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Advisory Committee

Naomi Ayala is a teacher, education consultant, freelance writer and translator. Her first book of poetry, Wild Animals on the Moon (Curbstone Press, 1997), was selected by the New York Public Library as a Book for the Teen Age. Her second book, This Side of Early, was published by Curbstone to great acclaim in 2009. Ayala’s poetry has appeared in such journals as Callaloo, The Village Voice, The Caribbean Writer, and The Massachusetts Review. She has received two artist fellowships from the D.C. Commission on the Arts & Humanities.
Jan Beatty has published four books with the University of Pittsburgh Press: The Switching/Yard; Red Sugar, finalist for the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize; Boneshaker, finalist, Milton Kessler Award; Mad River, Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize winner. She’s the winner of the Creative Achievement Award in Literature from the Heinz Foundation, the Pablo Neruda Prize, and fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Beatty has worked as a waitress, welfare caseworker, abortion counselor, and social worker and teacher in maximum-security prisons. She is the managing editor of MadBooks, a small press that publishes women writers. For 20 years, Beatty has hosted and produced Prosody, a public radio show on NPR affiliate WESA-FM featuring the work of national writers. She directs the creative writing program at Carlow University, where she runs the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops and teaches in the MFA program.
Martha Collins is the author of Day Unto Day (Milkweed Editions, 2014), White Papers (Pitt Poetry Series, 2012), as well as Blue Front (Graywolf, 2006), a book-length poem based on a lynching her father witnessed when he was five years old. She also is the author of Black Stars: Poems by Ngo Tu Lap (Milkweed Editions, 2013), co-translated with the author. Blue Front won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was chosen as one of "25 Books to Remember from 2006" by the New York Public Library. Collins' other awards include fellowships from the NEA, the Bunting Institute, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the Witter Bynner Foundation, as well as three Pushcart Prizes, the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Lannan residency grant, and the Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize. Collins has also published four earlier collections of poems, two books of co-translations from the Vietnamese, and two chapbooks. Collins founded the Creative Writing Program at UMass-Boston, and for ten years was Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College. She is currently editor-at-large for FIELD magazine and one of the editors of the Oberlin College Press. In spring 2010, she served as Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University.
Teri Ellen Cross Davis graduated with a MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from American University. She is a Cave Canem fellow. She has had poems published in many anthologies, including Bum Rush The Page: A Def Poetry Jam and Cave Canem: Gathering Ground, and online at Beltway Poetry Quarterly. She is the Poetry and Lectures Coordinator at the Folger Shakespeare Library and was formerly a producer with WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show.
Kyle G. Dargan is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently Logorrhea Dementia (UGA, 2010). His debut, The Listening (UGA 2004), won the 2003 Cave Canem Prize, and his second, Bouquet of Hungers (UGA 2007), was awarded the 2008 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award in poetry. Dargan’s poems and non-fiction have appeared in publications such as Callaloo, Denver Quarterly, Jubilat, The Newark Star-Ledger, Ploughshares,, and Shenandoah. While a Yusef Komunyakaa fellow at Indiana University, he served as poetry editor for Indiana Review. He is the founding editor of Post No Ills magazine and was most recently the managing editor of Callaloo.
Kathy Engel is a poet who has founded, co-founded, and directed social justice and human rights organizations, and worked in the nexus between art and social change internationally and domestically, as a communications/strategic/creative consultant and producer, for more than 35 years. Her practice has proposed injection of the imagination and art in efforts related to prison reform, domestic violence, economic, gender, and racial justice, peace, education, health, and U.S. policies in Haiti, Central America, the Middle East, and South Africa, suggesting a re-imagining necessary for meaningful change. Recent and forthcoming publications include: The Mom Egg, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Lake Rises (an anthology), Poet Lore, Poetry, Split This Rock Poem of the Week, Women’s Voice for Change, Adanna, Liberty’s Vigil: The Occupy Anthology and Ghost Fishing, An Eco-Justice Anthology.
Martín Espada, called “the Latino poet of his generation” and “the Pablo Neruda of North American authors,” has published sixteen books in all as a poet, editor, essayist and translator, including The Trouble Ball (Norton, 2012), Crucifixion in the Plaza de Armas (Smokestack, 2008), released in England, and La Tumba de Buenaventura Roig (Terranova, 2008), a bilingual edition published in Puerto Rico. The Republic of Poetry, a collection of poems published by Norton in 2006, received the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Another collection, Imagine the Angels of Bread (Norton, 1996), won an American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is now a professor in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he teaches creative writing and the work of Pablo Neruda.
Carolyn Forché is Lannan Visiting Professor of Poetry and Professor of English at Georgetown University. Known as a “poet of witness,” she is the author of four books of poetry. Her first poetry collection, Gathering The Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. Her second book, The Country Between Us (Harper and Row, 1982), received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was also the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets. In 1994, her third book of poetry, The Angel of History (HarperCollins), was chosen for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her fourth book of poems, Blue Hour, was published by HarperCollins in Spring 2003. Forché’s anthology, Against Forgetting: Twentieth Century Poetry of Witness, was published by W.W. Norton & Co. in 1993.
Sam Hamill (1943-2018) was the author of more than forty books, including fifteen volumes of original poetry (most recently Measured by Stone and Almost Paradise: New & Selected Poems & Translations); four collections of literary essays, including A Poet’s Work and Avocations: On Poetry & Poets; and some of the most distinguished translations of ancient Chinese and Japanese classics of the last half-century. He co-founded, and for thirty-two years was editor at, Copper Canyon Press. He taught in prisons for fourteen years and has worked extensively with battered women and children. An outspoken political pacifist, in 2003, declining an invitation to the White House, he founded Poets Against War, compiling the largest single-theme poetry anthology in history. He has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Galway Kinnell (1927-2014) was born in Providence, Rhode Island, in 1927. His volumes of poetry include A New Selected Poems (Houghton Mifflin, 2000), a finalist for the National Book Award; Imperfect Thirst (1996); When One Has Lived a Long Time Alone (1990); Selected Poems (1980), for which he received both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award; Mortal Acts, Mortal Words (1980); The Book of Nightmares (1971); Body Rags (1968); Flower Herding on Mount Monadnock (1964); and What a Kingdom It Was (1960). He has also published translations of works by Yves Bonnefroy, Yvanne Goll, and François Villon, and, this year, Rainer Maria Rilke. Kinnell divides his time between Vermont and New York City, where he was the Erich Maria Remarque Professor of Creative Writing at New York University. He was a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets.
E. Ethelbert Miller is a board member at The Writer’s Center and editor of Poet Lore. The author of several collections of poems, his last book is How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love (Curbstone Press 2004). His memoir, The Fifth Inning (PM Press) was released in 2009. Mr. Miller is the Board Chair for the Institute for Policy Studies, and since 1974 has been the director of the African American Resource Center at Howard University. He is the former Chair of the Humanities Council of Washington, DC, and a former core faculty member of the Bennington Writing Seminars at Bennington College.
Alicia Ostriker's collection The Little Space: Poems Selected and New, 1968-1998 (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1998) was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Her other books of poetry include The Crack in Everything (1996), a National Book Award finalist that won both the Paterson Poetry Award and the San Francisco State Poetry Center Award; and The Imaginary Lover (1986), winner of the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America. She has written several critical works, including Dancing at the Devil's Party: Essays on Poetry, Politics and the Erotic (2000), The Nakedness of the Fathers: Biblical Visions and Revisions (1994), and Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women's Poetry in America (1986).
Kim Roberts is the author of three books of poems: Animal Magnetism (winner of the 2009 Pearl Poetry Prize, published 2011), The Kimnama (Vrzhu Press, 2007) and The Wishbone Galaxy (WWPH, 1994). She is the editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly and co-editor of Delaware Poetry Review. She has done extensive research on the literary history of Washington, DC, publishing articles and tours on Walt Whitman, Zora Neale Hurston, and Langston Hughes, among others. Kim is the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the DC Commission on the Arts, and the Humanities Council of Washington. She has been awarded writer's residencies from twelve artist colonies. She is also one of the creators of DC Writer Houses (with Dan Vera).
Tim Seibles, the newly appointed Poet Laureate of Virginia, is the author of several poetry collections including Hurdy-Gurdy, Hammerlock, and Buffalo Head Solos.  His first book, Body Moves, (1988) has just been re-released by Carnegie Mellon U. Press as part of their Contemporary Classics series.  His latest, Fast Animal, was one of five poetry finalists for the 2012 National Book Award.  In 2013 he received the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles Award for poetry.  In 2014 Tim received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Misericordia University for his literary accomplishments.  During that same year, he won the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Award for Fast Animal, a prize given triennially for a collection of poems.   In 2015, he chaired the panel of judges that decided the winner of the National Book Award in poetry. Tim lives in Norfolk, Virginia and is a Professor of English at Old Dominion University where he teaches literature as well as classes in the MFA in writing program.
Patricia Smith is the author of six books of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Blood Dazzler, chronicling the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award, a choice for Library Journal's Best Poetry Books of 2008, and one of NPR's top five books of 2008; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series selection, winner of the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award and’s Best Poetry Book of 2006. She also authored the ground-breaking history Africans in America and the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings. She is a professor at the City University of New York/College of Staten Island, and is on the faculty of both Cave Canem and the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine.