Contributors - S/S 2023
Samira Abbassy (b.1965 Ahwaz, Iran) graduated from Canterbury College of Art, London. She moved to New York in 1998, where she co-founded the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts and EFA Studio Center. Abbassy is known for her figurative oil and gesso paintings depicting the human figure, mythological creatures, and scenes of war. Over the course of her thirty-year career her work has been shown internationally and has been acquired by private and public collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rubin Museum, and NYU’s Grey Art Gallery (all in NY); The British Museum; Farjam Collection, Dubai; Devi Foundation, New Delhi; and the Omid Foundation, Iran. Abbassy has been awarded grants and fellowships by Yaddo; Pollock-Krasner Foundation; Joan Mitchel Foundation; Saltonstall Foundation; NYFA; and the University of Virginia.
Cynthia Abdallah is a Kenyan author, poet, and filmmaker. Her work has appeared in numerous online magazines and in print. Poems appear in the Tokyo Poetry Journal (Japan), Kwani Uchaguzi, Edition 8 (Kenya), Ake Review, Quailbell Magazine (US), and the Bodies and Scars anthology by Ghana Literary Journal. Short stories appear in Kalahari Review (Kenya), Nalubaale Review (Uganda), Active Muse (India), IHRAF, and Women Narratives on Power (US).
Yasmeen Abdullah Ahmad
Yasmeen Abdullah Ahmad is a Sudanese artist based in Khartoum. She earned her BA in painting from the College of Fine and Applied Arts at the Sudan University of Science and Technology (SUST) in 2014. Inspired by the works of Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, her work explores emotional links between poetry and painting; her depictions of domesticity and the quotidian are infiltrated by the surreal and flooded by an overall atmosphere of otherworldliness. Yasmeen’s work has been shown at the Mojo Gallery in Khartoum and elsewhere.
Masi Abolhassan is an Iranian freelance journalist, photographer, and a gender equality activist. She has always been interested in showing the difficulties vulnerable groups of people face in countries with limited or no democracy, such as basic human rights for women and LGBTQ groups. Her ongoing documentary series addressed Iranian transgender refugees in Turkey from 2020.
Roberta Allen is the author of nine books, including three story collections, a novel, a novella, and a memoir. Her short fiction last appeared in the latest issue of Epoch and has previously appeared in Conjunctions, BOMB, the Brooklyn Rail, and Guernica, among many other journals. She is also a conceptual artist in the collections of the Met Museum and MoMA. Her art papers were recently acquired by the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.
Roya Amigh earned her MFA in painting from Boston University in 2012. Roya has shown in academic and public venues from Korea to Greece to the U.S., including Brooklyn; Boston; Lincoln, Nebraska; New York City; Providence; and Wellesley, Massachusetts. She has had residencies at Art Omi and The Millay Colony for the Arts, among other places. She was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Drawing and Printmaking in 2020 and a Pollack-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2022.
Gale Antokal (b. New York) received her BFA in 1980 and MFA from California College of the Arts in 1984. In 1992, Antokal received a Visual Arts Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She is Professor Emeritus at San Jose State University and has taught widely. Antokal is represented by Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco; Seager-Gray Gallery, Mill Valley, California; Tayloe Piggott Gallery, Jackson, Wyoming; and Amy Simon Fine Arts, Westport, Connecticut.
Amanda Maciel Antunes
Amanda Maciel Antunes is a self-taught artist from a small town in rural Brazil who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work merges durational performance with painting, photography, sculpture, sound, film, and assemblage, using public and communal spaces as points of departure. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, and is included in numerous private collections.
Artschoolscammer is a Brooklyn-based conceptual artist, visionary, educator, curator, and advisor. Forging tools to deal with social, economic, and environmental injustices, their work promotes principles of sustainability through their collective work, and reimagines limitless possibilities of joyous existence for black and indigenous people. Developing the transitions of cultural institutions and museums run and maintained by Artists, Farmers, Griots, Healers, and Revolutionaries, their goal is to establish a narrative around truth-sharing in our culture. Offering affirmations of community, they anticipate their role as trailblazer and steward of the arts.
Ryan Barnhart was raised in New Jersey and currently resides in Tennessee. Excerpts of his work have appeared in Taint, Taint, Taint Literary Magazine. At work on his first novel, he holds a BA from Emerson College and an MFA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.
Bruce Benderson is a novelist, essayist and translator whose most well-known book, The Romanian: Story of an Obsession, was awarded the prestigious Prix de Flore in its French edition. Other publications include the essay collection Sex and Isolation, the novels Pacific Agony and User, and the story collection Pretending to Say No. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Libération and many other American and French publications. He regularly translates books from the French.
Los Angeles–based artist Diedrick Brackens (b. 1989, Mexia, TX) received a BFA from University of North Texas, Denton and an MFA from California College of the Arts, Oakland. He is best known for his woven works that explore allegory through autobiography, African American and queer identity, and American history. Drawing from African and African American literature, poetry, and folklore, he employs techniques from West Africa, the American South, and Europe to depict male tenderness while alluding to complicated histories of labor and migration. Diedrick has exhibited widely with solo exhibitions at the Mint Museum, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Blanton Museum of Art, New Museum, Ulrich Museum of Art, and Sewanee University Art Gallery.
Sarah Bridgins is the author of the poetry collection Death and Exes, winner of the Sexton Prize and published by Eyewear Books (2022). Her work has appeared in Tin House, BuzzFeed, Bustle, Joyland, Entropy, Fanzine, and Big Lucks, among other journals. She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the cofounder of the Ditmas Lit reading series in Brooklyn.
Rebecca Brown is the author of 14 books published in the US and abroad, most recently You Tell the Stories You Need to Believe (Chatwin Books, 2022). Her other books (novels, short stories, essays, prose poems) include American Romances, The Haunted House, The Dogs: A Modern Bestiary, The Terrible Girls, Annie Oakley's Girl (all with City Lights), The Gifts of the Body (HarperCollins) and Not Heaven, Somewhere Else (Tarpaulin Sky). She has also written a play, the libretto for a dance opera, a one-woman show, Monstrous, commissioned by Northwest Film Forum, and popular arts and book criticism. Her work has been translated into Japanese, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Italian, etc. She lives in Seattle.
Dietmar Busse (b. 1966) lives and works in New York. He was born in Stolzenau, Germany and as a young man learned the world of photography in Madrid before relocating to New York in 1991. His work has been included in group exhibitions at the Museum Schloss Moyland, Bedburg-Hau, Germany; Wereldmuseum, Rotterdam; Invisible-Exports, New York; Museum Sinclair Haus, Bad Homburg; the Leslie Lohman Museum, New York, among other venues. His work has been publicized in The New Yorker, TIME, The London Independent, The New York Times Magazine and Interview, among other publications.
My name is Jojo Chansiri. I am a 16 year old Thai boy from Roi Et. I attended a Thai public school but never passed Mathayom 6. I taught myself about Roland Barthes and William Eggleston. I currently live in Hat Yai, Thailand. Thank you.
Laura Collins has earned a master of fine arts in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She also holds a master of arts degree in new media and a graduate certificate in women’s and gender studies from DePaul University. She earned a bachelor of fine and applied arts in painting from the University of Illinois.
Chris Costan has had solo exhibitions at Germans Van Eck Gallery, Windows on White Street, Avenue B Gallery, F.A.O. Gallery, Cheryl Pelavin Fine Arts (all in New York); Smith College Museum of Art (Northampton, MA); and Peter Miller Gallery (Chicago). She has been awarded grants from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, NYFA, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her exhibitions have been reviewed in ARTnews, Artforum, Flash Art, New York magazine, and other publications. Costan lives in New York City and spends time in the Hudson Valley.
Lionel Cruet (b. San Juan, Puerto Rico) uses experimental digital printing processes, performance, and audiovisual installations to confront intersections of ecology, technology, and geopolitics. His solo exhibitions have been held at Bronx River Art Center and El Lobi, San Juan, and his work has been included in group exhibitions at Bronx Museum of the Arts and Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse. Cruet received the Juan Downey Audiovisual Award from the 11th Media Arts Biennale, National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago, Chile. He has been an artist in residence at Elizabeth Foundation of the Arts, Socrates Sculpture Park, and the Laundromat Project (NY).
Homa Dashtaki is the founder of the White Moustache. Her artisanal yogurt has garnered acclaim from the New York Times, Vogue, Bon Appétit, and Food & Wine. She was born in Iran and now lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Roya Farassat is an Iranian-American visual artist living in New York. Her abstract and figurative work includes drawings, paintings, and sculptures. She received her BFA from Parsons School of Design and has been widely exhibited at galleries and museums in the United States and abroad. Farassat was nominated for the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Jameel Prize and the MOP Foundation Contemporary Art Prize, and awarded residencies from Henry Street Settlement and the Makor/Steinhardt Center. Her work has been reviewed by the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Brooklyn Rail, the Boston Globe, Artcritical, Art Radar, Hyperallergic, W Magazine, and Flaunt.
Parastou Forouhar is an Iranian artist who lives and works in Germany. Her work responds critically to the political and religious fundamentalism that has shaped and defined contemporary Iran. Forouhar processes experiences of loss, pain, and state-sanctioned violence through a range of media that includes site-specific installation, animation, drawing, and photography, using culturally specific motifs from traditions such as Islamic calligraphy and Persian miniature painting. She has exhibited around the world including in Iran, Germany, Russia, Turkey, England, and the United States.
Gary Gach (born 1947) teaches Zen Buddhism at the University of San Francisco. His translations include Flowers of a Moment (BOA Editions, 2015) by Ko Un, co-translated with Brother Anthony and Young-moo Kim. He dwells on Ohlone Ramaytush lands, in the City of Saint Francis.
Hafez (1325–1390) is the acme of Persian literature. The brief exceprt here is inspired by the book Wine, adaptations made by Abbas Kiarostami (1914–2016), the most influential of Iranian filmmakers.
Fariba Hajamadi (b. Esfahan, Iran) lives and works in Los Angeles and Brooklyn. She received her BFA in painting from Western Michigan University and MFA from Calarts where she studied with John Baldessari. Her fellow students included Ashley Bickerton, Christopher Williams, Kate Ericson, Larry Johnson, Mel Ziegler, and Bill Wurtz. Since 1982 Hajamadi has made work that investigates displacement, loss, trauma, tragedy, war, culture and gender identity in large scale pieces using photo emulsion on canvas and painting on fabric, canvas, and wood panels. She often presents these works to generate new narrative possibilities by examining cultural appropriation and construction of the occidental narrative of the oriental Other through the lens of a woman born in a non-Western culture. Hajamadi’s work has been exhibited in the United States and internationally including solo exhibitions at Christine Burgin Gallery, Max Protetch Gallery, Queens Museum (all in NY); Galerie Laage-Salomon, Paris; Fonds Régionale d’Art Contemporain De Basse-Normandie; Musée Municipal de La Roche-sur-Yon; Ecole Régionale d’Art de Dunkerque; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Maureen Paley, London; and the I.C.A., Philadelphia. Hajamadi’s work is included in many prestigious public collections worldwide.
Mohammad Hakima is an NYC-based author who immigrated to the United States from Tehran, Iran. He began writing after learning English, and his work is published in Popula, Trampset, JMWW, and etc. He works as a high school special education teacher and has an MFA in fiction from The New School.
Eduardo Halfon is the author of The Polish Boxer, Monastery, Mourning, and Canción. He is the recipient of the Guatemalan National Prize in Literature, Roger Caillois Prize, José María de Pereda Prize for the Short Novel, International Latino Book Award, and Edward Lewis Wallant Award, among other honors. A citizen of Guatemala and Spain, Halfon was born in Guatemala City, attended school in Florida and North Carolina, and has lived in Nebraska, Spain, Paris, and Berlin.
Nancy Hightower has taught Writing about Art at the University of Colorado, as well as Writing in the Art and Design Professions at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Her photography has been published in Epiphany, Cobra Milk, and Cagibi. Her prints can be found at https://nancyhigh.picfair.com/
Ava Homa is an award-winning novelist, a journalist, and activist. Her words have appeared in the Globe and Mail, BBC, Guardian, Literary Hub, Literary Review of Canada and more. Her debut novel Daughters of Smoke and Fire, the story of a Kurdish woman’s search for justice and freedom, won the 2020 Nautilus Book Award, was a finalist for the 2022 William Saroyan International Writing Prize and was Roxane Gay's book club pick.
Zara Houshmand is an Iranian American writer whose work includes poetry, theatre, memoir, and literary translation. She was one of the pioneers in the use of virtual reality as an art form, and she worked with the Mind & Life Institute for two decades on books representing the Dalai Lama’s dialogues with Western scientists. Her most recent book is Moon and Sun (2020), translations of Rumi’s Rubaiyat.
Lyn Horton (BFA 1971; MFA 1974, California Institute of the Arts) has been a visual artist for over fifty years. She has a long history of writing about creative improvised music for well-known publications, including her reviews of recordings, musician profiles, editorials, and liner notes. Her artwork has been exhibited in solo shows at Max Protetch Gallery, NY; Claire S. Copley Gallery, LA; Northampton Center for the Arts; Bradford College; and Smith College, and in group shows at Siena Art Institute, Italy; California Center for the Arts, Escondido; and MASS MoCA, North Adams. She lives in Western Massachusetts and is represented by Cross MacKenzie Gallery outside Washington, DC.
A graduate of Pure Chemistry, Hussani Abdulrahim is a writer from Nigeria. He is a finalist of the 2022 Gerald Kraak Award and the 2021 Albert Jungers Poetry Prize. He is winner of the 2019 Poetically Written Prose Contest and ANA Kano/Peace Panel Poetry Prize. He was a semifinalist for the Boston Review 2019 Aura Estrada Short Story Contest, a 2018 Africa Book Club short story contest finalist, and was shortlisted for the 2019 ACT Award. He also won the 2016 Green Author Prize. His works are forthcoming or have appeared in Boston Review, The Other Foundation, 2022 Gerald Kraak anthology, 20:35 Africa, IHRAF, praxis, Africa Book Club Anthology 2018, and Memento (an anthology of contemporary Nigerian poets). He is currently working on his debut collection of short stories. He lives in Northern Nigeria.
Bo Huston was born in Chagrin Falls, OH, in 1959. After Hampshire College, he lived in Manhattan, where he got clean and sober and started writing. Bo moved to San Francisco in 1987 and, within a year, learned he was HIV+. Over the next too-short years, he lived and wrote and found a partner and a community of friends who loved him fiercely. He died May 24, 1993, surrounded by family and friends, at a time of his choosing. His last book, The Listener, and an essay in Thomas Avena’s collection Life Sentences were published posthumously. His novel The Dream Life was republished this year by the Fellow Travelers Series, with a new afterword by Rebecca Brown, a contemporary of Bo’s he much admired. The Bo Huston Prize is an annual award to a writer completing a novel.
A Malawian writer, Helsea Ikwanga’s works have appeared or are forthcoming in Ibua Journal, the Atlantic, and local Malawian newspapers. He has been long-listed for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize twice. He is an alumnus of the Commonwealth Creative Writing Workshop Lusaka 2018, mentored by renowned writer Ellen Banda-Aaku (Zambia) and Man Booker awardee Damon Galgut (South Africa). A resident of Blantyre City, Ikwanga is currently working on his debut novel titled “Thou Shalt Kill.”
Nancy Jainchill is a practicing psychologist living in upstate NY. Her writing focuses on issues of feminism, sex work, and gender parity. She is working on a book, Butt Naked: Feminist Ecstasy, Pornography and the Politics of Parity, inspired by her long ago, brief foray into stripping and pornography.
Bijan Jalali (1927–2000) was a unique, if lesser-known, voice among seminal modernist Persians writing sepid [white] poetry – a type of modern Persian poetry free of classical forms and concepts. His works include The Color of Water, Days, Dailies, Our Heart and the World, Play of Light, and The Water and the Sun.
Tom Jarmusch is an artist and filmmaker in New York. His films, videos, installations, and photography have been shown at Anthology Film Archive, Rotterdam International Film Festival, New York Underground Film Festival, BBC Short Film Festival, Cinema Texas, Locarno International Film Festival, Paris Underground Film Festival, Rencontre Internationales Paris/Berlin, and Chicago Underground Film Festival. His first feature, Sometimes City (2011), won the Experimental Documentary prize at the Greenpoint Film Festival. Tom has worked as an actor, art director, prop master, and location scout for Robert Frank, Claire Denis, Aki Kaurismaki, Ang Lee, Michael Almereyda, and his brother Jim Jarmusch.
Miracle Jones is a writer and impresario. He is the co-founding director of Fiction Circus and the co-publisher of Instar Books.
Marjan Kamali is the award-winning author of The Stationery Shop (GalleryBooks/Simon&Schuster), a national bestseller, and Together Tea (EccoBooks/HarperCollins), a Massachusetts Book Award finalist. Her novels have been published in translation in more than 20 languages. She is a 2022 recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship.
Marta Karpuk is a Polish-American writer who focuses on relationships, the experience of women, and the process of growing up and maturing into adulthood. She got her MFA from The New School and currently lives in NYC. In her free time, she loves to travel and spend time with her schnoodle.
Hamed Kashani (born 1978) is an Iranian poet and translator. He was a member of poetry workshops at the Karnameh Institute of Arts and Culture in Tehran.
Porochista Khakpour is the author of the novels Sons & Other Flammable Objects and The Last Illusion and the memoir Sick. She is a journalist, professor and contributing editor at Evergreen.
Claudia Keep (b. 1993, Low Moor, VA) is an artist in Burlington, Vermont. Her paintings reveal the intimate complexity of quotidian moments. She received her BFA from Bryn Mawr College. Recent solo exhibitions include Aubade at MARCH (NY), Day In, Day Out at Tif Sigfrids (Athens, GA), Claudia Keep at Tops Gallery (Memphis, TN), and Night Moves at MARCH. Keep has exhibited her work at Blum & Poe (Los Angeles); Venus Over Manhattan, Fortnight Institute, The Painting Center, and Auxier Kline (all NY); and Ablebaker Contemporary (Portland, ME). She has been represented by MARCH since 2020.
Lena King is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn. She grew up outside of San Francisco and studied fiction at The New School. Her short story “Eve is Seizing” was published by Sazeracs Smoky Ink.
Giancarlo Calaméo LaGuerta
Giancarlo Calaméo LaGuerta (b. 1993, Gaborone, Botswana) is a multidisciplinary self-taught artist who works primarily in portraiture. Employing abstraction and surrealism through photography, collage, drawing, and digital media, his subjects show pain through rage, sorrow, or hysteria. Giancarlo is based in Gaborone where he continues to hone his craft.
Galia Linn is a sculptor, painter, and site-responsive installation artist living and working in Los Angeles. She has shown nationally and internationally, and her work is included in numerous private collections in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Paris, Brussels, and Tel Aviv. Her work has been featured in LA Weekly, KCET Artbound, Art + Cake, and KCRW’s Art Talk. In Los Angeles she is represented by Track 16 Gallery.
Ronald Lockett (1965-1998) was slight of build and sentient to the point of grace. Lockett existed somewhat precariously in a historical crossroads between two generations, after the great mid-century social movements had ended and just before the dominance of television and urban culture. He was a unique talent, influenced equally by Thornton Dial and Bob Ross, who he watched on television. He grew up in the wilds of post-industrial Bessemer, Alabama where he lived with his mother until her death, remaining in his childhood home until his own untimely demise resulting from AIDS-related illness. He never spent more than a few weeks away from home, but was able to mine far-flung histories, both personal and shared, with deference and aplomb.
Aline Mare (b. 1961, Bronxville, NY) is a visual artist, performing artist, and filmmaker whose photo-based, multimedia works hover between themes of creation and decay. Mare studied with Nam June Paik, Paul Sharits, Hollis Frampton, and Tony Conrad, and holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. Her work has been shown widely, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art (NY), San Francisco Cinematheque, Griffin Museum of Photography, Turtle Bay Museum, Santa Monica Museum of Art, San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, Jerusalem Biennale 2019, and Lancaster Museum of Art and History.
Nina Ruth Mir
Nina Ruth Mir (they/them) is an Iranian person. They love riding their bicycle, doing nothing, ranting, daydreaming, and meeting weird people. When they were an 18-year-old closeted queer boi in Tehran, they never thought of getting beyond 30, let alone 40 years of age. As such, every day since their 30th birthday has been both a blast and a disappointment
Hushidar Mortezaie is a fashion designer, visual artist, and graphic designer whose work explores the paradoxes of contemporary culture through fashion, gender identity, iconography, and branding. He combines traditional and modern textile techniques with political pop art fashion statements that share his Iranian immigrant culture. His work has been featured in publications including Vogue, Huffington Post, W Magazine, and worn by Linda Evangelista, Beyonce, Brad Pitt and featured in the TV series Sex and the City. Mortezaie has shown his work at galleries including Southern Exposure, Somarts, the Roski School of Arts USC, and the De Young Museum.He lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
Erfan Mojib has published a number of works in Persian translated from English including Flaubert’s Parrot by Julian Barnes; Love Begins in Winter by Simon Van Booy; The Spell Chanted by Lambs, and The Illusion of Separateness, by Reza Ghasemi; García Márquez: The Man and His Work by Gene Bell-Villada; and The Passion by Jeanette Winterson.
Nazanin Noroozi (MFA, Pratt Institute) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose work reflects on themes of collective memory and displacement. She has exhibited at galleries and museums worldwide, including SPACES, Cleveland; Athopos, Athens; Golestani Gallery, Dusseldorf; Noyes Museum of Art; School of Visual Arts, NY; and Postcrypt Art Gallery, Columbia University. She is the recipient of awards and fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts; Marabeth Cohen-Tyler Print/Paper Fellowship, Dieu Donné; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts; and a residency at Mass MoCA. Her works have been featured widely, including in Die Zeit Magazine, BBC News Persian, Elephant Magazine, Financial Times, and Brooklyn Rail. She is editor at large for Kaarnamaa; A Journal of Art History and Criticism.
Chinonso Nzeh is Igbo, and his works have appeared in Isele Magazine, Black Boy Review, and elsewhere. He thinks of storytelling as a way to comprehend the world’s wonder. When he’s not writing, he’s reading or listening to old-skool music. He hopes to dump his law degree and become a writing professor.
Bayo Ojikutu is a creative writer currently based in the Chicago metropolitan area. He is the author of the critically-acclaimed novels Free Burning and 47th Street Black. Ojikutu's work has been recognized by the Washington Prize for Fiction and the Pushcart Prize, among other notaries. His essays and short stories have been anthologized widely. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ojikutu has taught courses including creative writing, literature, film studies, and the business of publishing at DePaul University, the University of Chicago, Roosevelt University, and other institutions for many years.
Okechi Okeke is a teacher and writer whose work has appeared in The Economist, Protean Magazine and elsewhere. He is a recipient of Iceland Writers Retreat Alumni Award and finalist for Awele Creative Trust Award and the K and L Prize for African writing.
Calliope Pavlides (b. 1998) is a Greek artist living in Los Angeles. She graduated with a BFA in painting from Rhode Island School of Design where she received the Florence Leif Award for Excellence. Pavlides has exhibited her work in group and solo shows throughout New York, Los Angeles, Providence, and Athens. She is best known for her vibrantly rendered drawings that inhabit the space between portraiture and still life. Her figures negotiate architectural and landscape forms to breathe life into static objects, animating light, air, and space. Pavlides is represented by Harkawik, NY.
Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Emerita, has seven full-length books of poetry, most recently One Small Sun, from Salmon Poetry in Ireland. A Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she received the 2006 Holbrook Award from Oregon Literary Arts. In 2013 she was Willamette Writers’ Distinguished Northwest Writer. The Latvian composer Eriks Esenvalds chose a poem from her book The Voluptuary as the lyric for a choral composition that’s now part of the repertoire of the Choir at Trinity College Cambridge. www.paulann.net
Mehregan Pezeshki is an Iranian American multidisciplinary artist. Her work, which is often autobiographical, unravels traumatic memories of her youth growing up in Iran. Pezeshki uses photography to uncover hidden behaviors that affect our daily lives. She employs an unconventional angle to challenge viewers to step out of their comfort zone and observe human behaviors from a new perspective. Pezeshki holds a BA in Historical Conservation and Preservation from the Cultural Heritage University of Tehran, and a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She recently graduated with her MFA from California Institute of the Arts (CalArts).
Grégory Pierrot is a professor at the University of Connecticut at Stamford. He is the author of Decolonize Hipsters and The Black Avenger in Atlantic Culture, co-editor of An Anthology of Haitian Revolutionary Fictions, and co-host of the Decolonize That! webcast series.
A native of Mississippi, Sterling Plumpp is a poet, educator, editor, and critic. He has written numerous books, including Blues Narratives, Blues: The Story Always Untold, Hornman, Ornate With Smoke, and The Mojo Hands Call, I Must Go. As well, he edited the influential collection, Somehow We Survive: An Anthology of South African Writing. Some of his work was included in The Best American Poetry 1996. He lives in Chicago and is at work on a new verse collection.
Kevin C. Pyle
Kevin C. Pyle is the author/illustrator of numerous graphic novels and non-fiction comics. He also makes art, videos and performances that grow out of the practice of drawing and visual story-telling. Kevin is currently producing graphic essays, prose, and large drawings that explore the intersection of art, mortality, landscape and disappearance. His graphic essays can be seen frequently in the L.A. Times and World War 3 illustrated.
Daniel Rafinejad taught Persian language and literature at Harvard University before devoting himself to full-time writing and translating. His work has appeared in Nowruz Journal, Longreads, Encyclopaedia Iranica, The International Encyclopaedia for the Middle Ages, as well as in the anthologies Pearls of Persia: The Philosophical Poetry of Nasir Khusraw and My Shadow is My Skin: Writings from the Iranian Diaspora. In early 2020, Danny was a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Golafarin Razi was born in Tehran, Iran and raised in Tehrangeles (Los Angeles, California). Having spent her most of her life either in Iran or surrounded by one of the most well-known Iranian diaspora communities in the world — Iranian history, culture, arts and politics have become the tapestry of her life. Golafarin loves studying, discussing, and discovering new things about Iran.
Alireza Roshan (born 1977) is the author of several books of poetry and fiction, all as yet unpublished in English, including The Book of Absence, Busy, Cage Poetry, Fade, Leyli’s Shadow, A Little Book of Love Poetry, Moonstone, The Point & Other Stories, Suwayda, and We. He resides in Hamburg.
Karen Schifano lives and works in NYC. She received a BA in art history from Swarthmore College, an MFA from Hunter College, and fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She has exhibited widely in the US, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Solo venues include Tobey Fine Arts, Melville House, and Wagner College. Group exhibition venues include DC Moore Gallery, Deanna Evans Fine Art, Minus Space/MoMA PS1, Visual Arts Center of NJ, Alfred University, and CB1 Gallery. Karen is a member of American Abstract Artists.
Jason Schwartz was born in New York and lives in Florida. The author of John the Posthumous (OR Books, 2013) and A German Picturesque (Knopf, 1998), his work has appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Antioch Review, Conjunctions, New York Tyrant, The Quarterly, StoryQuarterly, Unsaid, and other publications.
Sunny Shokrae is a photographer and artist based in NYC.
Christopher Stoddard is the author of four novels and the founder of Itna Press. His most recent book, At Night Only, was praised by Kirkus Reviews and PEN award-winning author Edmund White, and was a staff pick in The Paris Review. For more than a decade, he worked at various ad agencies in New York City. He lives in Los Angeles.
Author and award-winning translator Niloufar Talebi is a Fulbright U.S. Scholar to Georgia (2021–2022). Her most recent projects include the hybrid memoir Self-Portrait in Bloom, the opera Abraham in Flames (composer A. Vrebalov), and a TEDx Berkeley talk, all inspired by the iconic Iranian poet Ahmad Shamlou (1925–2000).
Taravat Talepasand is an artist, activist, and educator whose labor-intensive Interdisciplinary painting practice questions normative cultural behaviors within contemporary power imbalances. As an Iranian-American woman, Talepasand explores the cultural taboos that reflect on gender and political authority. Her approach to figuration reflects the cross-pollination, or lack thereof, in our Western Society.
Kevin Tobin's (b.1989, London, Ontario) lurid paintings explore primal aspects of the body as an inherently amoral, animalistic machine optimized for pleasure and violence. Tobin frequently uses the image of a bat as an ambiguously benevolent or malevolent sentient force. He often utilizes medical photography and painterly abstraction to collapse interior and exterior anatomies, and circumvent the didactic politics of identity in the service of making figurative painting mysterious again. His exhibitions include Lubov, NY (solo); Salon 94, NY; The Pit, LA; Fragment Gallery, Moscow; and 68 Projects, Berlin. Tobin lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Ajibola Tolase is a Nigerian poet and essayist. He is a graduate of the MFA program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work has appeared in American Chordata, Lit Hub, New England Review, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere.
Neda Toloui-Semnani is an Emmy award-winning journalist and author. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including This American Life, The Cut, VICE News, and the Washington Post. Her first book, They Said They Wanted Revolution: A Memoir of My Parents, was published in 2022.
Emma Webster (USA/UK, b. 1989) is a Californian painter who lives and works in Los Angeles. She has an MFA in Painting from Yale School of Art (2018) and a BA in Art Practice from Stanford University (2011). Her work is in the collections of the Institute of Contemporary Art Miami, Perez Museum (Miami), Columbus Museum of Art, Yuz Museum (Shanghai), Xiao Museum (Suzhou), X Museum (Beijing), Groeninge Museum (Bruges), and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Webster's recent solo exhibition “Illumiarium,” which opened during Frieze Seoul 2022, was covered by The New York Times, ARTNews, W Magazine, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. Webster was recently featured on Cultured Magazine’s prestigious 2023 Young Artist List.
Rebecca Weisman is a US-based conceptual artist working at the intersection of moving image and sculpture. Her work explores memory, reenactment, and the real, as well as the body and its messy relationship to the unconscious. She has twenty years of experience producing time-based installations and films in unlikely locations as well as for more traditional gallery settings. She has shown work nationally and internationally, published articles on art and philosophy, and taught courses in video art, installation, and conceptual art. She holds a BA from Reed College and an MFA from Goddard College. She lives and works in Vermont.
Visual artist, musician and Los Angeles native Senon Williams, is familiar to psych-rock fans as the bassist of the band Dengue Fever. His works in ink and acrylic dwell on ongoing and at times devastating stages of human evolution, offering a poignant visualization of human struggle both ancient and contemporary. His staging of stark silhouettes in lush landscapes show the human form embroiled in acts of hope, pairing word and image to suggest a deeper meaning.
Morowa Yejidé, a native of Washington, DC, is the author of the critically acclaimed novels Time of the Locust, which was a 2012 finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize, longlisted for the 2015 PEN/Bingham Prize, and a 2015 NAACP Image Award nominee; and Creatures of Passage, which was shortlisted for the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, longlisted for the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction, and was a 2021 Notable Book selection by NPR and the Washington Post. She lives in the DC area with her husband and three sons.