-class literary texts that employ legal forms but critique inequities in how the legal system has forged citizenship. Almas’s manuscript in-progress, Reforming Disciplines, Reconstituting Citizenship: American Literary Realism, Legal Realism, and the Crucible of Equality,theorizes two synchronous modern liberal movements in American law and letters. A second project, Conceptualizing Poetry and Law, will delineate conceptual poetry’s public resonance despite its aura of formal inaccessibility by probing the work of poets who have fabricated their texts from legal materials, signaling their engagement with pressing social and political issues. Almas’s article “Racial Classifications and Crossing the Color Line: Nella Larsen’s Novel Passing” is forthcoming in the anthology Literature of Inequality (editor Kimberly Drake, Grey House Publishing/Salem Press). Almas has also published articles in other anthologies and in several journals, including the Cambridge Journal of Postcolonial Literary Inquiry, English Academy Review, and the Chicago Journal of International Law. Her literary scholarship draws upon her decade-plus of experiences in law, especially teaching legal writing.

Tony Medina, two-time winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People (DeShawn Days and I and I, Bob Marley), is the author/editor of twenty books for adults and young readers, the most recent of which are I and I, Bob Marley (2009); My Old Man Was Always on the Lam (2010), a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize; Broke on Ice (2011); An Onion of Wars (2012); The President Looks Like Me & Other Poems (2013); and Broke Baroque (2013), a finalist for the Julie Suk Book Award. He has received the Langston Hughes Society Award; the first African Voices Literary Award; and was nominated for Pushcart Prizes for his poems, “Broke Baroque” and “From the Crushed Voice Box of Freddie Gray.” Medina, whose poetry and prose appear in over 100 anthologies and literary journals, is the first Professor of Creative Writing at Howard University. In 2016, Jacar Press of North Carolina published his anthology, Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, on police violence and brutalities perpetrated on people of color. Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books, published Medina’s debut graphic novel, I Am Alfonso Jones, in 2017, and Penny Candy Books of Oklahoma published Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Boy (2018). Medina has read/performed his work all over the United States, as well as in Germany, France, Poland, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands.

Deborah M. Mix is Professor of English at Ball State University. Her articles on Stein and other poets have appeared in Contemporary Women’s WritingAmerican Literature, and The Cambridge History of 20th-Century American Women’s Poetry, among other places. She is the author of “A Vocabulary of Thinking”: Gertrude Stein and Contemporary North American Women’s Experimental Writing and the co-editor of Approaches to Teaching the Works of Gertrude Stein

J. Peter Moore is a literary critic, poet and editor, working at the intersection of multiple disciplines, including linguistics, architecture, visual arts, and black studies. His book project, Other Than a Citizen: Vernacular Poetics in Postwar America, examines the work of avant-garde poets who turned to the unadorned, anonymous practices of everyday life to find a model for countering the institutional regimentation of the postwar social world. Recent essays can be found in American Literature and College Literature. He is the author of two poetry collections, Southern Colortype (Three Count Pour, 2013) and Zippers & Jeans (selva oscura, 2017). With Ken Taylor, he edits Lute & Drum: An Online Arts Journal. He lives in Lafayette, Indiana, where he teaches in the Honors College at Purdue University.

Sean Murphy has appeared on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and been quoted in USA Today, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, and AdAge. His work has also appeared in Salon, The Village Voice, The New York Post, The Good Men ProjectMemoir Magazine, and others. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and served as writer-in-residence of the Noepe Center at Martha’s Vineyard. He’s Founding Director of Virginia Center for Literary Arts ( To learn more, please visit and @bullmurph.

Lisa Norris has published two prize-winning story collections, Women Who Sleep With Animals (Stephen F. Austin University Press Prize, 2011) and Toy Guns (Helicon Nine Press, 2000) and a poetry chapbook called The Gap (D Press, 2017). Her stories, poems, and creative nonfiction have been published in various literary journals, including, Shenandoah, Fourth Genre, Ascent, South Dakota Review, Smartish Pace, Notre Dame Review, and the anthology Kiss Tomorrow Hello (Doubleday 2006), among others. She is a professor at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. Previously, she taught for fifteen years at Virginia Tech.

Anne M. Rashid is an associate professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies Director at Carlow University. She teaches courses in American literature, creative writing, environmental justice, literature in translation, as well as Madwomen in the Attic workshops. She is faculty advisor for Carlow’s chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honors Society and The Critical Point, Carlow’s undergraduate writing and art journal. She has published poetry in Adagio Verse Quarterly, Lit Candles: Feminist Mentoring and the Text, The Metro Times, Pittsburgh’s City Paper, Forum, Paterson Literary Review, Broad River Review, Walloon Writers Review and The Fourth River. She and her co-translator, the late Chae-Pyong Song, published translations of Korean poetry in New Writing from Korea, list, The Gwangju News, Azalea: Journal of Korean Literature, Illuminations and Women’s Studies Quarterly. In 2009, they won the Grand Prize in the Poetry category of the 40th Modern Korean Literature Translation Awards given by The Korea Times. Her fields of interest include literature of environmental justice, contemporary women’s poetry, and African American literature. She has a Ph.D (2006) and M.A. (2001) from Binghamton University and a B.A. (1998) from Wayne State University.

Anne Lovering Rounds is a professor of English at Eugenio María de Hostos Community College, City University of New York. An interdisciplinary scholar of poetry and music, she has published in Ars Lyrica, The Journal of Beat Studies, Literary Imagination, Proteus, Text Matters, and Soundings. Her debut poetry collection, Variations in an Emergency (2016), received the Cathlamet Prize for poetry from Ravenna Press, and her second volume, Little Double Elegy for All of You, is forthcoming with Ravenna. She is also a recreational classical pianist. She earned her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard University in 2009 and holds a BA in English and Classics from the University of Chicago.

Emily Jo Scalzo holds an MFA in fiction from California State University-Fresno and is currently an assistant professor teaching research and creative writing at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including Midwestern Gothic, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Blue Collar Review, New Verse News, and others. Her first chapbook, The Politics of Division, was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Awards.

Steffan Triplett is a Black, queer writer and instructor living in Pittsburgh. He received his MFA from the University of Pittsburgh and is an alumnus of VONA, Callaloo, and a previous Lambda Literary Fellow. His recent work can be found in Longreads, Slate, Electric Literature, DIAGRAM, and Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books 2018). Steffan is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where he was a John B. Ervin scholar. He was raised in Joplin, Missouri.

Laura Vrana is Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Alabama. She earned her B.A. from Yale University and her M.A. and Ph.D. at The Pennsylvania State University, before spending a year as Postdoctoral Fellow in African American and African Diasporic Literature at Rutgers University. Her book manuscript in progress focuses on black poetry since the Black Arts Movement, examining the role of academic institutions, literary prizes, and publication mechanisms in shaping the recent increased visibility of black poetics. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Obsidian: Literature and Arts in the African Diaspora, Journal of Ethnic American Literature, Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, a collection on Amiri Baraka’s legacy, and the Cambridge African American Literature In Transition series, among other venues.

Jerry Wemple is the author of three poetry collections: You Can See It from Here, winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, The Civil War in Baltimore, and The Artemas Poems. He is co-editor of the anthology Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania. His poetry and creative nonfiction work appear in numerous journals and anthologies, and have been published internationally in Ireland, Chile, Spain, Germany, and Canada. A Professor of English at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, he received several awards for writing and teaching including a Fellowship in Literature from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Word Journal chapbook prize. He was awarded  the Bloomsburg University Institute for Culture and Society award for Outstanding Creative Work, the Dean’s Salute to Excellence for his teaching and scholarship, and the Jack and Helen Evans Endowed Faculty Fellowship.

Kimmika Williams-Witherspoon PhD  (Cultural Anthropology), M.A. (Anthropology), MFA (Theater), Graduate Certificate) Women’s Studies, B.A. (Journalism); is an Associate Professor of Urban Theater and Community Engagement in the Theater Department at Temple. The author of Through Smiles and Tears: The History of African American Theater (From Kemet to the Americas) (Lambert Academic Publishing, 2011); The Secret Messages in African American Theater: Hidden Meaning Embedded in Public Discourse” (Edwin Mellen Publishing, 2006) She is a recipient of the 2013 TheMiriam Maat Ka Re Award for scholarship; the 2013 Associate Provosts Arts Grant; 2008 Seed Grant, 2003 Provost’s Arts Grant; 2001 Independence Foundation Grant, the 2000 PEW fellowship, the 1999 DaimlerChrysler National Poetry Competition; the 1996, Lila Wallace Creative Arts Fellowship with the American Antiquarian Society and a two-time returning playwright with the Minneapolis Playwrights’ Center and Pew Charitable Trusts Playwrights Exchange. Williams-Witherspoon has had over 32 plays produced. Her stage credits include over 20 productions, 8 one-woman shows and she has performed poetry in over 110 national and international venues. Williams-Witherspoon is a contributing poet to 38 anthologies, author of 11 books of poetry. The author of 9 book chapters, 7 journal articles and 2 books on African American Theater. She is the recipient of a host of awards and citations.