Meet Our Contributors | Issue 60.4 | Fall 2021 | Why We Write – Michigan Quarterly Review

Meet Our Contributors | Issue 60.4 | Fall 2021 | Why We Write

DR. VICTORIA M. ABBOUD holds a PhD from Wayne State University and teaches international students in computer science and engineering at the University of Windsor. Her piece, “Lessons,” won first place for nonfiction in the 2021 “Read at the Fringe” contest at the Eden Mills Writers’ Festival. Her writing traces the trauma of longing and the complexities of generational memory as experienced through distinct yet connected communities and cultural identities. She lives in Windsor, Ontario.

Poet, novelist, translator, critic, and scholar AMMIEL ALCALAY’s recent books include A Dove in Free Flight: Selected Poems of Faraj Bayrakdar, coedited with Shareah Taleghani and the New York Translation Collective; Ghost Talk; and A Bibliography for “After Jews and Arabs.” He was given a 2017 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for his work as founder and general editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative (

KHALIFA AL-FAKHRI (1942– 2001) is considered one of the most important short story writers in Libya. His work has been published in Libyan magazines Al-Haqeeqah, Al-Usbou Al-Thaqafi, Al-Thaqafah Al-Arabiah, Benghazi News, and the Four Seasons Magazine.

KHALED AL-HILLI is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature. His dissertation focuses on transnational war narratives, specifically on the production and circulation of novels written by Iraqi and American writers after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq.

AYELET AMITTAY is a psychiatric nurse practitioner specializing in perinatal mental health in Eugene, Oregon. Her poems have most recently appeared in NELLE, Pendemics Journal, and the Orange Lining project in Portland, Oregon. She is the recipient of a TENT Fellowship and a MVICW Parent-Writer Fellowship in Poetry.

EVAN ANDERS brews coffee for mass consumption in Philadelphia. His poems have appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, California Quarterly, decomp journal, Chicago Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. He is a retired stay-at-home dad who thinks Bob Dylan was best in the eighties. Visit Evan online at

ADDISON BALE is an artist and writer from New York City. Currently, he contributes to The Quarterless Review online, where his column, “Shedding,” is focused on experimental approaches to art writing and biography. Recent work can be found on his website at

S. ERIN BATISTE is an interdisciplinary poet, storyteller, and author of the chapbook Glory to All Fleeting Things. This year she is the recipient of the PERIPLUS, Jack Straw Writers, and dots between fellowships and is a Writer in Residence at Prairie Ronde and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation. Batiste is a reader for The Rumpus and her own Pushcart-nominated poems are anthologized and appear internationally in wildness and Puerto del Sol, among other publications.

VICTORIA CHANG’s poetry books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. Her children’s books include Is Mommy?, illustrated by Marla Frazee, and Love, Love, a middle grade novel. She lives in Los Angeles and serves as the program chair of Antioch’s low-residency MFA program. (Photo Credit: Isaac Fitzgerald)

DON MEE CHOI is a poet and translator. Her most recent book, DMZ Colony (Wave Books, 2020), received the National Book Award for Poetry. (Photo Credit: SONG Got)

KYLE DANIEL-BEY joined Writer’s Block in 2012 when he was incarcerated at Macomb Correctional Facility. He was arrested at age seventeen and sentenced to natural life. He was resentenced in accordance with the US Supreme Court’s “Miller decision” and released in 2018 at age forty-three. He is an ironworker with Ironworkers Local #25 and a board member of the Youth Arts Alliance.

WHITNEY DEVOS is the translator of Notes Toward a Pamphlet by Sergio Chejfec and The Semblable by Chantal Maillard (both with Ugly Duckling Presse, 2020) as well as co-translator, with Valeria Meiller, of A Year in the Sky (Triana, 2019). Her short-form translations have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Latin American Literature Today, Full Stop, Chicago Review, and elsewhere. An assistant poetry editor for Asymptote, she lives in Mexico City.

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. He is the author of the poetry and essay collections someone’s dead already, Heaven Is All Goodbyes, Waiting Behind Tornados for Food, and the forthcoming Blood on the Fog. He is San Francisco’s eighth poet laureate.

DENNIS ETZEL JR. lives with Carrie and the boys in Topeka, Kansas, where he teaches English at Washburn University. He has numerous books, including My Secret Wars of 1984 (BlazeVOX, 2015), which was selected by The Kansas City Star as a Best Poetry Book of 2015. His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Puerto del Sol, Fugue, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of forms, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, and others.

ARIEL FRANCISCO is the author of A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship (Burrow Press, 2020) and All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press, 2017). A poet and translator born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents and raised in Miami, his work has been published in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, The Academy of American Poets, The New York City Ballet, Latino Book Review, and elsewhere.

ALFONSO GATTO (1909–1976) was one of Italy’s most important modern poets, especially as a voice for the resistance to Mussolini during World War II. But for the poet, who was imprisoned for anti-fascist activities, resistance was a way of being rather than a response to political circumstances. He wrote, “To resist means to oppose a force that works against us, threatens to overpower us and that invites us to retreat.” Gatto was one of a second generation of Hermetic poets, following in the tradition of Eugenio Montale, who was one of his greatest supporters. Gatto was also a painter, and his art influenced his rich verbal portraits of the land he called “la terra dipinta.”

KEVIN GERRY DUNN is a Spanish/English translator whose recent projects include Countersexual Manifesto by Paul B. Preciado and Easy Reading by Cristina Morales (for which he received a PEN/Heim Grant and an English PEN Translates Award) as well as works by Daniela Tarazona, Ousman Umar, and Cristian Perfumo. His shorter translations have appeared in Granta, Asymptote, and Latin American Literature Today.

APRIL GIBSON is a poet, essayist, and educator whose work has appeared in Green Mountains Review, The Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, PANK, Literary Mama, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her family.

DIANE GLANCY is professor emerita at Macalester College. Her recent books include Island of the Innocent: A Consideration of the Book of Job, A Line of Driftwood: The Ada Blackjack Story, and Home Is the Road, Driving the Land, Shaping the Spirit.

EDDIE P. GOMEZ is proud to have spent most of his life on the flatlands of California’s Central Valley. He is currently working on his forthcoming book, Chasing Life: A Memoir on Movement, People, Coffee, and Food. He holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Fresno State. His writing has appeared in Post Road Magazine; Your Impossible Voice; Flies, Cockroaches, and Poets; Small Print Magazine; and 34thParallel Magazine.

PRESTON GRALLA is an award-winning fiction writer, author, and journalist. He has been awarded a fiction fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, published short stories in magazines including Fiction Attic Press, and has written for publications including the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and The Dallas Morning News. His more than forty books of nonfiction have been translated into twenty languages.

EMILY GREENBERG’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Iowa Review, Witness, Santa Monica Review, Chicago Quarterly Review, and the tenth anniversary edition of New Stories from the Midwest, edited by MichaelMartone. A graduate of Ohio State’s MFA program, she has been honored withthe Witness Literary Award in Fiction, with a Pushcart Prize Special Mention,and as second runner-upin Glimmer Train’s Fiction Open.

MARILYN HACKER is the author of fourteen books of poems, including Blazons (2019) and A Stranger’s Mirror (2015); a collaborative book, Diaspo/Renga, written with Deema K. Shehabi (2014); and an essay collection, Unauthorized Voices (2010). Her translations of French and Francophone poets include Samira Negrouche’s The Olive Trees’ Jazz (2020) and Claire Malroux’s Daybreak (2020). The collaborative poems featured in this issue are excerpted from the forthcoming A Different Distance (Milkweed Editions, 2021).

ERIKA HOWSARE’s second book, How is Travel a Folded Form?, was published in 2018 by Saddle Road Press. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared in Fence, Verse, Conjunctions, Longreads, The Rumpus, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, among other outlets. She is working on a nonfiction book about the relations between people and deer, to be published by Catapult Books in 2024.

KIM HYESOON is one of the most prominent contemporary poets of South Korea. Her recent poetry in translation includes A Drink of Red Mirror (Action Books, 2019) and Autobiography of Death (New Directions, 2018), which won the 2019 International Griffin Poetry Prize.

KIESE LAYMON is a Black southern writer from Jackson, Mississippi. Laymon is the author of the genre-bending novel Long Division and the essay collection How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America. Laymon’s bestselling memoir, Heavy: An American Memoir, won the 2019 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, the 2018 Christopher Isherwood Prize for Autobiographical Prose, and the Austen Riggs Erikson Prize for Excellence in Mental Health Media and was named one of the 50 Best Memoirs of the Past 50 Years by The New York Times.

WALTER LUCKEN IV is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Writing at Wayne State University.

LOREDANA MIHANI is a PhD student, originally from Albania, studying English Romanticism at the University of Graz. She received her BA in 2015 from John Cabot University in Rome and a Master of Studies in English from Oxford University through the Ertegun Graduate Scholarship Programme. Her solo translations of poems by Moikom Zeqo have appeared in Asymptote.

WAYNE MILLER is the author of five poetry collections, most recently We the Jury (Milkweed, 2021) and Post- (2016), which won the Rilke Prize andthe Colorado Book Award. He has co-translated two books by Moikom Zeqo,most recently Zodiac (Zephyr, 2015), which was shortlisted for the PENCenter USA Award in Translation. He teaches at the University of ColoradoDenver, co-directs the Unsung Masters Series, and edits Copper Nickel.

TAN TUCK MING is an essayist, poet, and MFA graduate of the University of Iowa. Born in Singapore and raised in New Zealand, he is currently interested in the shifting structure of the family, especially in the context of migration, displacement, and welfare. His work has been published or is forthcoming in The Rumpus, Speculative Nonfiction, The Pantograph Punch, and other publications.

CRISTINA MORALES is the author of four novels including Lectura fácil (forthcoming in English as Easy Reading), for which she received two of Spain’s most important awards. She is currently in residence at the Spanish RoyalAcademy in Rome and was recently included among Granta’s “Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists.” She works with the contemporary dance company Iniciativa Sexual Femenina and is executive producer of the punk band At-Asko.

MATEO MORRISON was born in Santo Domingo in 1946 to a Dominican mother and Jamaican father. A poet, lawyer, and essayist, he was awarded the Premio Nacional de Literatura in 2010, the Dominican Republic’s highest literary honor.

Among modern Italian poets, LISA MULLENNEAUX has translated Anna Maria Carpi, Amelia Rosselli, Patrizia Cavalli, and Maria Attanasio. She is the author of Naples’ Little Women: The Fiction of Elena Ferrante, lives in Manhattan, and teaches writing for the University of Maryland Global Campus.

KARTHIKA NAIR is the author of several books including the award-winning Until the Lions: Echoes from the Mahabharata and the invented fable The Honey Hunter, illustrated by Joëlle Jolivet. The dance performances she has scripted and co-scripted have been staged at venues across the world, including Sadler’s Wells (London), Esplanade (Singapore), and Lincoln Center (New York). Also a dance producer and programmer, Nair has had a long and close association with Belgian-Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. The collaborative poems featured in this issue are excerpted from the forthcoming A Different Distance (Milkweed Editions, 2021). (Photo Credit: Koen Broos)

ANDREW NAVARRO lives in Southern California where he works as a history teacher. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Kelp Journal; Cutthroat, a Journal of the Arts; The Ice Colony; Carve; Air/Light; and ZYZZYVA. He lives with his wife and two daughters.

JULIANNE NEELY received her MFA degree from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she received the Truman Capote Fellowship, the 2017 John Logan Poetry Prize, and a Schupes Fellowship for Poetry. She is currently a Poetics PhD student and an English Department Fellow at the University at Buffalo. Her writing has been published in Hyperallergic, VIDA, The Poetry Project, The Rumpus, The Iowa Review, and other journals. She has chapbooks out with Slope Editions, Garden-Door Press, and Foundlings Press.

ESTEBAN OLOARTE is a North American poet. His poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Massachusetts Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, and Blackbird. Transistor, his first book, is forthcoming in 2021 from Broadstone Books. He is currently living in Mexico City, helping his mom with the family taco stand.

KRISTIN PALM is the author of a poetry collection, The Straits, and co-editor of and contributor to Absent but Present: Voices from the Writer’s Block. Her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, Metropolis, the San Francisco Chronicle, and elsewhere. She has taught writing in schools and community venues in Detroit and the San Francisco Bay Area.

NASSER RABAH was born in Gaza in 1963 and earned his BA in Agricultural Science in 1985 before going on to work as director of the Communication Department in the Agriculture Ministry. He is a member of the Palestinian Writers and Authors Union and has published five collections of poetry—Running After Dead Gazelles (2003), One of Nobody (2010), Passersby with Invisible Clothes (2013), Water Thirsty for Water (2016), and Eulogy for the Robin (2020)—and a novel, Since approximately an hour (2018). Some of his poems have been translated into English, French, and Hebrew.

MARGARET RANDALL is a US feminist poet, essayist, and translator. She was recently awarded Ecuador’s “Poet of Two Hemispheres Prize” and Cuba’s Haydée Santamaría Medal. Among her recent titles is I Never Left Home: Poet, Feminist, Revolutionary.

ELSA SAADE is a political artist, aspiring historian, and mobilizer from Beirut, Lebanon. Currently based in New York City, she works in the field of grantmaking with Urgent Action Fund for Feminist Activism and dedicates her life to translating radical politics and academic work into music, performance, puppetry, radical governance, and action.

HIND SHOUFANI is a Palestinian American filmmaker, writer, and poet. As a Fulbright Scholar, she holds an MFA in filmmaking from New York University and attended the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Her work won a BAFTA and was nominated for an Oscar, and she is currently finishing her second documentary feature. She authored two poetry books and edited two anthologies of literary essays, poetry, and photography. Hind has lived in Damascus, Amman, Beirut, New York City, and Dubai but maintains her ancestral Palestinian identity at the center of her being and work.

NAOMI SHUYAMA-GÓMEZ is a writer based in the greater New York City area. Her fiction and poetry appear in The Florida Review, the Minnesota review, Mount Hope, Reflex Fiction, and Rigorous. She’s received scholarships/fellowships from CRIT Works, LLC, Kundiman, Immigrant Writers’ Workshop, New York State Summer Writers Institute, and Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

CECILIA SOLÁ is an Argentinean feminist and writer with three short story collections to her credit. She is also a middle school teacher, mother of three, and member of the Ni una menos (Not one [woman] less) feminist resistance movement. Her work supports human rights, the struggle against violence against women, and a new vision of education. Her short story, “Empty Womb,” was first published in an anthology in 2014.

LAURA STEPHENSON is an editor who holds a BA in Philosophy and Creative Writing from the University of Victoria. Laura is also a Virgo, a lifelong student, and professional wine taster. Her work can be found in Allegory Ridge, Book XI, Goats Milk Magazine, and Cathexis Northwest Press. Recently, she co-authored and published a case study on mental health for first responders. Laura is lucky to live on Vancouver Island with her husband and wild sons.

BETHANY SWANN is a PhD student studying Asian diasporas and contemporary lyric poetry at the University of Pennsylvania. Her chapbook DIADEM ME was published by MIEL in 2014. She holds an MDiv from Yale University and an MFA from Indiana University and is regional co-chair of Kundiman Northeast.

KENNETH TELLO joined Writer’s Block in 2019. His poetry has appeared in the anthology Absent but Present: Voices from the Writer’s Block and in the Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing, for which he is now a volunteer. After twenty-one years in the Michigan Department of Corrections system, he was released in August 2020 at age thirty-seven.

MARTÍN [ JACINTO MEZA] TONALMEYOTL is a Nahua poet, prose writer, teacher, translator, radio host, and anthologist who has dedicated his career to the greater circulation of languages autochthonous to Mexico and the greater Americas. His bilingual poetry collections, written in Atzacoaloya Náhuatl and self-translated into Spanish, include Tlalkatsajtsilistle / Ritual delos olvidados (Ediciones Jaguar, 2016), Nosentlalilxochitlajtol / Antología personal (Asociación de Escritores de México AC, 2017), and Istitsin ueyeatsintle /Uña mar (Cisnegro, 2019).

PRISCILLA WATHINGTON is a Palestinian American writer, editor, and human rights advocate. Her poems, book reviews, and other writings have appeared or are forthcoming in Al Jadid magazine, +972 Magazine, Gulf Coast, Matter, The Normal School, Rosebud magazine, The Baltimore Review, Mizna, Sukoon, Spark+Echo Arts, LEVELER, and Bird’s Thumb. Her chapbook, Paper and Stick, is forthcoming with Tram Editions.

KLEITIA ZEQO is Moikom Zeqo’s daughter, born in Durrës, Albania, and currently living in Amsterdam. In 2009, she received a BA with honors in European Studies from Royal Holloway, University of London. Since 2012, she has worked as an arts and nonprofit consultant.

MOIKOM ZEQO, born in Durrës, Albania, in 1949, was one of the most prominent writers and public intellectuals in Albania. Over the course of his life, he published nearly one hundred books, including poetry and fiction, archaeological and historical monographs, and children’s books. In 2019, he was named a Knight of the Order of Skanderbeg (Kalorës i Urdhërit të Skënderbeut), one of the highest civilian honors an Albanian can receive. Two of his poetry collections have been translated and published in the United States: Zodiac (Zephyr, 2015), which was shortlisted for the PEN Center USA Award in Translation, and I Don’t Believe in Ghosts (BOA, 2007). Zeqo died in 2020 in Tirana.

EMNA ZGHAL is a Tunisian-born, US-based visual artist. Her work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in the United States, Tunisia, France, Finland, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, India, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates. Her works are included in the collections of the New York Public Library, Yale University, the Museum for African Art in New York, Grinnell College, and numerous other public and private collections in the United States and Tunisia.

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