Lino Anunciacion is a Texas-transplant poet based in Bryan, Texas. He serves as President of Mic Check Poetry, a 501(c)3 non-profit poetry organization, and Director of Texas Grand Slam Poetry Festival, the largest individual poetry festival in Texas. Lino was the 2016 Mic Check Slam Champion, and took 2nd place at the 2017 Southwest Shootout Individual Slam. He is the author of And Then You Begin To Sing (self-published). He works as the Senior Media Manager for Write Bloody Publishing and has a forthcoming full-length collection with them: The Way We Move Through Water (2018). When he's not doing poems he's making coffee at Lupa's Coffee in College Station, Texas and teaching poetry workshops in Houston, Texas for Writers in the Schools.
Madison Mae Parker is a writer and a performance artist. She owes her loud vocals and rambunctious laughter to her Texas roots. Holding a BA from Texas A&M University in English Creative Writing (2014), she is currently a second year Artist-in-Residence with Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. Previously, she finished a two year residency with Transform Arts, where she wrote and co-produced her one women poetry theater show, Unravel. In addition, she has coached the national Kansas City Youth Poetry team, leading them to nationals in 2017 and 2018. Her poetry and work has taken her on three international tours spanning from East Asia, Australia, and Europe. Prior to her Midwest adventures, she served as President of Mic Check Poetry, a 501(c ) in Bryan, Texas, Director of Texas Grand Slam Poetry Festival, and Vice President to Write Bloody Publishing. You can find her watching anime and eating hot cheetos on the reg with her cat MeowZaki.
Aurielle Marie is a Black, Atlanta-born, Queer ass poet and social strategist. She is a 2018 Lambda Literary Writer Retreat Fellow and was chosen by Safiya Sinclair as the winner of Blue Mesa Review’s 2017 Poetry Prize. Her essays and poems have been featured in or are forthcoming from the Adroit Journal, Selfish Magazine, Scalawag, BOAAT, ESSENCE, Allure, and the Huffington Post. Her collection, Gumbo Ya Ya, won the 2017 Write Bloody Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Write Bloody Publishing. Although her work has lived on a global host of stages, her favorite will always be her grandmother's kitchen.
RA Washington lives in Cleveland, OH. He has been blurring the lines between poetry and life longer than some of his contemporaries have understood the incorporation of life into poetry. His work depicts matters of the heart as they happen in the moment, be it in the bar, on the street, or in the livingroom at dawn. Though often confessional and tender, it is clear that this is the work of a punk rock missionary of the liquor-soaked unknown. Ra Washington is the founder of GTK Press and author of 30+ books, including Riot Sketches (Tiny Patron Press), Along Eastern Shores (Tiny Patron Press), Hubris (Tiny Patron Press), Night in [A] Fair Republic (GTK Press, 2015) and Citi (Red Giant Books, 2015).
John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw's Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010), Tombstone Factory, (Epic Rites Press, 2013), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016), Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Press, 2017), and Letting the Meat Rest (Spartan Press, 2018). He is the current Poet Laureate of Belle, MO. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He may be reached at email@example.com.
Zena Smith is the author of Fracture (GTK Press, 2015), Take No Prisoners, Pull No Teeth, (GTK Press, 2016) Shake Hands (Outlandish Press, 2017) Siding With Desire (Outlandish Press, 2018) and numerous diner napkin scribblings. Her poetry can be described as visceral, immediate and playful. She is from Cleveland, OH and has the mouth to prove it. She wants to find a city to call home that doesn't make her quite so upset, but doubts that such a place exists.
Kyle J. Osborne
Epic Rites Press
Wolfgang Carstens is the author of numerous books of poetry, publisher at Epic Rites Press, and organizer and host of Poets Underground, a poetry show that celebrates and showcases the best and brightest authors currently working the marrow of contemporary poetry. Wolfgang lives in Canada with his wife, five kids, grandson, dog, mortgage and death. His poetry is printed on the backs of unpaid bills. More information at www.wolfgangcarstens.com.
Todd Cirillo is a poet, publisher and pirate. He is co-founder and editor of Six Ft. Swells Press. His books include Burning the Evidence (Epic Rites Press, 2017), Sexy Devils, Sucker’s Paradise, Everybody Knows the Dice are Loaded, This Troubled Heart, ROXY among others. His poems have appeared in various national and international magazines, literary journals and cocktail napkins everywhere. He is known for his live performances. Todd lives his pirate life in New Orleans, Louisiana where he searches for shiny moments under the neons. To find out more info and/or purchase Todd’s books go to www.toddcirillo.com or www.afterhourspoetry.com
Rob Plath has saturated the underground lit. scene w/ his writing for the past 25 years. He is the author of A BELLYFUL OF ANARCHY, THERE’S A FIST DUNKED IN BLOOD BEATING IN MY CHEST, DEATH IS DEAD, HEARTS FOR BRAINS, AN AX FOR THE FROZEN SEA, THE SKELETON SUTRAS, SWALLOWTUDE and many more. He continues his literary onslaught w/ his forthcoming poetry collection MY SOUL IS A BROKEN DOWN VALISE—due out in 2018.
Aztlan Libre Press
Juan Tejeda is a musician, writer, ex-jefe danzante Mexica-Azteca, arts administrator, educator, activist, editor and publisher. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Chicano Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and his Master of Arts degree in Bicultural Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio.
For eighteen years (1980-1998), he was the Xicano Music Program Director for the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center where, among his many duties, he created the internationally renowned Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio and directed it during its first seventeen years; created and edited the GCAC Newsletter and Tonantzin; directed the Performing Arts Series; produced the opera Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe which was composed by Dr. Edward C. Garza; created and implemented music classes for the community (including classes in the button accordion, bajo sexto, voice, violin, guitar, Latin percussion, mariachi group, and others); and produced various live audio/video productions including The Best of the Tejano Conjunto Festival (1989, 1997, and more recently, eight CD's from 2008-2015), and The Best of the 11th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival, 1992 (video).
He has written and lectured extensively on the history and socio-cultural significance and importance of Tejano and Conjunto music and is the co-editor of the acclaimed book Puro Conjunto: An Album in Words and Pictures/Writings, Posters, and Photographs from the Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio, 1982-1998 (2001), published by the Center for Mexican American Studies/University of Texas at Austin and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center and distributed by the University of Texas Press. He wrote the Preface and captions for John Dyer’s historic book of photographs, Conjunto (2005/University of Texas Press), and he is also the author of a book of poems, short stories and songs entitled Enamorado, en la guerra, y reconociendo la tierra, Aztlan ’76-’78 (1980/M&A Editions, San Antonio, Texas).
Tejeda has taught Bicultural Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio (2000-2002), and recently (December, 2016), after 15 years, he retired as a tenured full-time faculty member from Palo Alto College in San Antonio, Texas, where he was the Lead Faculty for the Center for Mexican American Studies and an Instructor of Mexican-American Studies and Music, and where, since 2002, he created and directed the first Conjunto Music Program at the college/university level in the nation.
Juan Tejeda and his wife, Anisa Onofre, are the owners and Co-Publishers/Editors of Aztlan Libre Press, an independent publishing house based out of San Antonio, Texas, that is dedicated to the promotion, publication and free expression of Native American and Xicana/o Literature and Art. Aztlan Libre Press was established in 2010 and they have published eleven books, among them: alurista’s Tunaluna (2010); and A Crown for Gumecindo (2015) by former San Antonio and Texas Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero. Their latest publication is Las Nalgas de Jlo/Jlo's Booty: The Best & Most Notorious Calumnas & Other Writings by the First Chicana Columnist in Texas (2017) by Barbara Renaud Gonzalez.
Mr. Tejeda is the button accordionist and vocalist for the Conjunto Aztlan. They have released two CD’s: their debut, self-titled, Conjunto Aztlan (1998), and From Aztlan With Love c/s a/f (2005), which includes 13 original love songs (7 of which were written by Mr. Tejeda). He is currently working on a third CD that will also include many original songs.
Tejeda was inducted into the Tejano Roots Hall of Fame in Alice, Texas, in 2016, and the Texas Conjunto Hall of Fame in San Benito, Texas in 2017. He is the proud father of three children: Zitlalli Aztlan Libre, Juan Francisco Tonatiuh and Maya Quetzalli.
Cringe-Worthy Poets Collective Press
Nathanael Stolte is the author of six chapbooks. Most recently Ramshackle American (Analogue Submissions Press). His poems have appeared in various digital and print, journals and anthologies. He is the Acquisitions Editor for CWP Collective Press as well as for Portrait Literary Arts Magazine, the Buffalo State College student-centered publication. He replies to emails at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Dreitlein is a poet from Rochester, NY. A two time TEDx Speaker, he currently works as a Teaching Artist at the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology. He was on the editorial board for My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry, and is the author of the chapbook Map. (CWP Collective Press, 2017). He wants to talk to you about poetry and other things you can scream along to in your friend’s basement. He can be reached at email@example.com
Nadia Wolnisty is the submissions editor of ThimbleLitMag.com. Her work has appeared in Spry, Apogee, Anti-Heroin Chic, *Isaucoustic, McNeese Review, Paper & Ink, and others. She has chapbooks from Cringe-Worthy Poetry Collective and from Finishing Line Press and a full-length from Spartan. Her third chapbook is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press.
Latino Writers Collective
Jose Faus is a writer, performer, and visual artist and independent teacher/mentor. He is a founder of the Latino Writers Collective and sits on the boards of the Writers Place, UMKC Friends of the Library, The Latino Writers Collective and Charlotte Street Foundation. His writing appears in a variety of anthologies and journals including Luces y Sombras Journal, Raritan. His chapbook This Town Like That was released by Spartan Press. His second book of poetry The Life and Times of Jose Calderon was published by West 39 Press
Alex Martínez is a poet living in Kansas City, Missouri. Born in Mexico, Alex migrated to the US at a young age as an undocumented and unaccompanied minor. He often writes about the trauma of this experience and other social issues that affect him and his community. Alex’s poems have appeared in Semillas Publishing and Tweetlit Magazine’s social media. His poem “Daddy” will be published in a upcoming chapbook from the Hawaii Review this this fall. His piece “I Lived” was part of an exhibit titled Arte Latino Now 2018 In January, 2018 at Queens University in Charlotte, North Carolina. Alex is artist in resident at Charlotte Street Foundation, working on a community arts pilot program from funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town grant. Alex published his first book Disclosure: Confessions of a Queer in Crisis in April of 2018.
Alex performs with Resistencia, a brown & queer group of poets. He is also an organizer for Brown Voices. Brown Pulse: a LGBTQ POC group working to create a safe and welcoming space for queer folk of color. Alex is a DACA recipient and he is the current Director of the Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance (KSMODA), a pro-immigrant group seeking equal opportunities for undocumented youth and their families. Alex Martinez is unapologetically brown, queer, and unafraid and his community work and poetry reflects that.
Miguel M. Morales
Jessica Ayala is a writer, spoken word artist, and writer-in-residence at Charlotte Street Foundation. Her work is a merging of oral tradition, visual storytelling, and poetry inviting a unique conversation between her words and native drums. She is the recipient of the 2000 Missouri Speaker of the Year Award by the Metropolitan Community College League of Competitive Acting and Poetry and the recipient of the 2010 Legacy Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts and Social Justice for MCCKC.
Gabriela Ybarra Lemmons is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Kansas. A founding member and former president of the Latino Writers Collective (Kansas, City), Gabriela is a native of South Texas and a daughter of farm workers. Gabriela has been published in many fine publications and is a Macondo Writers’ Workshop Fellow. She is currently a middle school English Language Arts teacher (Dual Language) in Topeka, KS.
Kansas City Poetry Slam
Samantha Slupski is a poet and mental health advocate based in the heart of the Midwest. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Poetic Underground, Slam Master of Kansas City Poetry Slam, a board member for Fountainverse: KC Small Press Poetry Fest, a 2017 ARTS KC grant recipient, and was voted the 2nd best spoken word artist in The Pitch Kansas City's Best of 2017. She has been published in multiple online publications, YouTube, and her debut book, "What Sits Between my Veins" (EMP 2017). She has been a competitor at Texas Grand Slam 2016, 2017, and 2018, toured nationally in Spring 2018, is a 2018 Kansas City Poetry Slam Nationals Team Member, and headlined the Melbourne Spoken Word Poetry Festival in 2018. Her work centers around how a body maintains survival through trauma, how she exists as a woman, and how she is learning to take up space. To find out more about Samantha, visit her website at www.samanthaslupskipoetry.com or on Instagram at @samfromkc.
Missy T Ferrari is a renegade with hippie tendencies. She’s been writing poetry since she knew how to put feelings into words... which means technically.. she’s never written a poem a day in her life. But somehow she’s got student loan debt that says otherwise. She’s performed on a few stages in Florida, Italy, Georgia, New York and now Kansas City. She wants to call KC her home but she’s got commitment issues. The most she can promise you is about three minutes and ten seconds... anything after that is a miracle.
Poet Jen Harris is a professional public speaker, spoken word poet, activist, published author, founder and former host of Kansas City Poetry Slam. Nationally recognized in the aforementioned, she works as an advocate to incorporate spoken word poetry as a form of peer-based mental health therapy. Harris graduated Cum Laude from the University of Missouri-Kansas City in May 2015 with a Bachelor of Liberal Arts, emphases in Communication Studies, English Language and Literature. She is the recipient of the 2015 UMKC Jim Wanser Pride Award for outstanding LGBT community activism in Kansas City. Additionally, she was nominated as the 2017 Spoken Word Host of the Year by the National Spoken Word Awards, is the recipient of The Pitch Magazine's Top 3 Poets in Kansas City award 2014-2016, winning the coveted title in 2017, the same week that she gave her TED Talk at the University of Kansas, "Spoken Word Poetry Saved My Life," (Spoken Word Poetry as a form of mental health advocacy), and is the 2009 ACP Kansas Journalist of the Year. Her first book of poetry, Slammed, released via Spartan Press Feb. 27, 2016 to a sold out audience.
Darrien Case is a poet living and working in Kansas City. He is a host at Poetic Underground Open Mic, studies Business and Creative Writing at UMKC, is a Division 1 Track and Cross Country Champion, and works as a copywriter for VML in KC. He was awarded Best Newcomer by the Music & More Foundation in 2018.
River Front Readings
James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.
Zophia McDougal, also known as Petunia Meat, can throw a baseball really far, but they would rather write on the worn leather. Zophia loves to play, and creates roller coaster rides in the form of poems that twist and turn minds in and out of the light and heavy notes of life. Their work takes audiences on a journey through the mind of an epileptic queer Midwesterner whose imagination is as stubborn as mosquitos in August. McDougal currently lives and works in residency at the Osage Arts Community in Belle, MO.
Linzi Garcia is the author of Thank You (Spartan Press 2018), a poetry collection. She recently graduated from Bethany College with her BA in English and is currently pursuing her master's in English at Emporia State University. There, she works as the assistant to the Poet Laureate of Kansas, Kevin Rabas. Linzi loves to gush about her love for Kansas, poetry, and appreciation.
Kevin Rabas, Poet Laureate of Kansas (2017-2019), teaches at Emporia State University, where he leads the poetry and playwriting tracks and chairs the Department of English, Modern
Languages, and Journalism. He has nine books, including Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, a Kansas
Notable Book and Nelson Poetry Book Award winner. Rabas’s plays have been produced across
Kansas and in North Carolina and San Diego, and his work has been nominated for the Pushcart
Prize six times. He is the recipient of the Emporia State President’s Award for Research and
Creativity and is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award for Poetry, the Victor Contoski
Poetry Award, the Jerome Johanning Playwriting Award, and the Salina New Voice Award.
Local Guests of Fountainverse
MG Salazar is an author, performer, activist and business owner in Kansas City, Missouri. They are the author of two books, as well as the upcoming "Tiny Bits of Flesh", funded by an ArtsKC 2018 Inspiration grant. Salazar is a veteran of Standing Rock and is very vocal about indigenous issues. They own the weekend boutique "The Skullery Maid", a vintage clothing store. Salazar has been featured in an Emmy-nominated HBO documentary, and has been mentioned in Vogue, The Washington Post and the New York Times.
Iris Appelquist is a 35 year old native and resident of Kansas City, Missouri. Her work explores the meaning of meaning, sexuality, poverty, and relationships with an acerbic hand. Her forthcoming volume of selected works spans a decade and defines an arc that explains the intersection of privilege and marginalization; self-aware, not self-absorbed.
When not traveling on highways across America, Victor Clevenger spends his days in a Madhouse and his nights writing poetry. He lives with his second ex-wife, and together they raise six children in a small town northeast of Kansas City, MO. Selected pieces of his work have appeared in print magazines and journals around the world, as well as at a variety of places online. In 2017, Victor was nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, as well as the Pushcart Prize. His most recent published collections of poetry include a split book with Tom Farris titled Ginger Roots Are Best Taken Orally (EMP, 2018) and A Finger in the Hornets’ Nest (Red Flag Poetry, 2018).
Jason Preu is the author of a number of sonnets about your mom. His recent books include Small Facts(Eyewash Press, 2016), The Avocado Among Other Fruits (Spartan Press, 2016) and More Poems About Purple Wizards and Neon Bright Exceptionalism (EMP, 2017). In 2016, Jason’s performative collaboration with composer Brian Padavic was the subject of the feature film The Avocado Among Other Fruits, Live from Prospero's. He's served on the board of directors for Whispering Prairie Press. You may stalk Jason online at jasonpreu.com.
Brandon Whitehead has been a music/movie reviewer, short story writer, and famed robot fighter for over thirty years. He has read his poetry in strip clubs, graveyards, back alleys and the deck of a sinking ship. He has been a projectionist, violin player, live movie-riffer, gravedigger and bio-hazardous materials courier. His book of poetry "Thieves, Pharaohs & Mexican Daredevils" is available for cash money or good whiskey. You can find his shorty story collection "Outpost 4423 & Other Stories" at the Amazon Kindle site, if you're into that kind of thing. He currents hosts the Speakeasy@ Swordfish Tom's on first Sundays in a basement boiler room with a cocktail bar while dressed like a hobo from the 1920s'.
Jeanette Powers is resident logistics guru and money charmer, which means plans and grants. She enjoys back-seat driving to the rest of the crew and drawing pictures of the poets. Powers also curates performing arts venue Arts Bar and is a fellow at Osage Arts Community. You can find Jeanette at jeanettepowers.com or on Instagram at @novel_cliche.
Samantha Slupski (bio above)