Hands on Stanzas
Larry O. Dean
Larry O. Dean was born and raised in Flint, Michigan. He attended the University of Michigan, during which time he won three Hopwood Awards in Creative Writing, an honor shared with fellow poets Robert Hayden, Jane Kenyon, and Frank O'Hara, among others; and Murray State University's low-residency MFA program. He is author of numerous chapbooks, including I Am Spam (2004), a series of poems "inspired" by junk email; his poetry has also been internationally translated and anthologized. In addition, he is a singer-songwriter, performing solo as well as with his current band, The Injured Parties; he has released many critically-acclaimed CD's, including Fables in Slang (2001) with Post Office, Gentrification Is Theft (2002) with The Me Decade, and Fun with a Purpose (2009). Dean was a 2004 recipient of the Hands on Stanzas Gwendolyn Brooks Award, presented by the Poetry Center of Chicago. Contact him at larryodean.com
Ryan Downey, a Georgia native, has received degrees in comparative literature and creative writing from the University of Georgia and the University of Notre Dame. He has facilitated creative writing workshops at the South Bend Center for the Homeless, the South Bend Juvenile Correctional Facility, and at various YMCA camp locations under the auspices of The Poetry Center of Chicago and Alternatives, Inc. Additionally, he teaches composition and basic writing skills at Wilbur Wright College and St. Augustine College. His hybrid-text, MAW MAW, has recently been named as a semi-finalist for the 2011 Madeline P. Plonsker Emerging Writer's Residency Prize. Two chapbooks, Poems From a News Ticker (Scantily Clad Press, 2009) and This is the Fall Line (mud luscious press, 2010), can be found with some basic Googling. He lives in Ukrainian Village with his historian wife, Allison Bertke Downey, and his growing clan of orange cats.
Rachel Javellana is a poet and teaching artist in the city of Chicago. A Michigan native, she attended Kalamazoo College where she received her degree in English and Creative Writing, and also studied Theater. Rachel facilitates workshops in poetry and performance through such organizations as The Poetry Center of Chicago, Words@Play, Urban Gateways, and Gallery 37 Center for the Arts. Rachel is the 2008 recipient of the Hands on Stanzas Gwendolyn Brooks Award for excellence in teaching. She has been a featured performer in many events around Chicago; co-authored The City, a chapbook of braided poetry; and her poems are forthcoming in The Circus Book.
Cecilia Pinto received her Masters degree in writing from the School of the Art Institute. Her fiction and poetry have been published in a number of journals and magazines including Rhino, Fence, and Quarter After Eight. Her short story ‘Monster’ won Esquire Magazine’s 2000 short fiction contest and her haiku took first place in Permafrost’s annual contest in 2002. Her work is anthologized in, The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century. Her collaborative work with Alice George is appears in the anthology, Saints of Hysteria: A Half Century of Collaborative American Poetry.
Kenyatta Rogers' interest in writing began with scary stories and TV shows such as the Twilight Zone and R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series. While writing short stories as a child he began to focus more on poetry in high school. Being a native of the Cleveland area, he received his BA in English from the Kent State University in Ohio and MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. His work has been featured in the Word 4: Type + Image Exhibit and published in Columbia Poetry Review, Court Green, 350poems.blogspot, les figues press, and The Arsenic Lobster. He was nominated for a 2009 Illinois Arts Council Literary Award for his poem "Safety," which appeared in the Columbia Poetry Review and is a current Cave Canem Fellow and member of The Chicago Poetry Brothel.
As a graduate of the flagship class of Columbia College's MFA in Poetry program, Marissa Spalding has always put her passion for the arts first. Her passion for art is matched only by her passion for social justice. She plans to pursue law school, plans to attend a para-legal program in 2011 and currently works at a women's domestic violence shelter as an administrative & development assistant. Her chapbook, what it meant was published by local imprint dancing girl press in 2005. Marissa is a 2010 CAAP grant recipient and plans to use her funds to pursue her never-ending quest to educate and be educated. She is excited for her 4th year with Hands on Stanzas.
Janna Sobel is a poet, storyteller and solo performer. She is also an actress and improvisor and has taught creative writing and performance to young people for the last 11 years. Janna founded and taught in the performing arts program at Presidio Hill School, California's oldest progressive school, in San Francisco before moving to Chicago. Here, she teaches poetry writing, performance and improvisation in public and private schools, at The Second City, and with Mudlark Theater Company, where she is Associate Artistic Director.