Current Visiting Poets

Elizabeth Acevedo

Poet, novelist, and National Poetry Slam Champion, Elizabeth Acevedo was born and raised in New York City, the only daughter of Dominican immigrants. Her poetry is infused with Dominican bolero and her beloved city’s tough grit. She is the author of Clap When You Land (Quill Tree Books, 2020); With the Fire On High (Harper, 2019); The New York Times-best selling and award-winning novel, The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018), winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Young Adult Fiction, the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award, and the Carnegie Medal; and the poetry chapbook Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths (YesYes Books, 2016), a collection of folkloric poems centered on the historical, mythological, gendered and geographic experiences of a first generation American woman. From the border in the Dominican Republic, to the bustling streets of New York City, Acevedo considers how some bodies must walk through the world as beastly beings. How these forgotten myths are both blessing and birthright.

Acevedo is the winner the Horn Book Prize for Fiction and Poetry for The Poet X. The Horn Book Magazine review of the novel calls Acevedo’s debut verse novel “an arresting portrait of a young poet coming into her own.” They write:

Fifteen-year-old Xiomara, whose name means “one who is ready for war,” has been fighting her whole life.… In nearly every poem, there is at least one universal truth about adolescence, family, gender, race, religion, or sexuality that will have readers either nodding in grateful acknowledgment or blinking away tears. ‘It almost feels like / the more I bruise the page / the quicker something inside me heals.’

In another review, Justina Ireland observes:

This book crackles with energy and snaps with authenticity and voice. Every poem in this stunningly addictive and deliciously rhythmic verse novel begs to be read aloud. Xiomara is a protagonist who readers will cheer for at every turn. As X might say, Acevedo’s got bars. Don’t pass this one by.

Acevedo’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in Poetry, Puerto Del Sol, Callaloo, Poet Lore, The Notre Dame Review, and others. Acevedo is a Cave Canem Fellow, Cantomundo Fellow, and participant of the Callaloo Writer’s Workshop. She’s given TED Talks and has been a featured reader nationally and internationally, including appearance at renowned venues such as The Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, the Kennedy Center of the Performing Arts, South Africa’s State Theatre, The Bozar in Brussels, the National Library of Kosovo and many others. Acevedo holds a BA in Performing Arts from The George Washington University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Maryland. She resides in Washington, DC with her husband.

Poet's Website

Daniel Borzutsky

Daniel Borzutzky is a poet and translator who lives in Chicago. His most recent book is Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018 (Coffee House Press, 2021). His 2016 collection, The Performance of Becoming Human won the National Book Award. Lake Michigan (2018) was a finalist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. His other books include In the Murmurs of the Rotten Carcass Economy (2015); Memories of my Overdevelopment (2015); and The Book of Interfering Bodies (2011). His translation of Galo Ghigliotto's Valdivia won the National Translation Award, and he has also translated collections by Raúl Zurita and Jaime Luis Huenún. The son of Chilean immigrants, Borzutzky's work often addresses immigration, worker exploitation, political corruption, and economic disparity. He teaches in the English and Latin American and Latino Studies Departments at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


 

Dream Song #16

     Hay golpes en la vida, tan fuertes    ...    Yo no sé!
                               — César Vallejo

They sniffed us out of the holes with the animals
they had programmed and there are blows in life so
powerful we just don’t know and there were trenches
and there was water and it poured in through our mouths

and out of our ears and there were things we saw in the
sand at that moment of sinking: mountains and daisies
and tulips and rivers and the bodies of the people we
had been and the bodies of the people we had loved

and we felt hooks coming through the trenches and we
felt hooks coming through the sand and I saw hooks coming
through my child’s clothes and I wanted him to know that they
would never be able to scoop us out of the sand but of course

it wasn’t true they had scooped us out of the sand and our
mouths were so full of dirt it is what they do when you’re
dead and they made us spit and they beat us until our mouths
were empty and they paid us for constructing the mountain and

it was me and L and we looked for S and we looked for J and J
and we looked for O and we looked for R and we looked for J
and S in the holes in which the bodies of those we loved were
hiding or dying or sinking or stealing some shelter some little

worm’s worth of cover to keep their bodies from dissolving
into the maniac murmurs of this impossible carcass economy

 

--Daniel Borzutzky

Chen Chen

Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), which won the A. Poulin Jr. Poetry Prize, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry, and the GLCA New Writers Award. His most recent collection Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency is forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2022.

Longlisted for the National Book Award, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities was also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and was named one of the best of 2017 by The Brooklyn Rail, Entropy, Library Journal, and others. About the collection, Stephanie Burt says,

As Chen’s younger self had to escape from constricting familial expectations (become a lawyer, marry a woman, buy a house), the adult writer has to escape from the constrictions of autobiography, into hyperbole, stand-up comedy, fairy tale, twisted pastoral. It’s easy to imagine a young reader seeing himself here as he had not seen himself in poems before.

He is also the author of two chapbooks, Set the Garden on Fire (Porkbelly Press, 2015) and Kissing the Sphinx (Two of Cups Press, 2016).

In an interview with NPR, Chen explained,

"I felt like I couldn’t be Chinese and American and gay all at the same time. I felt like the world I was in was telling me that these had to be very separate things." As someone who was struggling with his sexuality and thinking about identity— with immigrant parents and wondering how to come out, “Poems were a way for those different experiences to come together, for them to be in the same room.”

His work has appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Tin House, Poem-a-Day, The Best American Poetry, Bettering American Poetry, and The Best American Non-required Reading. Recently, his work has been translated into French, Greek, Spanish, and Russian. Poets & Writers Magazine featured him in their Inspiration Issue as one of “Ten Poets Who Will Change the World.” He has received fellowships from Kundiman, Lambda Literary, and the Saltonstall Foundation.

Chen earned his MFA from Syracuse University and is pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing as an off-site Texas Tech University student. He lives in frequently snowy Rochester, NY with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug dog, Mr. Rupert Giles.

 

Kristina Marie Darling

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of thirty-six books, which include Look to Your Left: A Feminist Poetics of Spectacle, which is forthcoming from the Akron Series in Contemporary Poetics at the University of Akron Press; Stylistic Innovation, Conscious Experience, and the Self in Modernist Women’s Poetry, forthcoming from Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group; Daylight Has Already Come: Selected Poems 2014 - 2020, which will be published by Black Lawrence Press; Silence in Contemporary Poetry, which will be published in hardcover by Clemson University Press in the United States and Liverpool University Press in the United Kingdom; Silent Refusal: Essays on Contemporary Feminist Poetry, forthcoming from Black Ocean; Angel of the North, which is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry; and X Marks the Dress: A Registry (co-written with Carol Guess), which will be launched by Persea Books in the United States. Penguin Random House Canada will also publish a Canadian edition.

Her work has been recognized with three residencies at Yaddo, where she has held the Martha Walsh Pulver Residency for a Poet and the Howard Moss Residency in Poetry; a Fundación Valparaíso fellowship to live and work in Spain; a Hawthornden Castle Fellowship, funded by the Heinz Foundation; an artist-in-residence position at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris; six residencies at the American Academy in Rome; two grants from the Whiting Foundation; a Faber Residency in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, which she received on two separate occasions; an artist-in-residence position with the Andorran Ministry of Culture; and the Dan Liberthson Prize from the Academy of American Poets, which she received on three separate occasions; among many other awards and honors. Dr. Darling serves as Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press & Tupelo Quarterly. Born and raised in the American Midwest, she now divides her time between the United States, Europe, and abroad.

Dr. Darling holds a doctorate from the Poetics Program at S.U.N.Y.-Buffalo, as well as an M.F.A. from New York University.

Poet's Website

Ming Di

Ming Di is a Chinese poet based in the US with six books of poetry in Chinese and four in collaborative translation. Her poetry has been translated into several languages: River Merchant’s Wife (Marick Press, 2012), Luna fracturada (Valparaíso/Spain, 2014), Histoire de famille (Transignum/France, 2015), Livre de sept vies (Recours au Poème éditeurs/France, 2015), and Distracción (forthcoming in Costa Rica).

She has translated many poets from English to Chinese including Marianne Moore, Anne Carson, and Dancing in Odessa—Poems and Essays by Ilya Kaminsky (Shanghai Arts and Literature Publishing House, 2013). She edited and co-translated New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Tupelo Press, 2013). She selected and translated with Neil Aitken The Book of Cranes (Vagabond Press, 2015) and with Jennifer Stern Empty Chairs – Poems by Liu Xia (Graywolf Press, 2015), which was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award in 2016.

Ming Di co-founded Poetry East West journal and serves as the China editor for Poetry International Rotterdam. She has received translation fellowships from the Henry Luce Foundation and a translation award (with Jennifer Stern) from the Poetry Foundation. She attended Boston College and Boston University and taught Chinese at BU before moving to California.

Carolina Ebeid

Carolina Ebeid was born in West New York, NJ and grew up in a Cuban and Palestinian family. She is the author of 'You Ask Me to Talk About the Interior' (Noemi Press, Akrilica Series) which was selected as one of ten best debuts of 2016 by Poets & Writers. Dr. Ebeid's work has been supported by fellowships from CantoMundo, the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University, the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as a residency fellowship from the Lannan Foundation.

Carolina is on faculty at the Mile-High MFA at Regis University, the bilingual MFA at the University of Texas El Paso, and Lighthouse Writer’s Workshop in Denver. She currently edits poetry at The Rumpus, as well as the multimedia zine Visible Binary. She holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers and a PhD from the University of Denver.

Poet's Website

Martin Espada

Martín Espada has published more than twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His latest collection of poems, Floaters (W.W. Norton, 2021) won the 2021 National Book Award. Other books of poems include Vivas to Those Who Have Failed (W.W. Norton, 2016), The Trouble Ball (W.W. Norton, 2011), The Republic of Poetry (2006) and Alabanza (2003). He is the editor of What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump (Northwestern University Press, 2019).

Espada has received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the PEN/Revson Fellowship, a Letras Boricuas Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. The title poem of his collection Alabanza, about 9/11, has been widely anthologized and performed. His book of essays and poems, Zapata’s Disciple (South End, 1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona. A former tenant lawyer in Greater Boston, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst.

Poet's Website

Nathalie Handal

Poet, playwright, nonfiction and literary travel writer, Nathalie Handal was raised in Latin America, France and the Middle East, and educated in Asia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Her poetry collections are Life in a Country Album (U. Pittsburgh Press, 2019), The Republics (U. Pittsburgh Press, 2015), Poet in Andalucía, and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award. She is the author of eight plays and editor of two anthologies including the groundbreaking classic The Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology, winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award. She writes the literary travel column The City and the Writer for Words without Borders and resides in New York City. Handal is a professor at Columbia University, and a Visiting Writer at the American University of Rome.

Poet's Website


 

The Moor


This is what I see:

a grain of wheat in the hand of a small boy

barefoot on the unnamed roads,
sleeping in the dream another is having.

An oud, a violin, a guitar,
a mirror of dew,

a man about to undress,
a woman staring.

A traveler
returning
everywhere

and forgetfulness stealing from itself.

Maktoub, the Moor says,
we hold clouds in our mouth
and imagine God in our breath.

 

--Nathalie Handal
(from Poet in Andalucia)

 

Boris Khersonsky

Widely regarded as one of Ukraine's most prominent Russian-language poets, Boris Khersonsky was born in 1950 in Chernivtsi and spent most of his life in Odessa, where he practiced medicine at psychiatric hospital at taught psychology at Kiev Institute 0f Contemporary Psychology and Psychotherapy. In Soviet times, Khersonsky was a part of the Samizdat movement, which disseminated alternative, non-conformist literature.

Since the fall of USSR, he has published numerous collections of poetry which have been widely translated and published all over the world.

Ludmila Khersonsky

Born in Tiraspol, Moldova in 1964, Ludmila Khersonsky is an award-winning poet and the author of three collections of poetry. Her work has been honored with the Voloshin Prize and translated into several languages, including German and Lithuanian.

A professional translator, she has translated into Russian the poetry of many authors, including Seamus Heaney. In the U.S., her poems have appeared in Poetry International, Plume, and other journals.

She lives in Odessa, Ukraine.

Kenneth Knoespel

Kenneth J. Knoespel's poetry and translations have appeared in poetry journals and books published in the United States and Sweden. He has taught poetry and poetics at the University of Uppsala, the University of Chicago, and the University of Paris 8, Vincennes-St. Denis. Together with A. A. Knoespel, he translated Murder at the Savoy by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö published by Pantheon. His adaptation of Brecht’s play, How Much is Your Iron? (with Robert Wolf) was produced by the San Quentin Drama Workshop in Chicago. He has helped curate exhibitions in Paris and Atlanta. For his work in Sweden, he received an Honorary Doctor’s Degree from the University of Umeå in 2014. Knoespel is McEver Professor of Engineering and the Liberal Arts Emeritus at Georgia Tech.

Ken Knoespel's Georgia Tech Webpage

Oksana Maksymchuk

Oksana Maksymchuk is a bilingual Ukrainian-American poet, scholar, and literary translator. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Cincinnati Review, Prairie Schooner, Salamander, Sugar House Review, Tar River Poetry, and other journals.

Judges Cole Swensen, Oliver de la Paz, and Maggie Smith named Oksana’s manuscript Tongue Ties a finalist for Tupelo Press’s Snowbound (2019), Berkshire (2019), and Dorset (2020) prizes, and individual poems had been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. In the Ukrainian, she is the author of poetry collections Xenia (2005) and Lovy (2008). She is a recipient of the Ihor-Bohdan Antonych (2005) and Smoloskyp (2007) prizes, two of Ukraine’s top awards for younger poets.

Oksana’s translations were featured in Words Without Borders, Poetry International, Modern Poetry in Translation, and Best European Fiction series from Dalkey Archive Press. With Max Rosochinsky, she co-edited Words for War, a NEH-winning anthology of contemporary Ukrainian war poetry (Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute/Academic Studies Press, 2017).

Oksana won first place in the 2004 Richmond Lattimore and 2014 Joseph Brodsky-Stephen Spender translation competitions and was awarded a National Endowments for the Arts Translation Fellowship in 2019. She is the co-translator of Apricots of Donbas, a collection of selected poems by Lyuba Yakimchuk, and The Voices of Babyn Yar, a book of poems by Marianna Kiyanovska, forthcoming with Lost Horse Press and Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute/Harvard University Press, respectively.

Oksana holds a PhD in philosophy from Northwestern University. Most recently, she has been named 2020-2021 Writer in Residence by the Institute for Advanced Study at the Central European University.

Poet's Website

H. Bruce McEver

H. Bruce McEver started writing in workshops in New York City with Hugh Seidman, Pearl London, Katha Pollitt, Brooks Haxton, David Lehman, and J.D. McClatchy. His most recent full-length poetry collections include Like Lesser Gods (C&R Press, 2017), and Scaring Up the Morning (C&R Press, 2013). His poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Westview, The Berkshire Review, The Cortland Review, The Connecticut River Review, The Chattahoochee Review, and The Atlanta Review. Bruce is on the board of The Poet’s House in New York.

Bruce received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an M.T.S. (Religion and Literature) from Harvard Divinity School. An investment banker and the Chairman of Berkshire Capital Securities LLC, a firm he founded in 1983.  Bruce is also a Georgia Tech BIE alumnus, and was a Lieutenant, USN, on the staff of the Assistant Secretary of Defense, He founded Berkshire Capital Corporation in l983. A member of the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, Bruce is a dedicated conservationist. He works in New York City and lives in Salisbury, Connecticut on Utopia Farm.

 

Erika Meitner

Erika Meitner is the winner of the 2018 National Jewish Book Award for Poetry and author of five books of poems: Holy Moly Carry Me (BOA Editions, 2018); Copia (BOA Editions, 2014); Makeshift Instructions for Vigilant Girls (Anhinga Press, 2011); Ideal Cities (Harper Perrenial, 2010), which was a 2009 National Poetry series winner; and Inventory at the All-Night Drugstore (Anhinga Press, 2003). Her sixth full-length poetry collection, Useful Junk is forthcoming from BOA Editions in 2022.

Meitner's poetry and prose have been widely anthologized. Born and raised in Queens and Long Island, NY, she is a first-generation American: her father is from Israel; her mother was born in a refugee camp in Germany, which is where her maternal grandparents settled after surviving the Holocaust. Meitner is currently a professor of English at Virginia Tech, where she directs the MFA and undergraduate programs in Creative Writing.

Poet's Website

JC Reilly

JC Reilly writes across genres to keep things interesting, and has never met a hybrid piece she didn't love.  What Magick May Not Alter, her Southern Gothic novel-in-verse,  was published by Madville Publishing in 2020. She is also the author of the chapbook La Petite Mort, and a contributing author in a book of occasional verse, On Occasion:  Four Poets, One Year.  She serves as the Managing Editor of Atlanta Review and teaches creative writing at Georgia Tech.  When she's not writing, she crochets, plays tennis, or practices Italian.  Follow her on Twitter @Aishatonu, or follow her cats on Instagram @jc.reilly

Poet's Website

Diane Seuss

Diane Seuss’s most recent collection is frank: sonnets (Graywolf Press 2021). Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl (Graywolf Press 2018) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry. Four-Legged Girl (Graywolf Press 2015) was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Seuss is a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow. She received the John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2021.

Seuss taught in the creative writing program at Kalamazoo College for many years, and has been a visiting professor at Colorado College, the University of Michigan, and Washington University in St. Louis. She was raised by a single mother in rural Michigan, which she continues to call home.

Charles Simic

Charles Simic is widely recognized as one of the most visceral and unique poets writing today. His work has won numerous awards, among them the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant,” the Griffin International Poetry Prize, the Wallace Stevens Award, and the appointment as US poet laureate.

Simic is the author of numerous collections of poems, among them, The Lunatic; Master of Disguises; Selected Poems: 1963-2003, for which he received the 2005 International Griffin Poetry Prize; The World Doesn’t End: Prose Poems, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry; Classic Ballroom Dances, which won the University of Chicago’s Harriet Monroe Award and the Poetry Society of America’s di Castagnola Award.

A collection entitled Sixty Poems was released in honor of his appointment as US Poet Laureate. Simic has also published a number of prose books, most recently Memory Piano, and many translations of poets from former Yugoslavia as well as an anthology of Serbian poetry entitled The Horse Has Six Legs. He is a frequent contributor to The New York Review of Books and The Paris Review.


 

Empire of Dreams

On the first page of my dreambook
It’s always evening
In an occupied country.
Hour before the curfew.
A small provincial city.
The houses all dark.
The storefronts gutted.

I am on a street corner
Where I shouldn’t be.
Alone and coatless
I have gone out to look
For a black dog who answers to my whistle.
I have a kind of Halloween mask
Which I am afraid to put on.

-- Charles Simic (from Charles Simic: Selected Early Poems)

Jasmine Elizabeth Smith

Jasmine Elizabeth Smith (she/her) is a Black poet from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Her poetic work is invested in the Diaspora of Black Americans in various historical contexts and eras.

Smith's debut collection South Flight (University of Georgia Press, 2022) was named a finalist for the 2020 National Poetry Series and is the winner of the Georgia Poetry Prize. Her work has been featured in Black Renaissance Noir, POETRY, the LA Review of Books, and Kweli, among others.

Jasmine Elizabeth received her MFA in Poetry from the University of California in Riverside. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and a recipient of the Glucks Art Fellowship. She currently works as an associate guest editor for the Black Earth Institute’s About Place Journal and currently serves on the 25th Anniversary Cave Canem Fellows and Faculty Committee while teaching a variety of English courses in her recent home of South Seattle. In rest, you will find Jasmine trekking about by boot or snowshoe in nature.

Poet's Website

 


Zouzou

 

Ain’t of no kind word in what they’ve been telling you.
Heard they call you “Song Bird” these days. Part your beak
and collar the long part of neck with sapphires.
Girl, when are you going to see
you aren’t ever goin’ be one of them. Don’t mean a thing
they pour prosecco in porcelain dishes.
Let you lap leftovers from their palms. Do they pinch
your sides to regurgitate the slug of white cake, candied
roses, the baked breasts of hummingbirds?
Merchant the fetid smell of it into crystal?
I heard their trade ain’t much different
from what is done here at home. Only difference
is they prefer their Black rare and chilled over ice,
fine caviars knifed from the ovaries of the South.
Maybe at night you prowl the Turkish rugs.
Dressed in Schiffli lace, an ankle ribbon tagging
you rare specimen. Do they call you beautiful
for one of your kind? Pocket your songs
and measure your skin for couture.
And for who do you think it will make
statement when worn to the Grand Palais Garnier?

(from Poetry, June 2019)

Afaa Michael Weaver

Afaa Michael Weaver is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, where in 1951, he was born to working class parents from Virginia. His parents moved to Baltimore during WWII. His father became a steelworker, and his mother a part-time beautician. After two years at the University of Maryland, Afaa spent fifteen years as a factory worker, a time that was his literary apprenticeship, as he began writing and publishing as a poet. In early 1985, he received an NEA fellowship for poetry and left factory life. His first book, Water Song, was also published that spring.

Afaa has taught at New York University, City University of New York, Seton Hall Law School, Rutgers University, and is retiring from Simmons College, where he held the Alumnae Endowed Chair for twenty years. He is currently a member of the core faculty in Drew University's MFA in Poetry and Translation. To date, he has published fifteen collections of poetry and had two professional theater productions.

His project remains that of articulating inner and outer structures of working class culture. In Water Song, he took on the immediate subject of his positioning as a worker poet in Industrial America. He has gradually sculpted geodesic connections between the network of seeming polarities in his life through the frame of his engagement with Chinese culture. Beginning in his twenties as a practitioner of the art of Taijiquan and a student of the Daoist philosophies and spiritual practices embedded in the art, he has worked at these assemblages, at times blending history, music and visual art. In Timber and Prayer, the writing partly involves ekphrastic poems about the work of Jacob Lawrence, while other poems respond to the work of Duke Ellington and other jazz musicians. Stations in a Dream is devoted entirely to the work of Marc Chagall.

As a Fulbright scholar, Afaa has taught in Taiwan, and at the age of fifty, he began studying Mandarin formally. The recipient of four Pushcart prizes, and a Kingsley Tufts Award, His newest book, Spirit Boxing, revisits his time as a worker poet in Baltimore with a renewed application of the frame of his Chinese spiritualism applied to his quest to bring a realization of wholeness to his life and his rootedness in America’s working class sensibilities.

Eleanor Wilner

Eleanor Wilner is the author of Before Our Eyes: New and Selected Poems (Princeton University Press, 2019), which includes poems from her previous seven books of poetry, most recently Tourist in Hell (U. of Chicago) and The Girl with Bees in Her Hair (Copper Canyon). She received the 2019 Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America; other awards include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; the Juniper Prize, and three Pushcart prizes. She has taught at many colleges and universities, and perennially for the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College. She is a lifelong activist for civil rights and peace.

Zhou Xiaojing

Zhou Xiaojing is Professor of English and Laurence Meredith Professor in the Humanities at the University of the Pacific. She is the author of Migrant Ecologies: Zheng Xiaoqiong’s Women Migrant Workers, a collection of eco-critical essays and translations of Zheng Xiaoqiong’s poems. Her other translations of Zheng’s poems appeared in Chinese Literature Today, World Literature Today, Verge: Studies in Global Asias, International Poetry Exchanges, The Animated Reader: Poetry of Surround Audience, and Poetry International Festival Rotterdam.

Faculty webpage at University of the Pacific

Zheng Xiaoqiong

Born in 1980 in rural Nanchong, Sichuan Province, Zheng Xiaoqiong left her hometown for Dongguan, Guangdong Province in 2001 after working as a nurse in a local hospital, and became a migrant worker for seven years. It was in the factory that she started writing poems. She has published a dozen critical acclaimed poetry collections, which won prestigious literary awards. Her poetry has been translated into many foreign languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Malay, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. She has been invited to give readings at poetry festivals in Australia, Germany, France, Japan, Russia, Singapore, and the Netherlands. Some of her poems were performed on the stage in Germany and the United States. Currently she is the Deputy Director of the literary magazine Works in Guangzhou.

 


铁鸟 / Iron Bird

 

Time is like a grey iron bird fluttering against the window,
Moonlight treading on distant memories saunters into my room.
Mysterious reticent frost scatters, white seeds covering the ground
Have grown into tranquil trees, standing in the North,
Their leaves falling. I am in the South, looking into the distance, those happy times
Restored in dreams. The iron bird disappears into silence.
Those made-up faces flash past in-between the trees in the North,
Those imaginary loves of mine, each resembles
A grey iron bird, flapping its wings.

 

--Zheng Xiaoqiong (translation: Zhou Xiaojing)

(from Collected Poems by Zheng Xiaoqiong, Huacheng chuben she, 2008, 30.)

Jenny Xie

Jenny Xie is the author of Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018), finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry and the PEN Open Book Award, and recipient of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets and the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University. Her work has appeared in Poetry, New York Times, and Tin House, among other publications. She has been supported by fellowships and grants from Kundiman, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and Poets & Writers. In 2020, she was awarded the Vilcek Prize in Creative Promise.

Jenny has taught at Princeton and NYU, and is currently on faculty at Bard College. She lives in New York.

Poet's Website

Lyuba Yakimchuk

Lyuba Yakimchuk is a poet, screenwriter, playwright, born 1985 in Pervomaisk Luhanska oblast, and currently living in Kyiv, Ukraine. She is the author of several full-length poetry collections, including Like FASHION and Apricots of Donbas, a collection of poems about people surviving a war, which received the International Poetic Award of the Kovalev Foundation (NYC, USA). Apricots of Donbas was listed in the Top 10 books about the war by Forbes magazine in Ukraine.

Her poems have been translating into roughly twenty languages, including English, German, French, Polish, Russian, Swedish, Hebrew, Lithuanian, Greek, Estonian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Slovak, Belarusian, Romanian, Hungarian, Georgian, Azerbaijani and Serbian. She has also authored two film scripts and two plays. Her new play, The Wall was produced at the Ivan Franko National Academic Drama Theater, the largest and the oldest Ukrainian theatre.

Kyiv’s New Time magazine (Novoye Vremia) listed Yakimchuk among the one hundred most influential people in the arts in Ukraine. She has also received a number of awards, including the International Slavic Poetic Award, the Bohdan-Ihor Antonych Prize and Smoloskyp Prize, three of Ukraine’s most prestigious awards for young poets.

Lyuba performed in a musical and poetic duet with a double-bass player Mark Tokar (Lviv, Ukraine) and a vocalist Olesya Zdorovetska (Dublin, UK). As a vocalist, she performed in Fokstroty project by Serhiy Zhadan and Yuri Gurzhy. Her poetry has also been performed by singer Mariana Sadovska (Germany) as part of the project «2014».

Javier Zamora

Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador in 1990. When he was a year old, his father fled El Salvador due to the US-funded Salvadoran Civil War (1980-1992). His mother followed her husband’s footsteps in 1995 when Javier was about to turn five. Zamora was left at the care of his grandparents who helped raise him until he migrated to the US when he was nine. His first poetry collection, Unaccompanied (Copper Canyon Press, 2017), explores some of these themes.

In his forthcoming memoir, SOLITO (Hogarth, 2022), Javier retells his nine-week odyssey across Guatemala, Mexico, and eventually through the Sonoran Desert. He travelled unaccompanied by boat, bus, and foot. After a coyote abandoned his group in Oaxaca, Javier managed to make it to Arizona with the aid of other migrants.

Zamora was a 2018-2019 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University and holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University (Olive B. O'Connor), MacDowell, Macondo, the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation (Ruth Lilly), Stanford University (Stegner), and Yaddo. He is the recipient of a 2017 Lannan Literary Fellowship, the 2017 Narrative Prize, and the 2016 Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award for his work in the Undocupoets Campaign. Zamora’s poems appear in Granta, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The New York Times, and elsewhere.

Javier lives in Tucson, AZ.

Poet's Website