Patricia Smith is the author of eight books of poetry, including Incendiary Art, winner of the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the 2018 NAACP Image Award, and finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize; Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist; and Gotta Go, Gotta Flow, a collaboration with award-winning Chicago photographer Michael Abramson. Her other books include the poetry volumes Teahouse of the Almighty, Close to Death, Big Towns Big Talk, Life According to Motown; the children’s book Janna and the Kings and the history Africans in America, a companion book to the award-winning PBS series. Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, The Baffler, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Tin House and in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays and Best American Mystery Stories. She co-edited The Golden Shovel Anthology—New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks and edited the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir. Patricia is a professor at the College of Staten Island and in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College, as well as an instructor at the annual VONA residency and in the Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Residency Program.
Peggy Robles-Alvarado is Pushcart Prize nominee, a CantoMundo, Academy for Teachers and Home School Fellow and a four-time International Latino Book Award winner. She is a tenured educator with M.A.Ed. degrees in elementary and bilingual education and an MFA in Performance Studies. She is the author of Conversations with My Skin (2011) and Homage to the Warrior Women (2012). Through Robleswrites Productions, she curated the anthologies The Abuela Stories Project (2016) and Mujeres, The Magic, The Movement and The Muse (2017). As an initiated priestess in the Lukumi and Palo spiritual systems, this BRIO award-winning performance poet uses her incredible rhythmic energy and raw truth style to make connections to ancestral knowledge, celebrate womanhood, and honor cultural rituals through poetry, prose and performance. For more information about her work and future projects please visit Robleswrites.com.
Marwa Helal is a poet and journalist. Her work appears in Apogee, Hyperallergic, the Offing, Poets & Writers, the Recluse, Winter Tangerine and elsewhere. She is the author of I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No, Dear/Small Anchor Press, 2017) and Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019). Helal is the winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial 2016 Poetry Contest and has been awarded fellowships from Poets House, Brooklyn Poets, and Cave Canem. Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, Helal currently lives and teaches in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School and her BA in journalism and international studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.
Kwame Opoku-Duku is a Ghanaian-American poet and fiction writer. His work is featured or forthcoming in the Virginia Quarterly Review, BOMB, The Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Bettering American Poetry, The Literary Review, and elsewhere. He lives in New York City, where he is a teaching artist, and along with Karisma Price, he is a founding member of the Unbnd Collective. His debut chapbook, The Unbnd Verses, was published in 2018 by Glass Poetry Press.
I.S. Jones is an American-Nigerian poet and music journalist from Southern California by way of New York. She is a Graduate Fellow with The Watering Hole, Callaloo, & BOAAT Writer’s Retreat. She is the 2018 winner of the Second Annual Brittle Paper Award in Poetry and is a 2018 Brooklyn Poets Fellow. In 2016, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is the Assistant Editor at Voicemail Poetry. Her works have appeared in The Rumpus, The Offing, The Shade Journal, great weather for MEDIA, Anomalous Press, the Black Voices Series with Puerto Del Sol, Nat.Brut, forthcoming in Kabaka Magazine and elsewhere. You can find her at isjones.com
The Host – Ed Toney – Poet, writer and chemist, born in Queens NY, resides in Brooklyn. He has featured and read at numerous poetry venues including McNally Jackson bookstore, Barnes and Noble Bookstore, rallies for Mumia, Eric Garner, a unique benefit for Michael Brown that included aerialist performers, “Black Lives Matter” Black poets speak out forums, and elsewhere. Ed’s work has appeared in African Voices 20th Anniversary magazine, the chapbook; Of Fire of Iron, published by The Hot Poets collective, a featured essay in Young’s Men Perspective magazine, Mosaic, Blue Lyra Review, and is very near, full completion on his first poetry manuscript entitled, “Nicks in the Tongue”.