Sandy Coomer, Founding Editor – A native Tennessean, Sandy Coomer is a poet, artist and endurance athlete. She loves words, books, creating, planning new adventures, nature (trees, birds, and rivers), mentoring other writers, wine, and ice cream. She is a self-professed “Idea” person. She fills up her cell phone storage with photos of flowers, rocks, lichen, seedpods, anything natural and textured so she can draw them later. One of her biggest thrills is to gather the blackberries and raspberries she grows in her backyard in the summer. Sandy has published over 130 poems and over 150 pieces of art in journals and magazines. She is the author of three poetry chapbooks – Continuum (Finishing Line Press), The Presence of Absence (Winner of the 2014 Janice Keck Literary Award for Poetry), Rivers Within Us (Unsolicited Press) – and one full-length collection, Available Light (Iris Press). Sandy is the founder and director of Rockvale Writers’ Colony, a non-profit organization in middle Tennessee, (www.rockvalewriterscolony.org) and is passionate about supporting writers of all genres and backgrounds by providing this safe, inspiring writing haven. Sandy is a teacher, a dreamer, and an explorer. Her favorite word is “believe.” www.sandycoomer.com
Favorite poets so far: Mary Oliver, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Kim Addonizio, Natasha Trethewey, Paisley Rekdal, Louise Gluck, Adrian Matejka, Cecilia Woloch, Natalie Diaz, Camille Dungy, and Rumi.
Nancy Posey, Editor – Nancy Posey was born in Alabama but recently moved to the Nashville area from North Carolina and has decided to live like a tourist, not a native. She can be spotted at local music venues whenever possible. She has taught English at high school and college level for more than 25 years. A voracious reader, she is a member of two book clubs and blogs about the books she reads at discriminatingreader.com. She considers herself a dabbler and enjoys cooking, photography, playing mandolin, print-making, scrapbooking, hand-sewing, and collage. Her first chapbook, Let the Lady Speak, won the 2009 Poetic Asides November Chapbook Challenge. Her great joy is living close to her three grandchildren.
She has some favorite North Carolina poets, including Kathryn Stripling Byer, Joseph Bathanti, Robert Morgan, and Ron Rash. Other favorites include Ted Kooser, Ron Koertge, Miller Williams, Robert Frost, and Linda Pastan.
Roseann St. Aubin, Editor – Roseann St. Aubin has had distinguished careers in broadcast journalism, city government and school public relations, all of which involved a great deal of writing facts, figures, active verbs, short, declarative sentences and few adjectives. She is now a freelance writer and poet who spends her time creating what pleases her. She lives in Port Washington, Wisconsin, just a stroll from the beautiful and inspirational Lake Michigan. Roseann was a 2016 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Triad Winner and has received acclaim for her work from the Lakefly Writers Conference. She is also a recent inductee into the Milwaukee Press Club Hall of Fame.
Her favorite poets are Mary Oliver, Ted Kooser, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Seamus Heaney.
Christine Fraser, Editor – Christine grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She started writing poetry in high school. She spent many years in Chicago as a student and an editor of an elementary mathematics curriculum. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature from University of Chicago and a master’s degree in education from Loyola University Chicago. Christine now lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children. She has published several poems in a local poetry project collection. Currently working as a stay-at-home parent and freelance editor as well as a poet, she is learning to speak Spanish and spends much of her free time playing with her family, baking, reading fiction, and hiking and camping in beautiful places.
Some of her favorite poets are Gerard Manley Hopkins, Lucille Clifton, Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney, Billy Collins, Elizabeth Alexander, Joyce Sutphen, Elizabeth Weir, and Dan Chelotti.
Jeni De La O, Editor – Jeni De La O is an AfroCuban-American storyteller and poet from South Florida. She traded hurricanes for blizzards nearly a decade ago, and though she misses good Caribbean food and Power96, she’s never looked back. Her work has appeared in Obsidian Literature & Arts, York Literary Review, Gigantic Sequins, Rigorous Magazine, Really System, Soliloquies Anthology and elsewhere. She is the founder of Relato:Detroit, the nation’s first bilingual community storytelling event, where she works to bridge community divides through shared experience. Jeni has performed with The Moth, Secret Society of Twisted Storytellers, MouthPiece Stories and others. She also organizes Poems in the Park, an acoustic reading series in Detroit designed to foster community and generate support for emerging writers
Favorite poets include Aja Monet, Patricia Smith, Chen Chen, Joshua Bennet, Li-Young Lee, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Erika L. Sánchez, and Ruben Queseda.
Shahé Mankerian, Editor – Poet Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena and the co-director of the L.A. Writing Project. He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Music Center’s BRAVO Award. In 2018, Sum literary journal nominated Mankerian’s poem “In Twos” for the Pushcart Prize. Two online publications, Border Crossing and Cahoodaloodaling, have nominated Mankerian’s poems for the 2018 Best of the Net. Visible Poetry Project animated Shahé’s poem, “The Last Mosque,” and premiered it at the 2018 New York City Poetry Festival. Shahé received the 2017 Editors’ Prize from MARY: A Journal of New Writing.
Favorite Poets: Nancy Agabian, Taha Muhammad Ali, Lory Bedikian, Mahmoud Darwish, Diana Der Hovanessian, Gregory Djanikian, Gerda Govine, Arminé Iknadossian, Lola Koundakjian, Naomi Shihab Nye, Aram Saroyan, and Alene Terzian.