? SLAB | Sound & Literary Art Book

Issue 11

Author Bios

Question and Answers

In Addition to providing a biography, our contributors answered the following:

1. What's the first thing you remember reading and weating to read again?
2. Wha'ts the worst haircut you ever had?
3. If you could live during any time period, which one owuld you most like to live in?
4. What's the best thing you can buy for a dollar?
5. If you could only listen to one band for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
6. What is the most overused phrase in the past year that needs to go away?
7. If you were a scented marker, what would you smell like?

Steve Abbott
Steve Abbott lives in Columbus and has edited the anthologies Cap City Poets and Everything Stops and Listens. His third chapbook, The Incoherent Pull of Want (Night Ballet, 2016), is forthcoming. He recently served on the Ohio Arts Council panel selecting Ohio’s first Poet Laureate.

1. Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories.
2. Scalped by a traditional barber, Beatles era, 1965.
3. I was born at the right time. I like Being Here Now. (If this seems like a dodge, I’d say, “The one in which human beings treat one another like human beings,” whenever that is/was/will be).
4. A shot of well vodka.
5. Van Morrison.
6. Anyone who (still!) uses “a perfect storm” should be drowned.
7. Funk.

Jeffrey Alfier
Jeffrey Alfier won the 2014 Kithara Book Prize for his poetry collection, Idyll for a Vanishing River. He is also author of The Wolf Yearling, The Storm Petrel and The Red Stag at Carrbridge (2016). He is founder and co-editor of Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review.

  1. A sixth-grade valentine card from a girl who I’d thought hated me.
  2. The worst haircut I ever received was from my first wife. When I walked into work with it, the boss said I should sue my barber.
  3. First century, CE. It would clear up a lot of questions. But I’d want to go there with my shots up to date.
  4. Ten pieces of Fireball candy.
  5. Nik Tyndall’s because it’s the most peaceful, idyllic music I’ve ever heard, the best for me to write poems to.
  6. “Like,” inserted between like every like other like word like in like the like universe.
  7. Absinthe.


Aaron Anstett
Aaron Anstett's most recent collection is Moreover. He lives in Colorado with his wife, Lesley, and children. See <aaronanstett.net> for more.

1. The Story of Dr. Doolittle, when I was six or so.
2. My wife would say one I gave myself.
3. The future.
4. Now that Prosperity Dumpling in NYC is closed, I'm not sure.
5. Parliament-Funkadelic, because that's two bands in one, nobody sounds better, and this is hypothetical.
6. "Vape."
7. Licorice.

Brian Baumgart
Brian Baumgart directs the Creative Writing AFA program at North Hennepin Community College, and he has an MFA in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University-Mankato. A poetry chapbook, Rules for Loving Right (Sweet Publications, 2016) is forthcoming. He reads, he writes, he raises children and animals.

  1. I read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and then immediately started over. It was both confounding and illuminating, which is maybe is just as a good a way to describe childhood as anything.
  2. Barring a few experimental haircuts, (think Keith Flint from “The Firestarter” video) I’d have to call out a rather awful side-spike style that I rocked in ninth grade.
  3. I’d have to go with our own time period, as I’m enjoying my life and who I am (despite all the terrible shit going on in the world).
  4. Generic Silly Putty at a dollar store. I bet you thought I was going to say a book at a garage sale, but it would have to be a specific book.
  5. The Beatles. The wonderful thing about The Beatles is the variety of music, how they can go from simple pop to thrash to rap (sort of) to classical to blues to folk, and so on. I’d like to say something more obscure to be cool but really, I’m not cool.
  6. “Politically correct.” Mostly because calling someone out for being “PC” has been used to cover up being a complete asshole. Look up Neil Gaiman’s comments on political correctness (whether this is a fake quotation or if Gaiman actually said it, I have no idea).
  7. Coffee. No question.


Luke Bell
Luke Bell is a senior creative writing major and professional writing minor at Ball State University. He is currently the lead prose editor of The Broken Plate, Ball State’s national literary magazine. Luke has been previously been published in Outrageous Fortune magazineHe likes to read, write, and play guitar.

  1. The Old Man and the Sea. It was an easy read when I was younger, and despite the ill fortune of the old man, I always felt it to be a happy story. It remains one of my favorite books. 
  2. My senior year of high school, I went to a girl that was learning to cut hair. It looked fine until she “trimmed” my sideburns; unfortunately, my senior pictures were a week later. My mother was not pleased.
  3. I enjoy the benefits of modern technology, so I would probably stay where I am.
  4. A 48oz pitcher of beer at The Chug in Muncie, Indiana on a Wednesday night. Or Chapstick.
  5. It sounds clichéd but probably the Beatles. They’ve got a song (or several) for my various moods and emotions.
  6. “What are thooose?” Crocs are actually quite comfortable.
  7. Wild fig.


Doug Bolling
Doug Bolling's poems have appeared in Slipstream, Water~Stone Review, Redactions, BlazeVOX, Posit, Agave, Connecticut River Review, and many others. He has received several Pushcart nominations and a Best of the Net nomination and is at work on a collection of poems. He occupies a patch of space-time in the Chicago area.

  1. Little Red Riding Hood.
  2. My first one in the US Army.
  3. Winter, 3020.
  4. Half a dream.
  5. So many, so many. Can't pick only one!
  6. “This is really cool.”
  7. Eve's apple.


Charlie Brice
Charlie Brice's full length poetry collection, Flashcuts Out of Chaos (WordTech, 2016), is forthcoming. His poetry has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Chiron Review, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Sports Literate, Paterson Literary Review, Barbaric Yawp, VerseWrights, The Writing Disorder, and elsewhere.

  1. A Farewell to Arms.
  2. 1964. I asked Hank the barber at the Frontier Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming, to give me a "surfer cut." He squinted through the smoke from the cigarette he held in his mouth and gave me a flat top.
  3. This one, because of spell checkers.
  4. You can buy something for a dollar? Where?
  5. The Beatles. I grew up with them. Everyone I ever loved is located in one or another of their songs.
  6. “We will make America great again.”
  7. Licorice.


Heath Brougher
Heath Brougher is the poetry editor of Five 2 One Magazine. He has published two little books titled A Drought of Ichor and 2 (Green Panda). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Diverse Voices Quarterly, Chiron Review, Riprap, Gold Dust, Main Street Rag, and elsewhere. 

  1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
  2. The time I entrusted my best friend's sister to cut my hair and she ended up giving me a buzz cut.
  3. The late 1960s.
  4. A toothbrush.
  5. Tool. Because they're the greatest rock musicians of all time.
  6. "Cool dat."
  7. Cigarettes.


Julie Castillo
Julie Castillo is a college anthropology instructor, writing instructor, enrichment curriculum designer, and futurist. She holds an MA in sociocultural anthropology from Catholic University with a specialty in gender studies and ethnopsychology. In contrast to the chorus of confrontational voices on many sides of the food debate, Julie frames the discussion of alternative foods in positive terms and peaceful language.

  1. A Wrinkle in Time.
  2. The one I have now.
  3. This one, or a thousand years in the future.
  4. Dark chocolate.
  5. The Beatles: they have the widest variety of sounds and trigger the most memories.
  6. "See what I did there?"
  7. Chambord and hazelnuts.


Jesse Cole
Jesse Cole is a senior English major with minors in Spanish and philosophy at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She calls rural southwest Michigan home, and moved to Pennsylvania to attend college. A lover of travel and adventure, she’s excited to see what’s ahead for her.

  1. The entire Chronicles of Narnia series. I still never get tired of those books.
  2. It was actually my hair as I grew out from a haircut—straight-parted and un-layered and just generally awkward.
  3. Today. I'm eager to see current social and technological advances and what is beyond them.
  4. Can you buy anything for a dollar? I can't think of one thing. Wait! Arizona tea. Ninety-nine cents.
  5. Fall Out Boy, because they have made music to complement every mood and stage of life.
  6. "2k15." It doesn't save time or space. Just call the year what it is.
  7. Cookie dough ice cream. My sweet tooth is pretty strong.


Debka Colson
Debka Colson’s work has appeared in two anthologies, North American Review, Folio, GAMBAZine, Construction, Roar, and elsewhere. She placed third in Folio’s 2015 fiction contest and was a finalist for the 2014 Normal Prize. She is the Program Director of The Writers’ Room of Boston where she is also writing a novel.

  1. My great uncle had a glass cupboard filled with classics. I don’t remember which one I reread first: Rebecca, Little Women, Black Beauty,or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
  2. When I was young, my mother always cut my hair. She had a tendency to trim my bangs in a straight line far too high across my forehead.
  3. I would like to witness the tremendous changes from the 1890s onward, a period that challenged traditional roles, especially for women, and inspired exciting innovations in literature, politics, and art.
  4. I could purchase a spontaneous poem from a poet hawking her work on the street.
  5. Juan Luis Guerra—because he would offer boleros when I want romance and ease, or salsa and merengue when I want to get up and dance. A side bonus: If I could only listen to his music, my Spanish would undoubtedly improve.
  6. “Polar vortex.” I’ve lived through too many frigid winters in New England. I don’t need a new catchphrase to describe the experience.
  7. Lilac—that early spring scent that tells me I’ve made it through another polar vortex.


Jack Cooper
Jack Cooper has published his first poetry collection, Across My Silence (World Audience, 2007). His work has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Slant, Bryant Literary Review, and many other publications. He is a contributing editor at <KYSOflash.com>.

  1. ViVa by ee cummings. I discovered these remarkable and beautiful poems in the 1960s and I am still discovering them today.
  2. For my first day in the sixth grade, my mom clipped my hair too short using her sewing scissors, and I wore a straw hat to school, which was in tatters by the end of the day.
  3. The 1960s. Prior to that time, mass consciousness was inordinately low, intolerance high and health standards minimal. During the 1960s, the world awakened to many of the great developments we enjoy today, including Zen, liberal democracy (including equal rights), environmental activism, solar power, organic food, and unparalleled movements in art, literature, education and music.
  4. A nice pencil with a gum eraser.
  5. Jesse Cook, an extraordinary electronic flamenco guitarist who also plays classical, jazz and Latin rock.
  6. Oh, there are many annoying phrases that won't die, such as "mother of all (fill in almost anything),” "perfect storm," "LOL," and single words like "amazing" and "robust."
  7. Sage, cedar, or lime. 


Charlotte Covey
Charlotte is from St. Mary's County, Maryland. She is currently a senior studying Creative Writing and Psychology at Salisbury University. She has poetry published or forthcoming in journals such as Salamander, Slipstream, The MacGuffin, and The Summerset Review. She is co-editor-in-chief of Milk Journal.

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I was seven.
  2. When I was in the seventh grade, there was an eighth grade dance at the end of the year. I wanted to go, so I got my eighth grade friend to invite me. Right before the dance, I wanted to cut my hair to just below the shoulders, so I'd look older. The woman cut it to just above the shoulders, and I was devastated. Now I realize I had the long bob before it was cool.
  3. I like living now. I think we still need to make a lot of progress in the world, so it's better to look forward than backward. Hooray for modern values!
  4. Honestly, I can't think of much you could buy for a dollar. You can get a Natty Daddy for 99 cents, but I don't know if I'd want to.
  5. La Dispute. I love the lyrics—they remind me of poetry. I also have their band logo tattooed on my thigh.
  6. "Literally." Does that count as an overused phrase? It's an overused word, anyway. Except I am literally guilty of using it. I love overused phrases.
  7. Pain and suffering. 


Laurel DiGangi
Laurel DiGangi’s work has appeared in the Chicago ReaderFourth Genre, Denver Quarterly, Asylum, Ray’s Road Review, Atlanta Quarterly, and Cottonwood, among others. She teaches at Woodbury University and is current director of its Writing Center. “Innocence” is from her memoir-in-progress, Things We Couldn’t Live Without.

  1. My first grade reader. The copyright page had a nihil obstat, the bishop’s seal of approval, assuring me that David and Ann wouldn’t be eating cheeseburgers on a Friday, like those heathens Dick and Jane.
  2. I was eleven. My mother decided I needed a “cute summer haircut,” then added insult to injury by calling me “coconut head.”
  3. The Spanish Inquisition—bet you didn’t expect that.
  4. A winning lottery ticket.
  5. The Beatles. Because I have this thing for obscure bands. 
  6. “Literally.” I literally hear it several times a day—like, you know, literally.
  7. Vicks VapoRub. I could help someone decongest as she created art.


Brad Garber
Brad writes, paints, draws, photographs, hunts for mushrooms and snakes, and runs around naked in the Great Northwest. Since 1991, he has published poetry, essays, and weird stuff in such publications as Embodied Effigies, Clementine Poetry Journal, Barrow Street, Aji Magazine and other quality publications. He is a 2013 Pushcart Prize nominee.

  1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
  2. It wasn't so much a haircut as a hairdo—when I permed my bone-straight hair to try out curls.
  3. I pretty much enjoy living in the moment; now is just fine.
  4. I can't remember when I was last able to purchase something with a dollar—maybe an avocado or ear of corn.
  5. The Rolling Stones—classic rock with great lyrics, lots of moods, intelligence, and fun.
  6. "It's all good."
  7. Juniper and sage.


Sandra Graff
Sandra Graff lives within view of the Shawangunk Ridge in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her work includes chapbooks Girl in Garden and This Big Dress (Finishing Line), and poems in Rhino Poetry Journal, Fourth River, Potluck, and Copperfield Review. She is an Associate Professor of English at SUNY Orange. 

  1. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish.
  2. When I went to a one-note hair salon where everyone emerged with the same haircut: a blow-dried mullet.
  3. The pre-Civil War era when women gathered for the first women’s rights convention and wrote the Declaration of Sentiments (1848).
  4. A book of poems at a used book store.
  5. Credence Clearwater Revival.
  6. “How awesome” has turned into a bad verbal habit and should go away.
  7. Coffee.


John Grey
John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident. He has recently been published in New Plains Review, Perceptions, Gargoyle and in the anthology No Achilles, with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Main Street Rag, and Spoon River Poetry Review.

  1. The Counterfeiters.
  2. The first one I gave myself.
  3.  Paris in the 1880’s, the heyday of the Impressionists.
  4. A tune from a street musician.
  5. Fairport Convention—I have so many CDs and albums by them I could not only listen to them for the rest of my life but would barely have to repeat a track
  6. Not exactly a phrase, but when I order something in a restaurant and the waitress says “absolutely,” it sets my teeth on edge
  7. Burnt marshmallow.


Marie Hartung
Marie Hartung writes from her living room recliner in the smallish town of Monroe, Wasshington. She holds an MFA in Poetry and her work has appeared in Talking River, Third Wednesday, Raven Chronicles, and in the anthology The Burden of Light. She has an essay appearing in East Jasmine Review this spring.

  1. A toddler book titled Mrs. Mooley about a cow who wanted to be able to have cool talents like the other farm animals but in the end, she figures out it’s special enough to be a cow.
  2. All of them until I was twenty-five. Until then, my mom cut my hair like a bowl and later, I cut my hair into a mullet. I finally figured hair out at twenty-five.
  3. The one where we save our planet and its resources and there are no more wars.
  4. A chance. I prefer lottery scratch tickets, but a roulette spin works too.
  5. n/a
  6. “Fair Enough.” How is something “fair enough?” I mean, if it’s FAIR then it is ENOUGH, otherwise it’s not fair.
  7. Purple.


James M. Hilgartner
James M. Hilgartner has published in journals including ACM: Another Chicago Magazine, The Chapbook, Greensboro Review, Mid-American Review, and New Orleans Review; he has twice been awarded the Fellowship in Literature from the Alabama State Council on the Arts. He is an Associate Professor of English at Huntingdon College.

  1. Flip.
  2. In November, 1984 (I was living in Boston), I shaved my head bald. It made for a ridiculously cold winter.
  3. If I had to abandon this time period, I’d choose the turn of the twentieth century and beyond.
  4. There’s a café in Montgomery, Alabama that has these wonderful little biscuits with cheese and sausage baked into them. They’re about a dollar apiece.
  5. The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam, for their excellent musicianship, wide repertoire, and catalog of nearly 1,000 recordings.
  6.  “Life hack.”
  7. Synthetic lemon.


Max Ingram
Maxwell Morgan Ingram is a student at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw Georgia. When he is not writing, he is either reading or stumbling around pretending that he knows what he is doing. "Forbidden Fruit" is his second publication.

  1. The Great Gatsby. There is something about Fitzgerald's style that is indescribable in its allure.
  2. It happened in 2013 when I let my (now ex) girlfriend cut my hair. You could see my scalp for weeks.
  3. Despite all the terrible things in the world, I'd like to live in this current time period, because I feel that there are just as many good things as bad, and I can't wait to see the state of things in a decade or so.
  4. AriZona Sweet Tea.
  5. This question kills me. I suppose my answer would have to be The Grateful Dead.
  6. “On fleek.”
  7. Grapes.


Gunnar Jaeck
Gunnar Jaeck's fiction has appeared in Infinity's Kitchen, Used Gravitrons, and decomP. The University of East Anglia gave him an MA. He lives in Tacoma. His blog is <metalreality.com>.

  1. Doktor Faustus.
  2. Bald and ponytail combo.
  3. Right now. After I figure right now out, maybe then I will try something else.
  4. A song on Bandcamp.
  5. Paradise Lost. They have a lot of albums and they all sound kind of different.
  6. "Illegal immigrant." The phrase should go, the people should stay.
  7. CD insert booklets.

Susan Johnson
Susan Johnson’s poems have recently appeared in North American Review, Oyez Review, Off the Coast, and Pinyon Review. She teaches writing at UMass Amherst and lives in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

  1. A recipe for molasses crinkles.
  2. An at-home permanent when I was seventeen. I soon learned to love my painfully thin straight hair.
  3. It’s romantic to think I’d like to live in Paris during the 1920s or Boston at the time of the Revolution, but I think I’d want to live right now.
  4. A box of my favorite cereal at our local discount store.
  5. Talking Heads.
  6. “Whatnot.”
  7. I’m not really sure what a scent marker is—like a magic marker only with smell instead of color? Or like my cat peeing around the edges of our yard? Either way, the answer is fresh-cut grass.


Emily Jones
Emily Jones lives, writes, and teaches in Concord, Massachusetts. She holds an MA in English from Georgetown University.

  1. The Trumpet of the Swan.
  2. Bowl cut with bangs straight across the head.
  3. I would live during the nineteenth century and befriend Louisa May Alcott, one of my childhood (and current) heroes.
  4. A spiral-bound notebook.
  5. The Beatles, easily. Their songs never get old!
  6. “I can’t even.”
  7. I’ll go with orange.


Hope Jordan
Hope Jordan’s poems have appeared recently in Crosswinds Poetry Journal, Redheaded Stepchild, Slush pile, Amoskeag, and Many Mountains Moving. She served as a trustee of the NH Writers’ Project and was the first official poetry slam master in New Hampshire, coaching the inaugural NH Poetry Slam Team in 2007.

  1. Hop on Pop. I was maybe four. I probably wanted to read it again, because I read everything again.
  2. One I gave myself in my senior year of high school. I butchered mine and my little sister’s bangs. It was so awful that I gelled them back into punk spikes on top of my head until they grew out. It was okay to have a chick mullet in the 80s.
  3. Maybe seventeenth century America. To see the land before humans screwed it up too much. Also, I used to get all fetishy about the few possessions the family had in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I just loved that they would be out of their minds with joy over getting a stick of candy and an orange with cloves stuck in it for Christmas.
  4. My commute to work requires me to go through a toll and pay a dollar. I have resisted getting a transponder for my car because I actually like physically handing my dollar to the human in the toll booth and having them wish me a nice day, or evening. On a really good day I’ll pay the toll for the person behind me as a random act of kindness.
  5. It would totally suck to listen to only one band for the rest of my life. That being said, it would be Richard Thompson. His amazing range of material is the whole package.
  6. I wince every time I hear myself say “at the end of the day.” I wish I could make it stop.
  7. Cinnamon and green bananas.


Gary Kay
Gary Kay is a retired professor from Broward College, where he taught reading and English for thirty years. He was also an adjunct at Florida Atlantic University and Nova Southeastern University. His poetry has been published in Litchfield Review, River's Edge, Earth's Daughters, Otter, and several others. He currently resides in in South Florida.

  1. A Tarzan book. I was amazed that I could picture and inhabit a strange, dangerous and exciting place, by simply processing words on a page. Sadly, my reading speed was so slow, but this got me started and I am still standing (oops, reading.)
  2. When I went to a barber training school to save a few dollars. I was a beginning teacher and thought it would be a good idea. Wrong.
  3. The present time is amazing: filled with surprises, innovations, uncertainty, dangers and opportunities abounding.
  4. Another dollar.
  5. Must be the Beatles and the album, Rubber Soul—clear, clean and often very moving.
  6. “Are you kidding me?”
  7. A scented marker.


Susan Kelley
Susan Kelley lives and works in Pittsburgh, where she adds to her collection of English degrees, trains for triathlons, and doles out prescriptive grammar to unsuspecting students. She also writes astonishing technical documentation. No, really. 

  1. “The Yellow Wallpaper.”
  2. Grades one through four.
  3. The Roaring 20s. I have great ankles, and I can vote.
  4. Pop Rocks.
  5. Ben Folds. That was too easy.
  6. Anything that ends with "on fleek."
  7. Green Apple(tini).


Angela Smith Kirkman
Angela Smith Kirkman recently returned from a journey around the world, during which she snuck into dilapidated communist headquarters in Bulgaria, rode camelback through the Sahara, and taught in Rajasthan. Kirkman blogs at <thebigfieldtrip.com>, and her stories have been published in Literal Latte, International Living, Asia Literary Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, Under the Sun, and Your Life Is A Trip. She was awarded prizes in both the Literal Latte Essay Contest and the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition.

  1. The back of the Wheaties box.
  2. Ma gave me a godawful mullet back in the 80s, which I thought was totally rad at the time.
  3. The Sixties. I could have made a really good hippie.
  4. Bubble gum. And also BAND-AIDS.
  5. Phish, of course, because why not?
  6.  “I know, right?” Say it and I’ll slap you.
  7. Wacky Watermelon. Or maybe Rambunctious Raspberry. Or Cantankerous Cantaloupe.


Andrew Kozma
Andrew Kozma’s poems have appeared in Blackbird, Subtropics, Copper Nickel, and Best American Poetry 2015. His book of poems, City of Regret (Zone 3, 2007), won the Zone 3 First Book Award. He has been the recipient of a Jentel Residency, a Houston Arts Alliance Fellowship, and a D. H. Lawrence Fellowship.

  1. It was a result of my mom reading The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia to my brother and me when we went on long car trips. In eighth or ninth grade, I read those books again, with my eyes rather than my ears.
  2. In high school I decided I didn’t want my mom to cut my hair anymore, and so over my entire senior year my haircut went from bad to badder to worsest.
  3. I’ve always felt like I was writing too late for a number of genres I write. But I don’t want to live in the past. Maybe ten years in the future? I mean, to be perfectly honest, I’m happy with now.
  4. A hundred brand new pennies.
  5. The Decemberists. I can sing along (their songs are mostly within my range) and the stories they tell are engrossing and sad and mostly what I want my own work to do.
  6. I guess there’s no overused phrase I’d send to the isolation room. The more phrases infecting our shared language, the merrier, as far as I’m concerned.
  7. Coal dust.

Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda
Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, Virginia Poet Laureate Emerita, has co-edited three anthologies and published seven books, including The Embrace: Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, winner of the 2014 Art in Literature: Mary Lynn Kotz Award. Her poems appear in numerous journals, including Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and Best of Literary Journals.

  1. A Child’s Garden of Verses. Even today, I credit my love of poetry to this collection.
  2. An unflattering pixie. I've “banned” haircuts for years and instead prefer waist length hair. 
  3. The 1920s–1940s, the era of jazz, jitterbug dancing, and the east coast swing. An avid ballroom dancer, I’ve often longed for the days of the Arthur Murray dance studios.
  4. Living in a coastal rural area, I can still buy a rejuvenating cup of coffee with cream at a local restaurant for less than a dollar.
  5. The King of Swing, Benny Goodman, and his band. In fact, I credit the musicality of my writing to the enthralling effects of fast-paced dance bands such as Goodman’s.
  6. “Just sayin’. . .”
  7. Ornamental cherry blossoms.


Courtney LeBlanc
Courtney LeBlanc believes wine, coffee, and poetry are key ingredients in life. Her poetry is published or is forthcoming in Connections, Welter, Plum Biscuit, Pudding Magazine, The Legendary, Germ Magazine, and District Lines. Read her blog <wordperv.com>, follow her on Twitter <Twitter.com/wordperv>, or find her on Facebook <facebook.com/poetry.Courtney LeBlanc>.

  1. I am a voracious reader and I am constantly writing, so there isn't one book or one author that prompts me to pick up my pen—nearly all of them do!
  2. Most of my childhood haircuts were awful.
  3. This one. I'm quite happy with the time period I'm living in.
  4. Five quarters.
  5. William Fitzsimmons—he's haunting and beautiful.
  6. I'm the worst person to ask these kinds of questions. I pay no attention to pop culture! 
  7. Vanilla.


S. Frederic Liss
S. Frederic Liss, a Pushcart Prize nominee and finalist for the Flannery O’Connor Short Fiction Prize and Bakeless Prize Competition, has published or has forthcoming forty-one short stories. Liss received a Grant-in-Aid in Literature from the St. Botolph Club Foundation, Boston, Massachusetts, where he leads a workshop in writing fiction.

  1. When I was a kid I was a big fan of comic books, both superhero and horror. Sometimes I would buy new ones, but often I bought overstocks with the cover ripped off at substantial discounts. I read each issue over and over.
  2. Being descended from generations of bald men, my most recent haircut is always my worst.
  3. The future is a blank page except for the conjectures of science fiction. I’d rather live in the future than in the past, say 500 to 1,000 years hence.
  4. My favorite is a Machu Picchu baseball cap cost the equivalent of $.08 and believe it or not, has yet to fall apart.
  5. Boston Symphony Orchestra. Most bands, especially rock and roll bands, are frozen in time. Symphony orchestras, at least the good ones, evolve, playing both the old and the new.
  6. The drivel of sportscasters who babble about how a good play builds confidence and creates momentum. A close second: illiterate athletes who toss in the phrase ‘you know’ after every second or third word. It is clear these athletes do not know.
  7. Dark chocolate brownies fresh from the oven.


Wulf Losee
Wulf's poems have been published in various places, but he wonders why he bothers to write poetry at all. Wulf supposes that there’s a quiet pride that one earns by repeatedly suffering the electroshocks of the Muse’s cattle prod.

  1. P D Eastman’s book / Go Dog. Go! It was Kerouac / for six-year olds! 
  2. mother’s haircuts were / atrocious—as a teen I let / my hair grow long. 
  3. if you’re Buddhist / you’ve lived every history’s time / but you can’t remember. 
  4. one dollar buys one / third of a macchiato / one third morning bliss. 
  5. songs heard too often / bore me—I’d prefer / to replay my monologues. 
  6. I’m tired of people / calling themselves poets, because / we’re just people. 
  7. I’d smell like musk, but / I’d mark my territory / with fluorescent pee


Anne Marie Macari
Anne Marie Macari is the author of four books of poetry, including Red Deer (Persea Books, 2015) and She Heads Into the Wilderness (Autumn House, 2008). In 2000 Macari won the APR/Honickman first book prize for Ivory Cradle, which was followed by Gloryland (Alice James, 2005). She has also coedited, with Carey Salerno, Lit From Inside: 40 Years of Poetry From Alice James Books.

Katharyn Howd Machan
Katharyn Howd Machan, Professor of Writing at Ithaca College, is the author of thirty-two published collections, and her poems have appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies, and textbooks, including The Bedford Introduction to Literature and Sound and Sense. She edited Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology (Split Oak, 2012).

  1. The alphabet that was printed all around the top of the walls of my first-grade classroom in Woodbury, Connecticut.
  2. My grandmother gleefully had her hair stylist cut off my curls when I got gum stuck in it at age three.
  3. I’d very much like to visit 1888 in Western New York, as I have written hundreds of poems set then in my fictional town of Redwing.
  4. Gifts to give to children when I do StoryDance with them as Zajal the Sugarplum Fairy.
  5. Too horrible to think of being limited that way! If forced, it would have to be one I could dance to in fuchsia sequins, such as Pangia, the bellydance band from southern California.
  6. “Awesome”—watch Harlan Ellison’s excellent diatribe against it.
  7. Lilacs.


Rebecca Macijeski
Rebecca Macijeski is an Assistant Editor in Poetry for Hunger Mountain and Prairie Schooner. She has attended artist residencies with the Ragdale Foundation and Art Farm Nebraska. Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Potomac ReviewNimrod, Gargoyle, Sycamore ReviewStoryscape, and others. Visit her online <rebeccamacijewski.com>.

  1. A children's book called The Teeny Tiny Woman. I think she made soup out of bones.
  2. In seventh grade I transitioned from bangs to no bangs. It was rough.
  3. The 1920s. 
  4. A chocolate glazed donut.
  5. Not choosing. No way. (honestly, it would probably be something with fiddles)
  6. "Just sayin'." Then just say it!
  7. A New England forest when the ground first turns green again in spring.


Janice Majewski
Janice Majewski is a poet living in Northern Virginia with cats & other creatives.

  1. The Hobbit.
  2. The bowl cut, in third grade. Strangers thought my mom had only sons.
  3. The current one.
  4. Lipstick.
  5. I’d probably be listening to the soundtrack for Beasts of the Southern Wild because it's the only music I’ve found (so far) that I can write to.
  6. "Sick."
  7. Just showered.


Stephen Massimilla
Stephen Massimilla is the co-author of Cooking with the Muse (Tupelo, 2016). He received an SFASU Press Prize for The Plague Doctor in His Hull-Shaped Hat, the Bordighera Prize for Forty Floors from Yesterday, the Grolier Prize, a Van Renssalaer Award (selected by Kenneth Koch), and others. His poems have appeared in hundreds of publications. He teaches at Columbia University and the New School.

  1. Harold and the Purple Crayon.
  2. The bowl cut.
  3. The late Victorian era.
  4. A pound of greenmarket onions.
  5. A band of geese, or a pink band of clouds.
  6. “It is what it is.”
  7. Pumpkin pie.


Brian Mulligan
Brian Mulligan, a writer from Long Island, New York, is the author of The 1940 Cincinnati Reds: A World Championship and a Baseball Suicide (McFarland). His work appears in Elysian Fields Quarterly Review and EDGE Literary Journal (forthcoming). He is currently completing a book of stories and a novel.

  1. I remember Green Eggs and Ham being read to me by my parents and me wanting them to read it over and over. The first book I read and then immediately re-read was The Catcher in the Rye.
  2. The first one. It made me cry.
  3. I am a 20th –21st century fan.
  4. A really good song.
  5. The Beatles. The voices, musicianship, variety of styles, and harmonies are second to none. And the songs—even after a thousand listens—remain pretty magical.
  6. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.”
  7. An evergreen tree.


Hannah L. Nelson
Hannah L. Nelson is a freelance writer currently residing in South Florida studying Dance Performance and Creative Writing at Palm Beach Atlantic University. She has had works published in Artifact Nouveau, The Sucarnochee Review, and Outrageous Fortune.

  1. I was an avid Nancy Drew reader when I was younger and would spend hours reading and re-reading the novels at the local library.
  2. I had a really short bob haircut in the sixth grade that made me look like a mushroom.
  3. The 1920s before the Great Depression.
  4. Anything chocolate.
  5. Mumford and Sons because their lyrics are very deep and meaningful and they have a very eclectic style.
  6. “YOLO” needs to die (ironically).
  7. Something tropical like pineapple or mango!


Simon Perchik
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain (River Otter, 2013). For more information, including free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit <simonperchik.com>.

  1. The Brothers Karamazov.
  2. The one I gave myself at age fourteen.
  3. The Twentieth century.
  4. Coffee at Citarella’s.
  5. Any bluegrass band. I like the music.
  6. “Have a nice day.”
  7. Leaves after falling.


Richard King Perkins II
Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.

  1. The Enormous Egg.
  2. In 1970, I had really long hair and fell asleep with bubble gum in my mouth. I got buzzed down all the way to the scalp. When I went out to play, none of my friends recognized me. I cried.
  3. Any dystopian future. The war against the machines, zombie apocalypse, alien invasion, gamma world or thought-police state would all be acceptable.
  4. A Granny Smith apple.
  5. R.E.M.—it’s good poetry set to music in which I find inspiration to write.
  6. The horribly common, bastardized use of “verbage” instead of “verbiage.”
  7. Lime.


Tom Pescatore      
Tom Pescatore can sometimes be seen wandering along the Walt Whitman Bridge or down the sidewalks of Philadelphia's old Skid Row. He might have left a poem or two behind to mark his trail. He maintains a poetry blog:<amagicalmistake.blogspot.com>.

  1. It was an issue of Amazing Spider-Man. My mom used to get me comics and read them to me, by the time I was two or three years old I had memorized the words and would "read" them to people even turning the pages at the right time.
  2. Once in high school, well I think I was in high school, I just put my air up in a ponytail and cut it straight across. It looked like I had a bob cut for a few weeks.
  3. The mid-20th century. Easier to bum rides, easier to make living as a migrant worker, less surveillance, more freedom, who knows? But then again, to be given the chance to meet Whitman at a tavern along a dirt road in the 1840s . . . you know, maybe I'd like to be a pioneer going west in 1800 crossing the plains, the Rockies, finding the Pacific waiting for me at the end, yeah, it's probably that.
  4. A D20.
  5. The Misfits, to see if it's possible to get tired of them. I guess I'd get the whole discography, right?
  6. “Af” is first thing that popped into my head.
  7. Campfire smoke and flannel.


David Potsubay
David Potsubay graduated from Slippery Rock University with a BS in Creative Writing. Currently, he is pursuing an MA in English Literature at West Virginia University. He has found a passion for teaching writing, while striving to write honest lines about his life and the lives of others.

  1. “The Cask of Amontillado.”
  2. I once received an Amish-style haircut from my grandfather when I was a child.
  3. I would have lived in the 1970s because then I would be able to see my favorite bands from that time period in concert.
  4. One hundred pieces of penny candy.
  5. Father John Misty because his music could fit many different moods in my life and he’s fun.
  6. “Netflix and chill.”
  7. Old book pages with a touch of bourbon.


Lise Quintana
Lise M. Quintana is the EIC of Zoetic Press. Her work can be found at Drunk Monkeys, Red Fez, Role Reboot, Extract(s), and other fine journals. In addition to writing, Lise is the developer of the Lithomobilus e-reader, which can be found at <lithomobilus.com>.

  1. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I think I probably read it six or seven times before I got out of eighth grade.
  2. One day, my best friend was cutting my hair while fighting on the phone with her boyfriend. Her neighbor came to the door; I answered it, mid-haircut. He said, "I was going to ask if I could borrow an axe, but I guess you're using it." 
  3. Now. As a woman of color, I have more of a voice than I would have had at any other time in history. We have medicine that means we don't die every time we get a scratch or a sniffle, and we have things like candied violet gelato and iPhones.
  4. Two hours of parking in downtown Santa Cruz.
  5. I would have to go with Cake. I can sing all of their songs, their lyrics perfectly express my moods, and they make fun videos. 
  6. I'm completely done with "squad goals," or any construction that ends with "goals.” I cringe whenever I see people publicly announcing their desire to be more fake, more unrelatable. 
  7. Licorice. I have found that the vast majority of people don't like licorice, but the ones that do are a little more interesting and fun than average. 


Erin Redfern
Erin Redfern works as a writing mentor and has recently served as poetry judge for the San Francisco Unified School District’s Arts Festival. In 2015, she co-edited Poetry Center San Jose’s print publication, Caesura. See <erinredfern.net>.

  1. Make Way for Ducklings
  2. No bad haircuts, but a truly regrettable perm in '87.
  3. Tricky—as a woman, it's hard to want to go back (see: coverture); as a human who appreciates polar bears, it's hard to want to go forward.
  4. Smarties! Or a stamp. 
  5. This question is waaaaay too hard; not A Flock of Seagulls.
  6. Anything Trump says.
  7. Black tea.


Benjamin Renne
Benjamin Renne lives in the Washington, D.C. area, where he is currently pursuing an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) and a Certificate in Secondary Education (English) from George Mason University. He enjoys playing long complicated board games that make everyone frustrated and unwilling to play with him ever again.

  1. A Wrinkle in Time.
  2. A terrible and unfortunate mullet in eighth grade.
  3. The Romantic Period (Europe).
  4. A warm soft-pretzel with salt.
  5. The Mars Volta, because there is always more there every time I listen to them.
  6. "Netflix and chill?"
  7. A kind of faded green apple that might be confused for lime


Ron Riekki
Ron Riekki’s nonfiction, fiction, and poetry have been published in River TeethSpillwayNew Ohio ReviewShenandoahCanaryBellevue Literary ReviewPrairie SchoonerNew Orleans ReviewLittle Patuxent ReviewWigleaf, and many other literary journals. He loves listening to music from all over the globe, e.g. By2, Grimes, Loco Locass, Namika, Anna Abreu, and too many others to name (and he's a big fan of CISM in Montreal).

  1. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Alice Through the Looking Glass. Also the Choose Your Own Adventure series.
  2. I got a perm once. Some guys driving in a car at NMU yelled something about how they wanted to fight me. Just because of my hair. Life is dumb.
  3. Hmmm, maybe twenty years later than when I was actually born. It seems like the world is on track to some huge advancements in things like technology and medicine and I feel like I'm just barely going to miss what those things will be.
  4. The worst thing: a lottery ticket. The best thing: give it to a kind poet. Just because poets ooze greatness.
  5. Either Radiohead or The Mummers or Danny Elfman or Coeur de pirate or Beck or The xx, because they all rule. But really I'd be most happy listening to all of the various recordings done for Later . . . with Jools Holland. By the way, here's a list of my 800 favorite bands: <rariekki.webs.com/my700favoritebands.htm>.
  6. “Trump.”
  7. Thich Nhat Hanh.


Deirdre Roche
Deirdre Roche graduated from Franklin & Marshall College with honors in Creative Writing. She and her fiancé lived in Berlin, Germany before moving back to Baltimore.

  1. The Seer and the Sword when I was ten or so. I read it twice right away and wanted long red hair and magical powers for years afterwards. Actually, I still want long red hair and magical powers. 
  2. When I was in elementary school, I had a bowl haircut that made me look like a little blonde Beatle.
  3. I would most like to live in the utopian future. If the future is only dystopian then I would like to live in Regency era, marry well, and say shocking things at teas.
  4. I can refill my coffee at my local coffee shop for $1.
  5. I would listen to The Grateful Dead’s album “American Beauty” forever. I think it would bring about world peace.
  6. I try not to yell at people for their phrasing, but one that left me hanging for an embarrassingly long time was “I can’t even.”
  7. Peppermint!


Ruben Rodriguez
Ruben Rodriguez sleeps near the Pacific Ocean where he writes, paints, and sells T-shirts to tourists. He is the fiction editor of The Great American Lit Mag and author of the chapbook We Do What We Want (Orange Monkey, 2015)You can find him at <rubenstuff.com>.

  1. Little Gorilla. Me, a little boy sitting among the shoes in my parents' closet, sure I was the gorilla. 
  2. There was a time in my life when I'd take clippers to my scalp. Years. It wasn't a good look.
  3. I think I'm too soft to live in any other time period. I guess I'll have to stay here.
  4. A used T-shirt.
  5. Portugal. The Man: They have lots of music in varying moods. They're also pretty active, so more would come. 
  6. “Suh Bruh.”
  7. Cashews & doubt.


Carl Scharwath
Carl Scharwath's work has appeared internationally with over eighty publications selecting his poetry, short stories, essays, or art photography. He won the National Poetry Contest award on behalf of Writers One Flight Up. His has published one book of poetry book titled Journey To Become Forgotten (Kind of a Hurricane Press).

  1. Classics Illustrated comic books. They started me on the road to reading classic literature.
  2. A crew cut at age five.
  3. 1890s.
  4. A York Peppermint Patty
  5. R.E.M. I love their sound writing and skill on many instruments.
  6. "It is what it is."
  7. Pepper—I love pepper on my food.


Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb
Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb’s work has appeared in many publications, with poetry forthcoming in the anthologies Talking Back and Looking Forward: An Educational Revolution in Poetry and Prose and The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology. She is a past Pushcart Prize nominee and a recent Best of the Net nominee. 

  1. Most likely any collection of Roald Dahl’s stories.
  2. When I was learning how to cook, there was a mysterious little burst from the oven that caught my hair on fire—the rest of it had to be cut to match the part that the flame snatched.
  3. I used to think that I wanted to leave in the Victorian Age of Decadence, so that I could meet Oscar Wilde, but the death rate from consumption was extremely high.
  4. Either a cup of strong coffee or an unwanted pet tarantula.
  5. The band that perpetually stimulates my neurons into creativity is definitely Spyro Gyra.
  6. “Have a nice day,” used more as a shorthand social signal, for one.
  7. I would be a hypoallergenic, unscented marker.


Matt Schumacher
Matt Schumacher serves as poetry editor of the journal Phantom Drift and lives in the shadow of a Paul Bunyan statue in Portland, Oregon. His poetry books include Spilling the Moon, The Fire Diaries, and two forthcoming collections, favorite maritime drinking songs of the miraculous alcoholics and Ghost Town Odes.

  1. Greek myths, particularly The Odyssey, were very early favorites.
  2. I found gum in my hair after one trip to the “stylist.”
  3. I would like to live during a future age when time-travel will be tantalizingly affordable.
  4. A vintage record at Portland’s 99 Cent Records.
  5. Guided by Voices. Robert Pollard is inventive, prolific, and a fine singer/songwriter.
  6. “Make America Great Again.”
  7. Datura flowers.


Richard Smith
Richard Smith wanted to write since he was a young boy. His desire and drive was hindered by dyslexia, and he never finished anything until years later when the fire for writing began to burn within. Determined to overcome, he completed his first article. He has been published in Airboating Magazine. He is also a contributing writer for The Echo prison newspaper.

  1. Where the Red Fern Grows.
  2. The worst haircut I ever had was the first time I cut it myself.
  3. Medieval times.
  4. A bag of instant refried beans.
  5. It would be Jesus Culture, because it was playing the night I gave my life to God and now it is connected with that special moment in my life.
  6. “Whatever!”
  7. Blueberries.


Carole Stone
Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing, Emerita, at Montclair State University, Carole Stone’s most recent poetry collections are LATE, (Turning Point, 2016) HURT, THE SHADOW, (Dos Madres, 2013) and American Rhapsody (CavanKerry, 2012). 

  1. Books in the Sue Barton, Nurse series.
  2. A pageboy.
  3. The Bloomsbury period.
  4. Chocolate kisses.
  5. Bach.
  6. “Mindful.”
  7. Lilac.


Kelly Talbot
Kelly Talbot has edited books and digital content for twenty years, previously as an in-house editor for John Wiley and Sons Publishing, Macmillan Publishing, and Pearson Education, and now as the head of Kelly Talbot Editing Services. His writing has appeared in dozens of magazines.

  1. The first two things were Harold and the Purple Crayon and Where the Wild Things Are.
  2. The short, conservative hair cut I had from elementary school through high school was pretty bland. Before and after that period, my hair has been longer and naturally curly. I like it.
  3. I'd want to be born in 1940. I'd be in my twenties throughout the 1960s. What could be better?
  4. Sure, you can buy a U.S. congressman for a dollar (sometimes two congressmen when they're on sale), but there are so many things that are better than a congressman.
  5. I think the answer is probably Miles Davis. He has such a range of enjoyable material that covers every mood and emotion.
  6. "It's huge" is the most over-used phrase of the past year. The best way to make it go away is to teach people that they are far funnier when they think of something unique to say as opposed to repeating everyone else's jokes.
  7. The man-made chemicals that are toxic to our environment and pollute our land, water, air, bodies, and souls. But I would dream of smelling like trees, fresh water, the cool spring breeze, beauty, laughter, and freedom.


Charles Farrell Thielman
Raised in Charleston, S.C., and Chicago, educated at red-bricked universities and on city streets, married on a Kauai beach in 2011, a loving grandfather to six free spirits, Charles Farrell Thielman’s work as poet and shareholder in an independent bookstore’s collective continues! Google his name to read more of his poems. 

1.Clip Clop Lil' Pony.
2. In a barber shop just outside Pearl Harbor, 1971.
3. A time of peace & unity.
4. A small glass of Perrier at any Paris café.
5. Keith Jarrett Trio­—they bop.
6. “Trump Wins.”
7. Lion.

Deborah Thompson
Deborah Thompson is an Associate Professor of English at Colorado State University, where she helped to develop the new master’s degree in Creative Nonfiction. She has published creative essays in venues such as The Missouri Review, The Iowa Review, Fourth Genre, Creative Nonfiction, Passages North, Upstreet, and Briar Cliff.

  1. Green Eggs and Ham.
  2. DIY bangs.
  3. No time like the present.
  4. Dollar-store single-serving tiramisu.
  5. Pink Martini, because the band is playful and endlessly explores new (and old) genres.
  6. “Donald Trump.”
  7. Banana, because every scented marker eventually smells like banana by the time it reaches middle age.


Caitlin Thomson
Caitlin Thomson is preoccupied with absence, usually in terms of the apocalypse. Her work has appeared in numerous places, including: Eleven Eleven, Tar River Poetry Review, and The Adroit Journal. Her third chapbook Territory Prayer (Maverick Duck) was just released. You can learn more about her writing at <caitlinthomson.com>.

  1. I read Princesses Don't Wear Jeans by Brenda Bellingham one night in second grade. 
  2. My father trimmed my hair while watching television. He did such a bad job that my mother had to take me to a professional. All they could do was even it out into a pixie cut and tell my mom to hope for the best. 
  3. As a female, I would have to say the present. 
  4. An Alter Eco Dark Chocolate Truffle.
  5. Bruce Springsteen.
  6. When people use the word “migrants” when they mean “refugees.” 
  7. Pine trees.


Vincent J. Tomeo
Vincent J. Tomeo is a poet, archivist, historian, and community activist. He has been published in The New York Times, Comstock Review, Mid-America Poetry Review, Edgz, Spires,
Tiger’s Eye, ByLine, Mudfish, The Blind Man’s Rainbow, The Neovictorian/Cochlea, The Latin Staff Review, and Grandmother Earth VII-XI. He has published 719 poems, is the winner of 99 awards, and has held 79 public readings.

  1. The Melody of Earth, an anthology of ecology poems. One poem in particular beckons me, and I have often read and reread this poem, “The Song of Wandering Aengus,” by W. B. Yeats.
  2. On the streets of Beijing in China, a local barber put a bowl on my head and cut my hair. It was the worst haircut I have ever had: uneven, unattractive, and simply “Maoish!”
  3. During the Roaring Twenties. I could imagine walking up Lexington Avenue the way James Joyce would perambulate up the streets of Paris with Samuel Beckett.
  4. A bottle of water.
  5. Stan Kenton’s Orchestra. “Dragonwyck” on the Mellophonium Moods album will jazz up my life and put me in the mood.
  6. The most overused phrase is heard in the rap world and it is “She is a ho.” It is demeaning to women and to all humanity. It needs to go.
  7. Vanilla and cinnamon with a hint of pine, because I am multi-scented, delicious, and strong.


Emily Walling
Emily Walling’s work can be found in journals such as Apeiron ReviewThe Caribbean Writer, Cactus Heart, and forthcoming in The MacGuffin, and Riding Light Review. Her creative work is about the physical, emotional, and psychological connections people have with nature. She lives in Ohio with her husband.

  1. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. My mom read it to me almost every day when I was a kid, and then I started reading it every day on my own once I learned how to read.
  2. I had a bob haircut with bangs in seventh grade. I don't know what I was thinking. The bob didn't work because I have very curly hair.
  3. Vikings.
  4. Nowadays, gas.
  5.  Sheppard. They had me at "Geronimo."
  6. There are too many, and I probably use most of them anyway.
  7. A bag of Skittles.


Sara Whitestone
Sara Whitestone is a writer, photographer, and teacher. In exchange for instruction in English, her students at John Jay College introduce her to the mysteries of the world. Her works appear in book anthologies and popular and literary magazines. To learn more about Whitestone’s inner and outer adventures, visit <sarawhitestone.com>.

  1. When I was little, my dad used to call me Sare Bear, and the first book I ever read all by myself was Little Bear by Elsie Holmelund Minarik. In some ways, I am still that Sare Bear, excited when a new book comes in the mail from Amazon, because reading is still every bit the pleasure it was all those years ago when Little Bear first brought his stories to me.
  2. I was twelve. My great-aunt took me to a beauty college. The hairdresser was a student who was giving her first haircut. Need I say more?
  3. I’ve always loved the 1800’s as romanticized in literature. But in reality I probably wouldn’t have been born as one of those women who marries for love and money (like all of Austen’s heroines seem to do). Rather, I’d be the scullery maid, scrubbing floors all day and not being able to marry at all.
  4. A candle. Not so much for lighting as for ambience. I burn them all the time in the winter, and dollar stores keep me stocked for cheap.
  5. My daughter is a professional violinist, and although she is not in a band, she plays chamber music, in orchestras, for special events, and can improvise any type of music with anyone. She’s the music I would (and will) listen to for the rest of my life.
  6. “Like, really?”
  7. Given that I never liked scented markers (they give me headaches), can I choose to be au natural? If you’d asked me what color I would be, well, that is a different thing altogether.


Kathleen Williamson
Kathleen Williamson began her career writing fiction but now devotes herself to poetry. She takes classes at Gotham Writers Workshop, Writers Studio, and the Hudson Valley Writers' Center. Her work has been published in Inkwell and The Westchester Review in addition to being anthologized in Pieces of Eight: Autism Acceptance Benefit Issue. Kathleen lives in Pleasantville, New York.

  1. I was always a voracious reader and never wanted to read something again. The first book I did reread was Lolita and it is the only book I’ve read a third time.
  2. I can’t say I’ve ever been upset about a haircut—it might be the only area in my life where I’ve been stoic.
  3. Mid-nineteenth century—Darwin and Dickens, Bronte and Twain. And—oh!—the dresses!
  4. Can one buy something for a dollar? A parking spot?
  5. The Who—they remind me what it was like to be fifteen and they always tell a good story.
  6. Can’t say there’s any phrase that’s bothered me. I like how the language shifts and changes.
  7. Raspberry.


Mark Zingarelli
Mark Zingarelli is a native of Pittsburgh and has been a freelance cartoonist and illustrator for over thirty-six years. He has also worked as a writer, teacher, and professional eater. His latest graphic novel, Second Avenue Caper, (Farrar Straus & Giroux) won the Lambda Award for Best Graphic Novel of 2014.

  1. It was either Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Thuvia, Maid of Mars, or The Warlord of Mars
  2.  Once while living in San Diego I went to a barber on a friend’s rec. I thought I’d described what I wanted, but it turned out looking like a Marine Corps fresh recruit haircut.
  3. I’m excited to live right now, in this time period.
  4. I used to be able to buy a good slice of pizza for a dollar, but that was a while ago.
  5. Sebastian Bach . . . okay, he wasn’t in a band per se, but I find I can listen to his music over and over, especially the concertos.
  6. Oh my, there are so many words and phrases that need to go away. Can we please stop describing anything as “awesome”? And please stop saying “my bad or “hashtag” anything.
  7. Lemon.