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From the Directory of Writers

Jay Besemer

Chicago, IL

Hybrid artist Jay Besemer is the author of several poetry books and chapbooks, including Aster to Daylily and A New Territory Sought. As Jen Besemer he was the author of Telephone, Object with Man’s Face, Quiet Vertical Movements, Ten Word Problems, and What Is Born. Jay’s recombinant poetry projects are featured in issue 25 of TENDE RLOIN and anthologized in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. They can also be found in Monsters & Dust, Aufgabe, Drunken Boat, BlazeVOX, e-ratio, Sentence and other delicious publications. His video poems have been screened at events like Chicago’s “Absinthe & Zygote” experimental reading series, and “@Salon 2014” in Bloomington, Illinois. Jay also curates the occasional poetry event, writes feature essays and reviews, and teaches art and poetry workshops in and beyond Chicago.

Tara Betts


Tara Betts is the author of Break the Habit (Trio House Press, forthcoming) and Arc & Hue. She published the recent and forthcoming chapbooks "7 x 7: kwansabas (Backbone Press, 2015), "Never Been Lois Lane" (dancing girl press, 2016), and the lbretto "THE GREATEST: An Homage to Muhammad Ali (Argus House/Winged City Press, 2013). She holds a Ph.D. in English from Binghamton University and an MFA in Creative Writing from New England College. Tara is a Cave Canem alum. Tara’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including POETRY magazine, The Break Beat Poets, Octavia's Brood, VILLANELLES, Gathering Ground, Bum Rush the Page, A Face to Meet the Faces: An Anthology of Contemporary Persona Poetry, and both Spoken Word Revolution anthologies. Her poems have appeared in POETRY, Essence, Crab Orchard Review, Callaloo, Ninth Letter, Court Green, and others. Her writing has also been adapted for the stage in Steppenwolf Theater's Words on Fire," "Fingernails Across a Chalk Board" by Chocolate Chips Theater Company, Rivka's Solomon's "That Takes Ovaries!" and Peggy Choy Dance Company's production of "THE GREATEST! An Hip Homage to Muhammad Ali." Tara also appeared on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam” and the Black Family Channel series “SPOKEN” with Jessica Care Moore. After winning Guild Complex’s Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award, she represented Chicago twice at the National Poetry Slam. She also coached youth who participated in Brave New Voices and Chicago's Louder Than a Bomb.

Leigh Buchanan Bienen

Fiction Writer
Evanston, IL

Marlon Billups

Poet, Spoken Word Artist
Chicago, IL

David Bond

Carbondale, IL

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