30/30 Project: Contributor Bios

April 2020 30/30 Poets:

Anupama Amaran

A. Anupama is a poet, critic, essayist, and translator whose work has appeared in Drunken Boat, Waxwing, Juked, Numéro Cinq, and elsewhere. She is an adjunct professor at Ramapo College, director of River River Writers Circle (RiverRiver.org), and creative writing instructor for kids and teens at Writopia Lab. She is a graduate of Vermont College of Fine Arts and Northwestern University. Recent honors include Pushcart Prize nominations in 2015 and 2018, and a fellowship at the Center for Book Arts in NYC. Anupama lives with her family in Nyack, New York. More about her work at Seranam.com.

Judith Berger

Brooklyn born and bred, Judith Berger is a poet, herbalist, naturalist, physician assistant and author of the book Herbal Rituals, published by St. Martin’s Press. She has been fortunate to count among her poetry teachers A.R. Ammons, Phyllis Janowitz, and Adrienne Rich. Judith has taken workshops with Mark Doty and currently generates work in classes with Hermine Minehard of the NY Writer’s Workshop. Her poetry is influenced by the natural world, myth, animals, dreams and folk music from prior centuries. She is currently working on a chapbook entitled The Stars are Not Austere.

Lael Cassidy

Lael Cassidy has been writing all her life: two juvenile adult novels, one adult novel and several books of poetry. She journals every day as well and currently takes classes at The Writer’s Studio. Lael has worked for thirty years as a massage therapist and feels that this work has helped her to be a better perceiver, thinker, and communicator. She lives in Seattle with a husband, two dogs, and has two grown children.

Hedge, and Gone Lawn. She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee. Her career in poetry started many years ago when she won first place in an Iowa library contest judged by Robert Pinsky. This is her first 30/30 experience.

Anthony Cicchino

Anthony Cicchino is an educational leader living in Tucson, Arizona. His passion for creativity, innovation, and the humanities inspire him to be courageous and brave in his leadership of others through their various chosen paths. His poetic inspirations are Dante and Emily Dickinson, as he feels closest to the core of humanity when he reads these poets. When writing, he experiences congruence of mind and spirit, and is eager to grow and develop as a poet and a man.

Merrill Cole

Merrill Cole’s poems have appeared in such venues as Cutbank, Bellevue Literary Review, Women’s Studies Quarterly, The Main Street Rag, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He is the author of The Other Orpheus: A Poetics of Modern Homosexuality and the translator, from the German, of the 1923 Dances of Vice, Horror, and Ecstasy. Cole is Professor of English at Western Illinois University.

Her first chapbook, The Mouth of Which You Are, from Finishing Line Press, was released November 2018. Her poems have appeared in Forklift Ohio, Construction Magazine, Sundog Lit, and elsewhere. Jenna has received fellowships and residencies from the Norman Mailer Writers Colony and the Vermont Studio Center. She lives in Astoria, Queens.

Kathryne Gargano

Kathryne David Gargano hails from the Pacific Northwest, but isn’t very good at climbing trees. She received her MFA from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas, and is currently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Her work has been published in Colorado Review, Pithead Chapel, Lavender Review, Synaesthesia, and others. She is the winner of F(r)iction’s 2019 Summer Literary Contest in Poetry, and her work in Rust + Moth was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2019. Her work is forthcoming in Salt Hill, Fourth River, and minnesota review. You can find pictures of her three-legged pup on Instagram at @peternelle3.

Darby Price

Darby Price earned her MFA from George Mason University, where she was a Heritage Fellow and the Poetry Editor for Phoebe. Her poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, RHINO, Redivider, and Zócalo Public Square, among others, and her reviews and interviews have appeared in The Collagist (now The Rupture) and The Southeast Review. Her essay, “A Michael Bay Brain,” will appear in the anthology Far Villages: Welcome Essays for New and Beginner Poets (Black Lawrence Press). Darby lives and writes in Southern California, but you can also find her online at www.darbyprice.com.

Jen Town

Jen Town was born in Dunkirk, New York, and grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania. Her poetry has appeared in Mid-American Review, Cimarron Review, Epoch, Third Coast, Lake Effect, Crab Orchard Review, and others. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from The Ohio State University in 2008 and lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her wife, Carrie. Her first book, The Light of What Comes After, won the 2017 May Sarton New Hampshire Poetry Prize and was published by Bauhan Publishing. You can find Jen online at www.jentown.com.

Hannah Wallstrum

Native Santa Rosan Hannah Wallstrum, MFA, has remained in Sonoma County, CA, an area fertile with themes explored in her writing: family, nature, spirituality, and culture. She hikes, swims, reads and communes with the ravens in her vineyard. Hannah’s poetry and prose have appeared in such publications as First Leaves, Lone Mountain Anthology, Women’s Voices and Manorborn.

Riley Welch

Riley Welch is a poet from Texas living in Denver. Her work can be found in Authentic Texas Magazine and The Raw Art Review, among others. Her poem Baby Island was selected as a 2019 Brain Mill Press National Poetry Month Contest Editors’ Pick. More of her poetry can be found at her blog, arhymeaday.com, a platform she uses for ongoing practice. She makes a great loaf of banana bread.


March 2020 30/30 Poets:

Gordon Adams

Long-time worker in the national security world – researcher, policy-maker, analyst, government official, teacher – Defense Budget Project, Office of Management and Budget (1993-97), American and George Washington University. Author or co-author of four books on national security topics. Poet for decades. Professional Actor since 2004.

Michael Carter

Michael Carter is a psychotherapist and poet living in NH. He has published poems in such journals as Western Humanities Review, Boulevard, Ploughshares, Columbia Poetry Review among many others. He has recently guest edited Poets Resist for Glass: A Poetry Journal.

Ellen Elder

Ellen Elder was born in New York City, raised in Cincinnati and educated at The University of Chicago, Miami University of Ohio and The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She spent childhood summers in Ireland. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in About Place Journal, Banshee Lit, Bird’s Thumb, DMQ Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Tampa Review and elsewhere. She teaches writing and poetry at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany and lives in nearby Neuss with her daughter, Sophie.

Victoria Korth

Victoria Korth is an MFA graduate of the Warren Wilson College Program for Writers. Poems have appeared Ocean State Review, Tar River Poetry, Ithacalit, Spoon River Poetry Review, Worcester Review, Barrow Street and elsewhere. She has twice been long listed for the Montreal International Poetry Prize. Her chapbook, Cord Color, was released from Finishing Line Press in 2015. She lives in Rochester, NY, where she is a practicing psychiatrist working with the chronically mentally ill.

Anne Laurence

Anne Laurence is a career federal bureaucrat drawn to public service by idealism, but remaining due to stubbornness. An early mentor advised her to keep writing outside work or any talents would be replaced by Kafka-esque government-speak. However, writing in government requires a great deal of creativity – not because it is fiction, but precisely because it is not. Clear prose is required to capture the nuance of conflicting perspectives that seem minor, but result in pitched bureaucratic policy battles. Compelling language is necessary to persuade decision makers of a course of action that will cost money and affect lives. Careful editing is critical to pare reality into concise paragraphs digestible by those whose days are full of crisis and conflict and far too many demands. And, yes, sometimes creativity is needed to describe something inexplicable in a way that seems credible so that our citizens do not find out just how hard it is and that we cannot fix it, at least not every time. Anne finds poetic inspiration in mundane observations in the spaces between, where there is just enough time for a metaphor to arrive before the next train or the next meeting or the next headline.

Robin Shawver

Robin Shawver has an MFA from California College of the Arts and taught writing at the University of New Mexico-Taos. She currently works as an IB Continuum Librarian in an international school in Qingdao, China and is the Editor of Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art. Her work has appeared in RPD Society, Open Letters Monthly, Venus Envy, among others. Her chapbook “verbs without a past” was finalist for Omnidawn’s Chapbook Contest.

Adela Sinclair

Adela Sinclair imagines meeting life’s challenges with pen and paper in hand. She has been writing since she was 7 years old, in her native country of Romania. During all significant periods of her life, she has been able to express herself in writing. In high-school she wrote short stories, poems, and prose poems. In college it was playwriting and poetry, as well as comparative literary essays. For the past 17 years of her life she has been writing poetry on her own and in workshops in New York City and elsewhere. She has had the great experience of working with Regie Cabico, Louis Hirshkowitz, Hermine Meinhard, Sharon Olds, and Brenda Hillman. Adela has been writing poems and discovering possibilities with language, ideas, emotions, and form. She has learned from Reggie to speak her poems. From Louis, she has learned to critique poems closely and find the intellect in the voice, one that is universal and wiser than herself.

The passion she has for poetry is unbridled. The necessity she has for writing it is the same as that for breathing, eating, and having shelter. In order to create she connects with her inner voice, the undercurrents of her emotions, thoughts, and she releases control over the rational. She is carried by the immediacy of verses to guide her through the synoptic mapping of her voice and the visceral canvas strokes that the muse invokes.

Adela earned her BA in French Culture and Civilization and Minor in Biology from the State University at Albany.  She has a Masters Degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from Hunter College and an MFA in Writing from Saint Francis College.

Charley Star

Charlotte Megan Edwards is a photographer, writer and poet, splitting her time between CA and NC. As a photographer, her work has graced many national magazines, gallery walls and private collections, but it’s poetry that fuels her inspiration. She is the mother of three children, so is hardly ever alone; you’ll often find her writing on her phone’s notes app with kids tugging at her sleeves. Some of these are lost in digital oblivion forever, but others actually make it into finished form. Her writings and poetry have appeared in several literary publications and she recently released her first book, Your Face Is Becoming a Hashtag.  She is currently working on a children’s book.

You can find her on instagram at @charleystar.

Lori Swartz

Lori Swartz is a painter, performer, metalworker and writer, living in an old mining town in New Mexico. Over the past twelve years her poetry has appeared in various collections, anthologies and journals. She was the recipient of the 2011 Astraea Foundation Poetry Award and has received grants and fellowships for writing workshops and residencies, including the Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony. Lori can occasionally be found dangling from high things as she performs in burlesque and circus shows on aerial rope or chain. Currently, she is at work on her first full-length novel.

Sheree Renée Thomas

Sheree Renée Thomas is an award-winning short fiction writer, poet, and editor with fellowships and residencies from the Millay Colony of Arts, Bread Loaf Environmental, VCCA, and Smith College. Her work appears in Sycorax’s Daughters, Do Not Go Quietly, Memphis Noir, Stories for Chip, So Long Been Dreaming, Ghost Fishing, The Ringing Ear (University of Georgia Press), Apex Magazine, Fiyah, Fireside, Strange Horizons, Harvard’s Transition, Callaloo, and The New York Times. She edited the Dark Matter speculative fiction volumes that won two World Fantasy Awards. Her short story collection, Sleeping Under the Tree of Life (Aqueduct Press) was longlisted for the 2016 James Tiptree, Jr. Award and honored with a Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Shotgun Lullabies (Aqueduct), was described as a “revelatory work like Jean Toomer’s Cane.” She serves as the Associate Editor of Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora (Illinois State University, Normal) and Founding Editor of Mojo. Look for Trouble the Waters: Tales of the Deep Blue (Rosarium, 2020) and her new story collection, Nine Bar Blues (Third Man Books. May 2020). She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.


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