LeJuane Bowens, Associate Editor

LeJuane (El’Ja) Bowens is an award-winning spoken word poet, host, speaker, workshop facilitator, and author. Born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Lima, Ohio, El’Ja joined the United States Army in 2000. During his six years of service, which included two deployments to Iraq, El’Ja began to commit his thoughts to paper. Since then, he has gone on to become the 2009 McDonald’s Food For Thought Poetry Slam Champion, winner of the 2010 ECU Survival of the Illest Poetry Slam, and the first poet to have his work in the Obama Art Museum located in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2014, he was recognized as the first NC Poet to compete in three different Grand Slam Finals in three different cities & win ALL three slams (Fayetteville, Charlotte, and Durham), and along with the Bull City Slam Team, won the 22nd Southern Fried Poetry Slam and placed second the following year. In 2015, El’Ja was nominated for Spoken Word Artist of the Year at the 5th Annual National Poetry Awards.

He is one of the founders and is the director for the Southeastern Regional NC Poetry Festival held once a year in Fayetteville, NC, and he is a featured poet on Poetry Slam Inc and All Def Poetry on YouTube.

El’Ja is also the author of the poetry books, So Many Things to Say: A Collection of Poems, Anywhere…But Here, and Blerd Lines. He was the recipient of the Rising Star Male Poet Award for the State of North Carolina and overall recipient of the award for the 2016 GANSPA Awards. He is also host of an event called the Nerd Slam, which he has facilitated at the Southern Fried Poetry Slam, National Poetry Slam, and numerous ComicCon events across the US.

He has performed at numerous festivals such as the Arts in the Heart of Augusta Festival and Big Ears Festival, and he has headlined the Book’em NC Book Festival, Homegrown Festival and the National Folk Festival, sharing the stage with the likes of poets such as Georgia Me, Sunni Patterson, Abyss, and Shihan Van Clief.

Michael Colonnese, Founding Editor

Michael is both a fiction writer and a poet. He has published a mystery novel, Sex and Death, I Suppose, a poetry chapbook, Temporary Agency, and a full-length poetry collection, Double Feature. His poems, short stories, and creative-nonfiction have appeared in many literary journals. He holds a Ph D. from the State University of New York at Binghamton.

Kate Fetherston, Associate Editor

Kate Fetherston lives in Montpelier, Vermont, where she works as a poet, visual artist, and psychotherapist. Her first poetry collection, Until Nothing More Can Break, was published in 2012, and she has co-edited two anthologies: Open Book: Essays from the Postgraduate Writing Conference, and Manthology: Poems on the Male Experience. Her essays and poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Nimrod, Third Coast, Hunger Mountain, and North American Review. She has received several Pushcart nominations as well as artist grants from Vermont Studio Center and the Vermont Council on the Arts. For more information, visit https://katefetherston.com/home.html.

Robin Greene, Founding Editor

Robin Greene is a retired Professor of English and Writing, and Director of the Writing Center at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC, where she held the McLean Endowed Chair in English from 2013-2016. Robin has published two collections of poetry (Memories of Light and Lateral Drift), two editions of a nonfiction book (Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories), and two novels (Augustus: Narrative of a Slave Woman and The Shelf Life of Fire). Robin is a past recipient of a North Carolina-National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Writing and has received two teaching awards. She’s also given over a hundred academic presentations, literary readings, and writing workshops, and she continues to publish works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in magazines and literary journals. Robin is cofounder of Longleaf Press and cofounder of Sandhills Dharma Group. She holds an M.A. in English from Binghamton University, an M.F.A. in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Art, and a Yoga Teaching Certificate (RYT200) from Asheville Yoga Center.

Lenard D. Moore, Associate Editor

Lenard D. Moore is a poet, anthologist, founder and executive director of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective, and U.S. Army veteran. He was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina and is author of A Temple Looming (WordTech Editions, 2008), Desert Storm: A Brief History (Los Hombres Press, 1993), Forever Home (St. Andrews College Press, 1992), The Open Eye (North Carolina Haiku Society Press, 1985; Mountains & Rivers Press, 2015), and The Geography of Jazz (Mountains & Rivers Press, 2018; Blair Publishers, 2020), among other books. He is the editor of One Window’s Light: A Collection of Haiku (Unicorn Press, 2017), All the Songs We Sing: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective (Blair Publishers, 2020), and other books. His haiku chapbook, Gathering at the Crossroads (Red Moon Press, 2003), is a collaboration with photographer and Black Arts Movement poet Eugene B. Redmond. Moore also cofounded the Washington Street Writers Group. He is former president of Haiku Society of America (2008 and 2009) and longtime executive chairman of the North Carolina Haiku Society (since 1994). He earned his BA in liberal studies with a minor in English from Shaw University. He also earned his MA in English and African-American literature from North Carolina A&T State University. His poems have appeared in Callaloo, African American Review, Agni, Artful Dodge, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Blues Revue Quarterly, Blues Access, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, and elsewhere. His poems have also appeared in textbooks and in more than one hundred anthologies, including Haiku in English: The First Hundred Years (Norton, 2013), The Haiku Anthology (Norton, 1999), Catch the Fire!!!: A Cross-Generational Anthology of Contemporary African-American Poetry (Riverhead, 1998), Spirit & Flame: An Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (Syracuse University Press, 1997), and Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African-American Poetry (Penguin USA/Mentor, 1997).

George Rawlins, Associate Editor

George Rawlins grew up in rural southeastern Ohio. He has a BA from Ohio University, attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and received an MFA from the University of California, Irvine. He has published poetry in such magazines as The Common, Illuminations, New Critique, Nine MilePlainsongs, and Spinning Jenny. He lives with his wife in southern California and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Shannon C. Ward, Executive Editor

Raised in a renovated slaughterhouse on the outskirts of Wilmington, Ohio, Shannon C. Ward is author of the poetry chapbook, Blood Creek. She is a recipient of the 2020 Inez Easley Educator of the Year Award from the Fayetteville-Cumberland Human Relations Commission, America’s 2016 Foley Poetry Prize, the 2016 Prize in Southern Poetry from White Oak Kitchen, and a 2013 Nazim Hikmet Poetry Prize. Her work has received generous support from Willapa Bay AiR, Yaddo, Norton Island, Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, and the Anderson Center. She received her MFA in poetry from The North Carolina State University in 2009, and her work has appeared in New Ohio Review, Great River Review, Tar River Poetry, and others.

Roger Weingarten, Editor-in-Chief

Roger Weingarten is the author of 11 poetry collections, including Ethan Benjamin Boldt, Knopf, Ghost wrestling, Godine, and The Four Gentlemen and Their Footman, Longleaf, 2015. Co-editor: 8 poetry and prose anthologies, he’s taught & read at conferences, poetry festivals, & universities internationally. Founder/Senior Professor MFA in Writing & Postgraduate Writers’ Conference at Vermont College 1981-2008, his awards include: a Pushcart Prize, 3 Vermont Council on the Arts Grants, a Louisville Review Poetry Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship , an Ingram Merrill Award in Literature. His poems, stories, essays have appeared in magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, The New Republic, Poetry East, The Stonewall Book of Short Fictions, Paris Review, Nine Mile, and Numero Cinq.