John Manuel Arias is a gay, Costa Rican / Uruguayan poet and crepe-maker raised in a DC ghetto when it was the murder capital. His poems have appeared in the James Franco Review, Rust + Moth, and Rogue Agent Journal. He currently lives in San José, Costa Rica with his grandmother and four ghosts.
Yahdon Israel is a 26 year-old writer from Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, who has written for Avidly, The New Inquiry, LitHub, ESPNW, and Brooklyn Magazine. He graduated from the New School with his MFA in Creative Non-Fiction. He currently serves as the VP of Awards and Membership for the National Book Critics Circle and runs a popular Instagram page which promotes literature and fashion under the hashtag #literaryswag.
Aziza Barnes is blk & alive. Born in Los Angeles, Aziza currently lives in Oxford, Mississippi. Aziza's first chapbook, me Aunt Jemima and the nailgun, was the first winner of the Exploding Pinecone Prize from Button Poetry, and Barnes' first full length collection of poems, i be but i ain’t, is the winner of the 2015 Pamet River Prize with YesYes Books.
Taylor Johnson is a poet from Washington, DC. They have received fellowships and scholarships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, Lambda Literary Foundation, VONA, the Vermont Studio Center, the Lannan Center at Georgetown University, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Recently, their work appears in the minnesota review and Callaloo.
Paul Tran is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and historian. Their work appears in Prairie Schooner, The Cortland Review, RHINO, which gave them an Editor's Prize, and elsewhere. They received fellowships and residencies from Kundiman, Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, Poets House, Lambda Literary Foundation, Napa Valley Writers Conference, Home School Miami, Vermont Studio Center, and The Conversation. In 2015, Paul became the first Asian American in almost 20 years to represent the Nuyorican Poets Cafe at the National Poetry Slam and Individual World Poetry Slam, where they ranked Top 10.