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ISSUE 32
CONTENTS

NOVEMBER 2017


Travis Chi-Wing Lau
Jade Hurter
Gayle Brandeis
INTERVIEW: Sarah A. Chavez
Sarah Nichols
Jo Angela Edwins
Anthony DiPietro
Annie Pittman
ART: Hannah Chertock
Liv Mammone
Shannon Sankey
Maggie Graber



CONTRIBUTORS


Travis Chi-Wing Lau

SCOLIOSIS, A PORTRAIT

 

Bold shape,
that marrowed
thing, thrumming
with some other
harmony,
a bastion coiled:
tighter,
tightly.

But forms
may reach
a point of
breaking,
golden bowls
more vulnerable
because they
bear the chance
of singing.

Here,
a balm for
the pressure,
a kiss for
the risk,
a laying on
of hand:
tender
tending.


Jade Hurter

CRYSTAL VISION

Yet loss keeps thudding past my house, telling me I'm not done.
—from "Wintering," by Sandra Lim

I grow exhausted of the faint lights in the mirror. I put my makeup on in the morning and my face is scattered with sprites, glowing zits. One gets stuck to my lipstick like a piece of down. But the angels are not finished with me. The Chariot's wheels sliced my life in half. From the wound spilled a dead horse and two torn wings. From the wound spilled my mouth opening wider each day. I choked on everything like it was seawater, or stomach acid. My bile filled with light. The angels pin the wound together with quills, but still shadow seeps from between the sutures.


Gayle Brandeis

SUPER STATUE

 

"I want to tell you a secret,”
my four year old says.
I’m just home from two weeks
in the hospital, from having a stretch
of gut removed. I can’t pick him up,
can’t let him sit on my lap,
can’t do much of anything.

He leans closer, whispers
“Sometimes I don’t remember
your name.”

The car ride home
felt like whizzing
into hyperspace
after having gone
no faster than a wheelchair,
a gurney, for two weeks,
after having seen nothing
beyond hospital walls.
I had forgotten how fast
it was possible to go, how much
the world could blur. 

”Sometimes I don't remember
what you look like,” he whispers.

I’m right in front of him,
we video-chatted every day
I was gone, but this illness, this illness
that’s flared off and on since I was
13 has changed me over the last couple
of weeks, over the last few months
of pain. I don’t recognize myself, 
either, still hospital feral, hair wild,
face drawn, pale, dark
around the eyes, body
spun down to bone.

He gives me a new name:
Super Statue. He is A-Flash.
He is going to fix everything.
He is super hero blur
as he runs around and around
the couch, as I sit in its corner,
still as stone. “Good job,
Super Statue,” he tells me
as he flies past. “Good job.”


Sarah A. Chavez talks about embodied poetry
and writing Hands That Break and Scar 


Please describe your journey toward writing poetry that reflects on the experience of living in the body. Have you always written this way, or did you come to it over time?

Like most things in my life, the answer is a little both. I have always been aware of my body—of its size, its shape, how much space it took up in a room, how it might look when next to other bodies, how it did not conform to the norms I wanted it to replicate. I often thought (and sometimes still think) of it as separate from “me,” as if there is a “me” without the body, something that is mind and desire and the body is an uncooperative accomplice, bumbling, getting in the way.

It has often been a contentious relationship. When I was a child, the evangelical neighbor who often babysat my sister and me when my single mom was at work told us that if you felt pain, it was God punishing you for something and the only way to rid yourself of the pain was to “pray and surrender yourself to Him.” So at the age of 9, when I got my first period, I remember being doubled-over on the floor of bathroom, cramps twisting my insides, arms wrapped around my abdomen, crying, praying, “please God, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” I didn’t know what I had done, but I knew for pain that felt so fundamental, so at my core, it must have been really bad. That pain was transformative as was what I saw as God’s refusal to take it away. I suffered intense menstruation until adulthood and learned that ultimately the only way to work through pain was to acknowledge it and lean in.

These early attempts at control primed me both for a life of physicality (athletics, manual labor, body modification) and for eventually writing from that space. Because my emotions often manifest in physical sensations: heat, nausea, back pain, disassociation, I learned to understand feelings through the body. And feelings are where writing starts for me. Again, when I was younger, I started writing because my feelings would so overwhelm me, I needed some way of ridding my body of them. Writing was that release. In that way, the process of writing for me begins in the body naturally, but I would say the harder work of writing the experience of being in the body is in the revision process, being able to maintain that physicality and grounding while also revising for a more complicated and nuanced use of language and concept. That has taken me a long a time (and I am most definitely still working at it).

 

You open section 1 with a quote from Gloria Anzaldúa that contains the phrase “I remain who I am, multiple /and one.” Multiplicities (yet) unities abound in your book. Mexican and American, girl and woman, dutiful daughter and curious adolescent, much love and some violence, and “no moment of happiness without cost” (33). Can you please say a bit about how borders and border crossings influenced the writing of Hands That Break and Scar?”

Anzaldúa’s work, specifically Borderlands/La Frontera and her theory of la conciencia de la mestiza changed my life and my writing. Being half Mexican and half white/Anglo and having these two parents divorced meant that I almost never saw the peaceful co-existence of these two cultures. So when I was with my dad and his family, I needed to be more Mexican and when I was with my mom and her family, I needed to be more white (in whatever way at the time those markers of ethnicity manifested, certainly the performance of ethnicity is complicated). Both sets of grandparents even lived in the same town, just on either side of Bear Creek, a small, but long body of water that worked as a naturally occurring border. To get to where my abuelitos lived, you cross west to the new construction going toward the outer edges of town and to get to my grandparents’ house you cross east over the creek to older, established neighborhoods with large tree-lined residential streets.

I didn’t know that there could be a third space, one in which I could embody both cultures. There were other dueling sides of my life too, my working-class reality and the affluent lives of my Catholic school friends. Again, I was neither in the same situation as the other kids in my neighborhood, nor was I like the kids I went to school with. That was a tension that plagued me, but it wasn’t until reading Borderlands that I was able to articulate that tension. I was also so focused on needing to act “right” in the space I was in, it never occurred to me to question why I was doing that in the first place. To fit in, of course, but why has the culture of the space been set in an either/or? So, ethnic cultural borders, socioeconomic borders, borders of right and wrong, and border crossing and trying to eke out a space in between the binaries is really at the heart of the collection.

 

THIS, LIKE SO MUCH

 

On the night of my first kiss,
I was supposed to have been home
by 10 p.m., but we just kept walking,
our fingers interlaced, talking about
Clive Barker books. When we got
to my front door, the porch light
was out, and I thought it lucky,
because this time, I’d remembered
to leave my retainer at home
just in case.

We stood in the half dark, the glow
from the street lamp back-lighting
his silhouette. He brushed his fingers
down my cheek, while his other hand
slid under my hair. We were smart
enough not to talk. He merely bent
down and touched his lips to mine—
sweetly—at first. My body both burned
and relaxed, my mind for once not racing.

I went in the house, feeling dizzy,
giddy, sat on the couch and tried
to keep the feeling, tuck it away
where I could always come back to find it,
but from the other room I could hear
my mom’s shrill screaming, her boyfriend
pleading. The small mobile home shook
as he tried to slam the bedroom door
in her face, but she followed him,
pushing at his back, yanking his shirt,
yelling all the while, Don’t you
walk away from me
! They brushed
past me, out the front door,
and into the cool night air I had just left.

After the screech of his tires faded
down the block, my mom stomped back
into the house, her face twisted in anger.
The fair skin of her neck blazed
as she grabbed a glass from the table.
The sweet, high ting echoed
in the shower of shining shards
that bloomed from the newly formed
hollow in the living room wall:
no moment of happiness without cost.


When I read these poems I notice so many small indicators of place: Motel 6, 7-11, the VFW Hall, a dumpster, some busted car windows, a backyard garden, grape fields—and so much California heat! How do you use place to make meaning in your poems?

There is so much Cali heat! (Valley heat, specifically) It’s funny, but when I was working on my dissertation and reading through Gary Soto’s (a well-respected, well-known Fresno, Central Valley poet) collected work, I remember thinking, “Damn, how many times can a person comment on dirt and dust?” And then while editing the manuscript, I realized I was doing the same thing, but with heat. I think there is sometimes that one characteristic that tends to encapsulate a place for me. In all my memories of Fresno, it’s summer. I know that’s not accurate. I remember the winters and the rare rains and the terribly thick fog with a strange damp that chills through the bones, but when I think about Fresno and the Valley, I think about the sun and warmth and brightness. I also think about people. Place and people are inextricable for me. I can’t think about my childhood without thinking of the mobile home park and I can’t think of the mobile home park without thinking of my childhood best friend Tracy. And I can’t think of Tracy without thinking about the community swimming pool. And I can’t think of the community swimming pool without thinking about Carole. 

Much like the way the body is the instrument through which I experience emotion, place is the instrument through which I recall memories. It wasn’t until moving away from California that I began to understand how much location shaped my understanding of the world. Everything about a person can change based on location. In Fresno, California, I’m an ambiguously-ethnic pocha. In Muncie, Indiana, I was the darkest, most ethnic person person in all my graduate classes. I’m not so sure that I use place to make meaning, so much as I try to allow myself to be open to the meaning inherent in place and to an honest perception of it. Like the dumpster. My sister and I really did climb into these industrial dumpsters and take out building materials to play with. The first time I mentioned that in grad school, the friends I told the story to were mildly horrified. Where were my parents? I could’ve stepped on a nail, what if I had cut myself on glass? To them, the dumpster represented danger, to us though, it represented possibility. The truth is, the dumpster is both. In retrospect it’s pretty amazing that neither of us needed tetanus shots. I’m sure we cut and scraped ourselves, but the memory of those minor infractions is far outweighed by the fun we had. I didn’t know it as a kid, but that there was even an industrial dumpster always nearby, that was a mark of the neighborhood we lived in. That we were in a mobile home park. All places that represent working class upbringing. I think part of my hope with this book and these poems is that a reader will see through the dinginess of the places and be able to see the beauty that I see there. There is beauty in the relationships built in these places and these relationships could not have forged in these ways in any other space. 




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Purchase Hands That Break and Scar
from Sundress Publications
.

 

 

Please share with our readers a list of 5-10 books you think we should read right now.

So many good books! This always feels like an unfair question because no matter who I put on the list, I’m bound to later think, “oh, I should’ve said ___.” Even though there are others, I’m going to go with those books that lately I find myself coming back to over and over again.

1.     ire’ne lara silva’s Blood Sugar Canto

2.     Natalie Díaz’s When My Brother Was An Aztec

3.    Marvin Bell’s The Book of the Dead Man

4.     Salvador Palacio’s The People of Paper

5.     Gloria Anzaldúa’s posthumously published second book, Luz en lo Oscuro (Light in the Darkness)

6.    Ada Limón’s Bright Dead Things

7.     Claudia Rankine’s Citizen

8.     Stacey Waite’s Butch Geography

9.     Manuel Paul López’s Death of a Mexican and Other Poems


Some Rogue Agent fans are just beginning to explore what making art about the body would look like for them. What advice would you give to someone just starting down the path toward writing poetry that features the body?

Do physical things and journal with a pen or pencil and paper. There are a lot of writers who advocate walking as a way to open the mind, but what I really mean is intentionally set out to do something, anything physical where you can pay attention to what your body is doing and what it feels like to be wherever it is. For me, biking and yoga are best. Especially yoga because of the focus on breathing and feeling your body breath and moving with breath. But I don’t think it matters what a person choses, so long as it works for them: meditation, playing a sport, washing dishes, laying outside on a grassy lawn, as long as it is mindful and requires movement. Then get an easy to carry with you notebook and a comfortable pen or pencil with pleasing movement (personally I like Pentel RSVPs with a fine point and Pilot G2 retractable gel roller pens). And then, and I know this sounds cheesy, but allow yourself to feel the side of your hand rubbing against the paper. Hear the scratch of the tip, smell the graphite or ink. While I do a good bit of prose writing on a computer, almost all of my pre-writing and poem drafting happens in a notebook, which helps remind me that writing is not just an act of the mind.

 

Chavez head shot 2.jpg

Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of two collections of poetry, All Day, Talking (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), a selection of which won the Susan Atefat Peckham Fellowship (2013), and Hands That Break & Scar (Sundress Publications, 2017). Her manuscript, This, Like So Much, was an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Contest and she was named one of the 2016 Top Ten "New" Latino Authors to Watch (and Read) by LatinoStories.com. Chavez holds a PhD in English with a focus in poetry and Ethnic Studies from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in the anthologies Political Punch: The Politics of Identity, Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzalduan Borderlands, and Bared: An Anthology on Bras and Breasts, as well as the journals Brevity, North American Review, Fourth River, Acentos Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and The Boiler Journal, among others. She teaches creative writing, literature, and composition at Marshall University, where she also serves as the coordinator of the A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series. She is a proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop. Find her on the web at www.sarahachavez.com


Sarah Nichols

A POEM FOR DOPE SICKNESS

After the first time, I
can’t pretend that I don’t know.

The twenty-four hour flu lasts days.
Four, maybe. I sweat and
shake them out in midsummer,

watching an apartment thermostat

stick at 85.

I gag on chicken soup and
saltines, those drug store
balms. A sleeve of Dramamine disappears in a day.

I stop looking at the calendar. Instead,

I troll past my grandmother’s desk,
a pill hungry shark. I am all eyeball and

grey skin, watching the prescription
slip on shore. Do not fill until

July____, 2012, 45 count.

I turn cannibal desperate at night, gnawing at
my bones, making promises for the next time.

I will not run out. I will not get sick. I will take

one

less.


Jo Angela Edwins

MRI

Cocooned in this plastic womb,
you are a shivering chrysalis
struggling to stay still as the dead
silicone surrounding you, and somewhere
outside this insulated world there thrums
elevator music, the cartoon dreams
it sings drowned out at last
by that hammering drone reminding you
we are all being pounded to dust
in the end. Sometimes a tinny
voice asks how you do. You lie,
say “fine,” then the pounding
persists, all in valiant effort
to figure what went wrong. Lying here,
stripped of ring and bracelet and brassiere,
you count the filigrees on the one strip
of wallpaper you see, then count the lights
that float behind shut eyelids, then count
the chances you’ve missed year by year.
Out there people are doing things
you’ve done before without thinking—
pumping gas, counting change, telling someone
whose face they can’t see to have a nice day.
In here you think of someone you love.
In here you wonder what that person felt
the last time he heard you speak his name.


Anthony DiPietro

THIS POEM SHOULD BE NEITHER SEEN NOR HEARD

walking to the bus stop in fifth grade
I distinctly remember
the bargaining stage
you know
one of those five splintered stair-steps of grief

I first began climbing when
in the bathtub I discovered
under my shy snail of a penis
a squishy wormy thing
living in the skin of my little boy scrotum and I knew

that I would die.
die because I could not
speak of this tumor
a shape I’d never seen in nature
could not tell my mother

could not label
this region on the map
of my body
or bring myself to point
where the doctor should feel

for the spongy
spineless
maggoty thing I was sure
was killing me. listen, in first grade
two older boys on the bus

hurled words at me like spitballs
and I kept my gaze low
I never complained
until they gave me
a hard-handed spanking

in the recess yard
I told a teacher
they hurt me
but cinched my lips instead of saying
what bone or joint or softer part it was

neither she nor the principal had
a magic potion to restore my speech
nor my mother
who tried ice cream
and my favorite chicken dinner

who wrung her hands
in the vast temple of my monk-like silence
who shook her head
knowing those mean boys would never
be punished without

my testimony
still she understood I’d never ride
the bus again. even after
writing my family a farewell letter
and even though my doctor

drew a picture not long after to explain
why my left was bigger than my right
and wrote down a word
to describe
what I felt

just a common nest
of dark blue veins
so harmless I’d never need surgery
and I was just like one in six men
who probably don’t speak of their ugly scrotums either

what I really mean to say is
at ten I already was taller than most of my grade
and neither fat nor muscular but
you know
husky

and five years did nothing to shrink
this difference
the gym coach would’ve asked me
to join the wrestling team
if ever I raised an eye from my book to catch his

but what I wanted was
to be smaller
so I studied
the pill bug
curled my body tight like his

tucked my transparent shell
into corner seats of classrooms
cafeterias and movie theaters
wandered the dirt beneath the bleachers
spent every pep rally

at the library
I didn’t need to sneak in there
so quiet was I. do you see how fully
I embraced death?
how I almost became

the ghost of haunts and hallways
of my youth?
how I hid myself
so thoroughly that dead
is what I must’ve been?


Annie Pittman

WELLBUTRIN, DAY FIVE

& the blue wire              threaded through me becomes visible

as I undress in the sun at the bus stop, peeling off my sweater
like the skin of peaches I blanched this morning, meat bruised
but glowing. Maybe that’s what I need sometimes: scalding
& an ice bath in a green bowl.              & the wire is blue like a vein now,
safe translucent hum, when all that should remain inside remains
inside. Some days, the thread              pulls me along in spite of circumstance
I move from dish to dish, window to window. I am too loud
for catatonia, but it’s a stillness inside of me that frightens me so.
Crying in a dream, I awoke last night to my lover’s voice
“you’re okay.” What they don’t tell you about love is that the wire
remains. What they don’t tell you about the wire         is that love
remains. White flowers in the courtyard this morning petaled like
confused stars. The small pine growing out of place—I hope they let it
stay. Maybe it’s the pills bringing promise back from the big water I swim
or try to, holding onto the wire,            my hands the sad feet of a submerged
tightrope walker, my open mouth just catching breath. Maybe it’s
because I usually sleep through the mornings that this one has done me in
for the better, its golden light on the boulevard & most of my sorrow walking
a mile behind, like a tiger on a leash,               slow until hungry again.


Hannah Chertock

BRAIN

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LUNGS

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SPARKLE RAINBOW VAGINA

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RAINBOW BOOK

 

TIME LAPSE CUT-OUT OF BRAIN

Artist statement:

Hannah Chertock is a multimedia artist exploring concepts of pain, bodies and medical technology. Her artwork aims to heighten body awareness by making viewers think about how they experience senses and movement. Her artwork is inspired by her experience with Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia, a bone condition that causes short stature, chronic pain, and other joint issues. Her intricate, hand-cut layered paper creations include metallic and glitter renditions of organs. The use of glitter and metallic paper represent technologies often involved in surgeries like joint and organ replacement. Her work strives to create a sense of awareness and appreciation of our bodies’ resilience through the experience of art.


Liv Mammone

BACLOFEN BLUES
Baclofen: a muscle relaxant pill used in the treatment of hyper-tension

woke up this morning; it was the afternoon
woke up this morning; it was the afternoon
pills spilled across the nightstand like broken strands of jewels

used to be a summer flower blooming in July
used to be a summer flower blooming in July
now come sun, snow, or humidity, I'm hurting foot to thigh

my toes are horned and callused on their undersides
my toes are horned and callused on their undersides
all my strength rests on these bastards; they're crooked, cracked, and dried

if life is gonna hurt this bad, how long before I die?
I got the Baclofen blues, honey; I got the Baclofen blues
if this body ain't God's fault, or mine, my question is, “then whose?”


Shannon Sankey

INFUSION

In six weeks, I am in the chair again. I give my wrist for a band. Yes to coffee. I wear
wool socks. It is eight o'clock. A man in a suit sleeps a chair over. A nurse opens my
vein and hangs a cold bag of the drug. She covers my arm with a starched blanket.
She sets the drip slow. She disappears behind the station. I recline. A nervous man
in cargo shorts rushes into the room. Maybe he reaches for a gun. Maybe I tear the
needle out of my arm and I run. Maybe I make it out. Whatever, it is useless. I only
die somewhere else. Remember. I am fruit off the vine. I do what I have to. I sit and
suck and hang and ripen.


Maggie Graber

MARGARET

When you’re named after your mother’s
greatest heartbreak, your name
her mother’s name, the same letters
in the same order, the same touch
of lips at the beginning of the word, Mmm,
as if it tasted good, and not like
the death you’ve heard about your whole life,
the one at 50, the one in the 1970s,
your name was her name before it was yours
and it never would have been
if she didn’t leave it behind.


Issue 32 Contributors

 

Gayle Brandeis is the author of Fruitflesh: Seeds of Inspiration for Women Who Write, and the novels The Book of Dead Birds, which won the Bellwether Prize for Fiction, Self StorageDelta Girls, and My Life with the Lincolns. Her poetry collection, The Selfless Bliss of the Body, was released in June by Finishing Line Press and her memoir, The Art of Misdiagnosis: Surviving My Mother's Suicide, will be published by Beacon Press in November.

Sarah A. Chavez a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of two collections of poetry, All Day, Talking (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), a selection of which won the Susan Atefat Peckham Fellowship (2013), and Hands That Break & Scar (Sundress Publications, 2017). Her manuscript, This, Like So Much, was an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Contest and she was named one of the 2016 Top Ten "New" Latino Authors to Watch (and Read) by LatinoStories.com. Chavez holds a PhD in English with a focus in poetry and Ethnic Studies from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in the anthologies Political Punch: The Politics of Identity, Imaniman: Poets Writing in the Anzalduan Borderlands, and Bared: An Anthology on Bras and Breasts, as well as the journals Brevity, North American Review, Fourth River, Acentos Review, North Dakota Quarterly, and The Boiler Journal, among others. She teaches creative writing, literature, and composition at Marshall University, where she also serves as the coordinator of the A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series. She is a proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop. Find her on the internet at  www.sarahachavez.com.

Hannah Chertock graduated Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography and Certificate of Product Innovation in 2016. Her work has been featured at Adah Rose Gallery in Kensington, Maryland, The Anderson Gallery in Richmond, Virginia and literary arts journals such as Medical Literary Messenger and The Tulane Review. She currently manages an Etsy shop where you can find her recent creations: Etsy.com/shop/BodiesAdapt. Follow her on Instagram @BodiesAreWeird for behind the scenes process videos.

Anthony DiPietro is a New England native who worked for 12 years in nonprofit organizations on issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. Last year, he moved to Eastern Long Island and joined Stony Brook University as a candidate for an MFA in poetry. A graduate of Brown University with honors in Creative Writing, his poems have appeared or in The Woman IncTalking RiverAssaracusThe American Journal of Poetry, and The Southampton Review.

Jo Angela Edwins has published poems in various anthologies and journals including CalyxAdannaNew SouthNaugatuck River Review, and Whale Road Review. Her chapbook Play was published in 2016 by Finishing Line Press. She was the 2014 recipient of the Carrie McCray Nickens Poetry Fellowship Prize from the South Carolina Academy of Authors. She lives in Florence, SC.

Maggie Graber is a poet from the Midwest. She holds an MFA from Southern Illinois University and a BA from Indiana University. She has received grants and fellowships from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Luminaries Cultural Foundation, and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Louisville Review, Southern Indiana Review, The Adroit Journal, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Hobart, The Indianapolis Review, and elsewhere. Find her online at maggiegraber.com.

Jade Hurter is the author of the chapbook Slut Songs (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2017). She was a finalist in the 2016 Tennessee Williams Poetry Contest, judged by Yusef Komunyakaa, and her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Columbia Poetry ReviewTinderboxPassages NorthNew South, and elsewhere.

Travis Chi-Wing Lau is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania Department of English. His research interests include 18th- and 19th-century British literature, the history of medicine, and disability studies. His academic writing has been published in Journal of Homosexuality, Romantic Circles, Digital Defoe, and English Language Notes. His creative writing has appeared in Wordgathering, Assaracus, The New Engagement, The Deaf Poets Society, Up the Staircase Quarterly and QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology. Find him on the internet at travisclau.com.

Liv Mammone is an editor and poet from Long Island, New York; where she lives with her parents, brother, and family of feral cats. She’s a two time nominee for 2016’s Best of the Net poetry anthology. Her poetry has appeared in the anthologies QDA: a Queer, Disabled AnthologyGrabbing the AppleThe Careless Embrace of the Boneshaker, as well as being forthcoming in Monstering. As a spoken word poet, she has featured at Artists Without Walls, Stonybrook University, and Union Square Slam. In 2017, She became the first visibly disabled person to be on a New York City slam team and appeared in the play The Fall of All Atomic Angels at the Public Theater as part of a festival that was named Best of Off Off Broadway by Time Out Magazine.  

Sarah Nichols lives and writes in Connecticut. She is the author of four chapbooks, including Dreamland for Keeps (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming, 2018) and She May Be a Saint (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, 2016). Her poems and essays have also appeared in Luna Luna, The Ekphrastic Review, Calamus Journal, and the RS 500.

Annie Pittman lives in Chicago, where she works as a licensed massage therapist. She earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Her poems have appeared in NeckThrush Poetry JournalMidwestern Gothic, and BOAAT Journal. 

Shannon Sankey's poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming at Poets.orgPittsburgh Poetry ReviewHospital DriveAtticusReviewPretty Owl Poetry, and elsewhere. She is a copywriter and co-editor of Stranded Oak Press. Find her on the web at www.shannonsankey.com