Meet the editors, readers, and interns whose work—from discovering up-and-coming authors to assembling engaging new issues—makes MQR the vibrant journal it is today.
Editor-in-Chief: Khaled Mattawa
Khaled Mattawa is the author of four books of poetry, Tocqueville (New Issues Press, 2010), Amorisco (Ausable Press, 2008), Zodiac of Echoes (Ausable Press, 2003), and Ismailia Eclipse (Sheep Meadow Press, 1996). He is also the author of Mahmoud Darwish: The Poet’s Art and His Nation, a critical study of the great Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, published by Syracuse University Press. He has translated nine books of contemporary Arabic poetry by Adonis, Saadi Youssef, Fadhil Al-Azzawi, Hatif Janabi, Maram Al-Massri, Joumana Haddad, Amjad Nasser, and Iman Mersal. Mattawa has co-edited two anthologies of Arab American literature. Mattawa has been awarded the Academy of American Poet’s Fellowship Prize, the PEN-American Center award for poetry translation, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Alfred Hodder fellowship from Princeton University, an NEA translation grant, and three Pushcart prizes. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Kenyon Review, Antioch Review, Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. Mattawa was born in Benghazi, Libya and immigrated to the United States in his teens.
Poetry Editor: Constanza Contreras
Constanza Contreras is a PhD candidate in the English at the University of Michigan. Her dissertation project looks at racial configurations in the Americas from a hemispheric lens to complicate notions of Latinidad that have historically erased indigeneity and blackness. She focuses on visual and literary narratives and their lingering effects on the racial dynamics of contemporary nation states, and the intersections of race, gender and global indigeneities. Originally from Chile, Constanza is now living in Dublin, Ireland after four years of being lost in the American Midwest. A poet and illustrator, her work was recently featured in the anthology The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT.
On what kind of submissions she’s looking for: “I am interested in poetry that speaks of the intimately but knows how these moments are tethered into a bigger fabric, whatever it may be: family, society, history, and story. Poetry that knows itself to be alive. I am looking for poems that will excite my senses, that will serve as spaces where to tackle the complexities of this bodily existence and that will leave me with more questions than answers. Poems that understand the porosity of borders. Poems that will defy the lines between materiality and language, body and nature, and that will force an undoing but offer a hand for remaking.“
Fiction Editor: Polly Rosenwaike
Polly Rosenwaike’s story collection, Look How Happy I’m Making You, was published by Doubleday in 2019. Her fiction has appeared in the O. Henry Prize Stories, Glimmer Train, New York Magazine’s The Cut, Colorado Review, New England Review, and other journals. Book reviews and essays have appeared in the New York Times Book Review, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Millions, Lit Hub, and Dame Magazine. She currently works as a freelance editor in Ann Arbor.
On what kind of submissions she’s looking for:“Literature contains more intimacy than life,” Lorrie Moore said. I’m looking for stories and essays that draw the reader into an intimate relationship with a voice, a consciousness—that give us characters who feel particular and alive. I want to laugh, and cry, and marvel at how the writer has managed to capture truths big and small.
Nonfiction Editor: Caroline Fernelius
Caroline Fernelius is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Michigan, where she works at the intersection of 19th century American literature and art historical writing. Her poems have appeared in Storyscape Journal, Burningword Literary Journal, Faultline Journal of Arts and Letters, and White Wall Review. You can find her prose in The Decadent Review and The New Southern Fugitives. A graduate of Duke University, Caroline is the recipient of an American Academy of Poets University & College Prize.
On what kind of submissions she’s looking for: “I am especially interested in inventive prose that is as surprising as it is beautiful. Experimentation is great, but it should always be in the service of the project’s overriding consciousness. I tend to gravitate towards work that feels unsettled in some way and enjoy language that inspires (or enacts!) feelings of bewilderment, confusion, or disruption.”
Online Editor: Daniel Weaver
Daniel Weaver is a PhD student in the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where he studies the novel and twentieth-century theories of politics and aesthetics. He was a 2019-20 Fulbright Fellow to the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing and has written about culture and books for SupChina, Radii, and the Washington Review of Books.
On what kind of submissions he’s looking for: “I am looking for writing that is serious, playful, and, above all, curious about literature, culture, and the arts. Essays and interviews should care deeply about their subject, whoever or whatever it is, and find a way to share that commitment with readers. Writing that aspires to be funny, but not cruel, and smart, but not pretentious, is always and especially welcome.”
Managing Editor: H.R. Webster
H.R. Webster is a poet and educator from New England. She holds a BA from Vassar College and an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. Webster has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Vermont Studio Center, Art Farm, and InsideOut Detroit Literary Arts. She has taught writing in prisons, secondary schools, museums, and colleges around New England and the Midwest, and currently teaches at the University of Michigan. Her work has appeared in Massachusetts Review, Poetry, Ecotone, Black Warrior Review, Seattle Review, Ninth Letter, and other journals.
Assistant Managing Editor: Aaron J. Stone
Aaron J. Stone is a PhD candidate in English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan. Their primary research interests span queer and trans studies, modernist studies, and narrative theory. Stone’s dissertation project, Desires for Form, explores the social crisis of form that nascent queer communities faced in early twentieth-century America as queer people tried to imagine what shapes their lives might take. The project investigates how these subjects turned to narrative to work out their desires for form. Stone has also written a chapter for the edited collection The Cultural Impact of RuPaul’s Drag Race: Why Are We All Gagging? (Intellect Books, 2021). Their work on Charles Chesnutt and American sexology is forthcoming in GLQ.
Connor Greer is an MFA candidate in fiction at the University of Michigan. He grew up in Rochester, NY and lived, until recently, in Portland, OR, where he attended Reed College. He often has trouble sleeping, but sometimes it goes the other way around.
You can read Connor’s work in MQR here.
Annesha Mitha is an MFA candidate at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. Her work is published or forthcoming in The Kenyon Review Online , Tin House the Open Bar, and PEN America. She tweets sporadically @anneshamitha.
Catherine Valdez is a Dominican-American writer hailing from Miami, FL. She received her BA from Columbia University where she majored in psychology and creative writing. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her chapbook, Imperial Debris in Quisqueya and Beyond, is the winner of the NFSPS ‘s 2018 Florence Khan Award. She is also the recipient of the 2018 Woodbery Prize in poetry.
You can read Catherine’s work in MQR here.
Michael M. Weinstein’s poetry, essays, and translations have appeared in The New Yorker, Boston Review, Conjunctions, The Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. A recipient of grants from the Bread Loaf School of English and the Fulbright Foundation, among others, he holds a Ph.D. in English from Harvard and most recently taught classes in American, British, and Russian literatures at Yale University. He is currently an MFA candidate in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. A “Why I Chose It” from Michael and his Review and Interview with Aby Kaupang and Matthew Cooperman are available on MQR Online
You can find Michael’s work here.
Katie Willingham is a poet and the author of the collection Unlikely Designs (University of Chicago Press). Her work has been supported by Vermont Studio Center, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Helen Zell Writers Program where she earned her MFA. Her work can be found in such journals as Kenyon Review, Poem-A-Day, Bennington Review, Diagram, and Rhino, and in the anthology The Mind Has Cliffs of Fall: Poems at the Extremes of Feeling. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.
Suzi F. Garcia is the author of the chapbook, Dear Dorothy: A Home Grown Fairytale (Skull + Wind Press, 2020). She holds an MFA in Creative Writing with minors in Screen Cultures and Gender Studies. Suzi is an Executive Editor at Noemi Press, and she currently serves as the CantoMundo Regional Chair for the Midwest. Her writing has been featured or is forthcoming from POETRY, Georgia Review, Fence Magazine, and more. You can find her on Twitter at @SuziG.
Elinam Agbo was born in Ghana and grew up in Kansas. She is a winner of the 2018 PEN/Dau Short Story Prize, two Hopwood Awards for Short Fiction and Nonfiction, and the Les River Fellowship for Young Novelists. Her work has received support from Aspen Words, the Clarion Foundation, and the Hurston/Wright Foundation, among others. A graduate of the 2019 Clarion UCSD Workshop, she holds a BA from the University of Chicago and an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan, where she co-founded MQR Mixtape, an online imprint of Michigan Quarterly Review. Her writing has appeared in The Bare Life Review, American Short Fiction, Nimrod, PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2018, and elsewhere. She is currently the 2021-2023 Kenyon Review Fellow in Prose.
Sara Abou Rashed is a Palestinian-American poet and public speaker from Columbus, Ohio. She is pursuing her MFA at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program and holds a BA in Creative Writing and International Studies from Denison University. Broadly, Sara’s works investigate history, exile, war, immigration as well as personal and collective memory and identity. She has previously delivered a TEDx Talk and created an autobiographical one-woman show titled, A Map of Myself. More at www.mapofmyself.com, www.saraabourashed.com, or twitter: @mapofmyself.
Julie Cadman-Kim is a writer and educator from the Pacific Northwest who is currently pursuing her MFA in fiction at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Julie’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Catapult, Passages North, Black Warrior Review, Fairy Tale Review, and elsewhere. You can learn more about her writing at juliecadman-kim.com.
Maia Elsner is the author of overrun by wild boars (flipped eye, 2021). She was born in London to Mexican to Polish Jewish parents, and began writing poetry in Massachusetts, USA. Currently, she is working on a poetry-postcard project, a film collaboration with artists across the Latin American diaspora and an Art Book exploring intergenerational memory. Recently, her poems were published in Tentacular and Prototype.
David Freeman is a poet from Long Lake, MN. His work has appeared in The Kenyon Review Online, Prairie Schooner, The Massachusetts Review, and others. He is the recipient of the Gianni Luschei Award in Poetry and his work has been nominated for the Best of the Net 2019 Anthology. He is currently an MFA Candidate in poetry at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. More information can be found at www.davidefreeman.com
You can read David’s work in MQR here.
Brian Gyamfi is a Ghanaian-American writer from Arlington, Texas. Much of his work explores collective trauma, womanist pedagogy, and the convergence of Western religion and African spirituality; often focusing on how the idea of truth is shaped by traditional norms, politics, and spirituality in pre- and post-colonial African history.
Urvi Kumbhat holds a BA from the University of Chicago and is currently an MFA candidate at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program. Her work appears in The Margins, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Apogee, Protean Magazine, and other publications. She grew up in Calcutta. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @curvi_k
Marne Litfin (they/them) is a writer, comic, and first-year MFA student in fiction. Their essays and short stories are published or forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Phoebe, Foglifter, and elsewhere. Marne reads flash for Fractured Lit and tweets @JetpackMarne. Find out more at marnelitfin.com.
Abigail McFee is a poet and Nebraska transplant. She holds a BA in English from Tufts University, where she worked after graduation as editor-in-chief of the Tufts Admissions magazine. She was selected as first runner-up for the Spoon River Poetry Review Editors’ Prize. An MFA candidate in Poetry at the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, her current project asks how the interiority of human beings (particularly women) can be understood through landscapes. You can find her on Instagram @abbymcfee and Twitter @abigail_mcfee.
You can read Abigail’s work in MQR here.
Kabelo Sandile Motsoeneng is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa. He studied English and Human Rights Studies at Trinity College-Connecticut. An MFA in Fiction candidate, his short fiction appears in Joyland Magazine, Lolwe, Prairie Schooner, and others. Motsoeneng is currently at work on a novel.
Caroline New is a poet and visual artist from Bainbridge, Georgia. She is currently an MFA candidate in poetry at the Helen Zell Writer’s Program and holds a BFA in Anthropology from Davidson College. Her ethnographic research has focused on collective memory and generational trauma, and her poetry confronts environmental change, ancestral culpability, and motherhood in the rural South. Recently, she published Tantely Tapa-Bata, a collection of poems and essays by students in Madagascar. More info can be found at www.carolineharpernew.com
Josh Olivier is a writer from Redlands, California. When he isn’t working on fiction, he’s busy writing twee anthems and heartbreak songs for his band, No Better. He really is trying his best.
Eva Warrick previously received Master of Fine Arts in painting and lived in the Netherlands for several years. Her fiction has and been supported by fellowships from Tin House and Yaddo, and has appeared in A Public Space, Granta, and The Southern Review.
Tahani Almujahid is a rising junior from Dearborn, MI, studying English and International Studies. On campus, Tahani has written for the Michigan Journal of International Affairs, Michigan Daily, and Writer to Writer. She has also served on the e-board for Xylem, which gave her insight to the world of literary publishing. She is excited to further delve into the work behind a magazine by being a part of the MQR team!
Dylan Gilbert is a poet from Ann Arbor, Michigan. She received her BA from University of Michigan in 2021 where she double majored in Film, Television, and Media and English with a sub-concentration in Creative Writing. Dylan is a recipient of a Hopwood Award in Undergraduate Poetry, a Hopwood award in Underclassmen Poetry, The Roy W. Cowden Memorial fellowship, and several Caldwell Awards in Poetry. Her work will soon be published in University College London’s Panacea Review and she will continue her studies in poetry at the MFA writing program at Columbia University in the Fall of 2021.
Lillian Pearce is a rising sophomore from Richmond, MI. She is in the Residential College and studies both the Romance Languages and Literatures and Creative Writing. On-campus, she is a Daily Arts writer for the Michigan Daily. You can find her latest pieces here. She is thrilled to be part of the MQR team as their UROP student this year!
You can read Lillian’s work in MQR here.
Sam Small is a fiction writer and music critic hailing from Troy, MI. She received her BA from The University of Michigan in 2021 where she majored in creative writing and music. Sam has worked for numerous publications including The Michigan Daily, Talkhouse, Consequence of Sound, Under the Radar Magazine, and Spectrum Culture. Her other skills include playing Guitar Hero’s “Through the Fire and Flames” on expert, exclusively sporting mixed-matched socks and a god-given talent for throwing elbows in a mosh pit.
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