Fatimah Asghar is a nationally touring poet, performer, educator, and writer. Her work has appeared in many journals, including POETRY Magazine, Gulf Coast, BuzzFeed Reader, The Margins, The Offing, Academy of American Poets, and many others. Her work has been featured on new outlets like PBS, Teen Vogue, Huffington Post, and others. In 2011, she created Bosnia and Herzegovina’s first Spoken Word Poetry group, REFLEKS, while on a Fulbright studying theater in post-genocidal countries. She is a member of the Dark Noise Collective and a Kundiman Fellow. Her chapbook, After, came out on Yes Yes Books in fall 2015. She is the writer of Brown Girls, a web series that highlights friendships between women of color. Currently, she is an MFA candidate at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan.
MAHogaNY L. BROWNE
Mahogany L. Browne is a California-born, Brooklyn-based writer, educator, activist, mentor, and curator. The Cave Canem and Poets House alumnae is the author of several books, including Dear Twitter: Love Letters Hashed Out On-line, recommended by Small Press Distribution & About.com's Best Poetry Books of 2010. She has released five LPs, including the live album Sheroshima. As co-founder of the Off-Broadway poetry production, Jam On It, and co-producer of NYC’s 1st Performance Poetry Festival: SoundBites Poetry Festival, Mahogany bridges the gap between lyrical poets and literary emcee. Browne has toured Germany, Amsterdam, England, Canada, and recently Australia as 1/3 of the cultural arts exchange project Global Poetics. Her journalism work has been published in magazines such as Uptown, KING, XXL, The Source, Canada’s The Word, and UK’s MOBO. Her poetry has been published in the literary journals Pluck, Manhattanville Review, Muzzle, Union Station Mag, Literary Bohemian, Bestiary, Joint, and The Feminist Wire. In 2015, she released several poetry collections, including Smudge (Button Poetry), Redbone (Willow Books), and the anthology The Break Beat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket). She is an Urban Word NYC mentor, as seen on HBO’s Brave New Voices, and facilitates performance poetry and writing workshops throughout the country. Brown is also the publisher of Penmanship Books, the Nuyorican Poets Café Poetry Program Director and Friday Night Slam curator, and currently an MFA Candidate for Writing and Activism at Pratt Institute.
Luther Hughes is a Seattle native, but is currently an MFA candidate in the Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis. He is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of The Shade Journal and Associate Poetry Editor for The Offing. Winner of Blueshift Journal's Brutal Nation Poetry Prize and Windy City Times Chicago, 30 Under 30 Honoree, Luther’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, Vinyl, NAILED, Winter Tangerine, Solstice Literary Magazine, and others. You can follow him on Twitter @lutherxhughes. He thinks you are beautiful.
CYNTHIA DEWI OKA
Cynthia Dewi Oka is a poet and author of Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (Thread Makes Blanket, 2016). A Pushcart Prize Nominee, her poems have appeared online and in print, including in Guernica, Black Renaissance Noire, Painted Bride Quarterly, Dusie, The Wide Shore, The Collapsar, Apogee, Kweli, As Us Journal, Obsidian, and Terrain.org. She is a contributor to the anthologies Read Women (Locked Horn Press, 2014), Dismantle (Thread Makes Blanket, 2014), and Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines (PM Press, 2016). Cynthia has been awarded the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor’s Prize in Poetry, scholarships from the Voices of Our Nations (VONA) Writing Workshop and Vermont Studio Center, and the Art and Change Grant from Leeway Foundation. An immigrant from Bali, Indonesia, she is now based in South Jersey/Philly. Her second poetry collection is forthcoming in 2017 from Northwestern University Press.
Julian Randall is a Living Queer Black poet from Chicago. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he has received fellowships from Callaloo, BOAAT, and The Watering Hole, and was the 2015 National College Slam (CUPSI) Best Poet. Julian is the curator of Winter Tangerine Review’s Lineage of Mirrors and is a poetry editor for Freezeray Magazine. He is a cofounder of the Afrolatinx poetry collective Piel Cafe. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Nepantla, Rattle Poets Respond, Ninth Letter, Vinyl, Puerto del Sol, and African Voices, among others. He is a candidate for an MFA in Poetry at The University of Mississippi.
Danez Smith is the author of [insert] boy (2014, YesYes Books), winner of the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. Their second collection, Don't Call Us Dead, will be published by Graywolf Press in 2017. They are also the author of two chapbooks, hands on ya knees and black movie, winner of the Button Poetry Prize. Their work has published and featured widely, including in Poetry Magazine, Beloit Poetry Journal, Buzzfeed, Blavity, & Ploughshares. They are a 2014 Ruth Lilly - Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow, a Cave Canem and VONA alum, and a recipient of a McKnight Foundation Fellowship. Danez is a two-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, placing second in 2014. They edit for The Offing are a founding member of two collectives, Dark Noise and Sad Boy Supper Club. Danez lives in the midwest most of the time.
Danez was featured in the American Academy of Poet's Emerging Writers Series by National Book Award Finalist Patricia Smith. Like her, Danez bridges the poetics of the stage to that of the page. Danez's work transcends arbitrary boundaries to present work that is gripping, dismantling of oppression constructs, and striking on the human heart. Often centered around intersections of race, class, sexuality, faith, and social justice, Danez uses rhythm, fierce raw power, and image to re-imagine the world as takes it apart in their work.
Meet The staff
TYLER TSAY: PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Tyler Tsay is a sophomore at Williams College. His work, both past and upcoming, has been or will be published in The Offing, The Margins: Asian American Writers Workshop, BOAAT, Sibling Rivalry Press, Vinyl Poetry (YesYes Books), Red Paint Hill, and others. He is the recipient of the Bullock Poetry Prize, awarded by the Academy of American Poets and judged by Camille Rankine. When not doodling, collecting quills, or composing cello pieces, he loves a good view, though he has an atrocious fear of heights. And yes, fezzes are definitely cool.
ALEXANDRA MUCK: ASSISTANT PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Alexandra Muck is a freshman at the University of Notre Dame who is majoring in business and economics. In high school she enjoyed a diverse range of writing-related activities, serving as the Editor-in-Chief of both her high school newspaper and literary magazine and an Executive Editor for Polyphony H.S. In addition to the poetry published in her high school literary magazine, Alexandra’s work can be found in Dialogue Humanities Review and Women’s eNews. In her free time (if such a thing exists), she enjoys reading and playing the piano.
LYDIA HAVENS: ON-CALL EDITOR
Lydia Havens is a poet, editor and teaching artist currently living in Boise, Idaho. They are the co-founder and former Executive Poetry Editor of Transcendence Magazine and the founder of Sapphic Swan Zine, a publication for LGBT+ women and gender nonconformists. Their work has previously been published in Winter Tangerine, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, and Words Dance, among others. Lydia is the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam Youth Champion and the author of three self-published chapbooks. Their first-full length collection, Survive Like the Water, is forthcoming from Rising Phoenix Press. They currently work as a teaching artist for Big Tree Arts, Inc.
katherine frain: ON-CALL EDITOR
Katherine Frain is a former poetry editor at The Blueshift Journal, Nassau Literary Review, and The Adroit Journal. A current student at Princeton, her works can be found in the local speculative fiction review as well as The Rumpus, The Journal, and Pith. Previously, she has run the Winter Tangerine Review summer workshop and been an Adroit mentor.
TALIA FLORES: WEB DESIGNER
Talia Flores is an undergraduate at Stanford University. A Pushcart Prize Nominee and recipient of the Texas Book Festival Fiction Prize, her work appears or is forthcoming in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Gigantic Sequins, Words Dance, Souvenir Lit Journal, and more. In addition to her work at Blueshift, she writes for The Stanford Arts Review.
Cynthia Cruz is the author of four collections of poetry, including three with Four Way Books: The Glimmering Room (2012), Wunderkammer (2014), and How the End Begins (2016). Cruz has received fellowships from Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, as well as a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University. She has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in writing and an MFA in Art Criticism and Writing from the School of Visual Arts. Cruz is currently pursuing a PhD in German Studies at Rutgers University and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College.
Melissa Lozada-Oliva is a spoken word poet and bookstore babe living in Boston. A gap-toothed bruja, Melissa believes in awkward silences, being loud, and saying no. Her poetry tries to capture the feeling her parents get when they meet someone from their home country and the feeling she gets when she’s late to a party. She is a National Poetry Slam Champion (2015) and a Brenda Mosey Video Slam Winner (2015). She has previously been published in Electric Cereal, Jaded Ibis Press, Microchondria, and The Guardian.
Natalie Scenters-Zapico is from the sister cities of El Paso, Texas, U.S.A. and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México. In 2015, she published her debut poetry collection The Verging Cities (Center For Literary Publishing), which won the PEN American/Joyce Osterweil Award, the GLCA’s New Writers Award, the National Association of Chicana/o Studies Book Award, and the Utah Book Award. The Verging Cities was also featured in Poets and Writers, LitHub, and The Los Angeles Times. A CantoMundo fellow, her poems can be found in POETRY, Best American Poetry 2015, American Poets, The Believer, The Boston Review, and more. Learn more at nataliescenterszapico.com or follow her on twitter @nascenters.