Contributor Bios issue 5.1

Issue 5.1 winter/spring 2020 Contributor Bios:

Karen J. Anderson loves to tell a good story and believes in the power of laughter regardless of the form. Yet, she understands the need for the truth. Born in Fort Worth, Texas during the heart of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, she later received her bachelors from Texas Christian University. She photographs, writes and draws. She is working on her Masters at the School of the Arts Institute in Chicago. Freedom Ain’t Free includes three pieces that speak to the struggles we have encountered through slavery, brutality and injustice but we are not defeated. We fight on.

K. Johnson Bowles has exhibited in more than 80 solo and group exhibitions nationally. Feature articles, essays, and reviews of her work have appeared in 40 publications around the country including SPOT (Houston Center for Photography), Sculpture, Fiberarts, and the Houston Post. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Fellowship and a Houston Center for Photography Fellowship. Recently, she served as an artist in residence at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY. She received her MFA in photography and painting from Ohio University and BFA in painting from Boston University.

Ron Burch‘s fiction has been published in numerous literary journals including South Dakota Review, Fiction International, Mississippi Review, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His novel, Bliss Inc., was published by BlazeVOX Books. He lives in Los Angeles.

Creator and former Editor of Shards through the University of Houston, Tamara Al-Qaisi Coleman is a bi-racial Muslim writer and artist. She holds dual Bachelor’s degrees in Creative Writing and History. She is the Administrative Coordinator at Writers in the Schools, the Marketing and Development Director of Defunkt Magazine and creator of Brown Girls Book Club. Her interests are Middle Eastern History, culture, linguistics, and biracial identity. She primarily writes from the Arab-American perspective. Her fiction and translation publications can be found or are forthcoming in: Scintilla Magazine, Paper Trains Journal, The Bayou Review: The Women’s Issue, and Glass Mountain, Volume 21, Dead Eyes Literary Magazine. Her visual Artistry can be found in Cosumnes River Journal and Sonder Midwest Review.

Since an early age, Agnes Denes has tried to escape from continuous criticism. She likes her faults like disorder, phantasm, care with time and space fluid and sometimes she’s choosy as well and dark thoughts and feelings run through her head, so she learned to handle them and do her best performances. Now we are in a new stage of cooperation in our planet so we should reestablish our process as well. We always can find problems in everything, but we can let them go as well. Co-working, the way of searching the equality, appropriation, competitions, performance and leisure time, personal boundaries, preferences hide little conflicts of everyday life – which can grow if we forget about non-mainstream purposes. Not easy to change our habits and the order of peoples and values:

Linda Ferguson is an award-winning, Pushcart-nominated writer of poetry, essays and fiction. Her poetry chapbook, Baila Conmigo, was published by Dancing Girl Press. As a writing teacher, she has a passion for helping students find their voice and explore new territory.

Kaia Gallagher is a free-lance writer living in Denver, Colorado. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California-Riverside and has a Ph.D. in Sociology. She enjoys writing about how our lives are impacted by the places in which we live and is currently writing a memoir that traces her family’s Estonian roots.

Janlori Goldman’s first full-length book, Bread from a Stranger’s Oven, was chosen by Laure-Anne Bosselaar for the 2016 White Pine Press Poetry Prize. In 2013, her chapbook Akhmatova’s Egg was published by Toadlily Press. Gerald Stern chose her poem ‘At the Cubbyhole Bar’ for the 2012 Raynes Poetry Prize. Her poetry has been published in The Cortland Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Mead, Gwarlingo, Connotation Press, Calyx, Gertrude, Mudlark, The Sow’s Ear, Contrary, Naugatuck River Review, and, Rattle. She is a founding co-editor (with Cheryl Boyce-Taylor and Yesenia Montilla) of The Wide Shore: A Journal of Global Women’s In 2012 she worked with Paris Press on the first publication of Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill paired with “Notes from Sick Rooms,” an essay by Woolf’s mother, Julie Stephen. I am a founding member of Poets for Ayiti, which in 2010 published the anthology For the Crowns of Your Heads: Poems for Haiti, to raise money to rebuild an earthquake-damaged library.

Eve Lyons is a poet and fiction writer living in the Boston area. Her work has appeared in Lilith, Word Riot, Hip Mama, Dead Mule of Southern Literature, several anthologies, and other venues. Her first book of poetry is due out in May of 2020, to be published by Word Tech Communications.

John C. Mannone has work in North Dakota Quarterly, Adanna, Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, and Baltimore Review. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). He’s poetry editor for Abyss & Apex and others.

S. B. Merrow lives in Baltimore, where she writes poems and works on the fine flutes of professional musicians. Recently, her work has been accepted by Salamander, Nimrod International Journal, The Tishman Review, Panoply, Naugatuck River Review, and other journals. Her chapbook, Unpacking the China, was the winner of QuillsEdge Press’ 2016 chapbook competition. A full-length collection, Everyone a Bell, will be published in 2020 by Aldrich Press.

Laura Nies’ work is based upon a personal experience around social-political themes. Feminism, individualism, sexuality, gender and oppression are just a few topics I like to discuss. This particular work was made for Transgender Day of Remembrance. More than 300 lives were lost this year in the transgender and gender-non conforming community, due to violence. This work was made in tribute to these lost lives. The work contains 154 non-binary heads. Drawn in a consistent pattern that symbolizes the countless tragedies that occurred in consequence of senseless violence.

Lois Roma-Deeley‘s full-length poetry collection, The Short List of Certainties, won the Jacopone da Todi Poetry Book Prize, (2017). Her previous books include: Rules of Hunger (2004), northSight (2006) and High Notes (2010), a Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Roma-Deeley’s poetry is published in–or forthcoming from–numerous poetry anthologies and literary journals, including Feminine Rising: Voices of Power & Invisibility, Spillway, Zone 3, Quiddity, Juked, Spillway, Columbia Poetry Review, Water~Stone Review, North Dakota Quarterly and many more. Currently, she serves as Associate Editor of the poetry journal

Jim Ross resumed creative pursuits in early 2015 after leaving a long career in public health research. He’s since published nonfiction, poetry, and photography in over 100 journals and anthologies in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Publications include Columbia Journal, Ilanot Review, Lunch Ticket, Kestrel, MAKE, The Atlantic, The Manchester Review, and Wordpeace. In the past year, he wrote and acted in his first play; and, a nonfiction piece led to a role in a soon-to-be-released, high-profile documentary limited series. Jim and his wife—parents of two health professionals and grandparents of four (almost five) wee ones—split their time between Maryland and West Virginia.

Gerard Sarnat is a physician who’s built and staffed homeless and prison clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently Gerry is devoting energy/ resources to deal with global warming. Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published in academic-related journals plus national (Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Circle, Poets And War, Cliterature, Qommunicate, Texas Review, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review and The New York Times) and international publications including Review Berlin. He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids, five grandsons with a sixth incubating.

Michele Sharpe, a poet and essayist, is also a high school dropout, hepatitis C survivor, adoptee, and former trial attorney. Her essays appear in venues including Poets & Writers, The Washington Post, The Rumpus, Guernica, Catapult, and The Sycamore Review. Poems can be found in B O D Y, Rogue Agent, Poet Lore, North American Review, Stirring, and Baltimore Review.

Masha Shukovich is a writer, a poet, a storyteller, a student of Creative Writing, a scholar, a mother, a chef, a performer, a visual artist, a demigirl, a neurodivergent person, and an immigrant from a country that no longer exists. She speaks five languages and has a super power called Synesthesia: her brain interprets words as moving images, numbers as colors, and tastes as shapes, colors and sounds. She can taste a recipe simply by reading it. In her work she seeks to illuminate and demystify the multifaceted and fraught concept of the mistrusted, inscrutable, and ultimately unknowable racialized and gendered. Most recently, she was selected as a finalist in the 2018 San Francisco Writing Contest and a Semi-finalist in the 2019 American Short(er) Fiction Contest, and her work won 2nd place in the Fiction category and 2nd place in the Prose Poetry category of the 2017 Creative Writing Contest of the League of Utah Writers. Her creative and scholarly work has appeared in anthologies, books, and literally and academic journals, including I come from the World journal and Permafrost Magazine. More info about Masha and her work can be found at

Angela Snow is a student living and working in Amarillo Texas. She received her associates at Amarillo College and is currently pursuing a BFA of Graphic design at WTAMU University in Canyon Texas. Her greatest catalyst for pursuing art was a local artist and high-school teacher, who encouraged her talents and passions. She took a break from her education for her health, but has come back as a returning graphic design student with new perspective and appreciation for her opportunities. She currently works two jobs while pursuing her education.

James Steck lives in Washington, DC. He teaches high school English and coaches track and field in Fairfax, Virginia. He sketches frequently and enjoys sitting on fire escapes, and performing at open mics. His work is forthcoming at Eunoia Review, Tiny Spoon Literary Magazine Issue 3, Goat’s Milk Magazine Issue 4. His other poetry and drawings have appeared with other small press magazines including Unlikely Stories Mark V, The Odd Magazine, The Wild Word, With Painted Words, and others. You can find him on Instagram @jamodsteck or on Facebook as James David.

Josh Stein is a lifelong multi-mode creative artist, musician, writer, professor, and adult beverage maker. With formal training in calligraphy, graphic design, and color work; more than two decades as a researcher, teacher, and writer in cultural analysis in the vein of the Birmingham and Frankfurt Schools; and a decade and a half as a commercial artist and designer for multiple winery clients; he brings his influences of Pop art, Tattoo flash and lining techniques, and Abstract Surrealism and Expressionism to the extreme edge where graphic design and calligraphy meet the Platonic theory of forms. The resulting metallic inks and acrylics on canvas delight and perplex, moving between the worlds of solidity and abstraction.

Mervyn Taylor is a retired teacher, author of six collections of poetry, most recent of which is Voices Carry (Shearsman Books, 2017). This poem was written in response to the recent world protest of children re climate change, and the general indifference of adults to the dangers faced by our planet.

Tommy Twilite (Clark) is a poet, musician, songwriter, and radio show host who lives in Florence MA. He is the co-founder and director of the Florence Poets Society, and the editor of Silkworm. Tommy has published several chapbooks of poetry, and in 2016 served as the chairperson for 30 Poems in November, a fundraiser for the Center for New Americans. He believes in the power of poetry to change the world.

David G. Walker is a husband, father, and teacher. He holds an MFA in Poetry from Southern Connecticut State University and his work most recently appears in PANK, Thistle, Poetry Breakfast, After the Pause, and Poets Reading the News, among others. He is also the founding editor for Golden Walkman Magazine and is the author of three poetry chapbooks.