HANIF ABDURRAQIB is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His poetry has been published in Muzzle, Vinyl, PEN American, and various other journals. His essays and music criticism have been published in The FADER, Pitchfork, The New Yorker, and The New York Times. His first full length poetry collection, The Crown Ain’t Worth Much, was released in June 2016 from Button Poetry. It was named a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, and was nominated for a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award. With Big Lucks, he released a limited edition chapbook, Vintage Sadness, in summer 2017 (you cannot get it anymore and he is very sorry). His first collection of essays, They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. He is a Callaloo Creative Writing Fellow, an interviewer at Union Station Magazine, and a poetry editor at Muzzle Magazine. He is a member of the poetry collective Echo Hotel with poet/essayist Eve Ewing. His next books are Go Ahead In The Rain, a biography of A Tribe Called Quest due out in 2019 by University of Texas Press, and They Don’t Dance No’ Mo’, due out in 2020 by Random House.
RUTH AWAD is an award-winning Lebanese-American poet whose debut poetry collection, Set to Music a Wildfire, won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize from Southern Indiana Review Press. She is the recipient of a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and her work has appeared in New Republic, The Missouri Review Poem of the Week, Sixth Finch, Crab Orchard Review, CALYX, Diode, Southern Indiana Review, The Adroit Journal, Vinyl Poetry, Epiphany, Drunken Boat, Atticus Review, and in the anthologies The Hundred Years’ War: Modern War Poems (Bloodaxe Books, 2014), New Poetry from the Midwest 2014 (New American Press, 2015), and Poets on Growth (Math Paper Press, 2015). She won the 2012 and 2013 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest, and she was a finalist for the 2013 Ruth Lilly Fellowship. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and she is the blog editor at Agape Editions. She writes and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband, two Pomeranians, and two ungrateful bunnies.
ERIC BARNES is the author of the novels The City Where We Once Lived (Arcade Publishing, forthcoming spring 2018), Shimmer, an IndieNext Pick from Unbridled Books, and Something Pretty, Something Beautiful from Outpost19, which The Millions called a “remarkable book … where cars are freedom, stories are everything, and home is thick with ghosts. ” He has also published more than forty short stories in Prairie Schooner, The Literary Review, North American Review, New World Writing, Fiction International, Best American Mystery Stories, and others.
JOSHUA BERNSTEIN‘s forthcoming novel, Rachel’s Tomb (New Issues 2019), won the AWP Award Series, Hackney, and Knut House Prizes. His forthcoming story collection, Stick-Light (Eyewear 2019), was a finalist for the Robert C. Jones (Pleiades Press) and Beverly Prizes. His work has appeared in Shenandoah, Tampa Review, Kenyon Review Online, Boston Review, and other journals. He will begin this fall as an assistant professor in the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi.
ROY BENTLEY is the author of Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama), Any One Man (Bottom Dog), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House). Walking with Eve in the Loved City, a finalist for the Miller Williams Prize and his fifth collection, is due out in 2018 from the University of Arkansas. Recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the NEA, six Ohio Arts Council fellowships, and a Florida Division of Cultural Affairs fellowship, his poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Shenandoah, Blackbird, RATTLE, and elsewhere.
NANDINI DHAR is the author of Historians of Redundant Moments (Agape Editions, 2017). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New England Review, Fugue, Memorious, New South, Best New Poets 2016, and elsewhere. Nandini hails from Kolkata, India, and divides her time between her hometown and Miami, Florida, where she works as an Assistant Professor of English at Florida International University.
DEBORAH FLANAGAN‘s chapbook, Or, Gone, was the winner of Tupelo Press’s Snowbound Series Chapbook Award, and AGNI recently nominated her work for a Pushcart Prize. Her work has appeared in journals including The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshares, Pleiades, FIELD, and The Southern Review, among others. Deborah lives in New York City.
ALICE B. FOGEL is the Poet Laureate of New Hampshire. In addition to Strange Terrain, a reader’s guide to appreciating poetry without necessarily “getting” it, she is the author, most recently, A Doubtful House (2017). Others include Interval: Poems Based on Bach’s Goldberg Variations, which won the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature & the New Hampshire Literary Award in Poetry, & Be That Empty, a national bestseller. A nine-time Pushcart nominee & recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship & other awards, her poems appear in many journals & anthologies, including Best American Poetry & Poet’s Choice. She lives in Walpole, NH, works with learning disabled students at Landmark College in Putney, VT, & hikes mountains whenever possible.
MARC FRAZIER has published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He has had memoir from his book WITHOUT published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre, Cobalt, Evening Street Review, and Punctuate. Marc, an LGBTQ+ writer, is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry, has been featured on Verse Daily, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection titled Each Thing Touches (Glass Lyre Press). Willingly, his third poetry book, will be published by Adelaide Books in 2019. His website is www.marcfrazier.org.
STEPHEN GIBSON is the author of seven poetry collections: Self-Portrait in a Door-Length Mirror (2017 Miller Williams Prize winner, selected by Billy Collins, University of Arkansas Press), The Garden of Earthly Delights Book of Ghazals (Texas Review Press), Rorschach Art Too (2014 Donald Justice Prize, Story Line Press), Paradise (Miller Williams finalist, University of Arkansas Press), Frescoes (Lost Horse Press book prize), Masaccio’s Expulsion (MARGIE/IntuiT House book prize), and Rorschach Art (Red Hen Press). The poems in this issue are from a forthcoming collection, Obsessed.
THOMAS BULEN JACOBS was raised overseas, mostly in South America, Turkey and Spain. He is a graduate of St. John’s College in Annapolis. His fiction has previously appeared in The Nassau Review.
MURAD JALILOV recently graduated with BAs in English and Political Science fromEmporia State University and is a graduate student in the MA program in Russian and Eastern European Studies at University of Oregon. His translations have been accepted for publication in Origins Journal, Ezra: An Online Journal of Translation, and OCCULUM Journal.
EPIPHANY KNEDLER is a chronicler of American life and political fanatic. Growing up in Vermillion, South Dakota, she found comfort in Midwestern aesthetics and small town familiarity. She graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2017 with a BFA in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography and a BA in Political Science. She strives to shed light on contemporary economic disparity through familiar environments. She is currently based in Greenville, North Carolina, pursuing an MFA in Photography at East Carolina University. Her work was recently exhibited at Aint-Bad, Fraction Magazine, and Ours Mag. You can view her work at www.epiphanyknedler.com.
TOM LARSEN has been writing fiction for twenty years and his work has appeared in Newsday, New Millennium Writing, Raritan, Best American Mystery Stories, Philadelphia Stories Magazine, and the LA Review. His novels Flawed and Into the Fire are available through Amazon. Tom lives in the Pennsport section of South Philadelphia, home to Mummers, Flyers and that screw-you slant that made this city great. For a writer auditioning characters, the 19148 zip is a casting gold mine.
IGNACIO ORTIZ MONASTERIO‘s work has appeared in The Southern Literary Journal and Mexican magazines like Este País, Nexos, Luvina, Tierra Adentro, and Letras Libres. A recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship and other grants, his book Compás de cuatro tiempos, a collection of autobiographical stories, is available through Amazon. He has three more titles either under consideration or admitted for publication. The author would like to thank B.J. Carrick for his help editing “Fighting for His Brother.” He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAROLYN OLIVER‘s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in FIELD, The Shallow Ends, The Greensboro Review, Booth, Gulf Stream, Lunch Ticket, Frontier Poetry, and elsewhere. A graduate of The Ohio State University and Boston University, she lives in Massachusetts with her family. Links to more of her writing can be found at carolynoliver.net.
SERGIO A. ORTIZ is a two-time Pushcart nominee, a four-time Best of the Web nominee, and 2016 Best of the Net nominee. He was awarded second place in the 2016 Ramón Ataz Annual Poetry Competition. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in FRIGG, Tipton Poetry Journal, Drunk Monkeys, Bitterzeot Magazine, and ONE, Jacar Press. He is currently working on his first full-length collection of poems, Elephant Graveyard.
MICHAEL PARKER-STAINBACK is a journalist and translator who has called Mexico City home for more than eleven years. He has served dozens of corporate, institutional, and private clients and has translated work by Mario Vargas Llosa, Carlos Fuentes, Mexico President Enrique Peña Nieto, Guadalupe Loaeza, Sergio González Rodríguez, et al. His original writing has appeared in National Geographic Traveller and TimeOut London (UK), as well as Gatopardo andTravesías (Mexico). Parker-Stainback is the author of StyleMap Mexico City: The Connoisseur’s Guide to the City’s Best Food, Shopping and Nightlife (first edition).
KEVIN RABAS teaches at Emporia State University, where he leads the poetry and playwriting tracks. He has seven books, including Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner. He is acting Poet Laureate of Kansas (2017-2019).
JEROME RICHARD is a retired professor of English (Western Washington University) now writing fiction and social commentary. His novel, The Kiss of the Prison Dancer, was a runner-up for the 2005 PEN/Hemingway Award. The Architect was a winner in the 2014 Seattle Public Library contest for self-published books about Seattle. He also edited the anthology The Good Life. Other works have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, The Iconoclast, The Humanist, Tikkun, East Coast Literary Review, Free State Review, The Main Street Rag, and elsewhere. He studied creative writing at San Francisco State University and now live in Seattle. His website is
KATHERINE RIEGEL is the author of Letters to Colin Firth (winner of the 2015 Sundress Publications chapbook award), What the Mouth Was Made For, and Castaway. Her work has appeared in Brevity, The Gettysburg Review, The Offing, Orion, Poets.org, Tin House, and elsewhere. She is co-founder and poetry editor for Sweet: A Literary Confection.
MIRZA SAKIT is the pen name of Sakit Mirza Zakhidov. His arrest in 2006 in Azerbaijan caused an uproar in the international writers community and among numerous human rights organizations. One of the organizations that stood up for him was PEN AMERICA. He has never been translated into English. He is very popular among the Azerbaijani public both abroad and at home, his poetry readings generating thousands of views online in his native language. He received the Hellman/Hammett Award from Human Rights Watch in 2008.
JANETTE SCHAFER is a freelance writer, photographer, and opera singer living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a 2017 Maenad Fellowship awardee in creative writing through Chatham University. Recent publications of her work can be found in PublicSource, Calamus Journal, Eyedrum Periodically, The Woman Inc., and Chatham University broadsides.
RISA SHARGEL has traveled in Bulgaria for over three decades, living there in the 1990s and again in 2010-2012. She has completed a travel memoir that includes essays about the country’s history and culture, and is currently working on translating selected short fiction by Bulgarian author and playwright Stanislav Stratiev.
BARBARA KREADER SKALINDER has taught in her independent studio since 1974. One of the coauthors of the Hal Leonard Student Piano Library, she has given workshops in more than two hundred cities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia. Formerly the editor of Clavier magazine, she is also a published poet. Kreader Skalinder received her M.M. Degree from Northwestern University, where she studied with Laurence Davis and Frances Larimer. She lives in Evanston, Illinois.
STANISLAV STRATIEV was a Bulgarian playwright, screenwriter, and author. His first play, The Roman Bath, was an instant success and performed in repertory for over a decade at the Satirical Theatre in Sofia, Bulgaria. Success continued with multiple plays performed in more than 20 countries on three continents. Stratiev’s screenplays won both critical and popular acclaim both in Bulgaria and on the international film circuit. In addition to his plays and screenplays, Stratiev published short and long-form prose that observed and satirized Bulgarian society.
JANE O. WAYNE‘s poetry collections are Looking Both Ways (University of MO Press)which received the Devins Award for Poetry, and A Strange Heart which received the Marianne Moore Prize and the Society of Midland Authors Award, From the Night album (Pecan Grove), and The Other Place You Live (Mayapple Press).
TORI GRANT WELHOUSE is a Wisconsin poet, writer, and photographer. An active volunteer with Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets (wfop.org), she’s a co-collaborator on Bramble Literary Magazine. Her poetry has most recently appeared in Sky Island Review, New Midwest Poetry, ROAR, and Blue Heron Review. More at www.torigrantwelhouse.com.
MATT WHELIHAN is an assistant professor of English at Wilmington University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Slice, Cleaver, Midwestern Gothic, and New Plains Review. In 2017, he received an honorable mention in Glimmer Train‘s Short Story Award for New Writers contest.
MICHAEL T. YOUNG‘s third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was published by Terrapin Books. His other collections are The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost and Transcriptions of Daylight. His chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the Jean Pedrick Award from the New England Poetry Club. He also received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals including American Book Review, Cimarron Review, Prick of the Spindle, The Smart Set, US1 Worksheets, and Valparaiso Poetry Review.