APRIL 2021 LINEUP OF
READERS & PANELISTS
author of Echo Bay
Jennifer Battisti, a Las Vegas native, studied creative writing at the College of Southern Nevada. Her work has appeared in the anthology, Legs of Tumbleweed, Wings of Lace, and is forthcoming in Where We Live, an anthology of writing and art in response to the October 1st tragedy, as well as The Desert Companion, Minerva Rising, The Citron Review, FLARE, Helen: A Literary magazine,The Red Rock Review, 300 Days of Summer and elsewhere. In 2016 Nevada Public Radio interviewed her about her poetry. She holds a leadership position on the Las Vegas Poets Organization and is the administer and a participating teaching artist for the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project in Nevada. This is her first chapbook.
painter and author of The Mud Pony
Born near Shonto, Arizona, to a Navajo medicine man and rug weaver, storyteller and artist Shonto Begay draws on his Navajo background to write and illustrate books for children and adults. He earned an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and a BFA from the California College of Arts and Crafts. Begay is the author of The Mud Pony (1988), winner of the Owl Award for Illustration; Ma’ii and Cousin Horned Toad (1991); and Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa (1995) and illustrated The Magic of Spider Woman (1996), among others. He has been published in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Canyon Road Arts, Western Art Collector, Warrior’s Voice, and Arizona Daily Sun, and his art has been exhibited in solo shows across the country, including the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, and the American Indian Contemporary Arts Museum.
co-editor of The Diné Reader
Esther Belin is among the myriad of indigenous peoples on the planet to survive in urbanized areas. She is a graduate from the following institutions: UC Berkeley, IAIA, Antioch University. She considers the following locations her homeland: LA, Durango, Diné bike'yah. Her writing and art grows from and is an offering to the collective humanity, bila' ashdla'ii.
co-editor of The Diné Reader
Jeff Berglund is the director of the Liberal Studies Program and a professor of English at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he has worked since 1999. Berglund’s research and teaching focuses on Native American literature, comparative Indigenous film, and U.S. multi-ethnic literature. His books include Cannibal Fictions: American Explorations of Colonialism, Race, Gender, and Sexuality (2006), Sherman Alexie: A Collection of Critical Essays (co-editor, 2016), Indigenous Pop: Native American Music from Jazz to Hip Hop (co-editor, 2016), and Indigenous Peoples Rise Up: The Global Ascendancy of Social Media Activism(co-editor, 2021). In addition to serving as the treasurer of the Association of Studies in American Indian Literature, Berglund is a member of the Australia-based Forum for Indigenous Research Excellence (FIRE), The Working Group on Emergent Indigenous Identities, and NAU’s partnership with DINÉ (Diné Institute for Navajo Nation Educators) and the Yale National Initiative.
writer & heavy metal DJ
Erik Bitsui, a Navajo from Blue Gap, Arizona, has an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. Hostiin Bitsui lives with wife and two daughters in East Flagstaff, where he is DJ for a weekly heavy metal radio show on KSZN 101.5 FM.
author of Dissolve
Sherwin Bitsui (Diné) is originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation. He is Diné of the Todich’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tl’izilani (Many Goats Clan). He is the author of Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press, 2003), Flood Song (Copper Canyon Press, 2009), and Dissolve (Copper Canyon Press, 2018). His honors include a Lannan Foundation Poetry Fellowship and a Native Arts & Cultures Foundation Artist Fellowship. He is also the recipient of a 2010 PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Award. He teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and joined the faculty at Northern Arizona University in the fall of 2019.
author of Monster Colloquia
Robert Campbell is a queer poet living and writing in rural Kentucky. He is the author of Monster Colloquia (Hellbox Publications, 2020) and In the Herald of Improbable Misfortunes (Etchings Press, 2018). His poetry and criticism have appeared in Tupelo Quarterly, The Collagist, Columbia Poetry Review, River Styx, Ninth Letter, Asheville Poetry Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Sundog Lit, Zone 3, The Adroit Journal, and many other journals. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, short-listed for the 2015 Black Warrior Review Poetry Contest, third place winner of the 2013 River Styx International Poetry Contest, and previous winner of the Flo Gault Poetry Prize through Sarabande Books, Robert holds an MFA in poetry from Murray State University and an MS in library science from the University of Kentucky. He lives with his partner and animals along a winding country road with a great wealth of trees, goats, and old barns.
author of New Veronia
M. S. Coe’s novel, New Veronia, was published by Clash Books in 2019, and Coe’s stories are in Antioch Review, Cosmonauts Avenue, Electric Literature, Five on the Fifth, Nashville Review, Waxwing, and elsewhere. Coe earned an MFA from Cornell University and co-edits the small press Eggtooth Editions.
author of Longing and Other Heirlooms
Sagaree Jain (they/them) is a poet, writer, artist, and queer from the Silicon Valley. Their writing has been featured in Autostraddle, The Margins, them. magazine, and The Offing, where they’re also an Assistant Editor. They are class and caste privileged. Sagaree lives in Oakland and tweets at @sagareejain.
author of Becoming Miss Navajo
Jolyana Begay-Kroupa, is originally from Ts’iłdiilyesiitah (Rabbitbrush) near Fort Defiance, AZ. She is Navajo (Diné) born into Tachii’nii (Red Running into the Water People) and born for Tsi’naajinii (Black Streak Wood People). Her maternal grandfathers are Tł’ááshchi’i (Red Bottom Cheek People) and her paternal grandfathers are Ye’ii Dine’e Tachii’nii (Giant People of the Red Running into the Water People). Jolyana honorably served as the 50th Miss Navajo Nation (2001-02) and currently resides in the Phoenix-Metro area where she is a Director of Development for Phoenix Indian Center specializing in language and culture revitalization and prevention programs. She has a Master of Arts in Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education - emphasis in American Indian Education Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with a Navajo Language endorsement both from Arizona State University. In addition to her work at Phoenix Indian Center she currently teaches Navajo language classes at Arizona State University and Stanford University. She has also taught for Harvard University and Yale University. Language learning is her passion and she is an advocate on the importance of language revitalization. Jolyana is married and has three beautiful children.
author of Tributaries and Instruments of the True Measure
Laura Da’ is a poet and teacher. A lifetime resident of the Pacific Northwest, Da’ studied creative writing at the University of Washington and the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is Eastern Shawnee. Her first book, Tributaries, was published by the University of Arizona Press and won a 2016 American Book Award. In 2015, Da’ was both a Made at Hugo House Fellow and a Jack Straw Fellow. Her next book, Instruments of the True Measure, is forthcoming in 2018. Da’ lives near Seattle with her husband and son.
author of Blue Yodel
Ansel Elkins is the author of Blue Yodel, winner of the 2014 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Her poems have appeared in The American Scholar, The Believer, Oxford American, Parnassus, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, the American Antiquarian Society, and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, as well as a "Discovery"/Boston Review Prize. She is is currently Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at Berea College.
literary agent at BookEnds Literary
Emily Forney is an associate literary agent for BookEnds Literary, a digital media and rhetoric teacher, cultural critic, and a writer for what feels like an eternity. She currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona at the mercy of two cats and a dream of owning a goat farm one day. After earning her MFA in Creative Writing from Northern Arizona University, Emily worked in editorial roles for literary magazines, journals, and digital prints before finding her home at BookEnds. She was a 2020 Publishing Fellow with the LA Review of Books and is currently on the Young Feminist Leaders Council for Feminist Press. She actively writes about identity, Blackness, and pop culture.
author of when the signals come home
Jordan E. Franklin is a Black poet from Brooklyn, NY. She earned her MFA from Stony Brook Southampton. Her work has appeared in the Southampton Review, Breadcrumbs, easy paradise, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Frontier Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. She is the winner of the 2017 James Hearst Poetry Prize offered by The North American Review, and a finalist of both the 2018 Nightjar Review Poetry Contest and the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize. Her first poetry collection, when the signals come home, will be published by Switchback Books in Spring 2021.
author of Thrown in the Throat
Benjamin Garcia’s first collection, THROWN IN THE THROAT (Milkweed Editions, August 2020), was selected by Kazim Ali for the 2019 National Poetry Series. He works as a sexual health and harm reduction educator throughout the Finger Lakes region of New York. A CantoMundo and Lambda Literary fellow, he serves as faculty at Alma College’s low-residency MFA program. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in: AGNI, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, and New England Review.
author of Dog Flowers
Danielle Geller is a writer of personal essays and memoir. Her first book, Dog Flowers, was published by One World/Random House in 2021. She received her MFA in creative writing for nonfiction at the University of Arizona, and a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award in 2016. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review Daily, The New Yorker, Brevity, and Arizona Highways, and has been anthologized in This Is the Place and The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature. She lives with her husband and two cats in British Columbia, where she teaches creative writing at the University of Victoria. She is also a faculty mentor for the low-residency MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is a citizen of the Navajo Nation: born to the Tsi’naajinii, born for the white man.
writer & performer
performs his small life in New Orleans. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in Yemassee, Bear Review, DIAGRAM, Seneca Review, Denver Quarterly, and Idaho Review, among others. He is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize and serves as a poetry reader for The Adroit Journal and Bayou. His public art projects have been covered by NPR and Time. More at henrygoldkamp.com.
author of I Never Understood Religion Until I Learned Your Name
Hunter Hazelton was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona. He holds a BSED from Northern Arizona University and studied literature and creative writing at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England. Writing from the age of six, his poems have been published by Best New Poets, Scribendi, Storm of Blue Press, among others. I Never Understood Religion Until I Learned Your Name is his debut collection of work. Currently, he teaches high school English. He was born in 1998.
author of Quasar #6
Megan Heise is a writer and teacher based in Western Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics from Naropa University and is currently working towards a PhD in Composition and Applied Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of the chapbook Quasar #6 from Eggtooth Editions, and her recent work has appeared in South Broadway Ghost Society, Curating Alexandria, and Writing Utopia.
author of The Bridge
Bill Konigsberg is the award-winning author of six young adult novels. THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH won the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Stonewall Book Award in 2016. OPENLY STRAIGHT won the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor, was a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award and Lambda Literary Award in 2014 and has been translated into five languages. His debut novel, OUT OF THE POCKET, won the Lambda Literary Award in 2009. THE MUSIC OF WHAT HAPPENS, released in 2019, received two starred reviews, and has been optioned for a film. His latest novel, THE BRIDGE, was released in the fall of 2020. It has received two starred reviews. In 2018, The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)’s Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) established the Bill Konigsberg Award for Acts and Activism for Equity and Inclusion through Young Adult Literature.
REX LEE JIM
author of Saad Lá Tah Hózhóón
Rex Lee Jim is of the Diné (Navajo) tribe and was born and raised in Rock Point, Arizona on the Navajo Nation Reservation. He is of the Red House People (Kin Łichíi’nii) and born for the Red Streak Running into Water People (Táchii’nii). His Maternal grandfather is of the Towering House people (Kin Yaa’áanii) while his Paternal grandfather is of the Mexican people (Naakaii Dine’é). He is a former Vice president of the Navajo Nation, a poet, a playwright, and Medicine Man. He attended Rock Point Community School, the Newfound School in Asheville, North Carolina, and was graduated from the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, Colorado. He attended Princeton University, Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English, and its Oxford University campus in England.
As a leader, Rex Lee Jim advocates for indigenous peoples at the United Nations and has served the Navajo Nation as a vice president. He was raised by his grandparents and was taught the Blessing way ceremonies of the Navajo people in which he uses to help his fellow Dine people as a Medicine Man. As a poet and playwright, he is fluent and literate in Navajo, English, and Spanish, all of which his works are published in. His other works include Áhí Ni’ Nikisheegiizh (1989), Saad (1995). He currently resides in his original hometown Rock Point, Arizona.
author of I Swallow Turquoise for Courage
Hershman John was born in California and grew up on the Navajo reservation in Sand Springs, Arizona. He earned an undergraduate degree and an MFA in creative writing from Arizona State University. John is the author of the poetry collection I Swallow Turquoise for Courage (2007). His poems have been published in journals and anthologies including Puerto del Sol, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and O Taste and See: Food Poems.
author of Try Never
lives in Victoria, Texas. His poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Fence, Harvard Review, Lana Turner, LIT, and Poetry. He is the author of I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say (Canarium, 2012) and Try Never (Canarium, 2017). He also did a “children’s book for adults,” called There Was an Old Man with a Springbok (Prelude Books, 2019). Website at .
founder of Outspokin' & Bookish
Amanda Meeks is an interdisciplinary maker, artist, and librarian living in Tucson, AZ. Their work takes on various forms including zines, artist books, pins, painting, collage, letterpress, and a participatory social art practice. Their current Tucson-specific project, Outspokin’ & Bookish, is part pop-up feminist zine/art object collection and part playful, mobile (via bicycle) maker space focused on print media, which has evolved into a regional zine collective and exchange open to all during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Outspokin’ & Bookish mission includes cultivating social connectedness, sense of belonging, celebration of difference, and pride of place through sharing DIY publishing and print media-making practices and tools. In her free-time Amanda studies death care work, disability justice/mental health, and does some light gardening.
author of Bright Archive
Sarah Minor is a writer and interdisciplinary artist and the author of Slim Confessions: The Universe as a Spider or Spit, winner of the Noemi Press Book Award for Prose (2021), Bright Archive, a collection of visual essays (Rescue Press, 2020), and The Persistence of The Bonyleg: Annotated , selected by Joseph Harrington for the Essay Press Digital Chapbook Contest (2016).
Minor is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art, curator of the visual essay series at Essay Daily, Video Editor at TriQuarterly Review and the Assistant Director of the Cleveland Drafts Literary Festival. She holds a PhD in Creative Nonfiction from Ohio University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from the University of Arizona.
BFA Program Coordinator, Diné College
Shaina A. Nez is Táchii’nii born for Áshįįhi Her maternal grandfather’s clan is Ta'neeszahnii and Kin ł ichii'nii is her paternal grandfather’s clan. She is from Lukachukai, Arizona and currently lives in Bloomfield, New Mexico. Nez received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts with her focus in Creative Nonfiction. She is a member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ: Diné Writers’ Collective. Nez serves as a BFA Program Coordinator and English adjunct faculty at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona. Nez was a finalist for the 2020 Eliza So Fellowship for her work entitled, “Sun Child.” Her work has appeared in The Massachusetts Review, entitled, “Diné Abecedarian,” in the Winter 2020 edition. Nez is currently a 2021 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Fellow from the Virginia C. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.
Editor-in-Chief of Tolsun Books
Risa Pappas is a poet, filmmaker, editor, narrator, and pro-wrestling ring announcer. Her recent publications include the Bosphorus Review of Books, the River Heron Review, and bluntly magazine. Risa earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She resides in the greater Philadelphia area with a cat and many houseplants.
author of Assassin Fall duology and The City Beautiful
grew up in Illinois and Arizona, and has a bachelor's degree in English from Northern Arizona University. He is the author of the Assassin Fall duology (Entangled Teen, 2017-2018), and his most recent book, The City Beautiful, is set to be published on September 7, 2021 from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins. When he isn't writing, he enjoys going to antique fairs and flea markets. He can be found on Twitter at @AdenPolydoros.
SARA DANIELE RIVERA
co-translator of The Blind Star: Selected Poems of Blanca Varela
Sara Daniele Rivera is a Cuban/Peruvian artist, writer, translator, and educator from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her poetry has appeared in the Loft Anthology, The Green Mountains Review, spoKe, The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, Solstice Literary Magazine, and elsewhere. She was the recipient of a 2013 Robert Pinsky Global Fellowship in Poetry, a 2017 St. Botolph Emerging Artist Award, and the winner of the 2018 Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry. Previous translation credits include the prologue and epilogue for Ginza samba: Poemas escogidos by Robert Pinsky (2014) and translations of two poems by Duy Doan into Spanish for La maja desnuda (2019).
author of Blood in the Asphalt and My Disappearing West
Jesse Sensibar's work has appeared in The Tishman Review, Stoneboat Journal, Waxwing, and others. His short fiction was shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and the Wilda Hearne Flash Fiction Prize. His first book, Blood in the Asphalt: Prayers from the Highway, was published in 2018 by Tolsun Press and shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. You can find him at jessesensibar.com.
author of The Charm and the Dread
Rodrigo Toscano’s newest book, The Charm and The Dread (Fence Books) of poetry is forthcoming in Spring 2021. His previous books include In Range, Explosion Rocks Springfield, Deck of Deeds, Collapsible Poetics Theater (a National Poetry Series selection), To Leveling Swerve, Platform, Partisans, and The Disparities. His poetry has appeared in the anthologies Voices Without Borders, Diasporic Avant Gardes, Imagined Theatres, In the Criminal’s Cabinet, Earth Bound, and Best American Poetry. Toscano has received a New York State Fellowship in Poetry. He won the Edwin Markham 2019 prize for poetry. Toscano’s poetry has been translated into French, Dutch, Italian, German, Portuguese, Norwegian and Catalan. He works for the Labor Institute in conjunction with the United Steelworkers, the National Institute for Environmental Health Science, Communication Workers of America, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, and northwest tribes (Umatilla, Cayuse, Yakima, Nez Perce) working on educational / training projects that involve environmental and labor justice, health & safety culture transformation. He is currently working on essential worker Covid training and vaccination networking nationwide. Toscano lives in New Orleans.
author of Tseyí
Laura Tohe is the Navajo Nation Poet Laureate. An award-winning poet, her books include No Parole Today, Making Friends with Water, Sister Nations, Tséyi, Deep in the Rock, and Code Talker Stories that have appeared in the U.S., Canada, and Europe with French, Dutch and Italian translations. Her commissioned librettos are Enemy Slayer, A Navajo Oratorio on the Naxos Classical Music label and Nahasdzáán in the Glittering World with performances in France in 2019 and 2021. Among her awards are the 2020 Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the 2019 American Indian Festival of Writers Award, the Lila Wallace Reader’s Digest Fund Award, the Dan Schilling Public Scholar Award, and was twice nominated for the Pushcart Award. She is Professor Emerita with Distinction from Arizona State University.
author of Processed Meats
Nicole Walker is the author of Processed Meat: Essays on Food, Flesh, and Navigating Disaster, The After-Normal: Brief, Alphabetical Essays on a Changing Planet and Sustainability: A Love Story and A Survival Guide for Life in the Ruins. Her previous books include Where the Tiny Things Are, Egg, Micrograms, Quench Your Thirst with Salt, and This Noisy Egg. Her work has been published in Orion, Boston Review, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, The Normal School and other places. She curated, with Rebecca Campbell, 7 Artists, 7 Rings—an Artist’s Game of Telephone for the Huffington Post. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and is noted in multiple editions of Best American Essays. She’s nonfiction editor at Diagram and Professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.
author of Longing and Other Heirlooms
Arati Warrier (she/they) has been on five slam teams, featured on final stage at Women of the World Poetry Slam 2014, and was a member of the UT Austin winning team at the 2014 national collegiate poetry slam. Her work has been published by the Academy of American Poets, The Aerogram, Junoesq Magazine, and BOAAT press.
editor of Native Peoples magazine
Taté Walker (they/them) is Mniconjou Lakota and a citizen of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe of South Dakota. They are an award-winning Two Spirit storyteller for outlets like “The Nation,” “Everyday Feminism," “ANMLY,” and “Indian Country Today.” Their work appears in “FIERCE: Essays by and About Dauntless Women” (winner Nautilus Book Award and Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize), “South Dakota in Poems,” and their first full-length book, “Thunder Thighs & Trickster Vibes,” is forthcoming from Mango Publishing. Learn more at .
MacArthur Fellow; author of Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert
Dr. Ofelia Zepeda is Tohono O'odham and a Regents' Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona, and recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship for her work in American Indian language education, maintenance and recovery. Ofelia has three books of poetry, Ocean Power: Poems from the Desert, Jewed I-hoi/Earth Movements, and Where Clouds are Formed, and is the co-editor of Home Places a celebration of twenty years of publication of the Sun Tracks series. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. Her most recent collaborations include Sonoran Desert: A literary Field Guide edited by Eric Magrane and Christopher Cokinos. In 2018 she published a limited-edition collection, Aligning our World translated in French with linotype artwork by Pierre Cayol and in 2019 was the poet collaborator on a project, Where Clouds are Formed: A photographic essay with Gareth Smit and research fellow, Martin Zicari; and also in 2019 she was invited to contribute original poetry for the Tucson Museum of Art exhibition, A Western Sublime. In 2021 her work appeared in, When The Light of The World was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through, edited by Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate.