30/30 Project: Contributor Bios

January 2020 30/30 Poets:
Deborah Bennett

With degrees in creative writing, language and education, Deborah Bennett teaches and writes about a variety of topics. She has been teaching language and literature to undergraduates at Berklee College of Music since 2001, and has also taught creative writing and English as a Second Language at Boston University and Boston College. She writes original essays and poetry, and also translates poems from Spanish. Her poems and translations have appeared in Salamander, Connotations Press Online, FUSION and elsewhere. Her prose has appeared on Only a Game, Cognoscenti & Edify among others. She is currently collaborating with the Argentine poet Magdalena Ponssa on the translation of Orfanatos, and attended the Bread Loaf’s Translators’ Conference to develop that manuscript. Most recently, she has attended the Colrain manuscript conference and presented translations and original poetry at La Guagua Festival. In addition, she is working on a collection of original poetry inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair.

Elly Bookman

Elly Bookman’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The Paris Review, and elsewhere. She grew up in downtown Atlanta, and then earned an undergraduate degree from Colby College and an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Bookman worked as a lecturer at UNCG before beginning her career as a middle-grade educator. In 2016, she returned to her hometown where she currently teaches writing, literature, and humanities in the junior high at The Paideia School. While teaching full-time, Bookman consistently writes and publishes her work in some of the most widely-read poetry markets in the country. Her work is guided by an honest, recognizable voice as it engages with questions of American identity. Her poems make the political personal by exploring the underlying emotional currents in everyday scenes. She is currently at work on her first collection.

Lynn Finger

Lynn Finger grew up in California and currently lives in Arizona. She has a B.A. in Humanities and has been writing since she was 5. Her childhood was magical to her. The train that ran near her house she imagined to be a kindly monster protecting us with its lonely and low call. She has been writing about these impressions ever since. This 30/30 challenge will be exciting as she usually spends a lot of time revising her work. Lynn has poetry published in or forthcoming in Unlost, Writer’s Cafe, The Journal of Compressed Arts, and Ekphrastic Review. Lynn finds writing a mysterious process but fun and exciting as well.

Jacqueline Kolosov

Jacqueline Kolosov has published 3 full-length poetry collections, most recently Memory of Blue (Salmon, 2014), with her 4th collection, “Prevail, or Break the Bright Window” (working title), also forthcoming from Salmon. At present, she is translating poetry from Spanish and from German. Jacqueline participated in 30/30’s inaugural year and has held fellowships in poetry, including 1 at the Banff Centre. Her poems have been widely anthologized and published in journals including Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, The Moth, Cave Wall, Smartish Pace, and others. She held an NEA Fellowship in Prose (2008) and has published 5 YA/NA novels with stories and essays in journals and anthologies. 5 essays have been Notables in Best American Essays, and her lyric essay collection, “Motherhood, and the Places Between,” won the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award in 2015. She has coedited 3 anthologies, most recently, with Marcela Sulak, Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Investigation of 8 Hybrid Literary Forms, 1st place winner in Foreword’s IndieNext Nonfiction (Rose Metal, 2015). She lives on 3 windy but tree-fortified acres in West Texas with 2 thoroughbreds, 3 dogs (all rescues) & a green-cheeked conure named Parzival. Having grown up north of Chicago, Jacqueline, like the animals in her care, are all non-natives. A horsewoman, like her 13 year old daughter, she is also an amateur visual artist, improvisational cook, and advocate for the transformative as well as therapeutic power of the arts. Jacqueline has been involved with creating arts programming with a range of at-risk populations in her area and is pursuing certification in Equine Facilitated Learning. She is on the Creative Writing Faculty at Texas Tech.

Hannah Bobo Mitchell

My name is Hannah Mitchell, but I always sign my creative endeavors with my maiden name of Bobo. I am 33 years old and have written poetry as long as I have had the ability to write. I am married to my childhood sweetheart and have two lovely little wildflower daughters. I’ve been a teacher of English for over 10 years at an alternative school for struggling and troubled teens. I graduated from Kennesaw State University in Georgia in 2008 and from Piedmont College (also in GA) in 2014; I presented my Graduate Capstone with my brand-new firstborn daughter in my arms. I would love to be considered for the 30/30 program because I have a cheerful addiction to poetry and would love to be further enabled.

Harriet Scarborough

Harriet Arzu Scarborough was born in the small Garifuna village of Barranco in Belize, Central America. After over thirty-five years of successful teaching in Belize and USA, Harriet continues to pursue her passion for reading and writing. She has over 30 years of experience as a K-college educator in the United States and Belize. She has served as a literacy specialist, and as a senior academic officer for curriculum, instruction, and professional development for Tucson Unified School District. A former English teacher, she has taught writing at the K-12 level, at the undergraduate and graduate level at the University of Arizona, and has been a frequent presenter at state, national, and international conferences. Her publications include the textbook Writing across the Curriculum in Secondary Classrooms: Teaching from a Diverse Perspective, numerous articles for professional journals, Stories of Home: A Barranco Memoir, I Sing Barranco, and has contributions in Our Spirit, Our Reality: Celebrating Our Stories, and Belizean Nail Soup: A Collection of Short Stories.

Katherine Smith

Katherine Smith’s poetry publications include appearances in Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Missouri Review, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and many other journals. Her short fiction has appeared in Fiction International and Gargoyle. Her first book Argument by Design (Washington Writers’ Publishing House) appeared in 2003. Her second book of poems Woman Alone on the Mountain (Iris Press), appeared in 2014. She works at Montgomery College in Maryland and is the poetry editor for the Potomac Review.

Janel Spencer

Janel Spencer is a poet and teacher from Tucson, Arizona. She graduated from San Diego State University in 2017 with her MFA in Creative Writing with a specialty in Poetry and currently teaches at Pima Community College. Her writing has appeared in ​riverbabble, Madwoman Etc, TSPJ, Hyperion, the San Diego Poetry Annual, and the Magee Park Poets Anthology. She manages PoetryinTucson.com and is editor of The Harpy Review, a journal of new hybrid work.

Gabriel Vass

Gabriel Vass is a young poet from Oklahoma. He is working as hard as he can everyday to make his dream come true, his dream of having just a single book of his poetry published. He is a student of both the high romantics and contemporary American poetry. He hopes that his poems will delight at least one person.

Alise Versella

Alise Versella is a pushcart nominated poet and contributing writer for rebelle society who has worked with women’s spiritual poetry and Francesca Lia Block. She has been previously published on what rough beast and COG to name a few and is forthcoming in The Opiate. She performs at local coffeehouses and libraries at the Jersey shore and has taught workshops on finding ones voice through poetry.

December 2019 30/30 Poets:

Sarah A. Chavez

Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of the poetry collections, Hands That Break & Scar (Sundress Publications, 2017) and All Day, Talking (dancing girl press, 2014). Her most recent work can be found or is forthcoming in Xicanx: Mexican American Writers of the 21st Century, IDK Magazine, & Five:2:One #thesideshow. Her new poetry project, Halfbreed Helene Navigates the Whole received a 2019-2020 Tacoma Artists Initiative Award. She recently joined the faculty at the University of Washington Tacoma where she teaches creative writing and Latinx/Chicanx-focused courses. A proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop, Chavez serves as the poetry coordinator for Best of the Net Anthology and is currently in the market for her first multispeed bicycle.

Jeanice Eagan Davis

Jeanice Eagan Davis teaches English at an urban high school where she attempts (sometimes successfully) to share her passion for poetry with her students. Her poetry reflects both her interest in the human psyche and her love of nature. She is often inspired by the motorcycle trips she makes with her husband, exploring the back roads of America. Some of her poems have been published, some have not, and still she writes. Her dream is to one day live in a cabin in the woods where she spends her days writing poetry.

Marion Deal

Marion Deal chases emergent things and poetic beasts to Nepalese monasteries and neuroscience laboratories and Jim Morrison’s grave. A chapbook of hers, Cool Talks, Dead I Guess, is forthcoming from Bone and Ink Press in October 2019. Her poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in journals such as The Rumpus, The Doctor T.J. Eckleburg Review, The Seventh Quarry (UK), Chaleur Magazine, Yes Poetry, and FIVE:2:ONE, among others, and have been nationally recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers and the National YoungArts Foundation. She has performed her work in French, Italian, and English at venues from a Shandong Province mountain range to the Baryshnikov Arts Center, and is a proud poetry whore at Le Bordel de la Poésie. She is pictured here with an as-yet-unnamed wooden snake, and is always open to suggestions for a proper epithet for said serpent.

Brian Dickson

When not teaching at the Community College of Denver, he avoids driving as much as possible to be around the front range region by foot, bike, bus or train.

Winner of the 2018 Progenitor Poetry Prize for best poem, other past publications include two chapbooks, In a Heart’s Rut (HighFive press), Maybe This is How Tides Work (Finishing Line Press), and one book, All Points Radiant (WordTech, Cherry Grove Editions) and other journals.

Danielle Hanson

Danielle Hanson is the author of Fraying Edge of Sky (Codhill Press Poetry Prize, 2018) and Ambushing Water (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2017). Her work has appeared in over 80 journals, won the Vi Gale Award from Hubbub, was Finalist for 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Award and was nominated for several Pushcarts and Best of the Nets. She is Poetry Editor for Doubleback Books, and is on the staff of the Atlanta Review. Her poetry has been the basis for visual art included in the exhibit EVERLASTING BLOOM at the Hambidge Center Art Gallery, and Haunting the Wrong House, a puppet show at the Center for Puppetry Arts. More about her at daniellejhanson.com.

Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Vrenios

Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Vrenios is professor emerita from American University, having chaired the vocal and music departments. Vrenios’ solo recitals throughout the US, South America, Scandinavia, Japan and Europe have been acclaimed. Recently featured in Tupelo Press’s 30/30 challenge, she has been published in such journals as Clementine, Cumberland River Review, The Feminine Collective, The Kentucky Review, Unsplendid, Edison Literary review, Passager, NILVX, Unsplendid and featured in such anthologies as The Poeming Pigeon, Love Notes from Humanity, Stories of Music, the American Journal of Poetry, and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her chapbook Special Delivery, prize winner with Yellow Chair Press, was published in 2016. As the artistic director of the Redwoods Opera in Mendocino, California she has influenced and trained vocal students across the country.

T. T. Kooken

T.T. Kooken is a medical-based qigong and aikido teacher, performer, poet, playwright, and mind body practitioner. Their work involves a focus on somatic investigation, philosophical investigation, abstraction, and nature. As a poet and writer their work has been published by journals including Crack the Spine, Tupelo press, Concis, and the Bombay Gin. As a playwright and performer their works have been on stage for multiple infringe festivals in New Orleans.

Shane Morin

Shane Morin is currently pursuing a dual major in English and Philosophy at the University of New Hampshire. He co-chairs the Portsmouth Poet Laureate Program, and is working on his first poetry manuscript. Shane’s interests include cosmology, psychology, music and community organizing.

Joseph Pravda

Joseph Pravda was born Brooklyn, NY, graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism, began a career in law in 1971, recruited at that university’s law school for service as a ‘kid’ lawyer with the Federal Government during Watergate, where he immediately ‘Felt’ something was amiss; later as lobbyist and private businessman. He has been a prolific writer in all genres, with an emphasis on short works, including microfiction/flash fiction as well as full length and One Act Plays (he often illustrates his own work via storyboarding, etc.; apropos this artform, of late he has, e.g., designed a new logo for UNESCO’s DREAM Centers, via www.design21sdn.com ). A 10 page excerpt from his play ‘Patsy’, involving a fated ‘reunion’ of JFK Jr. & the oldest daughter of Lee and Marina Oswald, won him a highly competitive place at the Kennedy Center summer 2006, with subsequent lifetime privileges at the annual Intensives featuring such literati as Marsha Norman, Steven Dietz, et. Al. A cancer survivor, now fully recovered and active as a ‘try’athlete, he writes/paints/designs full time, his writing and visual art having been published in ebook and other electronic media, as well as print; his diversity writing is featured exclusively by the Office of Diversity Initiatives, Office of the President, University of Central Florida website.

Abigail Siegel

Abigail Siegel is a writer, a grad student in classical studies, and is researching the reception of Latin language and poetry in the 21st century. She grew up in Los Angeles, CA in the most artistic and creative of surroundings. Abigail is now in Canada studying for my MA, and continues to write poetry and prose on Medium.

Aline Soules

Aline Soule’s work has appeared in such publications as Kenyon Review, Houston Literary Review, Poetry Midwest, and The Galway Review. My latest published work includes “Ephemera,” a contest winner (yes, I was “paid” for poetry!), and “Forever Dali”. My books include Meditation on Woman and Evening Sun: A Widow’s Journey. I’m online at http://alinesoules.com, @aline_elisabeth, and https://www.linkedin.com/in/alinesoules/