ASHA DORÉ: NONFICTION/ HYBRID FORMS CO-EDITOR
I am a writer and single mother, originally from Florida, currently living in the Pacific Northwest. I am the first person in my immediate family who graduated with a college degree and the only person in my family who can’t play an instrument or hold a tune to save my life. I believe that writing is activism. I love work that lives in the discomfort between binaries, work that speaks to or from the underrepresented, work that challenges “standard” patterns of language, work that ignites, work that is active, work that is alive. I love work that finds its way to the points of contact between our bodies and the themes that influence us through lyricism, innovation, or traditional forms. I love work that challenges. I love work that sings. Writers I return to again and again are: Maggie Nelson, Lidia Yuknavitch, Roxane Gay, and John Berger.
COURTNEY GUTIERREZ: NONFICTION/ HYBRID FORMS CO-EDITOR
I am the firstborn daughter of a musician and a yoga teacher. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, in a family of artists, reading and writing and singing and storytelling and caretaking. I became a teacher. I specialize in early childhood, special education, and applied behavior analysis. I became a single mother. I worked more and harder and “smarter” and “flexible hours” to support my son. I stuck it out in the swelling Seattle that resembles itself in my first twenty-five years less and less. I married a fellow special educator and art-lover. We now live north of the city in a house surrounded by trees. I read and write whenever the swirl of parenting and working and lifemaking permits. My work has appeared in Witch Craft Magazine. I love editing just as much as I love reading and writing. I love work that comes from friends and friends of friends – either written by them, or shared by them for a reason. Some writers I love: Clarice Lispector, Tom Robbins, Lidia Yuknavitch, Megan Kruse, and Anis Mojgani.
KAI HARRIS: FICTION CO-EDITOR
I am a writer hailing from Detroit, Michigan, where I grew up under a strong single mother and a big sister as a second mother. Now I reside in Nashville, Tennessee with my darling husband and three strong and smart daughters. I believe that hard work is a precious resource, and one of the only resources that we all have access to equally. I worked as a waitress for over 12 years, in the midst of earning a BA in English Language & Literature from the University of Michigan, and an MA in English, Creative Writing from Belmont University. I am a college English instructor, and a PhD candidate in Fiction at Western Michigan University. I am inspired by real stories of family and love. Stories written in voices that are often overlooked and/or unheard. Stories that make us all — no matter our perceived differences — feel the same. I am drawn to black women writers, like myself, who dare to be themselves in a world that encourages us to only fit in quietly. These women — Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Jesmyn Ward, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Gayl Jones, Alice Walker, etc. — are powerful and fearless writers whose work I return to again and again.
CLAIRE HOPPLE: FICTION CO-EDITOR
ERIN LANGLEY: POETRY CO-EDITOR
I come from the rural South. My father’s side is all teachers and preachers–circuit riders steeped in certainty, prohibition, and prayer. Proselytizers still find me, even here on the left coast; I find this soothing. My mother heals people with her hands. Once, a dream told me I was a fili, an old Irish term for “poet-seer.” A lot of my work comes from this margin. I invest in decolonization as a path of resistance, and identify strongly with the standing stones of Ireland, where my loudest ancestors come from. I love strange, bright things and things that are funny. Misfits move me. I have too much love, so I made children and a career as an acupuncturist. My chosen occupations help me to love more precisely. I admire many poets, including Pascale Petit, Yusef Komunyakaa, Ocean Vuong, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Gregory Pardlo. Once, Billy Collins fed me an oyster.
JUDE McPHERSON: POETRY CO-EDITOR
My southern roots run deep. At home in central Kentucky or in the Mississippi Delta. At my core I’m a b-boy punk kid with certain tastes that ring country. I’ve told people many times in life that my goal is to be a human Swiss Army Knife. I’m comfortable ripping open mics apart, or stripping and housing tobacco. Going toe to toe with someone over geopolitics, or standing in water making electrical terminations. Going to an art gallery, or going out to catch some catfish. You have to find what feels good in a world gone mad. A member of the Affrilachian Poets since 1995, I still hesitate calling myself a poet. I’m a writer who has written some poems. I look at poetry as another tool in the backpack I carry around. The biggest influences on my writing have been Amiri Baraka, old cartoons, and the golden age of hip hop. I’ve been to college, took classes about this and that. However, the most rewarding classes I’ve attended were the ones held on front porches in Versailles, Ky and Anguilla, MS.
MISTY SKAGGS: APPALACHIAN FEATURES EDITOR
I am an independent scholar as well as an author, an artist, an activist and an Appalachian, from the roots right on up. I left higher education two credits short of a BFA in Creative Writing in order to become a full time caretaker for my grandmother and great grandmother. My work and my life unfolds in forgotten foothills and hollers. I was raised on a tobacco farm in the backwoods of Elliott County, one of Eastern Kentucky’s poorest communities. I was raised by generations of hardheaded, hardworking hillbillies who taught me that the truth will stand when the world’s on fire. I was tended to by the kind of fierce women who wear the pants and grow the food and put it on the table, too. My empathetic nature and sense of social justice were nurtured by my Papaw’s mangled hands and entertained by his stories of the lumber mills that took his fingers and the lives of his friends. My heroes were organizers and the bad guys were always scabs. My upbringing continues to shape my writing and artwork. Some of my favorite Appalachian writers and thinkers include bell hooks, Wendell Berry, Crystal Wilkinson, Robert Gipe, Nikky Finney and Breece Pancake. I create stubborn stories and poems; hardheaded tales of rebellion and redemption, of tragedy and triumph, of poachers and preachers and ever’thing in between. My prose and poetry have been published in Still: The Journal, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Limestone and The Pikeville Review among other literary journals. I also self-published a well-received chapbook on the prescription drug epidemic sweeping through the region. I think of my work as a look into Appalachian culture and as an exploration of its people. There’s a big difference between looking into and looking at. This region has been marginalized and exploited for generations and voices coming up from these lush bottoms and drifting down from the mountain tops are loud. These voices are begging to be heard and I want to use this platform to ensure that they are.
ERIK SWALLOW: BOOK & FILM REVIEWS
ANNA LEA JANCEWICZ: EDITOR IN CHIEF/ ART EDITOR
I am the great-granddaughter of Ukrainian and Polish immigrants, and am originally from the heart of the Pennsylvania Coal Region. I have cooked your food and served it to you, sold you books and vegetables, cared for your developmentally disabled children and your wounded wildlife, organized your communities and your activists, and raised funds for your nonprofits. Now I’m a homemaking, homebirthing, homeschooling mother of two, married to a skilled tradesman and fine artist. I teach People’s History at a homeschool co-op, write, and dig in my garden. My first fiction collection, (m)otherhood, is pretty awesome. I love reading fiction that is clever and subversive; I love voices with wit and teeth. I love unusual language, and the fantastic. Some of my favorite writers are Shirley Jackson, Kelly Link, and Karen Russell, but my forever best sweetheart is always Tom Robbins.