person taking notes at a table

Creative Writing Newsletter 2024



On the campus of the University of Cincinnati stands Langsam Library, and tucked away on the sixth floor of that library is the Elliston Poetry Room, and within the Elliston Room stands a lectern at which our guest speakers stand, and taped to the private inner portion of that lectern, visible not to the audience but to a sharp-eyed guest speaker, is a very small strip of paper, and typed on that small strip is a secret message: Have a great reading, champ.

I’ve stood at that lectern many times over the years to introduce guests, but I admit that I never noticed that tiny benediction. I know of it now only because Douglas Kearney, the 2024 Elliston Poet, interrupted his own lecture in April to bring it to the attention of the audience. It takes courage and conviction and significant emotional energy to stand before a crowd and share one’s work, Kearney said. The message in the lectern, he said, is an acknowledgment of the risks and anxieties of performance, and those five encouraging words struck him as a great comfort. Further, he suggested that the note reflected the generous spirit of the room and of this artistic community more generally.

Anyone who knows Michael Peterson, curator of the Elliston Room, will not be surprised to learn that he is the lectern vandal. He has a rap sheet—he once worked sound at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, where he surreptitiously adorned a lectern with a similar note to give solace to readers, many of whom were facing a large crowd for the first time. “It was a nice way to let the solo person at the podium know that there was someone up there in the booth looking after them,” Michael told me when I inquired about his involvement with inspirational furniture.

I’m grateful to Michael for his relentless thoughtfulness, and I’m delighted that Douglas Kearney recognized that the miniature expression of support taped inside the lectern was emblematic of a broader generosity, a sense that there are, metaphorically speaking, people in the booth looking after people. In my experience, most of our guests develop the same impression during their time on campus with students, staff, and faculty. It remains my pleasure to be both director and constituent of Creative Writing at UC. Please keep reading below for updates and information about the program and its remarkable people. 


The Cincinnati Review Celebrates Its Twentieth Anniversary

Cincinnati Review staff at 20th Anniversary Party

To mark this exciting milestone, we asked Managing Editor Lisa Ampleman some questions.

What’s stable, distinctive, and essential about The Cincinnati Review and what has changed?

Well, as since its inception in 2003, the magazine is helmed by a permanent staff who mentor the graduate students who serve one or two year terms with us. That characteristic, plus the presence of the genre editors, keeps the magazine as strong as it always has been. Work from our pages and from the online miCRo series has appeared in numerous anthologies over the last two decades. For example, one person who’s been keeping up with anthology appearances by magazines tweeted in February that The Cincinnati Review “is the only publication in my database that has been included in all of” the Best American Short Stories, Pushcart, O. Henry award, PEN/Dau, Best of the Net, Wigleaf Top 50, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfiction. The PEN/Dau award is for the first story that author has ever published, and we’ve had stories accepted for that anthology the past three years in a row, two of which had won our summer contest. We love that our commitment to emerging writers is clear in those accolades.
              What’s new in the past few years is a more overt focus on professionalization for both our editors and any graduate student who wants training in a practical skill that we might be able to help with, such as grantwriting. We’ve also changed our submission periods so that we can respond more quickly to writers, so we accept submissions only in September, December, and May. Another big change is that now “genre teams” composed of the genre editors and one or two graduate students choose content for the print magazine, instead of the genre editors doing that on their own as was the case before. And after a strategic planning process two years ago we have two other major changes: a Disability Advisory Board, which met for the first time this fall, and a new position, Assistant Managing Editor, to help with social media and website. Bess Winter, a graduate of the program, started in that position in August and we’re so, so glad to have her here.

Elliston swag (Photo Collage) - 1

What’s next? What new directions are you looking forward to?

Our next major project, which we’ve already started, is redesigning our website with a couple goals in mind: we want to create a website that’s fully accessible across devices and for users of different abilities; that creates an intuitive literary experience for visitors; that generates revenue for the journal through a subscription model (in an industry where printing and mailing costs rise every year); and that has a long technological lifespan. We remain committed to the print journal, but we realize that more and more people get their content online these days, and we’d love to have a more integrated experience for the print mag and the website. As part of that project, we’ll create documentation that will help other lit mags create accessible and user-friendly sites too.
              After that major project, we will likely look at the best way to start producing audio issues of the magazine, something more and more lit mags are doing.
              And we’ve got some really 
cool new swag we’re excited about as well, designed by Kelcey Ervick, which features George Elliston herself! We learned a lot from Kelcey’s essay about George that she wrote as part of that project.

Cover of Fall 2023 issue of The Cincinnati Review

Where does The Cincinnati Review fit into the literary ecosystem?

Obviously, we’re a strong magazine often ranked in the top tiers by those who rank magazines (usually by using anthology presence). The list of anthologies that I mentioned before is pretty unique in that we are just as strong with our exclusively online content as we are with our print content, which can be a rarity for lit mags.
              We’re committed to not charging submission fees, aside from our summer contest, something other magazines often need to do to pay for their Submittable subscription and other costs. Because of our strong support from the department and the Schiff Foundation, we’re able to avoid that route.
              Content-wise, we publish a wide range of work, rather than one particular form or aesthetic. To quote Fiction Editor Michael Griffith from our “
What We’re Looking For” page on our site, “We want, first and foremost, to cast a wide net. If our taste ever pinches or contracts to a recognizable ‘house style,’ we’ve failed. And so we value variety and diversity of every kind: of angle of vision, tone, subject, setting, form, lived experience.” That holds true across all genres.
              We’re also one of the few magazines that publish drama, thanks to our partnership with Brant Russell from CCM. Our spring issue has a piece on AI written by 
Louis Cancelmi, for example.

Cover of the spring 2024 issue of The Cincinnati Review

What are some of your favorite pieces you’ve published and/or what are some of your favorite memories of working at The Cincinnati Review

A play from our fall 2021 issue we call Jane Anger (the official title is The Lamentable Comedie of JANE ANGER, That Cunning Woman, and Also of Willy Shakefpeare and His Peasant Companion, Francis, Yes and Also of Anne Hathaway (Also a Woman) Who Tried Very Hard) by Talene Monahon is one favorite. I describe it sometimes as Shakespeare in Love crossed with American Pie and Titus Andronicus. We invited a CCM student to perform a monologue from it as part of our anniversary party in December.
              More recently, we had several strong stories in the fall 2023 issue, including a story called “Alfhild” by a Norwegian writer, Alex Boeden—it was his first published story, and it received that PEN/Dau award this year—and a long, tender, complex story about loss by former prof Brock Clarke, “Customs and Alterations.”
spring issue, due out soon after I write this note, includes an essay by Ohioan Karen Maner about pregnancy loss and reproductive rights that wowed us.             
        It’s so hard to pick a favorite artist from over the years, but one of my top choices is a local artist, 
Emily Hanako Momohara, whose art appeared in our winter 2019 issue.
        And it’s equally challenging to pick favorite poems, but Cortney Lamar Charleston’s poems in the 
fall 2021 issue, including “It’s Important I Remember That Darkness and Blackness Aren’t Perfect Synonyms—”, immediately come to mind.
        Among my favorite miCRos are Jin Su Joo’s essay “
Have You Eaten Rice” (I think about it all the time I look at my rice cooker settings), Natalie Yap’s story “Santa Maria,” and KB’s poem “Black Life circa 2029.”

I’ve been managing editor for the magazine for seven years now, somehow. The time has passed by quickly, though we’ve accomplished a lot, and I’ve gotten to work with a lot of great graduate students, who have gone on to great things.
              Which leads me to one of my favorite kinds of memories: seeing the student editors receive professional and academic job offers, publish, be awarded with fellowships and residencies, etc. I always tell them that the pinnacle of my job is helping them move on to the next thing they do, with more skills, knowledge, etc., than when they started with the mag.


Acre Books has three books to boast of this spring. We released Bad Mexican, Bad American by Jose Hernandez Diaz in February. Publishers Weekly described this poetry collection as a “debut [that] engages with themes of identity and cultural hybridity, interrogating the concept of self-awareness against the perceptions of others,” and Adroit Journal praised it as a volume that “grabs and transports you . . . and unapologetically but inventively confronts you with questions that artfully speak to issues of race, class, and identity.”

In March we released Sleepaway, a debut novel by celebrated poet Kevin Prufer, which Kirkus Reviews called “A taut and piercing dystopian tale” and Booklist deemed “a superbly original parable about the recent collective experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic.” Cincinnatians take note: Prufer will be visiting our fair city next week to both to read from Sleepaway—the first event at the new location of Joy and Matt’s Books (915 Vine Street)!—on Sunday, May 12, at 2 pm, and to help launch of the new volume in his Unsung Masters Series, a book examining the lost work of Cincinnati’s 1960s Black Arts/Black Power poet Tom Postell. The celebration surrounding the release of Tom Postell: On the Life and Work of an American Master—co-edited by UC’s own Michael Peterson—will take place at the Liberty Exhibition Hall Lounge around 7 pm on May 11.

This month Acre releases a fascinating memoir by Jessica E. Johnson—Mettlework: A Mining Daughter on Making Home. Taylor Brorby aptly describes the book as “Emotionally and geographically wide-ranging, rich in history and the weight of the work that unmakes the world . . . a story of how our families—who they are, what work they do—shape us even as we hope to create new stories of what family and home can and could be.”

For more information on these titles, and links to purchase, visit!


HIke + Write event picturing a group connected by string

Community Engagement initiatives continued this year under the leadership of UC alum and current visiting assistant professor Maia Morgan.

Our third year of Writer Talks at Cincinnati’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts offered high school writers the chance to hone their writing skills in horror, docupoetry, and podcasts among other genres. Workshops were taught by Creative Writing PhD students Charlie Beckerman, Asher Marron, and Erin Noehre as well as Violeta Orozco, a PhD candidate in Romance Languages and Literatures. Graduate students also provided their expertise for professional writing workshops with a trauma-informed job readiness program for youth at Tikkun Farm in Mt. Healthy. Asher Marron and LCS MA Student Rylee Igel taught sessions on resume and cover letter writing for high school students and graduates.

Large group of people participating in Hike+Write

Hike + Write, our series developed in partnership with Cincinnati Parks, again drew a diverse group of participants from UC as well as the greater Cincinnati community, with forty people joining us for our final hike of the year in April! Led by English and Romance Languages and Literatures faculty and grad students including Bryce Bullins, Elijah Guerra, Rome Morgan, Violeta Orozco, and Felicia Zamora along with Cincy Parks naturalists, participants visited the Darby-Lee Cemetery at sunset, hiked LaBoiteaux Woods after dark, and listened to spring peepers at the UC Field Center and bird calls in Mt. Airy. We talked and wrote about decay and renewal, decolonizing our relationship with nature, practicing wonder during a time of climate crisis, writing the prairie, and ecologies of sound.

Several people seated on a log and writing

We appreciate everyone who supported and participated in programs. (Shoutout here to the sensational Blessing Christopher who came on board to assist with these and other initiatives still in the works.) If you have an idea for an SCPA workshop, a Hike + Write theme, or something else community related, please don’t hesitate to reach out.


Aaron Cohick, New Lights Press, with consultant Andy Sia and iElliston Student Curator Lili Alimohammadi

The Elliston mantra for AY2023-2024 has been "Acquire! Acquire!" which serendipitously sounds like "A Choir! A Choir!" It's been an incredible year not just for collection-building, but for collection-building practices. We've worked closely with fellow UCL librarians like Christopher Harter (ARB) and Elizabeth Meyer (DAAP), while also hosting several visiting antiquarians, dealers, and bookmakers in person. These visits have been co-hosted and co-curated by colleagues and students. Poet David Abel (Passages, Granary), printer Eckhard Froeschlin (Froeschlin), Aaron Cohick (New Lights Press), and Matt Hart/Eric Appleby (Forklift Ohio) all visited the room, materials in hand. Poet Andy Sia consulted on acquisitions of the New Lights archive and Aditi Machado on those from David Abel. Elliston Student Curator Lili Alimohammadi envisioned, planned, and spearheaded acquisition of the entire Forklift Ohio archive (FO is a now legendary journal and publishing outfit that linked innovative Ohio poetry with a who's-who of national scenes from 1994-2016).

David Abel, Passages Books, with a rare stitched ribbon book

In addition to well-known poetry and art releases, we continue to expand our holdings by diverse, history-making small presses and print communities: Cardboard House Press, Argos, Changes, Titled House, Dead Mall, Burrow, Akinoga, Siglio, Economy, DoubleCross, and countless others. These buying practices attracted some nice attention at the AWP Conference in Kansas City where we earned a rep for supporting innovative work and acquiring right on the conference center floor. We're excited for a partnership with poet-curator Lewis Freedman and the historic Woodland Pattern Book Center of Milwaukee. In addition to new work, we've acquired some incredibly rare materials this past year, and would like to continue to work closely with all of you, our community, toward your individual scholarly and pedagogical needs. Come sponsor an acquisition!

The Elliston had another "stacked" year as co-founders with UC Libraries of the #PoetryStacked Reading series, building out this year with 1.) a new collaborative reading between poets and DAAP Artists, and 2.) the very first Poetry Stacked Anthology, an art-book accordion-style anthology in tuxedo-box wraps containing work from the first wave of Stacked community poets (undergrads, grads, faculty, and community members). It will be out by the end of April and has been designed and handsewn by the expert bookmakers of The Preservation Lab.

On the research front, the Elliston has founded a digital team to harness AI and Git development toward a major acoustics/phonics-based accessibility project. We've taken on what (we think?) might be our first ENGL Co-Op student in partnership with the UC Co-Op system. Senior Sabal Dahal, a CS major straight from a Co-Op at Honeywell, joined Senior Librarian James Van Mil and Michael Peterson to begin development on a large-language model AI application that can parse all Elliston recordings. These models will result in a UI that allows scholars and educators to 1.) visualize vocal patterns in visiting writers' work, and 2.) generate kinetic typographical captioning more accessible and affective than CPU-generated options.

The Cincinnati Poetry Collective continued to build its culture this year, with a strong new exec board and some really ambitious plans for programming in the next year. They continue to host open meetings every week in the room so if you've got a student writing poems and looking for peers in their cause, have'em drop by!


Douglas Kearney

This year we welcomed twelve visiting writers to campus, including the 2024 Elliston Poet, Douglas Kearney. Kearney gave a fantastic lecture, “Playing the Changing Same,” in which he spoke of “two who got played out by the bad habitual changing same, that rut of grooves dug like graves”—namely Emmett Till and James Byrd—and of poems that Gwendolyn Brooks and Lucile Clifton wrote “to them and for them,” respectively. Kearney shared some of the poems he has contributed to “the changing same” of these poets. At his reading, we were lucky enough to hear new poems that he had never before shared with an audience. Recordings of both of these events will be made available in the Elliston Archive

Douglas Kearney

Another highlight from the series was the joint visit by Robin McLean and her literary agent, Stephanie Steiker. McLean read from her recent books, and she and Steiker participated in a public discussion of the role of the literary agent. We also enjoyed incredible readings from Anthony Cody, Sidik Fofana, Chet’la Sebree, and Emily Jungmin Yoon, among others. And we welcomed back alums Kristi Maxwell and Molly Reid, as well as former faculty member Danielle Deulen. 

Douglas Kearney

We’re thrilled that audiences for our Visiting Writers Series events have returned to pre-pandemic sizes, and we look forward to next year’s series. In September we’ll welcome Cindy Juyoung Ok and Diana Khoi Nguyen for a joint event, and in the spring we’ll host our biennial fiction festival. Stay tuned for information about more upcoming events. 


Chris Bachelder: My novel Dayswork, written collaboratively with Jennifer Habel and published last September by Norton, was named a best book of 2023 by Kirkus, The Washington Post, NPR, the Paris Review, and others. Dayswork was one of 32 novels selected to compete in the 2024 Tournament of Books and it advanced to the quarterfinal round. Jennifer and I are currently working on a companion novel about, among other things, Hawthorne and cicadas.

Lisa Ampleman’s Mom in Space is out this spring from LSU Press, and poems from it were featured this year in Georgia Review and TAB Journal.

Alecia Beymer: This year has been full of so many exciting moments! I had a lot of fun working with Aditi Machado and Elijah Guerra to create the Critical Theory Reading Group and also with Shannon Hautman and Elijah Guerra to create the Critical Pedagogy/Writing Pedagogy Group (both funded by Taft). I learned so much from reading and discussing ideas with everyone who participated. I had the honor of reading in the Poetry Stacked series alongside artists who created paintings as each poet read their poems and I read in the Waxy Gibbon series (created by Aditi). Also, I led a workshop in collaboration with the Poetry Stacked event: Talkback Ekphrastic. I was offered an amazing opportunity to be a Visiting Teaching Artist in the Poetry Foundation’s Forms & Features series and gave a workshop on a passion of mine – The Infra-Ordinary: All That Goes Unnoticed. I was a runner-up in the Ohio Writer’s Contest through Gordon Square Review and a poem that is dear to me was published in SWWIM. My debut chapbook, Tree Surgeon, was chosen as a finalist for the New Women’s Voices Series at Finishing Line Press and will be out this coming August (available to pre-order now!). Lastly, I am just overwhelmed with gratitude and joy to say that I won the William C. Boyce Award for Outstanding Teaching. I am beyond appreciative to get to work with such lovely and thoughtful students. This summer I am excited to continue exploring the food scene here in Cincinnati (and always looking for new recommendations).

John Drury had a new poetry collection, The Teller’s Cage: Poems and Imaginary Movies, published by Able Muse Press in January and currently has a memoir, Bobby and Carolyn: A Memoir of My Two Mothers, in its pre-ordering period until June 14, with publication by Finishing Line Press in August. During this academic year, he has had poems published in Swing, 32 Poems, Gargoyle Online, and Live Encounters Poetry & Writing (which also published his essay, “Poetry, Song, and Tortured Poets,” as the guest editorial in its April 2024 online edition). His “Sestina on Six Words by Michael Peterson” appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of The Hudson Review. So far this year, he has given readings at Joseph-Beth, Poetry Stacked, and the West Chester Pop-up Poetry Festival. With his wife, poet LaWanda Walters, he’ll read at a Zoom event of “W-E, Bicoastal Poets of the Pandemic - and Beyond” on May 19. 

Michael Griffith is fiddling along on three projects just now: the crosswords, acrostics, and hink pinks he constructs quarterly for The Southern Review; a collaborative detective novel he's working on alongside Brock Clarke and Trenton Lee Stewart; and his (free) Substack about, it seems, breakfast, 1970s TV, and obituaries, "Digress Report." This summer he'll ride his bike a lot.

Kristen Iversen was on a Taft Faculty Fellowship for fall 2023 and has been busy with two book projects (Friend and Faithful Stranger: Nikola Tesla in the Gilded Age, pub date 2025and Wink's Lodge: Resistance and the KKK in the American West) and two film projects (a documentary premiering this summer, and a new tv streaming series, both based on her books). She served on the Fulbright National Screening Committee (NSC) for the 2024-2025 Fulbright U.S. Student Program in Creative Writing, and continues to work with PhD candidates/graduates in Literary Nonfiction at UC and their book projects, published and forthcoming. In addition, she continues to serve as Literary Nonfiction editor of The Cincinnati Review, and faculty advisor for the undergraduate journal Short Vine.

Rebecca Lindenberg’s third poetry collection, Our Splendid Failure to Do the Impossible, will be released October 1, 2024 by BOA Editions. Poems from the book recently appeared in Copper Nickel and in the anthology Braving the Body, edited by Nicole Callahan et al (Small Harbor Publishing 2024). She’ll be taking a brief hiatus from her responsibilities as Director of Graduate Studies and Poetry Editor for the Cincinnati Review during Fall 2024, during which she hopes to working on essays about the etymology of the word “complicity,” Dolly Parton, zombie apocalypse movies, and the mythology of snakes, as well as a new poetry collection tentatively entitled Inventory.

For the last three years Elliston Curator Michael Peterson has been working closely with the family of Black Arts/Beat poet Tom Postell to recover a body of work thought disappeared. Postell, born in Cincy's West End, remains a cryptic but influential figure "needing immediate recovery" (as scholar Aldon Nielson writes). The resulting project is the very first edition ever of his poems. Tom Postell: On the Life and Work of an American Master (Unsung Masters Series) drops in April with a public launch on May 11th at the Liberty Exhibition Hall Lounge in Northside. Peterson also delivered two panels at AWP Kansas City, regaining post-conference sanity by visiting his aunt, a truly hip cloistered Carmelite nun living in the middle of Nebraska.

Leah Stewart: I’m closing in on the end of a novel about archeologists, and this summer I’ll host my fourth Sewanee Writers’ Conference. 

Felicia Zamora’s poetry collection, Interstitial Archaeology, was selected as an Editors Pick for the Wisconsin Poetry Series and will release in March 2025 from University of Wisconsin Press. She won a second Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award in Poetry, was awarded the 2023 Summer Research Fellowship from the Charles Phelps Taft Research Center, and received tenure with promotion to associate professor. She was named one of the five poetry editors at the Colorado Review (a journal she’s called home since she began interning many-moons-ago), published over 20 poems in journals such as The Iowa Review, Ecotone, Gulf Coast, Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, AGNI, Ninth Letter, and others, published one recommendations feature with Post Road and one nonfiction piece with Brevity, and participated in readings/ events for The Georgia ReviewThe Kenyon Review, SWWIM, Lost in the Letters, AWP, AGNI, and others. This summer she’ll be poetry faculty at the Omega Institute with Orion Magazine, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and The Kenyon Review Online Summer Workshops.


Ashley Anderson has recently had essays published in The Bangalore Review, Quarter After Eight, and Permafrost, and forthcoming in Appalachian Review and Cosmonauts Avenue. She also published a critical article about grief work and reading memoirs in Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies. Ashley's debut essay collection, tentatively titled Sifting the Feminine Bones: Essays, is forthcoming from the University of Georgia Press as part of Crux: The Georgia Series in Literary Nonfiction. Sifting the Feminine Bones, which in its past life was Ashley's dissertation at the University of Missouri, examines the relationship between femininity, illness, and storytelling, and was a semifinalist for the 2022 Santa Fe Writers Project Literary Arts Awards.

Brian Brodeur's fourth poetry book, Some Problems with Autobiography (2023), won the 2022 New Criterion Poetry Prize. Recent poems have won the 2022 Able Muse Write Prize, the 2023 Kim Bridgford Memorial Sonnet Prize, and the 2023 Frost Farm Prize for Metrical Poetry. In August 2023, he'll be teaching a three-day workshop, "For All / That Struck the Earth": Verse in Mixed Meters, at the Frost Farm Poetry Conference.  

Alida Dean: This year I published stories and/or poems in SmokeLong Quarterly, Orca, The Forge, Litbreak, and Chicago Quarterly Review. I also started lecturing in the Writing Department at Ithaca College, and on April 10 my partner Justin and I welcomed our daughter, Sylvie Ellen Armstrong, into the world!

Cara Dees joined Belmont University as an Assistant Professor of English in Fall 2023, and her poems are recently published or forthcoming in Bat City Review, The Georgia Review, The Hudson Review, Ploughshares, Provincetown Arts Magazine, and Washington Square Review. She welcomed her daughter in June and spends most of her extra time trying to convince the baby not to grab/bite the cats.

Samantha Edmonds: Last month, I successfully defended my creative dissertation, a speculative memoir currently titled A World to Hold Us All. I'll be graduating with a PhD in creative writing from the University of Missouri in May. In August, I'll be joining the faculty at Berry College as an Assistant Professor in the creative writing program. Additionally, my first book, a short story collection called A Preponderance of Starry Beings, is forthcoming from TriQuarterly Books (an imprint of Northwestern University Press) in June 2025. 

Jen Fawkes's debut novel, Daughters of Chaos, will be out from the Overlook Press/Abrams Books on July 9, 2024. She served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Louisiana State University in 2022-2023, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Fiction at the University of Arkansas in spring 2024. Jen's first story collection, Mannequin and Wife, won the 2023 Phillip H. McMath Post-Publication Book Award (Prose).

Emily Heiden's essay "Uncharted" was published in the anthology Fast Fallen Women (Woodhall Press) in 2023. Her essay "Simone de Beauvoir, Reminder of My Complicity" will appear in the next book in the series, Fast Famous Women, also from Woodhall, in 2024.

Kevin Honold is a Special Education teacher in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His second novel, Our Lady of Good Voyage, will be published in August of this year.

A poem by Amy Lemmon (MA '92 PhD '97), "Evening Call," is featured on Queensbound, a collaborative audio project founded in 2018 that seeks to connect writers across the borough, showcase and develop a literature of Queens, and reflect the borough back to itself. This is poetry for the people online and in public spaces.

Kristi Maxwell: My eighth book of poems, Goners, was published by Green Linden Press in Dec. 2023. This spring, I was awarded one of four spots for international writers in the Among the Danes International Summer Writing Residency Program at the Danish Center for Writers and Translators at Hald Hovedgaard in Viborg, Denmark, during July 2024. I am also the 2024 poetry inductee for the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame.

Lily Meyer: My novel Short War was published in April, and my next novel, The End of Romance, just sold to Viking!

Sarah Rose Nordgren's nonfiction book, Feathers: A Bird-Hat Wearer's Journal, was published by Essay Press in February. This book won the Essay Press Book Prize judged by Ronaldo Wilson, and began as Sarah Rose's creative dissertation at UC. 

Rhonda Pettit, PhD, presented a reading of poems from her manuscript, Burden of the Song, and a discussion of research for the manuscript, at the Midwest Modern Language Association Conference in Cincinnati. She also published two poems from this manuscript: "Bones of Enlightenment" in Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel volume 26 (2023) and "All the Pretty Little Losses" in Women Speak volume 9 (2023). Invited to be the Plenary Speaker at the annual conference of the Kentucky Philological Association in March 2024, her speech, "This Thing Called Siege: What a Poem Can Do" includes two more poems from the manuscript that will be published as part of her speech in the Kentucky Philological Review: "she-/riffs: Questions for the Hand Holding the Pen I" and "The Other Milly in Deed Book C."

Virginia Slachman: I've been working on my novel series set in the Thoroughbred horse racing world of Lexington, KY. There are four books so far, and I'm at work on the fifth. You can find out more on my website As well, I'm again returning to Keeneland Racetrack Library to launch their 2024 Author Speaker Series next August. In addition, I conduct workshops, titled "Connect and Communicate: Developing Your Equine Intuition," that help people understand, connect, and communicate with their horses. I continue to be active in Thoroughbred rescue and rehabilitation.

Adam Sol is now the Blake C. Goldring Professor at Victoria College, University of Toronto. His book of poems, Broken Dawn Blessings, won the Vine Award for Canadian Jewish Literature in the Poetry category. 

Maggie Su: My debut novel, Blob: A Love Story, is forthcoming from Harper in January 2025.

Connor Yeck was a recent finalist for the Brittingham and Felix Pollak Prizes in Poetry. He's recently joined Michigan State University as a science writer and communications manager for the Departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.


Charlie Beckerman is delighted to be the recipient of a URC Graduate Student Summer Research Award, and will be spending the summer in London to research and complete his novel. He also is very proud to be the runner-up in this year’s Hatfield/Westheimer Fiction Prize.

Holli Carrell was awarded a Summer 2024 Graduate Student Stipend from the Office of Research and is a 2024-2025 Taft Dissertation Fellow. 

Joely Fitch co-founded new online journal Atmospheric Quarterly this spring, and a recent essay is up at Dilettante Army

Daniel Galef: Like every year, this year I published a lot of short things in small venues with fun names: Light, Space Squid, Gargoyle MagazineFlash Fiction OnlineThe Journal of Wordplay, Leavings, Sein und Werden, Cuento, The Dirigible Balloon, LUPO, Moonshine & Magnolias, Consilience, the Amethyst Review, Points in Case, Form in Formless Times, the Delta Poetry Review, the New York Sun, An Homage to Soren Kierkegaard (anthology), Snakeskin Poetry, Working Classicists, the Balloons Lit. Journal, the Asses of Parnassus, Pulsebeat Poetry, Nanofiction, Modern Age, the Oxford English Dictionary in Limerick Form, Slackjaw, Defenestration Magazine, Etymology, the Atlanta Review, and the Saturday Evening Post (write-in contest). But the big news is that my first book was published---right before I arrived here in August, if that still counts: Imaginary Sonnets (Word Galaxy/Able Muse Press).

Kristyn Garza: I spent my first year here at UC getting to know folks and enjoying my time in this wonderfully creative and open-hearted community. I was able to start and am currently finishing up a new, exciting hybrid manuscript of poetry that I hope to send out this summer. I've had poems published and accepted by SPECTRA POETS, Cream City Review, Pembroke Magazine, and I will have the honor of having two of my poems included in AGNI's Portfolio of Central American and Mexican Diaspora Writing (coming out this May) alongside my wonderful friend's work, Felicia Zamora.

Dan Hunt: I had an essay published in New England Review. One of my stories won the Launch Pad Prose Competition. I was a finalist for the New England Review Award for Emerging Writers and the Dzanc Short Story Collection Prize. I received a grant from the Elizabeth George Foundation. My wife and I also had our first child, Zadie!

Asher Marron was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for their poem published in the Bay Area journal The Ana. They are getting married this summer. 

David Lerner Schwartz won the Robert Day Award for Fiction. His work was published in New Letters and The Masters Review, where he was a Chapbook Open finalist. David was awarded a Taft Graduate Summer Fellowship and a Taft Faculty Research Group Grant. His short film was a semi-finalist for New York International Women Festival and selected for the Coney Island Film Festival. In the fall, David will join the University of Central Florida as a tenure-track Assistant Professor of English in the MFA program. 

Sam Simas: I have stories forthcoming in Southern Indiana Review and New England Review. This summer, I will be stuffing my face with pastel de nata and drinking vinho verde at DISQUIET International in Lisbon; I won a Luso-American fellowship to attend. Otherwise, I will continue as the contributing fiction editor for the Ocean State Review, and I will offer workshops at LitArtsRI—a writing non-profit in Providence, RI.


We are delighted to welcome these new students next year:

Nikki Barnhart earned her MFA in Fiction from The Ohio State University, where she was a Distinguished University Fellow. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as The Cincinnati Review, Post Road, Phoebe, Juked, The Rumpus, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for a Pushcart, Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and the AWP Intro Journals Prize. She has received support from the New York State Writers Institute, and will attend the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop this summer. She is originally from New England.

Prince Bush is a poet from Nashville, TN whose poems appear in Cherry Tree, The Drift, The Cortland Review, Northwest Review, and elsewhere. He earned his BA in English as an Erastus Milo Cravath Presidential Scholar at Fisk University and his MFA in English (Creative Writing) as a Truman Capote Literary Fellow from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He has received a fellowship from the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets.

Freda Ndidi Epum (Free-duh Nn-dee-dee Ay-poom) is a Nigerian-American writer and artist from Tucson, AZ. Her work has been published or is forthcoming from The Rumpus, Electric Literature, Vol 1. Brooklyn, Entropy, Bending Genres, Cosmonauts Avenue, Heavy Feather Review, Nat.Brut, Third Coast, Atticus Review, Rogue Agent, and the 2020 Bending Genres Anthology. She received her MFA from Miami University in Oxford, OH. Her work has been supported by Lambda Literary, the Tin House Writers Workshop, Voices of Our Nation/VONA, the Ragdale Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council, the Anderson Center at Tower View residency, and the Jordan Goodman Prize. She is the author of two chapbooks, Input/Output (Tanline Printing) with Amanda Beekhiuzen-Williams and Entryways into memories that might assemble me (selected for the Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Prize by Lacy M. Johnson). She has co-authored the Black American Tree Project, a participatory performative history lesson which has had over 500 participants for international and national conferences and nonprofits. This project has received support from the Ohio Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is at work on THE GLOOMY GIRL VARIETY SHOW (Jan 2025, Feminist Press), her debut memoir on race, illness, and belonging. She lives in Cincinnati.

Jillian A. Fantin is a contemporary court jester with roots in the American South and north central England. They are the author of the prose poetry micro-chapbook A Playdough Symposium (Ghost City Press, 2023) and the vessel for transmission of the forthcoming poetry-play THE DOUGHNUT WORLD (fifth wheel press, 2024) and accompanying (Soma)tic pamphlets. With writer Joy Wilkoff, Jillian co-founded and edits RENESME LITERARY, a short form Twilight-inspired online arts journal. They also serve as an assistant editor for Sundress Publications’ Best of The Net Anthology and a blog curator for Querencia Press. Finally, Jillian reiterates their support for Palestinian statehood and an immediate end to the USA-funded colonial project's genocide of Palestine, and they demand that the Dallas District Attorney drops the charges against the Garland 23, whose only "transgression" was protesting General Dynamics and their active role in manufacturing and sending the bombs dropped by Israel on the people of Gaza.

Kira K. Homsher is a writer from Philadelphia. Her stories and essays have appeared in Kenyon Review OnlineIndiana ReviewPassages NorthThe OffingLongreadsDIAGRAM, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in fiction from Virginia Tech, where she won the University Writing Program Outstanding GTA award in recognition of her teaching, and her work has received support from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts and the Ragdale Foundation. She currently serves as Assistant Fiction Editor for X-R-A-Y and has held previous editorial positions with The BelieverCarve Magazine, and the minnesota review. Find her at

Arah Ko is a writer from Hawai'i and the author of Brine Orchid (YesYes Books 2025) and the chapbook Animal Logic (Bull City Press 2025). Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, The Threepenny Review, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. She was nominated for Best of Net and Best New Poets and received her MFA in creative writing from the Ohio State University where she worked on staff at The Journal. Arah edits at Surging Tide Magazine. Catch her at