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Coming soon from Diode Editions, Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues, a chapbook of poetry by 2020 Diode Editions Chapbook Contest winner Shanta Lee Gander.


Photo Credit: MacLean Charles Gander

Shanta Lee Gander is an artist and multi-faceted professional in leadership, marketing, management, and a range of other areas. Her professional work has included: working as a publicist with writers and artists including freelancing with Skyhorse Publishing; serving as a Connecticut Health Foundation Fellow; overseeing a city-wide health initiative in New Haven via the New Haven Health Department; and creating and implementing Planned Parenthood of Southern New England’s first statewide internship program before going onto create a coalition of partners in New Haven and Rhode Island.

As an artist, her endeavors include photography, writing prose, poetry, investigative journalism, and photography. Shanta Lee's prose has been incorporated into her former weekly radio segments, Ponder This, on Green Mountain Mornings 100.3 FM/1490 AM WKVT. Her poetry, prose, and personal essays have been featured in the The Crisis Magazine, Rebelle Society, on the Ms. Magazine Blog, and The Commons weekly newspaper covering Windham County, VT. Shanta Lee has been recently named a recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts due to her standing in the region and dedication to the arts in Vermont. Her contributing work on an investigative journalism piece for The Commons received a New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) 2019 award. Shanta Lee has served as a Brattleboro Selectboard member and is the co-author of Ghosts of Cuba: An Interracial Couple’s Exploration of Cuba in the Age of Trump—Told in Images & Words (in manuscript). She is the director of publicity and outreach of Mount Island—a small press and magazine dedicated to rural LGBTQ+ and POC voices/artists. Shanta Lee gives lectures on the life of Lucy Terry Prince—considered the first known African-American poet in English literature—as a member of the Vermont Humanities Council Speakers Bureau.

Shanta Lee has also served as the president of the Arts Council of Windham County board and co-designed their creativity forums, Nourishing the Inner Artist: Conversations about Art, Creativity, and Imagination which has reached parts of NH and MA. She completed collaboration with the Vermont Arts Council in 2019 co-curating the statewide show, “I AM…,” featuring 27 artists from across Vermont.

For Shanta Lee, the connective tissue to all this work is her passion to extend an invitation into her world while surfacing the unseen while exploring: What is the story under the surface? What is forgotten to human memory that should be reclaimed? As she describes it she has “…an endless hunger to ask questions and create conversations through visual or written commentary. Even if what I unearth through some of these adventures scare me.” Shanta Lee is passionate about myths, fairytales, music, history, and the often illegal abandoned places she likes to photograph. Shanta Lee is an MFA candidate in Creative Non-Fiction and Poetry at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has an MBA from the University of Hartford and an undergraduate degree in Women, Gender and Sexuality from Trinity College.


We're over-the-moon to share the winners of the 2020 Diode Editions Book & Chapbook Contests! We received an overwhelming number of excellent manuscripts and we're humbled that so many wonderful writers thought enough of Diode Editions to submit to us. Thank you for honoring us with your work.

— The Diode Team


Full-Length Book Prize


Where the Wolf, Sally Rosen Kindred


The Enemy of My Enemy Is Me, Conor Bracken


Chapbook Prize


Faraway Places, Teow Lim Goh


Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak Woman in Woke Tongues, Shanta Lee Gander


Low Budget Movie, Kendra DeColo & Tyler Mills


Special Delivery, Natasha Sajé


Body Facts, Joey S. Kim


Slash / Slash, Amorak Huey & W. Todd Kaneko


Full-Length Book Finalists


[B-Dragon Suite], Stine Su Yon An (안수연)


(A) V(ERTIGO BOOK), Carolyn Guinzio


The Irresistible Allure of Drowning Men, Katerina Stoykova


Field Guide to Living with Yourself, Shuang Ang


Lore, Brianna Noll


寂寞 • 先知 (LONELY PROPHET), Michael Chang


So Much More: Abstracts, Unfinished Sequences, and Political Prose Poems, Darren Demaree


Wolf Tours, Alyse Knorr


The Green We Speak, Ira Sukrungruang


Chapbook Finalists


Flower Boi, Nadine Marshall


Bloodwarm, Taylor Byas


Autobiography of the boi Venus, kiki nicole


Knife Splitting Watermelon, Nasma Kublawi


Epistolarium. Letters to the Usual Suspects, Tina Schumann


Ripening Kind, Erin Miller


Prerecorded Weather, Noah Falck and Matt McBride

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