Alinda: Alinda “Adam” Mac is a Vietnamese American poet, performer, and cowboy from Humble, Texas. Her work has been featured in Lue’s Poetry Hour, SAIC’s Mouth Magazine, and on Houston Public Media. She is currently pursuing a BFA in Writing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, but if her career doesn’t work out, she and her father plan to open a noodle shop.
Yemima: PoeticQueen is a spoken word poet, writer, singer, and songwriter in Chicago, Illinois. She’s performed her work all over Chicago including places such as Navy Pier, Millenium Park, Columbia College Chicago, Young Chicago Authors, and Harold Washington Library. In early 2020, she competed as an individual poet in a poetry slam called Louder Than A Bomb and made it all the way to Quarterfinals. Her work has been published in Harness Magazine, The BlackGirlArchives, and on Vocal. She loves being a creative because she’s not only letting her voice be heard, she’s also a voice for the voiceless. Poetry has helped PoeticQueen to bring important topics into conversation such as racism, mental health, and abuse. It’s helped her realize that her words are powerful and that her voice matters.
Melinda: Melinda Mayden is a fiction writer who graduated from the University of Houston in May 2020. Her work explores the makeup of human identity and the variable facets and meanings of home. She won the Provost’s Prize in Fiction in 2019 and has been published in the University of Houston Magazine and The Bayou Review. She is passionate about many things, including the Oxford comma and cold brew coffee.
Haley: Haley Carr is a multifaceted artist from Dallas that creates as they feel. They study Creative Writing at the University of Houston, where they were apart of the 2020 CoogSlam team. They have participated in various slams spanning the Houston area and are well known throughout the open mic scene. When they aren’t writing, painting or doing something else with their hands, they’re probably making a playlist or being a menace to society. Haley’s work encompasses an array of emotions that often don’t have a singular face, and every piece they create is designed to be received by all.
Adriana: Adriana Salazar is a poet, organizer, and UH student from Houston, TX. Her work has been featured with Tintero Projects and UH CoogSlam, the University of Houston’s inaugural poetry organization. She is CoogSlam’s Open Mic Coordinator and a part of the core leadership team for Mutual Aid Houston- a BIPOC led collective centered on leading and boosting community aid efforts in the Houston area. In her spare time, Adriana can be found tending to her plants or in the gourmet cheese section at the closest Kroger. Adriana’s work intends to examine her relationships with sexuality, familial traumas, and the ever-personal yet nebulous concept of ‘Latinidad’.
Katerin: Katerin Paola Zapata is a creative writer from the University of Houston. She is an undergraduate intern at Arte Público Press where she works in the “Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage” program. She has worked on several digital projects related to recovering Latinx history and is currently working on a project based on Latinx cinema. She speaks from a Salvadoran-American perspective as she writes poems and short stories about God, generational trauma, and her life experiences. She spends her free time singing and is active in ministry.
Willow: Willow Naomi Curry is a writer and independent curator based in Houston. Her written works currently focus on her experiences as a disabled person, the Gulf Coast as environment and identity, and the (im)possibility of Black life in America. Her curatorial projects focus on Black self-representation through photography and film. She has received grants from the City of Houston, Photoville, and Poets & Writers; was one of the two inaugural artists chosen for DiverseWorks’ Project Freeway Fellowship; and is currently the 2020-2021 Literary Fellow for the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Her writing has appeared in print and online in various outlets, including Fourth Genre, LitHub, kaur.space Magazine, and Houston’s own What’s the New News, and her photography exhibition The Fourth Ward Photo Parlour will debut and tour nationally in 2021. When not doing art, Willow enjoys reading the digital versions of the New York Times, the Houston Chronicle, and the Atlantic; drinking two cups of black tea with milk and two teaspoons of sugar in the morning; and taking on interior decorating projects.
Tionna: Tionna Winn is a sophomore at the Florida State University majoring in English and Sociology. She was a former major of Heard Em’ Say slam team in Tampa, Florida. She loves to write all types of poetry, but gravitates toward spoken word. She was awarded a writing award in the nonfiction division for a H.C.T.E writing competition. Her hobbies include; going on nature walks, golfing, reading, and deep discussions about the meaning of life.
Aris: Aris Kian Brown is a performance and page poet from the University of Houston. She has work
published in Underground Journal, Panoplyzine, Defunkt Magazine and Write About Now. She is an MFA candidate for poetry and is an inaugural member of CoogSlam, who took 4th in the 2019 College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI). When she isn’t writing, she’s probably watching Grey’s Anatomy or spending too much time on Twitter.
Aris’ work features an affinity to metaphors of Blackness, the struggles of academia, and well-placed shiny objects.
Kell: Kell Jettson Bernardo is an interdisciplinary artist from Houston, TX. His writing, music, and visual art deals with pop culture and the theme of reconciling the past. He’s worked with Dinolion in their immersive theatre show Lionshare. He’s currently working on creating a score for a narrative podcast and recording an EP. When he’s not trying to be budget-friendly Donald Glover, he likes to impress his friends with bad jokes.
Keagan: Keagan is a musician and creative writer from the University of Houston. His poetry often focuses on transgender identity and how others, especially family, interact with that identity, though his more recent poetry starts thinking through how congenital heart disease impacts his identity. His work has been featured on Volumes 20, 21, and 22 of Glass Mountain. He has also been published by Z Publishing in Texas’s Best Emerging Poets, the Fall 2018 issue of The Tulane Review, and Shards Issue 4 and 7.
Keagan speaks on FTM identity, masculinity, and the impact of identity on embodiment.
April: April Lim is a Chinese Cambodian American poet from Houston, TX. She graduated with a B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Houston where her poetry received the Howard Moss Prize in Poetry and the Bryan Lawrence Prize in Poetry. She has received fellowships from MVICW and The Watering Hole. Her work has been published in The Blueshift Journal, Glass Mountain Literary Magazine, and the Mekong Review. She works full-time as a Technical Editor for an IT & Solutions company.
April Lim speaks on diaspora, inherited trauma, superstitions, survival, and the refugee’s process in finding a new home when home no longer exists.
Durmerrick: Durmerrick Ross is a performance poet from Fort Worth, Texas. Durmerrick’s work centers around racial injustice, the Black experience in America, queer identity, and the Black faith tradition. Durmerrick is a 2-time National HBCU Poetry Slam champion, 2015 Brave New Voices finalist, and author of Always Never Dead: 25 Poems for My Son. When Durmerrick is not writing poetry, he is thrift shopping or hanging out with his fraternity (AΦΑ) brothers.
Durmerrick speaks on racial injustice, Black liberation theology, and the shortcomings of masculinity.
Michael: M.C. Zendejas is a fiction writer, artist-activist, and English tutor from Houston, Texas. His work is featured in BULL: Men’s Fiction, Drunk Monkeys Literature + Film, Z Publishing’s anthology: Texas’s Best Emerging Writers, UNDERGROUND, Five2One Magazine, Your Impossible Voice, and X-R-A-Y Magazine. His debut chapbook, Swimming Through the Void, was published earlier this year and explores themes of class, the Latinx experience, and gender. He enjoys death metal and kickboxing.
Michael speaks to issues of race (specifically the Latinx experience), class, gender, and more.
Calvin: Calvin King is a performance poet born and raised in Houston, TX. He was part of the 2019 MetaFour, Houston youth poetry slam team. In his free time, he is either ranting about pro-wrestling or binging Marvel movies.
King’s work explores identity and pop culture.
Becca Dominguez is a member of the inaugural cohort of the WITS Emerging Writers Fellowship Program. She is a Junior Playwriting/Dramaturgy major at the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance. In 2019, Dominguez was an intern for WITS Creative Writing camp where she fell in love with teaching. Her coming of age play “Plan B” has been produced at the UH Ten Minute Play Festival and most recently, her full-length Latinx coming out play “Quien Amas” has won a spot to be produced at the TETA Playfest.