- Readings & Workshops (East)
- Readings & Workshops (West) and California Office
- Information Technology and Web Development
- Galen Williams Fellowship Program
Elliot Figman – Executive Director
As an earlier admirer of Poets & Writers, Elliot came to the organization as a volunteer in 1977. Four years later he was appointed the organization’s executive director. Elliot graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Honors in English from Oberlin College in 1971 and earned an MA in Teaching from the University of Massachusetts in 1972. He has served on the Board of Directors of Oberlin College and The Corlears School. An accomplished poet, his book, Big Spring, was published by Four Way Books in 2003.
Melissa Ford Gradel, CFRE – Managing Director
Melissa joined the Poets & Writers staff in January 2010, bringing fifteen years of experience as a development director and consultant to a range of arts and cultural organizations. Early in her career, she assisted P&W in writing the initial grant proposals for pw.org. Melissa holds a BFA from New York University. She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), and completed a certificate course in Management & Supervision at the Support Center for Nonprofit Management. She is a beekeeper, gardener, sailor, and an avid reader.
William F. Hayes – Director of Finance and Accounting
Bill has been controller of Poets & Writers since 1999. He has been involved in the media industry for the past twenty-five years. Prior to joining Poets & Writers, Bill served as the controller of the Talman Company, a small press publisher and distributor located in New York City. Bill has also held the position of assistant to the treasurer/controller of Tele-Communications, Inc. (TCI), and controller of United Artists Cablesystems, Inc., eastern division. He is a graduate of Rutgers University’s CPA emphasis program.
D. Sulaitis – Administrative Coordinator
D. has worked at Poets & Writers since 1991. Her short stories have appeared in Inkwell, New York Stories, and Painted Bride Quarterly, and one of her essays was included in My Father Married Your Mother (Norton, 2006). In 2006, D. won the Boston Review’s annual fiction contest, and she has been a finalist in both the New Letters and Zoetrope fiction contests, and for the Flannery O’Connor award for a collection of short stories. She is the recipient of two fiction fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, and holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Hartford.
Rachel Schuder – associate Director, Development & Marketing
Rachel joined Poets & Writers in 2011 with significant experience in the nonprofit arts sector. Previously she worked for the Creative Capital Foundation and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, both service organizations for artists. Rachel is a visual artist and illustrator who is inspired by creative people of all types. She holds a BA from Bowdoin College and an MFA from Hunter College, and has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, the Bronx Museum's Artist in the Marketplace program, and Skowhegan. She is currently working on a children's book.
Paul Vargas – Staff Accountant
Paul joined Poets & Writers in July, 2013. A graduate of Bennington College and a lifelong resident of Brooklyn, New York, Paul has eight years of prior finance and accounting experience in the non-profit sector. This includes a two-year stint at Aperture Foundation, an organization and publisher devoted to the advancement of photography. He will argue on behalf of self-publishing to anyone who isn’t tired of hearing it, and spends his off-hours developing ideas for films, writing poetry, and editing the novels of writers much more innovative than he.
Bridget Irvine – Development & Marketing Assistant
After interning with Poets & Writers in 2014, Bridget joined the staff in 2016. She received her BA from Harvard University, spending much of her time there cultivating the undergraduate publication Tuesday Magazine. She is currently working on a collection of nonfiction essays related to her undergraduate thesis on contemporary fiction, following a short travel fellowship in Portugal. Bridget lives in New Jersey, and loves amateur photography and challenging the notion of authenticity/the self.
Kevin Larimer – Editor in Chief
Kevin has been with Poets & Writers since 1999; he became editor in 2009. He holds a degree in journalism and received his MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he was the poetry editor of the Iowa Review. He has also been the sports editor of a daily newspaper, an editorial assistant for a science book publisher, and a proofreader for a university press. His poems have appeared in Fence, Pleiades, Verse, and a dozen other literary magazines. He has written book reviews for American Letters & Commentary, American Book Review, Chelsea, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Melissa Faliveno – Senior Editor
Melissa was Poets & Writers’ 2011 Diana & Simon Raab Editorial Fellow before joining the staff full-time in 2012. She received a BA in English and creative writing from the University of Wisconsin and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has worked as both an editorial assistant for a major fiction publisher and an editor for a small nonfiction press based in the Midwest. She is also a freelance writer and book reviewer, and has taught creative writing to high school students and incarcerated men in New York City. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in DIAGRAM, Din, Isthmus, and Lumina. She lives in Brooklyn, where she plays in a rock band and is at work on a collection of essays.
Dana Isokawa – associate Editor
Dana joined the Poets & Writers staff in 2013. She is from the California Bay Area, where she previously worked at the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that runs Wikipedia. She graduated cum laude from Princeton University with a BA in philosophy and creative writing and received her MFA in poetry at New York University as the Fromer Fellow.
Caroline Davidson – Editorial Assistant
Caroline joined Poets & Writers in October 2014. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Colorado-Boulder with an emphasis in poetry. Caroline’s poetry, book reviews, travel articles, and lyric essays have appeared in Coconut Poetry, Sixth Finch, The Volta, Tinge, Bayou Magazine, Matador Network, RealPoetik, and elsewhere. She has taught creative writing, worked in music marketing, and performed as a vocalist and keyboardist in various bands. Originally from Ohio, Caroline is happily no longer land-locked. She lives in Brooklyn.
Jessica Kashiwabara – Senior Web Editor
Jessica joined Poets & Writers in May 2014. She received her BA from the University of California in San Diego, studying Human Development and Literature Writing, and has lived in New York City since 2000. She has worked in online media for Spin, CNET, and most recently the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit for children's mental health. She was selected to participate in the JET Programme in 2007, teaching English in Japan. Jessica has trained in the martial art of Shorinji Kempo for many years and enjoys performing and writing music, photography, and comedy.
Bonnie Chau – Online Editorial Assistant
Bonnie is from Southern California. She received her BA in art history and English literature from UCLA, and her MFA in fiction and literary translation from Columbia University. She has edited horoscopes, worked as a pastry cook, taught English in France, and run writing programs at the nonprofit, 826LA. A Kundiman fellow, her fiction has been published in Flaunt, Columbia Journal: Catch & Release, and Asian American Writers’ Workshop’s The Margins. She lives in Brooklyn, where she is also a bookseller at an independent bookstore.
Tim O'Sullivan – Associate Publisher
Tim joined Poets & Writers in 2008. He has published novel excerpts in A Public Space, one of which was re-published in the 2012 Pushcart Prize Anthology; another excerpt received special mention in the 2008 Pushcart Prize Anthology. He has been a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, an Emerging Writer Fellow at the Center for Fiction, and a Residential Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the MacDowell Colony. He is at work on a novel.
Amy Feltman – Advertising coordinator
Amy Feltman joined Poets & Writers' staff in June 2014. She holds a BA from Vassar College and is a candidate for an MFA in fiction from Columbia University. In 2013, she received a Columbia University Teaching Fellowship. She has written book reviews for Publishers Weekly and has been published in Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art. In the past, she has worked for A Public Space and Random House Films. She is currently working on her first novel.
Inès Pujos – Advertising Assistant
Inès joined Poets & Writers in October 2016. She holds a Poetry MFA from NYU and lives in NYC. Her poems have been published in: Cosmonauts Avenue, Day One, Gulfcoast, Cimarron Review, Hayden's Ferry, Puerto del Sol, Bone Bouquet, The Adroit Journal, Powder Keg, and forthcoming in The Journal. Her manuscript, "Against Porcelain" was a finalist for YESYES Book's 2015 Open Reading Period. She is the cofounder, creative director, and poetry editor of Print Oriented Bastards, an online literary journal. When Inès isn’t writing or working, she is off adventuring for decadent pastries around the city.
Bonnie Rose Marcus – Director of Readings & Workshops (East) and the Writers Exchange
Bonnie joined Poets & Writers in July 2000, bringing more than twenty years of experience in the field of arts education. Bonnie has conducted theatre and writing workshops at numerous community-based organizations in New York City and created a model program, Project VIP (Voice, Identity, Power), a theatre writing initiative for adolescent girls, which continues at New Settlement Apartments in the Bronx. A writer and performer, Bonnie has presented her poetry at a variety of venues in New York City including ABC No Rio, Boricua College, Cornelia Street Cafe, Playwright's Horizon, Two Moon Art, and Night and Day Cafe. She has also presented her poetry at the Third Midwest Literary Walk, in Michigan, Split This Rock Festival in Washington, D.C, and at the New Mexico Poetry Convention. Her theatre credits include a three and a half year run in the Off Broadway show, Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding. Bonnie's book of poetry, The Luminosity, was released in June 2013 with 3: A Taos Press.
Wo Chan – Program Assistant, Readings & Workshops (East)
Wo Chan received a BA in English from the University of Virginia in 2013 and has lived in New York since. A recipient of fellowships from Poets House, Lambda Literary, and the Asian American Writers Workshop, Wo has been published in cream city review, BARZAKH, and VYM Magazine. He is also a poetry fellow in Kundiman, where he currently serves as the Communications Assistant. Wo began with Poets & Writers as our 2014-15 Joseph F. McCrindle Readings & Workshops Fellow, and moved into a fulltime position in March 2015. Previously, Wo worked in the beauty industry as a retail makeup artist and freelancer.
Jamie Asaye FitzGerald – Director, California Office and Readings & Workshops (West)
Jamie has worked for Poets & Writers since 2005. While an undergraduate at the University of Southern California, she received an Academy of American Poets College Prize and the Edward W. Moses Poetry Prize. She has taught creative writing, composition, and literature at San Diego State University where she received an MFA in poetry. She also has extensive experience as a copywriter. Her poetry has appeared in Ariel, Fulcrum, LORE, Poetic Diversity, Speechless, and Snow Monkey, as well as the King County Poetry on the Buses Project. Jamie is originally from Hawaii.
Brandi M. Spaethe – Program Coordinator, Readings & Workshops (West)
Brandi M. Spaethe received her MFA in poetry from Fresno State where she worked for The Normal School and The Philip Levine Prize in Poetry. Her poems have appeared in CRATE, Off the Rocks: An Anthology of GLBT Writing, American Athenaeum, and Slipstream, to name a few. Her chapbook, To You Who Wants In, was released in December 2012. Brandi received the 2012 C.G. Hanzlicek Poetry Writing Fellowship and was a poetry fellow in the 2013 Lambda Literary Foundation's Emerging Writer's Retreat. Her passions lie in writing about the queer community and wandering the deserts of Southern California. She interned with Poets & Writers, and then joined the staff in 2014.
Jason Chapman – Director, Information Technology and Web Development
Jason has worked in the IT industry for over twenty years, and joined Poets & Writers in 1997. His diverse experiences include mainframe operations for the Georgia Institute of Technology, application development for a military contractor, and Web development for a variety of businesses. He is also the author of the novel, The Heretic, an early success in the still-developing arena of electronic publishing.
Ricardo Hernandez – McCrindle Foundation R&W Fellow
M'Bilia Meekers – McCrindle Foundation Online Editorial Fellow
Maggie Millner – Diana & Simon Raab Editorial Fellow