Poet Biographies Issue No. 21.1

Terence Winch, originally from the Bronx, is the author of eight poetry collectionsthe most recent of which is The Known Universe (Hanging Loose, 2018). A Columbia Book Award and American Book Award winner, he has also written two story collections, Contenders and That Special Place, the latter of which draws on his experiences as a founding member of the original Celtic Thunder, the acclaimed Irish band. His work is included in more than 40 anthologies, among them the Oxford Book of American Poetry, Poetry 180, and 5 editions of Best American Poetry. He is the recipient of an NEA Fellowship in poetry, a Fund for Poetry grant, and a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Writing, among other honors.

William Notter’s collection Holding Everything Down (Southern Illinois University Press 2009) won the High Plains Book Award for Poetry and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.  His poems have appeared in journals including About Place, Alaska Quarterly, AGNI OnlineCrab Orchard Review, Folio, The Hollins Critic, North American Review, Southern Poetry Review,and Terrain.org.  He teaches writing at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Sophia Naz is a bilingual poet, essayist, author, editor and translator. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, in 2016 for creative nonfiction and in 2018 for poetry.  Her work features in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Poetry International Rotterdam, The Adirondack Review,  The Wire, Chicago Quarterly Review, Blaze Vox, Scroll, The Daily O, Cafe Dissensus, Guftugu, Pratik, Gallerie International, Coldnoon, VAYAVYA, The Bangalore Review, Madras Courier, etc Her poetry collections are Peripheries (2015), Pointillism (2017) and Date Palms (2017). Shehnaz, a biography of her mother published from Penguin Random House in November 2019. Her site is SophiaNaz.com

Raga Ayyagari is a poet who is inspired by nature, life stories, and observing the beauty in everyday moments. Her work has previously appeared in the Stanford University Leland Quarterly Journal and the Yellow Arrow Journal, and is forthcoming in the Metamorphosis Journal by Paragon Press. She works as a public health research analyst and enjoys both technical and creative writing.

A black DMV native and a part of the Haitian Diaspora, Jules Desroches is figuring out the whole early 20s thing amid late capitalism, climate catastrophes and procrastination. Whether healing from ptsd, overthinking when to capitalize Words, or rebuilding a healthy queer-integrated masculinity you can spot him inconsistently on IG@brightchilde. Somewhere between light and vibration, he hopes something… resonates with your shine?

Karren LaLonde Alenier is author of seven poetry collections, including Looking for Divine Transportation, winner, 2002 Towson University Prize for Literature and her latest collection The Anima of Paul Bowles, 2016 top staff pick by the Grolier Bookshop (Boston). Her poetry and fiction have been published in Mississippi ReviewJewish Currents, and Poet Lore. Her opera Gertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On with William Banfield premiered by Encompass New Opera Theatre in New York City June 2005. For Scene4 Magazine, she writes a monthly column about Gertrude Stein and the arts called “The Steiny Road to Operadom.” Visit her blog at https://alenier.blogspot.com/

Carol Jennings was born and grew up in western New York State.  She attended The College of Wooster, and received her B.A., M.A., and J.D. from New York University.  She worked as an attorney with the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection for more than 30 years.  Now retired, she lives in Washington DC.  Her poems have appeared in The New York Quarterly, Potomac Review, Oberon, Amelia, Chautauqua, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, Loch Raven Review, and three anthologies.  Her first poetry collection, The Dead Spirits at the Piano, was published by Cherry Grove Collections in 2016.    

Alexis Soto Ramírez (Havana, Cuba, 1967) received the Luis Rogelio Nogueras poetry prize in his home town  for Estados de Calma(Ediciones Extramuros, 1993). He has published, additionally,Turbios Celajes Intrincados (Ediciones Lenguaraz, 2016), Oscuro Impostergable o la Circunstancia de la Hormiga (Ediciones Lenguaraz, 2016), and La moda albana(Ediciones Lenguaraz, 2019.). His poems have appeared in literary magazines in the United States, Mexico, France, and Spain. They have been anthologized in Algunos Pelos del Lobo. Young Cuban Poets (Instituto Veracruzano de Cultura, 1996).  In 2018 he obtained the second place in the XXVII poetry contest of the Peruvian Institute of Culture of Miami.  His latest poetry book La moda albanawas finalist in the International Independent Literary Prize Orizzonte Atlantico, 2019. He resides in Ellicott City, Maryland.

Michael H. Levin is a lawyer, solar energy developer and writer based in Washington DC.  His work has appeared on stage and in chapbooks, anthologies and numerous periodicals, and has received poetry and feature journalism awards. See www.michaellevinpoetry.com; www.playingforlife.org

Luz Stella Mejía is a writer, Spanish editor, and marine biologist from Colombia. She lives in Virginia, near Washington D.C., and shares her time between the public library, her publishing house, El Sur is América, and her family. She has published two books of poetry, Etimológicas (El Sur es America Press, 2019) and Palabras Sumergidas(Submerged Words,Floricanto Press, 2018) which won a special mention at the Savannah International Festival Prize (2019). Her poems and short stories have been featured in numerous anthologies and literary journals. She won an honorable mention in the contest “Mil Poemas por la Paz del Mundo” (A Thousand Poems for Peace of the World, 2019) with her poem “That Peace I Want” (Esa Paz que quiero).

Bernardine (Dine) Watson is a nonfiction writer and poet. Dine’s poetry has been published in the Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Indian River Review and Sanctuary- A Collection of Poetry and Prose published by DarkHouse Books.  She has read at the Folger Shakespeare Library, Arena Stage,  Rhizome DC, the DC Public Library, the DC and Philadelphia Ethical Societies, Scribe Video Center, and as part of the Takoma Park, Md. Third Thursday Poetry Series.  Dine also performs her poetry in DC area venues with the More Than A Drum Percussion Ensemble.  She is an alumnus of the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities, The Poet in Progress (PIP) Program, and the Hurston Wright 2017 and 2018 Poetry Workshops.  Dine is a member of  “Writing the Body” poetry workshop, led by Anne Becker, Poet Laureate Emeritus of Takoma Park. In her nonfiction work, she has written on a variety of social policies issues for the Ford, Annie E. Casey, Kellogg, Hewlett, and Stoneleigh Foundations. Her social commentaries have appeared in The Washington Post’s “She The People” blog

Dmitry Blizniuk is an author from Ukraine. His most recent poems have appeared in The Pinch, Press53, Magma Poetry, The Nassau Review, Havik, Saint Katherine Review, Star 82, Naugatuck River, Lighthouse, The Gutter, Palm Beach Poetry Festival and many others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is also the author of “The Red Fоrest” (Fowlpox Press, 2018). He lives currently in Kharkov, Ukraine.

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is the former board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies. He was inducted into the Washington DC Hall of Fame in 2015.  In 2016 he was the recipient of the AWP George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service. His most recent book, If God Invented Baseball received an award from Black Caucus of the American Library Association in 2019.

Kirk Greenway writes: After a time, no after decades, I started listening looking and making in complete solitude assemblages of words, devoting myself to writing poetry, which, twenty-five years later, became in one form a book of Haiku I was going to call the States after a line in Leaves of Grass. My imagist notions of poetry followed Wakoski (who I actually had a class with which amounted to a long series of insults to my dignity) and Kinnell, and my more raucous performance pieces followed Beat Poets of which Indran Amirthanayagam is the last and greatest. My lost poem, The Garden Apartment, haunts me like my days in 1980s New York City, one composed almost at random on broken subway rails after my father dropped me off at the George Washington Bridge to go to work one fine day at 5 am. Maybe my work was really scored for a toy piano, the kind which could play Morton Feldman’s graph music, music written with numbers for any pitch, notated only as high, middle, or low. I was born and so found myself deep in this mass hallucination, a place worth dreaming, and occasionally, the poet Amirthanayagam invites me to tea or coffee or whiskey with him.

Allyson Lima (M.A. Spanish Literature) writes and translates poetry in Spanish and English. Lima links visual imagery in paintings and poetry, a ludic process of discovery and transformation. Raised in Northern California, her writing process, intuitive and irreverent, emerges from the radical beauty and ferocious indifference of nature and human desire. Her poems have appeared in the North coast literary reader, Catamaran, among others.