Laura Elrick is the author of three books of poetry, including Propagation (Kenning Editions, 2012), Fatasies in Permeable Structures (Factory School, 2005) and sKincerity (Krupskaya, 2003). Her psychogeographically-inspired research and performance works include the oppositional cartography Blocks Away, exhibited at The Skybridge Art and Sound Space in 2010, and the video-poem Stalk, commissioned by the Positions Colloquium in Vancouver in 2008 and exhibited in the Social-Environmental Aesthetics Series at Exit Art (New York, 2009) and the Rustbelt Sightsound Collision at the SPACES gallery (Cincinnati, 2013). A sound work, 5 Audio Pieces for Doubled Voice was commissioned by New Langton Arts for the Performance Writing Series in San Francisco in 2005. Her work also appears in several anthologies, including Viz. Inter-Arts Intervention: A Trans-Genre Anthology (forthcoming), Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing, and Eco Language Reader, and has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian and Norwegian.
Cecily Schuler is a 2016 MFA candidate at the Pratt Institute in Writing and Social Activism in Brooklyn, NY. A 2013 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference contributor in non-fiction, Cecily’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Fairy Tale Review (2015), Ellipsis (2015), Duende (2014), and Fire Stories: Further Thoughts on Radically Re-thinking Mental Illness, (2012). Cecily co-slam-managed the Seattle Poetry Slam from 2013-2014, and is the current slam manager of Union Square Slam in New York City. Since 2009, Cecily has been teaching writing in the LBGTQIA community, collaborating and performing on stages across the country, and is more than happy to continue doing so.
Patricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” She is the author of six books of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), which won the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle of the human and environmental cost of Hurricane Katrina which was nominated for a National Book Award; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a 2005 National Poetry Series selection published by Coffee House Press. Her work has appeared in Poetry, the Paris Review, the New York Times, TriQuarterly, Tin House, The Washington Post, and in both Best American Poetryand Best American Essays. Her contribution to the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir, which she edited, won the Robert L. Fish Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the best debut story of the year and was chosen for Best American Mystery Stories 2013. Smith also penned the critically acclaimed history Africans in America (1999) and the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings (2003). She is a 2014 Guggenheim fellow, a 2012 fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo, a two-time Pushcart Prize winner, recipient of a Lannan fellowship and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. She is currently working on a biography of Harriet Tubman, a poetry volume combining text and 19th century African-American photos, and a collaborative novel with her husband Bruce DeSilva, the Edgar-Award winning author of the Liam Mulligan crime novels.
Christina Olivares is the author of No Map of the Earth Includes Stars, winner of the 2014 Marsh Hawk Press Book Prize, of the chaplet Interrupt, published by Belladonna* Series, and of Petition, winner of the 2014 Vinyl 45 Chapbook Competition (forthcoming 2016). She is the recipient of a 2015-2016 LMCC Workspace Residency, two Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grants (2010 and 2014), a 2008 Teachers and Writers Fellowship, and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is proud to call the Bronx her home.
Falu recently wrote and starred in her own one-woman show; LOVE, Above All Things, which was an emotional journey through the first few days, of a three year custody battle. Falu won first place in NBC TV’s Amiri Baraka Poetry Slam and was ranked third internationally in the Women of the World Poetry Slam 2013. She is a celebrated performance artist throughout NYC and across the country and as a member of the 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2014 Nuyorican Poets Café Slam Teams becoming the top female poet of the year in 2006, and ranked 3rd in both 2009 and 2012. She made history as a member of the 2014 slam team, as she was a part of the first All-Woman Slam Team in the Tri-State Area. As a performer, Falu has shared the stage with Jennifer Holliday, Carl Thomas and Patti LaBelle. She makes her film debut in the soon to be released movie, “Mania Days” alongside Katie Holmes.
In addition to being a dynamic and visceral poet, Falu is well known for her teaching, coaching and workshop leadership ability, working with Young Writer’s Academy, Boston Breadloaf, Sports & Arts In Schools Foundation and Achievement First-East New York, just to name a few. Falu is one third of what is known as “The Coaching Trinity”.
Ramya Ramana is the 2014 New York City Youth Poet Laureate. She is an artist, lover of mankind and believer of God. She aspires to be a social and political activist advocating for human rights, social equality, and fighting against injustices.