Meet Our Contributors, MQR 54:3 – Michigan Quarterly Review

Meet Our Contributors, MQR 54:3


Eavan BolandEavan Boland, “A Light By Which We May See”

Boland is the author of many books of poetry and nonfiction. Her most recent volume of poems is A Woman without a Country (WW Norton, 2014). She has been the recipient of a Lannan Foundation Award in Poetry, an American Ireland Fund Literary Award, a Jacob’s Award for her involvement in The Arts Programme broadcast on RTÉ Radio, and an honorary degree from Trinity. She teaches at Stanford University, where she serves as Director of the Creative Writing Program.

Sara J. Grossman, “Ordinary Bodies”

Grossman’s poems and essays have been published in Guernica, VerseDaily, the Cincinnati Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Memorious, In Media Res, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships from the MacDowell Colony, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Hedgebrook, and the Smithsonian. She holds an MFA in creative writing (poetry) and is currently a doctoral candidate in American Studies at Rutgers University. She lives in New York City. Follow her on Twitter @sagrossman.

Hasanthika SirisenaHasanthika Sirisena, “Confessions of a Dark Tourist”

Sirisena’s essays and stories have appeared in The Globe and Mail, WSQ, Narrative, The Kenyon Review, Glimmer Train, Epoch, StoryQuarterly, Narrative and other magazines. Her work has been anthologized in Best New American Voices, and named a notable story by Best American Short Stories in 2011 and 2012. She is a recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. In 2008 she received a Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award. She is currently an associate fiction editor at West Branch magazine and teaches creative writing at the City College of New York and for Gotham Writer’s Workshop. She is the winner of the 2015 Juniper Prize for Fiction. Her short story collection, The Other One, will be published in early 2016. Find out more at

David ScobeyDavid Scobey: “E Pluribus Plenum: Why We (the People) Need the Humanities”

Scobey is an American Studies scholar, active in the movement for civic and community engagement in higher education. He founded the Arts of Citizenship Program at the University of Michigan and recently served as Executive Dean of The New School for Public Engagement at The New School in New York City. He holds a Ph.D. in American studies from Yale, where he also received his BA degree, and a diploma in social anthropology from Oxford, where he studied as Rhodes Scholar. Follow him on Twitter @DavidScobey.

Carolyne WrightCarolyne Wright, “Keeping Watch in the Luminous Dark: Poems of Ruby Rahman”

Wright’s new book is the ground-breaking anthology, Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace (Lost Horse Press, 2015). She has nine other books of poetry, four volumes of poetry in translation from Spanish and Bengali, and a book of essays. Wright lived in Chile and traveled in Brazil on a Fulbright Grant during the presidency of Salvador Allende; and spent four years on fellowships in India and Bangladesh, translating Bengali women poets. Volumes of Bengali translation published so far include Another Spring, Darkness: Selected Poems of Anuradha Mahapatra (Calyx Books); The Game in Reverse: Poems of Taslima Nasrin (George Braziller); and the anthology, Majestic Nights: Love Poems by Bengali Women (White Pine Press, 2008). After serving as visiting poet at universities around the country, Wright returned to her native Seattle in 2005 and teaches for the Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA Program and at Hugo House. She is also a Contributing Editor for the Pushcart Prizes and a Senior Editor for Lost Horse Press.


Paige CooperPaige Cooper, “Preoccupants”

Cooper won honorable mention in Gulf Coast’s 2015 Fiction Prize. Stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Briarpatch, The Fiddlehead, The Incongruous Quarterly, and Matrix. She holds a BFA from the University of British Columbia and has participated in workshops at Bread Loaf and the Banff Centre. In 2012 she was writer-in-residence at NOASS Arts and Culture Project in Riga, Latvia. She lives in Montreal, where she works as a librarian at a record label. Follow her on Twitter @paigesaracooper.

IMG_1540.JPGB.G. Firmani, “Hung Over at the Reykjavik Nóatún”

Firmani has published fiction in the Bellevue Literary Review, BOMB, The Brooklyner, the Kenyon Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Philadelphia Stories, and Word Riot. Her short story “To the Garden” was chosen as winner of the Marguerite McGlinn National Fiction Prize from Philadelphia Stories in 2011. She is a graduate of Barnard College and Brown University, has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and is a 2012 Fellow in Fiction from the New York Foundation for the Arts. She lives with her husband in New York City, and writes a blog about Italian-American literature and folkways called Forte e Gentile. Find out more at or follow her on Twitter @bgfirmani.

James MorrisonJames Morrison, “The Sufferings of Children”

Morrison is the author of Broken Fever (St. Martin’s Press, 2001), The Lost Girl (Parlor Press, 2007), Everyday Ghosts (Gemma Media, 2011), and several nonfiction books on film. His collection of short stories, Said and Done (Dzanc Books / Black Lawrence Press), was a 2010 finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. He lives in Southern California and teaches film and literature at Claremont McKenna College. (A previous interview with Morrison is available on the MQR Blog.) Find out more at

Brenda PeynadoBrenda Peynado, “American Ships”

Peynado’s stories have been selected for the O. Henry Prize Stories 2015 and have won prizes from the Nelson Algren Award, the Glimmer Train Fiction Open Contest, and others. Her work appears in the Threepenny Review, Pleiades, Black Warrior Review, Mid-American Review, Colorado Review, Shenandoah, and elsewhere. She is currently a PhD student at the University of Cincinnati. Find out more at or follow her on Twitter @BrendaPeynado.

Sharon PomerantzSharon Pomerantz, “Friending Elise”

Pomerantz’s first novel, Rich Boy, was the 2011 winner of the National Jewish Book Award for Debut Fiction and was on several “best of the year” lists, including those by Entertainment Weekly and Booklist. Her short fiction has appeared in the Best American Short Stories series, on Selected Shorts at Symphony Space, and in numerous literary journals and anthologies. As a nonfiction writer she has written for the Forward, Hadassah Magazine and The Chicago Tribune. She teaches writing at the University of Michigan and is at work on her second novel. Find out more at or follow her on Twitter @sharonpomerantz.

Karen Wunsch 2Karen Wunsch, “Half-Kidding”

Wunsch’s stories and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Ascent, Beloit Fiction Journal, Chautauqua, Columbia Journal, Confrontation, Epoch, Hotel Amerika, The Literary Review, Willow Springs, and other publications. One of her essays was selected as a Notable Essay of the Year in Best American Essays 2014.


Timothy LiuTimothy Liu: “De Rerum Natura”

Liu is the author of nine books of poems, including Of Thee I Sing, selected by Publishers Weekly as a 2004 Book-of-the-Year; Say Goodnight, a 1998 PEN Open Book Margins Award; and Vox Angelica, which won the 1992 Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. He has also edited Word of Mouth: An Anthology of Gay American Poetry. Translated into ten languages, Liu’s poems have appeared in such places as Best American Poetry, Bomb, Grand Street, Kenyon Review, The Nation, New American Writing, Paris Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, The Pushcart Prize, Virginia Quarterly Review and The Yale Review. His latest book of poems is Don’t Go Back to Sleep. Liu is Professor of English at William Paterson University in New Jersey and lives in New York City with his husband. Find out more at

Ruby RahmanRuby Rahman (translated by Carolyne Wright with Syed Manzoorul Islam): “Still Life,” “In Your Eyes,” “Moonstruck,” “The First Line”

Rahman has published several books of poetry and is among the most highly regarded poets active in Bangladesh today. In English translation her poems have appeared in Chelsea, the Iowa Review, the Kenyon Review, Poetry, and the anthology Majestic Nights: Love Poems of Bengali Women (White Pine Press, 2008). Syed Manzoorul IslamSince the suspicious death of her husband, a leader of the Bangladesh movement for workers’ rights, Rahman has taken up his work as a member of the Bangladesh Parliament.

Islam has written dozens of critical books and essays, as well as novels, short stories and journalism. He is one of the nation’s leading intellectuals and spokespersons for democracy and human rights.

Danez SmithDanez Smith: “Sleeping Beauty in the Hood,” “A History of Violence in the Hood,” “I’m Going Back to Minnesota Where Sadness Makes Sense”

Smith is the author of [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, & Don’t Call Us Dead, forthcoming from Graywolf Press in 2017. He is also the author of two chapbooks, hands on your knees (Penmanship Books, 2013) and black movie (Button Poetry, 2015), winner of the Button Poetry Prize. His writing has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Blavity, Buzzfeed, Narrative, Ploughshares, and Poetry. He was the recipient of a 2014 Ruth Lilly/Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, and is a Cave Canem, VONA, and McKnight Foundation Fellow in addition to being featured in the Academy of American Poets’ Emerging Poets Series. He is an MFA candidate at the University of Michigan. Find out more at or follow him on Twitter @Danez_Smif.

Xiao KaiyuXiao Kaiyu (translated by Christopher Lupke): “Zhongjiang County (1991)”

Kaiyu is Professor of Chinese at Henan University in China. The pensiveness and linguistic density of his verse has made him one of the most influential and challenging poets in contemporary China.

Christopher LupkeLupke is Professor of Chinese and Cinema Studies at Washington State University. A prolific translator, his work has appeared in Chinese PEN, Taiwan Literature, New England Review, Five Points, Free Verse, E-Ratio, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Eleven Eleven, Epiphany, and various anthologies.

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