Issue 11 on Poetic Closure

September 17, 2023

Tongo Eisen-Martin SQUARE

Originally from San Francisco, Tongo Eisen-Martin is a poet, movement worker, and educator. His latest curriculum on extrajudicial killing of Black people, We Charge Genocide Again, has been used as an educational and organizing tool throughout the country. His book titled Someone’s Dead Already was nominated for a California Bookstore Award. His book Heaven Is All Goodbyes was published by the City Lights Pocket Poets series, was shortlisted for the Griffins Poetry Prize and won a California Book Award and an American Book Award. His latest book, Blood On The Fog, was released this fall in the City Lights Pocket Poets series and named one of the New York Times poetry books of the year. In 2020, he co-founded Black Freighter Press to publish revolutionary works. He is San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.

Kathy Fagan’s sixth poetry collection is Bad Hobby (Milkweed Editions, 2022). Her previous book, Sycamore (Milkweed, 2017), was a finalist for the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Award. She’s been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, an Ingram Merrill fellowship, residencies at The Frost Place, Yaddo and MacDowell, and was named Ohio Poet of the Year for 2017. Fagan’s work has appeared in venues such as The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Poetry, The Nation, The New Republic, Kenyon Review, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day, The Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Poetry. She co-founded the MFA Program at The Ohio State University, where she teaches poetry and co-edits the Wheeler Poetry Prize Book Series for The Journal and OSU Press. For more information, visit

Amanda Gunn’s debut poetry collection, Things I Didn’t Do with This Body, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon press. She is a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford and a PhD candidate in English at Harvard where she studies poetry, ephemerality, and Black pleasure. Raised in Connecticut, she worked as a medical copyeditor for 13 years before earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. She is the recipient the Auburn Witness Poetry Prize as well as a Pushcart Prize, and she has received fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Recent work can be found in Poetry, Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly Journal, Narrative Magazine, and The Offing. For more information, visit

K. Iver (they/them) is a nonbinary trans poet born in Mississippi. Their book Short Film Starring My Beloved’s Red Bronco won the 2022 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry from Milkweed Editions. Their poems have appeared in Boston Review, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. Iver has received fellowships from The Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Sewanee Writer’s Conference, and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. They have a Ph.D. in Poetry from Florida State University. For more information, visit

James Davis May is the author of two poetry collections, both published by Louisiana State University Press. Unquiet Things appeared in 2016, and Unusually Grand Ideas was released in 2023. His poems and essays have appeared in 32 Poems, The Georgia Review, Literary Hub, New England Review, The Southern Review, The Sun, and other journals. May has received fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Originally from Pittsburgh, he now lives in Macon, Georgia, where he directs the creative writing program at Mercer University. For more information, visit

An NEA Fellow, Orlando Ricardo Menes was born in Lima, Perú, to Cuban parents but has lived in the U.S since the age of ten. He considers himself Cuban-American. Since 2000 he has taught in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame where he is Professor of English and Poetry Editor of the Notre Dame Review. Menes is the author of seven poetry collections, including the most recent The Gospel of Wildflowers & Weeds (University of New Mexico Press, 2022), as well as Memoria (Louisiana State University Press, 2019), Heresies (University of New Mexico Press, 2015) and Fetish, winner of the 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. His poems have appeared in several prominent anthologies, as well as in literary magazines like POETRY, Harvard Review, The Yale Review, Prairie Schooner, Hudson Review, Colorado Review, The Cincinnati Review, Hotel Amerika, The Southern Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review, among many others. In addition, Menes is editor of Renaming Ecstasy: Latino Writings on the Sacred (Bilingual Press/Editorial Bilingüe, 2004) and The Open Light: Poets from Notre Dame, 1991-2008 (University of Notre Dame Press, 2011). Besides his own poems, Menes has published translations of poetry in Spanish, including My Heart Flooded with Water: Selected Poems by Alfonsina Storni (Latin American Literary Review Press, 2009). For more information, visit

Lawrence Raab is the author of ten books of poems, including Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts (Tupelo, 2015), which was longlisted for the National Book Award and named one of the Ten Best Poetry Books of 2015 by The New York Times, and What We Don’t Know About Each Other (Penguin, 1993), a winner of the National Poetry Series and a finalist for the 1993 National Book Award. His latest collection is April at the Ruins (Tupelo, 2022). Why Don’t We Say What We Mean?, essays about poetry, was published in 2016. He is the Harry C. Payne Professor of Poetry Emeritus at Williams College.

Alina Ștefănescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her partner and several intense mammals. Recent books include a creative nonfiction chapbook, Ribald (Bull City Press Inch Series, Nov. 2020) and Dor, which won the Wandering Aengus Press Prize (September, 2021). Her debut fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the Brighthorse Books Prize (April 2018). Alina’s poems, essays, and fiction can be found in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, World Literature Today, Pleiades, Poetry, BOMB, Crab Creek Review, and others. She serves as poetry editor for several journals, reviewer and critic for others, and Co-Director of PEN America’s Birmingham Chapter. She is currently working on a novel-like creature. For more information, visit

D.S. Waldman’s poems, essays, and fiction have appeared in Kenyon Review, LitHub, Los Angeles Review of Books, and many other publications. Recipient of Poetry Society of America’s Lucille Medwick Memorial Award, his work has been supported by San Diego State University, where he was a Marsh-Rebelo Scholar, SFMOMA, and Stanford University, where he is a Wallace Stegner Fellow. He serves as poetry editor at Adroit. For more information, visit