ANNA LEA JANCEWICZ: EIC/ 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’m a proud member of the I.W.W. I teach creative writing and People’s History at a homeschool co-op, write, and dig in my garden. My first book, (m)otherhood, is forthcoming from Widow and Orphan House press, Fall 2017. 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.
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.
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.
EMILY BLAIR: FICTION CO-EDITOR
I recall, vividly, that my first creative writing burst forth in the form of stories about talking farm animals, which I think says a lot (about a lot). I grew up in Fort Chiswell, Virginia, and my people are factory workers, farmers, drafted men, and canning women. I went to Virginia Tech for an undergraduate degree in Creative Writing and Literature. There, I learned that my area of Virginia was considered impoverished, and that I was “working class.” I also learned that many people wanted to be working class voyeurs, and that my accent (and how that translated to my writing) was a source of interest to others – although they often only wanted to ask the worst kinds of questions, and make the worst kinds of assumptions, about me and my work because. I initially recoiled from my working class vocabulary and accent markers in hopes that it would stop unwanted attention, but thankfully, moved back into those conversations and modes of communication after realizing that my identities were mine to express, and mine alone to control. In the past couple of years, I have reclaimed my working class Appalachian identity, and it has been like a deep breath of fortifyingly cold air. Now, I am finishing up my Master’s in English at the University of Louisville in May 2017, and continue to write and publish widely. Over the next couple of years, I plan to teach college writing, volunteer in my immediate and literary communities, and write as much as possible. My favorite writers, in no particular order, are: Nikki Giovanni, Patricia Lockwood, Maggie Nelson, TC Tolbert, Traci Brimhall, and Nickole Brown.
CLAIRE HOPPLE: FICTION CO-EDITOR
HUGO ESTEBAN RODRÍGUEZ CASTAÑEDA: LATINX FEATURES EDITOR
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.
KAI HARRIS: “BLACK, I” WRITER/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 soon-to-be 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.
AGNES: “FELONY RECORD” WRITER/ EDITOR
I grew up in a house on a beach by the Chesapeake Bay. From my bedroom, the window looked out to the view of ships making their graceful way between Hampton Roads and the broad Atlantic. My world? A flat landscape of interminable horizons into which the mind of a child could project and flourish the void with vast imaginings. I loved books… read voraciously and wanted to write them, but I was too wild for a college classroom. Fast forward… I went to a war, survived and came back to school. Still too wild, I embraced the anti-war movement and socialism, abroad in the sixties. Shipbuilding, manufacturing and unions in the seventies and eighties… and a family too. Engineering and technology in the nineties until, in 2003, I took a break to become what I’d always wanted to be, a writer. With no MFA for validation, I fake it, and take my cues from some of the writers who reached me. Great writers like Jack London, Steinbeck, and Brautigan… Virginia Woolf, Sherman Alexie, and Toni Morrison… DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, and Charles Baxter… Tim O’Brien and Thom Jones. But my life was never authorly or academic, and I sometimes recollect in essays about the trades: lost arts and craft that succumbed in my lifetime to progress, replaced by the sterile technology of computerized machines.Some of those trades had been practiced for hundreds of years. It’s all about people at work with their hands. It’s all about an artistic way of working you’d never even know existed unless you’d seen it done, and the practice of which has, sadly… disappeared.
STACIA SANDERS: FICTION/ POETRY READER
I am a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, from the hills of Eastern Kentucky. The daughter of a mine machinist and a nurse, I grew up on the side of a mountain with my nose in a book. I moved to the city for an English degree, found that I was underestimated more often than not, and took great pleasure in defying stereotype. I’m a writer, dancer, singer, and musician, and I teach ASL at my children’s homeschool co-op. I love mythology and folk tales—both classic and reimagined—that are heartbreaking or funny or look at real life from the corner of one eye, seeing mystery in the most mundane of things. Some of my favorite authors are Jacqueline Carey, Octavia Butler, and Audrey Niffenegger, and I harbor a newly discovered love for the poetry of Mary Oliver.
A third-generation Floridian and a seventh-generation Southerner, I’ve known all manner of work. I’ve been a ditch digger, fruit picker, landscaper, salmon processor, cook, busboy, dishwasher, grocery stocker, teacher and librarian. I started writing late, and learned on the run; many of the writers I return to are the ones I read and discovered during that feverish catchup time: Larry Brown, Harry Crews, Dostoyevsky, Philip Levine, Carson McCullers, Flannery O’Connor, James Wright, John Berryman. But other favorites I’ve discovered later, and I’m still discovering: Barry Hannah, Dorianne Laux, Padgett Powell, Sharon Olds, Philip Larkin, Gerald Stern. They have in common in their work what I like to call “the stink of life.” I have a BA in English from the University of North Florida, where I was a Neil Gray Scholar, and an MFA from UTEP. My work has appeared most recently in Into The Void, Red Truck Review, Spry Literary Journal, Deep South Magazine, and Emrys Journal. I’ve had work nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. My fiction has won Top-25 or Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train contests four times, and my story “Fishing with Max Hardy” won third-place in their April 2015 Very Short Fiction Award. My first poetry collection, Heat Seekers, will be out in August 2017 from Cherry Grove Collections. I live in Northeast Florida with my wife and daughter, and work in a small neighborhood library.
KATIE MOORE: ASSOCIATE EDITOR
I am a Socialist Yankee surviving the South, a coffee slinging people manager, a mother of ferocious glass ceiling shatterers. I enjoy using words as weapons, getting lost in cities, and going swimming before it’s warm enough. I’m a bastard and a mutt. I’m a lover and a collector, in other words—a polyamorist. I have the best parents, the best kids, and even one of my ex husbands is a good guy. I run The Legendary, another place for words, and write whenever I’m not working, sleeping, or pretending to be an improv comic. My favorite writers are Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Sheree Renée Thomas, Jeanann Verlee, Heath Lowrance, and Sampson Starkweather.
ERIK SWALLOW: BOOK & FILM REVIEWS
HOLLY GENOVESE: CONTRIBUTING WRITER
I am a Ph.D student in history and gender, sexuality and women’s studies at Temple University. I’m also a contributing editor at Auntie Bellum Magazine and a blogger for the US Society for Intellectual Historians. I’ve written for Bustle, The Establishment and Scalawag Magazine. I spent two years studying at the University of South Carolina, which was just enough time to fall in love with pimento cheese and the urban south. I’m writing my dissertation on prisoner rights activism in New Orleans, but I spend my free time (ha!) running, watching CW dramas, painting birds and reading ghosty YA novels. Constantly inspired by: Maggie Nelson, Emily Dickinson, James Baldwin, John Green, Zora Neale Hurston, Sylvia Plath, and Dorothy Allison. Follow me on Twitter @hollyevanmarie
ANI KING: CONTRIBUTING WRITER/ ASSOCIATE ART EDITOR
I am the founder and editor in chief of Syntax & Salt: Stories, and have a deep fondness for representative speculative fiction. I am largely the product of crafty, bad ass folks who taught me to get my own hands dirty, and to make what I need out of whatever is available. By day I work as a project director in IT, a field where frontline workers are excluded from working class definition, but struggle with the same pay and advancement issues seen in other industries. I am particularly passionate about promoting STEM careers with women and girls, and helping shatter barriers for them in my field. In addition to working in IT, I’ve slung drinks and food, worked in adult foster care, laid industrial tile, done ambulance maintenance, and everything else in between. As Emma Goldman somewhat infamously said, “I’d rather have roses on my table, than diamonds on my neck.” Follow me on Twitter @AniKing.
WORKING CLASS LIFE HACKS
I’m a regular guy here to answer your letters and give you advice on how to turn your shit life working for The Man into one just a little more easy and breezy. Sleazy’s up to you, bro. My money-saving tips, fix-it tricks, and fun ideas for lively workplace sabotage might stagger into the gray areas as far as Johnny Law’s concerned, so number one remember that THIS IS A HUMOR COLUMN OK FBI? and number two you don’t need to know my name. Or my Drivers License Number, and neither does fucking Target, that’s for gotdamn sure. That’s how they fucking get you. I can buy my cheap beers and cheap underwears someplace else you sonsofbitches. Send questions about your shitty problems to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject DEAR WCLH. Alright then.