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When Am I American?: Gala Mukomolova, Marwa Helal & Yanyi

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Gala Mukomolova is the author of One Above One Below: Positions and Lamentations, her first chapbook of poems, which won the Vinyl 45 Chapbook Prize and was published by YesYes Books in 2018. She earned an MFA from the Helen Zell Writers’ Program, and her work has appeared in PEN, Poetry, PANK, Vinyl, and elsewhere. Her first full-length poetry collection, Without Protection, is launching this month from Coffee House Press.

Marwa Helal is a poet and journalist. Her work appears in Apogee, Hyperallergic, the Offing, Poets & Writers, the Recluse, Winter Tangerine and elsewhere. She is the author of I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No, Dear/Small Anchor Press, 2017) and Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019). Helal is the winner of BOMB Magazine’s Biennial 2016 Poetry Contest and has been awarded fellowships from Poets House, Brooklyn Poets, and Cave Canem. She has presented her work at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Studio Museum in Harlem and Brooklyn Museum.Her work is published or forthcoming in the following anthologies: Bettering American Poetry 2016, Best American Experimental Writing 2018, Brooklyn Poets Anthology, Halal If You Hear Me, and BreakBeat Poets: Black Girl Magic. She is the editor of the Poetry Project’s newsletter. Born in Al Mansurah, Egypt, Helal currently lives and teaches in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in creative nonfiction from The New School and her BA in journalism and international studies from Ohio Wesleyan University.


Yanyi is a writer and critic. In 2018, he won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize, awarded by Carl Phillips, for his first book, The Year of Blue Water (Yale University Press, April 2019). Currently, he is an associate editor at Foundry and an MFA candidate at New York University. He formerly served as Director of Technology and Design at The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, senior editor at Nat. Brut, and curatorial assistant at The Poetry Project. He is the recipient of fellowships from Asian American Writers Workshop and Poets House. Find his recent work in Poetry, Tin House, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.