Poet Biographies

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Jackson Hole Writers Conference Special Issue, 2017: Poet & Writer Biographies

Mary Conibear is an avid traveller from Vancouver, Canada, who writes about her adventures on her travel blog: quitecontrary.ca. She works as a crisis management consultant by day, which has proved handy in managing some of the more unusual experiences in the 48 countries she has visited. This essay is one in a series describing her trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Moscow to Beijing.

Maureen Dempsey is a retired teacher living in Pinedale, Wyoming after a stint in northeastern Nevada. She and her husband enjoy canoeing and rafting on western rivers, hiking new trails and skiing during the winter. When their children were growing up, the family used summer vacations to take river trips together, sometimes with makeshift equipment. She now writes about their various adventures and has been published in several anthologies.  

When not writing, Chelsea Dodds teaches English at North Branford High School in Connecticut, hosts a summer radio show at WHUS, and works towards her lofty goal of traveling to all 50 states before she turns 30. She received her MFA from Southern Connecticut State University in 2017, and her writing has previously appeared in Avalon Literary Review and Text in Context.

Diana Elser was born in Montana; raised in west Texas and Utah, has an English degree from Utah State. Raised four children in the Bay Area and Seattle. Now devoted to artistic pursuits: poetry, songwriting, and guitar playing, family history. She takes poetry classes at Hugo House in Seattle, and the annual Jackson Hole Writers Conference, and is working on two poetry collections. One is a tribute to her meteorologist father witih themes of weather, climate change, emotional climate, memory, prediction, and the west her parents came from. The other is a “grandma” collection. She’s published in Korone, Crone, Clerestory Poetry Journal, Writing it Right (2016 anthology) and Rise Up Review.

Charles Halsted is a retired academic physician from the University of California, Davis. His previous poems are forthcoming or have been published in Blood and Thunder, Blood and Bourbon, The Gambler, The Ghazal Page, Hektoen International, Medusa’s Kitchen, Poetry Now, Snapdragon, Tule Review, and Words Apart. His fly-fishing background consists of multiple trips over the last 20 years to various rivers in northern California and for steehead on the Rogue River in southern Oregon.

Jeris Hamm lives near Nashville, TN and has completed a children’s fantasy novel, The Secret of the Seven Rubies. She is an award-winning blogger and writes articles and short stories for several national magazines. She loves family, hallelujahs, and Wyoming summers.

Stephen S. Lottridge is a former professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures and a retired psychologist. Educated on the coasts, he is a native westerner now living in Jackson, Wyoming. He writes essays, plays, and poetry, and is an actor, director, and book discussion leader. He has published in print and in online journals. He is the recipient of the 2017 Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction from the Wyoming Arts Council.

Before retiring to become a full-time writer, Jeff Lowder spent more than thirty years as an Employee Relations professional dealing with workplace weirdness in industries from food processing to health care. In his spare time, he created Sports Health Today, a short-form radio program. Largely on the strength of the writing, the show was nationally syndicated, airing five days a week on over 100 U.S. stations. Mr. Lowder was awarded First Place-Original Screenplay, Utah Writers at Work, and subsequently signed with L.A. agent Brad Rosenfeld. Despite considerable positive feedback, the script has not yet been optioned.

Brian Nystrom is a poet and a builder who lives in Jackson, Wyoming. He is a contractor, a bicyclist, and an Episcopal priest. He believes that every poem is a love poem, and that poems, like houses, should be built to be lived in.

Connie Wieneke has lived in Wilson, Wyoming, since February 1983. She is the author of Jackson Hole: Crossroads of the West, a contemporary look at that community. Since receiving her MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana in 1991, she has had poetry, fiction, and essays published in Creative Nonfiction, Northern Lights, Stand, Cutbank, Whiskey Island Magazine, Open Window Review, Orion, Intermountain Woman, Westering, Petroglyph, and Literary Nonfiction: The Fourth Genre (ed. Stephen Minot). She is a 2003 Wyoming Arts Council Literary Fellowship recipient. Between raising chickens, practicing yoga, and writing, she works at a variety of day jobs.

Jackson Hole Writers Conference Special Issue, 2016: Poet & Writer Biographies

Mike Riley grew up in Forsyth, Montana and has an MFA from the University of Montana. After 40 years of teaching, he retired in 2014 and became a mentor for the Journalism Education Association, which recently honored him with their Lifetime Achievement Award. He has wond the TransAtlantic/Henfield Award for short fiction and Wyoming and Montana literary fellowships. He is currently working on a memoir and is teaching again at Cody High School.

Caridad Woltz has been a Spanish teacher by day and a writer by night for many years. She enjoys writing poetry in English and in her native Spanish, with themes that frequently broach issues of loss and healing. A graduate of the University of Utah with a Master’s degree in Languages and Literature, she could be found writing in the hidden library nooks of the towns of Salt Lake City and Jackson.

Brian Nystrom is a poet and a builder who lives in Jackson, Wyoming. He is a contractor, a bicyclist, and an Episcopal priest. He believes that every poem is a love poem, and that poems, like houses, should be built to be lived in.

Siri Liv Myhrom is a writer and editor living in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband and two young daughters. Her poem in this special issue of Clerestory is part of a full-length collection of essays and poems about grief, set for completion in 2017. “In praise of small kindnesses” first appeared on the blog for the public radio show, OnBeing, where she can be found as an occasional guest contributor.

Leslie Stainton is the author of Staging Ground (Penn State University Press, 2014) and Lorca: A Dream of Life (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999), and she is at work on a book about her slaveholding Scarlett ancestors of Georgia. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The New York Times, Washington Post, American Scholar, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Memoir, River Teeth, Brevity, and elsewhere. She is an editor at the University of Michigan, where she has taught creative nonfiction.

Paul Randau is a retired physician. He worked as a youth in the Gros Ventre country, then as a medical student summers in Alaska. He attended JHWC in both 2012 and 2016.

Mo Sieber is the pseudonym of a University of Montana educated graduate. She has worked a multitude of jobs and her titles have included: vintage store clerk, ice-cream scooper, and bean counter. An ancestry of German and Irish heritage have led her on adventures in Europe, where she found her doppelganger (spirit-wise) in a 70-year-old distant relative currently living in Surrey, England. Also influenced by Celtic lore, especially tales of Cú Chulainn, Macha, and Queen Medb in “The Cattle Raid of Cooley,” her stories can’t help but add an essence of myth. She currently pursues the interests of the young and free, while working in a hardware store in Billings, Montana.

Mary J. Marcus is a former newspaper reporter and college teacher. Her first novel, The Digger, a middle grade mystery, won an Aspen Gold Award in 2014. She has just completed a police procedural mystery novel, titled Cry, Baby, Cry. She lives in Englewood, Colorado. Contact her at maryjmarcus@comcast.net and on Facebook.

Casey Charles teaches Shakespeare and queer studies at the University of Montana. He is the author The Sharon Kowalski Case: Lesbian and Gay Rights on Trial (Kansas 2003), Critical Queer Studies: Law, Film, and Fiction in Contemporary America (Ashgate 2012) and The Trials of Christopher Mann, a novel published in 2013. His poems have won awards in contests judged by Adrienne Rich and Carolyn Forché, and “The Orb’s Prayer” received the Washington Square Poetry Award in 2010. His poetry chapbook Controlled Burn was named one of the Montana Independent’s best books of the year in 2007. In 2013, he published his second poetry chapbook, Blood Work.

Diana Elser considers herself a free-range human being and language-lover, untethered from paycheck (retired). Born in Montana, raised in Texas and Utah, she considers the Intermountain West her home. She has attended the Jackson Hole Writers Conference regularly over the last decade. She currently lives in Seattle and is devoted to writing and reading poetry, taking classes, practicing guitar and songwriting. She is at work on two poetry collections.

Jackson Hole Writers Conference Special Issue, July, 2015: Poet & Writer Biographies

Margaret Ackerman has been working with disenfranchised, vulnerable patients for 35 years.  She was inspired to write essays about some of her most memorable patients who exhibited great resilience in the face of adversity.  She is an Assistant professor of nursing in the graduate program at Salem State University and a practicing nurse practitioner.  Her essays have been published in the Boston Globe, Pulse, Clinician Review and Disorder Writing.  She is working on a collection of essays.

Susan Austin lives and writes in Felt, Idaho. She has been employed as a biologist for a Hawaiian monk seal study, a foreign fisheries observer in the Bering Sea, a raptor biologist perched on high cliffs in the realm of bald eagles, and as a library assistant surrounded by books, books, books. Her writing has been published in Best New American Voices 2003, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Hanging Loose, Talking River Review, Open Window Review, Southwestern American Literature, and the anthologies Leaning Into The Wind, and Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, among others.

Edward Baran is a hopeful writer living in Somers, New York.

Ruth Boggs was born and raised in Germany. She graduated with a Master’s in English Professional Writing and Editing from George Mason University and has worked as a translator and interpreter since 1995. Now a proud American citizen, she traveled the US extensively in her interpreting work.  Her professional memoir, should she ever decide to write it, would be titled “From the White House to the Whorehouse” because she has covered the whole spectrum. Her passion, though, is writing creative non-fiction. She lives in Fairfax, Virginia and can be reached at rutheboggs@gmail.com.

Jenna Cassell is an author, media producer, American Sign Language Interpreter/Educator and founder of Sign Enhancers, Inc. Her short stories have been published in six ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ books. She has authored and published ASL Curricula and over one hundred instructional DVDs and online programs. She is the recipient of thirty-four production awards. Ms. Cassell is currently working on a book about Internet dating that is part memoir (she kissed a lot of frogs so you don’t have to) and part humorous user’s manual. You are invited to contact Jenna by email: Jenna_Cassell@me.com.

Elizabeth Chambers recently finished her sophomore year at Jackson Hole High School. Aside from being an avid writer and voracious reader, she is a cross-country runner, snow and water skier, and climber of the Grand Teton (and other Wyoming peaks). This outdoor adventuring, combined with a keen interest in local history, has inspired her poetry and short stories, both fiction and nonfiction.

Tammy Dominguez is 48. Writing is a compulsion, an outlet, and a passion. She dreams of having a book published. She is raising her granddaughter, Aliyah, and 5 chihuahuas.  She is a copywriter for radio, and loves to read and cook. The Jackson Hole Writer’s Conference was a glorious gift.

Fay Smalling Guinn lives in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Responding to a newspaper article about a local writers’ group three years ago, she resumed with a vengeance creative writing that had been dormant since college. Her efforts have been rewarded with numerous awards from contests at writers’ conferences and poetry festivals. A favorite writing venue is the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Writers Retreat in Piggott, Arkansas. She is currently penning a memoir about teaching in a non-segregated high school in Memphis, Tennessee.

Siena Milia Hansen, a native of the California Bay Area, is an avid world traveler, photographer, and dedicated mother of three—and one on the way. In addition to writing short stories and poetry, Siena’s current work-in-progress is a literary novel about the division of a family and of a nation within Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution and its aftermath. Siena currently lives with her husband and children in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  You can follow her on twitter @sienamilia and on her blog: sienamilia.tumblr.com.

Theresa Kelsay was born, raised, and has lived in Kansas City most of her life. Throughout her twenties, she could not take enough road trips to absolve her of her midwestern roots, but now has a well-developed, somewhat nourishing conflict with her hometown. Her poetry and short fiction have appeared in Kiosk, Inscape, and Trajectory. She’s a bartender so she can write and be pummeled often with human affliction.

Mark Lehnertz grew up in the west and lives in Colorado. A not unwriterly array of jobs fills out the resume to the present one of bookseller–selling books, the gateway drug to more books. When not working at the Tattered Cover Book Store or writing or spending time at kids’ events, there is kayaking, hiking, and traveling to be done. His wife seems to always have a pile of maps on the kitchen table, planning the next adventure, and a list for him to pack.

Barbara Lindstrom has worked as a helicopter traffic reporter, a narration and commercial actress, and is currently a nursing instructor at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She is at work on two books, and counts Emily Dickenson and the other Romantic poets amongst her writing posse.

Brian Nystrom is a poet and a builder who lives in Jackson, Wyoming. He believes that every poem is a love poem, and that poems, like houses, should be built to be lived in.

Marlene Olin: Born in Brooklyn, raised in Miami, and educated at the University of Michigan, Marlene Olin is a contributing editor at Arcadia Her short stories have been featured or are forthcoming in publications such as Emrys Journal, upstreet Magazine, Steam Ticket, Vine Leaves, Crack the Spine, Poetica , The Water Stone Review, The Santa Clara Review, The Broken Plate and The Saturday Evening Post online. She is currently working on a novel.

Cara Rodriguez resides with her husband and children in Casper, Wyoming, where she writes and teaches.

Adam Simone enjoys making things. Holding a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Biotechnology & Management, Adam has worked in the medical device industry for the past 6 years, splitting his time between Pittsburgh, PA and Minneapolis, MN. On weekends he likes to make stories.

Melissa Snider is a freelance librarian and stay-at-home mom who finds time to write between diaper changes and playground visits. She has bachelor’s degrees in Creative Writing and Spanish from the University of Montana, and a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, Boston. She grew up partly on the shore of Lake Ontario in upstate New York, and partly in the shadow of the Tetons in Jackson Hole. Melissa resides with her husband, two daughters, and two cats in Jackson, Wyoming.

Kim Strellis combines the beauty she sees in Wyoming nature with inspiration received through prayer and relationships for her poems. Arriving to the Jackson Hole area in the ’80’s from Illinois, Kim, her husband and combined family of six children and now ten grandchildren have enjoyed many seasons of change. In 2009 Kim’s first poem came to mind when praying for a special wedding gift for a friend. Words instead of crystal or sheets came to mind. At the wedding she was invited to join the Heartland Women’s Writers Guild (HWWG). Early leave from an airline career has afforded her time to travel and gather information for a nonfiction book focusing on Divine signs and unity. Continually inspired by life and her favorite writers, Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mother Teresa, Van Gogh and Dr. King, she continues the journey of fine tuning the messages and inhaling poetry’s concise essence.

Jean Tate: Fifty years a painter, twenty years a poet, seventy years a slave to creativity and its rollercoaster of acceptances and rejections, Jean Tate resides in two barns with a menagerie of animals in upstate NY. Tate’s writings carry aspects of visual art, its abstract nature. She approaches writing as a canvas, interested in nature, the pain and ecstasy of living among burgeoning populations, wild animals continually crowded out.  Her words touch on the delicate invocation of universal experience, qualities evoked as one passes through specific places: joy and loss, anger and attachment.  Tate is working on her second book of poems.  The first book, published in 2011, is called SAY, Poiesis hatchlings, spin and froth, edited by Soul Garden Press, Malden, NY. Available on Amazon. Tate also has a book of drawings called Upstate. Available through the author.

Poet Biography: Individual Poet Showcase Issue, Summer 2015

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California with his wife and a July abundance of plums.  He works in manufacturing.  He grew up in Wisconsin, was tempered on the plains, and found a home in the footsteps of the coastal mountains.  He has work in The Cortland Review, Spry, Rhino, and Storm Cellar. He won the 2011 SuRaa short fiction award, and enjoys the aroma of a freshly sharpened pencil.

Poet Biographies: Spring Issue, 2015

Lindsay Wilson, an English Professor in Reno, Nevada, co-edits The Meadow. His first book, No Elegies, won the Quercus Review Press Book Award, and his poetry has appeared in The Minnesota Review, Verse Daily, and The Bellevue Literary Review. He serves on the Nevada Writers’ Hall of Fame Selection Committee.

Eric Paul Shaffer is author of five books and one chapbook of poems. LAHAINA NOON (Leaping Dog Press,2005) contains poems of local life in the Hawai‘ian islands and received a 2006 Ka Palapala Po‘okela Book Award of Excellence from the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association. LIVING AT THE MONASTERY, WORKING IN THE KITCHEN (Leaping Dog Press,2001) and PORTABLE PLANET (Leaping Dog Press,2000) contain poems written on Okinawa during the eight years he lived in Japan. INSTANT MYTHOLOGY (Backer Editions,1999) is a chapbook of selected favorite poems. RATTLESNAKE RIDER (Longhand Press,1990) contains poems of living, traveling, and exploring in New Mexico and California. KINDLING: POEMS FROM TWO POETS (Longhand Press,1988) contains early poems by Shaffer and his long-time friend James Taylor III. He also edited and wrote a critical introduction for Lew Welch’s HOW I READ GERTRUDE STEIN (Grey Fox Press,1996) . THE FELONY STICK, a chapbook of his short fiction was published in 2006, and BURN & LEARN, his first novel, will appear in late 2007 or early 2008. Shaffer is the recipent of the 2002 Elliot Cades Award for Literature, an endowed literary award presented each year to an established writer in Hawai‘I.

Angela La Voie is a former journalist whose stories have appeared in The Chicago Sun-Times, Detroit Free Press, The Dallas Morning News, on MSNBC.com, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate in creative nonfiction and poetry at Antioch University Los Angeles. Recent work has been published in Skirt! magazine, Catharsis Journal and the Self-Portrait Poetry Collection. She is working on her first poetry collection and revising a memoir.

Sonny Zwierkowski has lived 32 of his 38 years on Denver’s North Side, the multicultural center of this surprisingly diverse city. It has become the iris through which he sees the world and the lens that focuses his poetry. Although he loves his home city and region, he has traveled extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia, with Japan and the Japanese language holding a permanent place in his heart. Sonny received his BA in Writing from Metro State and his MA in Applied Linguistics from CU-Denver and currently teaches Language Arts, Spanish, and Japanese.

Connie Wieneke has lived in Wilson, Wyoming, since February 1983. She is the author of Jackson Hole: Crossroads of the West, a contemporary look at that community. Since receiving her MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana in 1991, she has had poetry, fiction, and essays published in Creative Nonfiction, Northern Lights, Stand, Cutbank, Whiskey Island Magazine, Open Window Review, Orion, Intermountain Woman, Westering, Petroglyph, and Literary Nonfiction: The Fourth Genre (ed. Stephen Minot). She is a 2003 Wyoming Arts Council Literary Fellowship recipient. Between raising chickens, practicing yoga, and writing, she works at a variety of day jobs.

Leland Seese grew up in Seattle, and spent many summer, fall, winter, and spring days in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, where he hiked, fished, skied, and camped with his father and his father’s friends who had grown up doing the same.  He holds a BA in English Literature/Creative Writing from the University of Washington, and a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary.

Matt Daly’s poetry has also appeared in Cortland ReviewPilgrimageThe Screaming Sheep, Split Rock Review, and elsewhere.  Matt has received a creative writing fellowship in poetry from the Wyoming Arts Council and is the recipient of the 2015 Neltje Blanchan Award for writing inspired by the natural world.  He lives in Jackson Hole and teaches creative writing to tweens, teens and adults.

Bret Norwood is the author of the short story collection Tales of the Credit Card Age. His stories and poetry have been published in Open Window Review, the Owen Wister Review, Soundzine, and other journals, and his poetry has recently been recognized in the 2013 WyoPoets National and Members-Only contests. Follow his work at bretnorwood.com

Susan Marsh is an award-winning writer living in Jackson, Wyoming. With degrees in geology and landscape architecture and a lifelong interest in creative writing, she has combined her interests into a body of work that explores the relationship of humans to wild country. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Orion, North American Review, and Fourth Genre, and anthologies such as Solo (Seal Press, 2005), and A Mile in Her Boots (Solas House, 2006). Her books include War Creek (MP Publishing, 2014) and A Hunger for High Country (Oregon State University Press, 2014).

Cameron Scott received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Arizona and his work has most recently appeared in The Fly Fish Journal, Silk Road, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. The Book of Ocho, his first collection of poems, was recently published by AGS Press.

Rodney Nelson’s work began appearing in mainstream journals long ago; but he turned to fiction and did not write a poem for twenty-two years, restarting in the 2000s. So he is both older and “new.” See his page in the Poets & Writers directory  http://www.pw.org/content/rodney_nelson  for a notion of the publishing  history. He has worked as a copy editor in the Southwest and now lives in the northern Great Plains. Recently, his poem “One Winter” won a Poetry Kit Award for 2011 (U.K.); it had appeared inSymmetry Pebbles. His “Upstream in Idaho” received a Best of Issue Award at the late Neon Beam (also England). The chapbook Metacowboy was published in 2011; another title, In Wait, in November 2012. Bog Light andSighting the Flood have just appeared. The chapbook Fargo in Winter took second place in the 2013 Cathlamet Prize competition at Ravenna Press, Spokane. Directions From Enloe won third in the Turtle Island Quarterly contest. Nelson’s chapbook of prose narratives, Hill of Better Sleep, is out from Red Bird Chapbooks. Mogollon Picnic, poems (Red Dashboard), is already in print; and the poetry ebook Nodding in Time (Kind of a Hurricane Press) is “up.” The full-length Felton Prairie will be appearing this month.

Poet/Artist Biographies, February, 2015 Showcase Issue

Lori Joseph: Embracing life, Lori Joseph draws on her travels and the people she meets for inspiration. For years, she expressed her creativity through photography styling, event planning and entertaining. Then, while living on the plains of Nebraska, Lori found poetry and has been writing from the heart ever since. She’s a member of the Pennwriters, Co-founder of The Ashes to Art Project and has had poetry published by the Union Pacific Railroad, The Open Window Review and is in the process of completing her first chapbook.

Tim O’Hara:
“If these walls could talk”… That is what inspired me to do “Project Structure”. As I drove past these empty buildings I truly wondered what has happened inside those walls. Births, deaths and life. Someone or something tremendous may have happened there. Capturing them through my lens really made wonder even more. I will continue to seek them out and try to tell a story.

Tim O’Hara is known for many things, including his business and artistic approach to photography. A 4th generation native Coloradan, Tim started dabbling in photography at a young age. Originally pursuing a journalistic career as an alumni from Colorado State University, People Magazine and Sports Illustrated were clients early on. Tim’s talents soon became demanded by the commercial field which ultimately determined his career focus.

Tim opened his Northern Colorado studio in 1982. He has had studios in Denver and Boulder as well. His client list is a unique list of local, regional and national clients. People, Places, and Products is often used as a tagline to represent the wide variety of Tim’s interest. “Colorado is my home, and although I love to travel to new places, it’s the people and landscape of Colorado that I call home,” says O’Hara. http://oharaphoto.com

Poet Biography Archive

Scott Starbuck: The summer after the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill coated over a thousand otters, and 21 years before the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill ran for 87 days, Scott T. Starbuck wrote the The City of Depoe Bay’s Memorial Against Offshore Oil Drilling to the Oregon Governor’s Ocean Resources Management Task Force. Since then, he has been was a Friends of William Stafford Scholar at the 2014 “Speak Truth to Power” Fellowship of Reconciliation Seabeck Conference, a 2013 Artsmith Fellow on Orcas Island < http://orcasartsmith.blogspot.com/2013/02/artsmith-artist-spotlight-scott-starbuck.html, and a writer in residence at The Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in Oregon. His chapbook The Other History or unreported and underreported issues, scenes, and events of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries (FutureCycle Press 2013) is at Amazon.com, and his “Manifesto from Poet on a Dying Planet” < http://www.splitrockreview.org/news/2014/9/1/contributor-spotlight-scott-t-starbuck > is at splitrockreview.com in Minnesota . Starbuck’s blog Trees, Fish, and Dreams is at riverseek.blogspot.com

Peggy Shumaker has been chosen as the Rasmuson Foundation’s Distinguished Artist for 2014. She has also been selected as the Artsmith Artist of the Year for 2014.  She is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Toucan Nest, Poems of Costa Rica.  Her lyrical memoir is Just Breathe Normally. Professor emerita from University of Alaska Fairbanks, Shumaker teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop. She is founding editor of Boreal Books, publisher of fine art and literature from Alaska.  She edits the Alaska Literary Series at University of Alaska Press.  Peggy Shumaker was Alaska State Writer Laureate for 2010-2012.

David Romtvedt teaches in the MFA Creative Writing program at the University of Wyoming, and served for many years as poet laureate of Wyoming. He is also a musician, playing dance music of the America’s with the Fireants.  His most recent book is Buffalotarrak: An anthology of the Basques of Buffalo, Wyoming, published in 2011 by the University of Nevada Center for Basque Studies.  Before that, his last book of poetry was Some Church.  He is currently in Europe studying the Basque language and beginning work on translating contemporary Basque poetry.

Chris Martin is the author of two collections of poetry, Becoming Weather (Coffee House Press, 2011) and American Music (Copper Canyon Press, 2007), selected by C. D. Wright for the Hayden Carruth Award. A third book, The Falling Down Dance, will surface from Coffee House in fall of next year. He is also the author of several chapbooks, including enough (Ugly Duckling, 2012),How to Write a Mistake-ist Poem (Brave Men, 2011), and the forthcoming HISTORY (Coffee House, 2014). Recent work can be found now or soon in The Cultural Society, Fence, Paperbag, SPOKE TOO SOON, Open Window Review, and The Brooklyn Rail. He is an editor at Futurepoem books and lives in Minneapolis with his wife, the poet Mary Austin Speaker, and their son Atticus.

Diane LeBlanc is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Dancer with Good Sow (Finishing Line Press, 2008) and Hope in Zone Four (Talent House Press, 1998). Awards include literary fellowships from the Wyoming Arts Council, a Robert Penn Warren Award, and a Pushcart Prize nomination for poetry. Diane received the Bechtel Prize for her essay “Weaving Voices: Writing as a Working Class Daughter, Professor, and Poet.” Her work appears in Asheville Poetry Review, Bellingham Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Louisville Review, Natural Bridge, Tupelo Press Poetry Project, Water~Stone, Open Window Review, and other journals. Diane directs the writing program and teaches at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. You can learn more about her work at her website.

Lori Howe is the author of High Lonesome: A Poet’s Guide to Wyoming Ghost Towns, forthcoming with Elm Books, and the founding editor of Clerestory. Her poems, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in Northern Lights, The Owen Wister Review, Open Window  Review, Pilgrimage, and other anthologies and journals. She lives in Laramie, Wyoming, where she is currently at work on a PhD in Literacy Studies. She is the recipient of a Wyoming Arts Council Artist Development Grant and is at work on a novel set in the pueblos blancos of Andalusia.

Aaron Holst‘s writing, in his previous life, focused on a Fire Chief’s job requirements, penning budget proposals, fire call reports, policies and procedures, training manuals, fire cause investigation reports, and grant applications. Although this sparked creativity and satisfaction, it could not inflame the smolder inside.

Five years ago, he retired and, on a whim, completed a nine-week poetry workshop through the Sheridan Senior Center. When the workshop ended, the group agreed to meet monthly to write, critique, howl with laughter, and share their triumphs and struggles. This group’s generosity and incendiary support have set fire to his work.

His poems have been published by Open Window Review, Wyoming Writers, WyoPoets, Redrock Writers Chaparral Forum, and in the Midwest Writing Center’s Off Channel and Western Nebraska’s Emerging Voices. He was named the Amy Kitchener Foundation’s 2010 Wyoming Senior Poet Laureate. His poem, Recipe for Dragonfly Chicken, took a first in the 2011 Artists Embassy International Dancing Poetry Festival competition and he was invited to read at the Festival in San Francisco. Recipe also placed third in the National Federation of State Poetry Society’s 2011 Jesse Stuart Memorial competition and appeared in the June 2012 edition of Encore.

The fire still burns.

Susan Austin lives and writes in Felt, Idaho. She has been employed as a biologist for a Hawaiian monk seal study, a foreign fisheries observer in the Bering Sea, a raptor biologist perched on high cliffs in the realm of bald eagles, and as a library assistant surrounded by books, books, books. Her writing has been published in Best New American Voices 2003, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Hanging Loose, Talking River Review, Open Window Review, Southwestern American Literature, and the anthologies Leaning Into The Wind, and Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace, among others.

Jose A. Alcantara lives in western Colorado. His poems have appeared in The Spoon River Poetry Review, Sixfold, Four & Twenty, Palimpsest, and 99 Poems for the 99%.  He was a 2013 Fishtrap Fellow.