Saturday, April 2, 2022 2 p.m. EDT
featuring poetry readings from special guests Allison Blevins, Conor Bracken, Dorothy Chan, Paula Cisewski, Kai Coggin, Kelly Cressio-Moeller, Jessica Cuello, James Diaz, Shanta Lee Gander, Jared Harél, Allison Joseph, Eugenia Leigh, Rita Mookerjee, Alison Pelegrin, Emilia Phillips, Tina Schumann, Jessica Q. Stark, KC Trommer, & the author, Joan Kwon Glass.
ABOUT THE BOOK
In Night Swim, Joan Kwon Glass navigates the dark sea of mourning after losing her sister and her 11-year old nephew to suicide within a two month span of time. Night Swim does not turn away from the ugly, unreconciled side of grief: the recurring nightmares, life with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, questions that will never have answers, the desire to hold someone responsible for the deaths when there is no one left to blame. The collection begins with a solitary, titular poem which asks the reader to consider what grief feels like when "the landscape doesn’t change // but everything else does."
In this testimony of mourning and memory, the author weaves a suicide survivorship narrative told through the five stages of grief. This narrative includes the author’s memories of the weeks leading up to the deaths, her regrets, scenes from the funerals, erasures from police reports, and the excruciating forging ahead with daily life in spite of deep sorrow, maddening questions, and all that remains unresolved. It gives survivors permission to find their way through on their own terms: to hold a grudge against the dead while also wishing desperately for them to still be alive, to consider taking every door in your house off its hinges just to make more room for ghosts, to measure time by the ages the dead would have been if they were still here. Night Swim suggests that in order to live bravely again in a world without one’s beloved, the survivor may eschew the expectations of “appropriate” grief and tell the truth as it exists for them. What should we hold onto and what should we let go of? Although Night Swim shares a story of extraordinary loss, it is also a testament to how even against the harshest currents, in the darkest waters, we can swim up and through, where light and the shore will be waiting.
Allison Blevins is the author of the chapbooks Susurration (Blue Lyra Press, 2019), Letters to Joan (Lithic Press, 2019), and A Season for Speaking (Seven Kitchens Press, 2019). Her books Slowly/Suddenly (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2021) and Cataloging Pain (YesYes Books, 2023) are forthcoming. Chorus for the Kill (Seven Kitchens Press 2021), her collaborative chapbook, is forthcoming. She is the Director of Small Harbor Publishing and a Poetry Editor at Literary Mama. She lives in Missouri with her spouse and three children where she co-organizes the Downtown Poetry reading series.
Conor Bracken is the author of The Enemy of My Enemy Is Me (Diode Editions, 2021); Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour (Bull City Press, 2017), selected by Diane Seuss as winner of the fifth annual Frost Place Chapbook Competition; and translator of Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine’s Scorpionic Sun (CSU Poetry Center, 2019). His poems and translations have earned fellowships from Bread Loaf, the Community of Writers, the Frost Place, Inprint, and the Sewanee Writers' Conference. An assistant poetry editor at Four Way Review, he currently teaches English at the University of Findlay, and lives in Ohio with his wife, daughter, and dog.
Dorothy Chan (she/they) is the author of most recently, BABE (Diode Editions, 2021), Revenge of the Asian Woman (Diode Editions, 2019), Attack of the Fifty-Foot Centerfold (Spork Press, 2018), and the chapbook Chinatown Sonnets (New Delta Review, 2017). They were a 2020 and 2014 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship finalist, a 2020 finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Bisexual Poetry for Revenge of the Asian Woman, and a 2019 recipient of the Philip Freund Prize in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Their work has appeared in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, Academy of American Poets, and elsewhere. Chan is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Editor Emeritus of Hobart, Book Reviews Co-Editor of Pleiades, and Co-Founder and Editor in Chief of Honey Literary Inc., a 501(c)(3) literary arts organization. They are this year's Resident Artist for Toward One Wisconsin.
Chan received their PhD in poetry at Florida State University, their MFA in poetry at Arizona State University, and their BA in English (cum laude) with a minor in History of Art at Cornell University.
Paula Cisewski's poetry collection, Quitter, won the Diode Editions Book Prize. She is also the author of The Threatened Everything, Ghost Fargo (Nightboat Poetry Prize winner, selected by Franz Wright), Upon Arrival, and several chapbooks, including the lyric prose Misplaced Sinister. She lives in Minneapolis, where she teaches writing privately and academically, makes things, and collaborates with fellow artists and activists. See more of her writing, collage work and printing at www.paulacisewski.com
Kai Coggin is the author of Mining for Stardust (FlowerSong Press 2021), Incandescent (Sibling Rivalry Press 2019), Wingspan (Golden Dragonfly Press 2016), and Periscope Heart (Swimming with Elephants Publications 2014), as well as a spoken word album Silhouette (2017). She is a queer woman of color who thinks Black Lives Matter, a teaching artist in poetry with the Arkansas Arts Council, and the host of the longest running consecutive weekly open mic series in the country—Wednesday Night Poetry. Recently awarded the 2021 Governor’s Arts Award and named “Best Poet in Arkansas” by the Arkansas Times, her fierce and powerful poetry has been nominated four times for The Pushcart Prize, as well as Bettering American Poetry 2015, and Best of the Net 2016 and 2018. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in POETRY, Cultural Weekly, SOLSTICE, Bellevue Literary Review, Entropy, SWWIM, Split This Rock, Sinister Wisdom, Lavender Review, Luna Luna, Blue Heron Review, Tupelo Press, West Trestle Review, and elsewhere. Coggin is Associate Editor at The Rise Up Review. She lives with her wife and their two adorable dogs in the valley of a small mountain in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
Kelly Cressio-Moeller’s has work forthcoming at North American Review, Water~Stone Review, Salamander, and THRUSH. Her previously published poetry can be found at Boxcar Poetry Review, burntdistrict, Crab Orchard Review, Gargoyle, Poet Lore, Radar Poetry, Southern Humanities Review, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Verse Daily, and ZYZZYVA among others. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net. She is an Associate Editor at Glass Lyre Press. Her debut poetry collection, Shade of Blue Trees was the finalist for the 2019 Wilder Prize from Two Sylvias Press and published in 2021. Visit her website at www.kellycressiomoeller.com
Jessica Cuello’s manuscript, Liar, has been selected by Dorianne Laux for the 2020 Barrow Street Book Prize, forthcoming in October 2021. She is also the author of Pricking (Tiger Bark Press 2016), winner of the 2017 CNY Book Award, and Hunt (The Word Works 2017), winner of the 2016 Washington Prize. In addition, Cuello has published three chapbooks: My Father’s Bargain (2015), By Fire (2013), and Curie (2011). Cuello was the recipient of The 2018 New Ohio Review Poetry Prize, The 2013 New Letters Poetry Prize, and a 2015 Saltonstall Writing Fellowship. In 2014 she was awarded The Decker Award from Hollins University for outstanding secondary teaching. She teaches French in Central NY and is a poetry editor for Tahoma Literary Review.
James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018), All Things Beautiful Are Bent (Alien Buddha, 2021) and Editor of the Anthology What Keeps Us Here: Songs from The Other Side of Trauma. In 2016 they founded the online literary arts and music journal Anti-Heroin Chic to provide a platform for often unheard voices, including those struggling with addiction, mental illness and prison/confinement. They are a three time best of the net nominee. Their work has appeared in numerous online and print magazines including The Madrigal, Cleaver Magazine, Gone Lawn, Rust + Moth, Thrush, Cobra Milk Mag, The Collidescope, Trampset, Yes, Poetry and HIV Here & Now. They have performed their poetry at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg Brooklyn in 2017, The Lunar Walk Poetry Series (East Village), A Novel Idea on Passyunk (Philli, PA), Bryant Park Reading Room, The Bowery Poetry Club and at the 2018 NYC Poetry Festival on Governors Island. They reside in upstate New York, in between balanced rocks and horse farms. They have never believed in anything as strongly as they do the power of poetry to help heal a shattered life.
Shanta Lee Gander
Shanta Lee Gander is an artist who works in different mediums as a photographer, writer across genres and is a public intellectual whose work has been widely featured. Her major exhibition, Dark Goddess: An Exploration of the Sacred Feminine. The multimedia exhibition which includes her photographs, her short film, interviews with the models, and items selected by Shanta Lee from within the Fleming Museum's collection is currently on view at the Fleming Museum of Art and is a started off as an initial idea and inquiry: Who or what is the Goddess when she is allowed to misbehave? Who is the Goddess when she is allowed to expand beyond bearer of life, nurturer, and all of the other boxes that we confine women to within our society? Dark Goddess is a mix of ethnography, cultural anthropology, an exploration of the sacred feminine, and a co-creation with each of the individuals featured.
Shanta Lee is the author of GHETTOCLAUSTROPHOBIA: Dreamin of Mama While Trying to Speak in Woke Tongues, the winner of the 2020 Diode Press full-length book prize with an honorable mention from the Sheila Margaret Motton prize, and reviews featured in the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet Books, Seven Days, the Kenyon Review, and the The Adroit Journal. Her forthcoming collection, Black Metamorphoses (Etruscan Press, 2023), is what Shanta Lee describes as a 2000+ year old phone line opened to Ovid as well as an interrogation of the Greek mythos while creating her own new language in this work. Black Metamorphoses is an illustrated poetry collection that has been longlisted for the 2021 Idaho poetry prize, shortlisted for the 2021 Cowles Poetry Book Prize, and named a finalist in the 2021 Hudson prize.
Her contributing work on several investigative journalism pieces for The Commons received a number of New England Newspaper & Press Association (NENPA) awards. She is the 2020 recipient of the Arthur Williams Award for Meritorious Service to the Arts and 2020. Shanta Lee gives lectures on the life of Lucy Terry Prince (c. 1730-1821) — considered the first known African-American poet in English literature — as a member of the Vermont and New Hampshire Humanities Council Speakers Bureaus. Connected to Shanta Lee’s creative and professional practice is her collaborative work which has included co-curating the I AM… exhibition with the Vermont Arts Council along with her work on the statewide CreateVT, a strategic plan geared towards the creative sector. Other highlights from her career have included the implementation of the city-wide Visioning a Healthier New Haven , a campaign in New Haven, CT which included a digital storytelling component and data collection; the curation of small -large scale events incorporating the Giving Women Power Over AIDS traveling exhibition; and launching a creativity forums series, Healing with Art and Nourishing the Inner Artist: Conversations about Art, Creativity, and Imagination within Vermont which targeted creatives across the states of CT, MA, and VT.
Shanta Lee's current work includes acting as one of the advisors for Jay Craven’s film, Lost Nation, which will illustrate how the Prince family and Ethan Allen took different paths toward the American dream. In addition to teaching media studies at The Putney School, she is a Vermont Public Radio producer and reporter, and a regular contributor to Art New England, and Ms. Magazine. In addition to teaching a Media Studies course at The Putney School, Shanta Lee is one of the writers for the Ms. Magazine Blog, a regular contributor to Art New England and is a producer and reporter for Vermont Public Radio.
Shanta Lee is the 2020 gubernatorial appointee to the Vermont Humanities Council’s board of directors. She has an MFA 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. She enjoys finding new abandoned places to explore, and her taste in books is as broad as her musical appreciation. Anything from Gregorian chants or Vivaldi to Queen, Led Zeppelin, and A$AP Rocky can be found on her playlist.
Jared Harél is the author of Go Because I Love You (Diode Editions, 2018) and The Body Double (Brooklyn Arts Press, 2012). He’s been awarded the ‘Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize’ from American Poetry Review as well as the ‘William Matthews Poetry Prize’ from Asheville Poetry Review. An editorial-board member and co-curator for QUEENSBOUND and the Red Door Series, Harél’s poems have appeared in such journals as 32 Poems, Bennington Review, Four Way Review, Harvard Review Online, New Ohio Review, Ploughshares, The Southern Review, The SUN, Threepenny Review and Tin House. Harél teaches writing at Nassau Community College and with The Writers Circle, plays drums for the rock-band Flyin’ J & the Ghostrobber, and lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two kids. You can follow him on Instagram: @jaredharel
Allison Joseph lives in Carbondale, Illinois, where she is a professor of English and director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University. She serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review. Her books include My Father’s Kites (Steel Toe Books), Trace Particles (Backbone Press), Little Epiphanies (NightBallet Press), Mercurial (Mayapple Press), Mortal Rewards (White Violet Press), Multitudes (Word Poetry), The Purpose of Hands (Glass Lyre Press), Double Identity (Singing Bone Press), Corporal Muse (Sibling Rivalry Press), and What Once You Loved (Barefoot Muse Press). Her most recent full-length collection, Confessions of a Barefaced Woman, was published by Red Hen Press in June 2018.
Eugenia Leigh is the author of Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books, 2014), the winner of the Late Night Library's 2015 Debut-litzer Prize in Poetry as well as a finalist for the National Poetry Series and the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications including The Nation, Pleiades, Ploughshares, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Tahoma Literary Review, Waxwing, the Academy of American Poets' Poem-a-Day, the Best New Poets 2010 anthology, and the 2017 Best of the Net anthology. Eugenia received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she was awarded the Thomas Lux Scholarship for her dedication to teaching, demonstrated through her writing workshops with incarcerated youths and with Brooklyn high school students. Since her time at Sarah Lawrence, Eugenia has served as a teaching artist with a variety of organizations including the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's group for undocumented youths, RAISE.
The recipient of fellowships and awards from Poets & Writers Magazine, Kundiman, Rattle, and elsewhere, Eugenia was awarded the 2021 Bess Hokin Prize by Poetry Magazine. Previously the Poetry Editor for Kartika Review and for Hyphen, a news/culture outlet for the Asian American diaspora, Eugenia served as the 2021 Guest Editor for Lantern Review.
Rita Mookerjee is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Women's and Gender Studies Program at Iowa State University. Her research interests include postcolonial women's literature, food studies, and queer theory. She holds a PhD in Literature from Florida State University. In 2019-2020, she was a Fulbright Fellow to Jamaica.
Her critical work has been featured in the Routledge Companion of Literature and Food, the Bloomsbury Handbook to Literary and Cultural Theory, and the Bloomsbury Handbook of Twenty-First Century Feminist Theory. Her poetry is featured in Juked, Aaduna, New Orleans Review, Sinister Wisdom, and the Baltimore Review. She is the author of the chapbook Becoming the Bronze Idol (Bone & Ink Press, 2019). Currently, Rita is the Assistant Poetry Editor of Split Lip Magazine and a poetry staff reader for [PANK]. She is the Poetry Editor and Sex, Kink, and the Erotic Editor for Honey Literary.
Alison Pelegrin is the author of four poetry collections, including Waterlines. She has received a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts as well as an ATLAS grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents. She is writer-in-residence at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Emilia Phillips (they/she) is a poet, writer, and reviewer. They are the author of four poetry collections from the University of Akron Press, including Embouchure (2021), and four chapbooks. Winner of a 2019 Pushcart Prize and a 2019–2020 NC Arts Council Fellowship, Phillips’s poems, lyric essays, and book reviews appear widely in literary publications including The Adroit Journal, Agni, American Poetry Review, Gulf Coast, The Kenyon Review, New England Review, The New York Times, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. They are a faculty member in the MFA Writing Program and the Department of English and cross-appointed faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at UNC Greensboro.
Phillips is at work on a new poetry collection as well as a collection of lyric memoirs called Wound Revisions. They spent three years writing craft essays for the Ploughshares Blog. They are also in the initial stages of a digitization project that will feature contemporary poetry broadsides in an open access online gallery and they continue to review new collections of poetry.
Tina Schumann is a pushcart nominated poet and the author of three poetry collections: Praising the Paradox (Red Hen Press, 2019) which was a finalist in the National Poetry Series, Four Way Books Intro Prize, the New Issues Poetry Prize and the Julie Suk Award; Requiem. A Patrimony of Fugues (Diode Editions, 2017) which won the Diode Editions Chapbook Competition; and As If (Parlor City Press, 2010) which was awarded the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize. She is editor of the IPPY-award winning anthology Two Countries. U.S. Daughters and Sons of Immigrant Parents (Red Hen Press, 2017.) Schumann’s work received the 2009 American Poet Prize from The American Poetry Journal, finalist status in the Terrain.org annual poetry contest, as well as honorable mentions in The Atlantic, Crab Creek Review and The Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award. She is the poetry editor for Wandering Aengus Press, and a graduate of the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. Her poems have appeared widely in publications and anthologies since 1999, including The American Journal of Poetry, Ascent, Cimarron Review, Diode, Hunger Mountain Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Nimrod, Parabola, Palabra, Paterson Literary Review, Poetry Daily, Poemeleon, Rattle, Verse Daily, and read on NPR's The Writer's Almanac.
Jessica Q. Stark
Jessica Q. Stark is a poet and educator living in Jacksonville, Florida. Her first full-length poetry collection, Savage Pageant, was published by Birds, LLC in March 2020 and was named one of the "Best Poetry Books of 2020" in the Boston Globe and in Hyperallergic. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks, including INNANET (forthcoming 2021, The Offending Adam). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Pleiades, The Southeast Review, Poetry Daily, Verse, Carolina Quarterly, wildness, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Hobart Pulp, Tupelo Quarterly, Glass Poetry Journal, and others. She serves as a Poetry Editor for AGNI and the Comics Editor for Honey Literary. She teaches writing at the University of North Florida.
Poet and essayist KC Trommer is the author of the poetry collection We Call Them Beautiful, (Diode Editions, 2019) and the chapbook The Hasp Tongue (dancing girl press, 2014). She is the founder of the online audio project QUEENSBOUND. She co-curates the Red Door Series, a bi-monthly reading and meditation series, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Jackson Heights. A graduate of the MFA program at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, KC has been awarded grants and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, City Artist Corps, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Center for Book Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, Queens Council on the Arts, the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, and the Prague Summer Program. In 2021, she was poet in residence through Works on Water on Governors Island and was a Lower Manhattan Cultural Council artist-in-residence on Governors Island through LMCC’s COVID-19 Response Residency Program. Since 2018, she has collaborated with the Grammy Award-winning composer Herschel Garfein to create a song cycle based on poems from her first collection. She is the Director of Communications at NYU Gallatin and lives in Jackson Heights, Queens, with her son.
Joan Kwon Glass
Joan Kwon Glass' first full-length poetry collection, Night Swim, won the 2021 Diode Poetry Prize. She is the author of the chapbooks How to Make Pancakes for a Dead Boy (Harbor Editions, 2022) & If Rust Can Grow on the Moon (Milk & Cake Press, 2022). In 2021 she was a Runner-Up for the Sundress Publications Chapbook Contest, a finalist for the Harbor Review Editor’s Prize, the Subnivean Award & the Lumiere Review Writing Contest. Joan is a graduate of Smith College & serves as Poet Laureate for the city of Milford, CT & as Poetry Co-Editor for West Trestle Review. She has spent the past 20 years as an educator in the Connecticut public schools. Her poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in Diode, The Rupture, Nelle, Rattle, Pirene’s Fountain, SWWIM, Dialogist, South Florida Poetry Journal, Honey Literary, Mom Egg, Rust & Moth, Lantern Review and many others. Joan has been nominated multiple times for the Pushcart Prize & Best of the Net. She tweets @joanpglass & you may read her previously published work at www.joankwonglass.com.