Meet our 2016 Poetry Festival Poets!

Daemond Arrindell, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Kevin Craft, James Crews, Natalie Diaz, Kathy Fagan, Tarfia Faizullah, Lorraine Ferra, Norman Fischer, Matt Gano, Paul Hansen, Garrett Hongo, Kasey Jueds, Richard Kenney, Jamaal May, Garth Martens, Tim McNulty, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Naomi Shihab Nye, Martha Silano, Jeanann Verlee, and Jan Zwicky

Daemond Arrindell

Daemond Arrindell is a poet, performer, and teaching artist, a faculty member of Freehold Theatre leading poetry and theater residencies at Monroe Correctional Complex for men for the last ten years; adjunct faculty at Seattle University Cornish College for the Arts and Tacoma’s School of the Arts; writer-in-residence through Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools Program and Skagit River Poetry Foundation.

In 2015 he was featured alongside Sherman Alexie in TEXTure – a conversation among artists via their chosen mediums, and joined the faculty of TAT Lab, the Washington state Teaching Artist Training Lab.

Most recently he was an Artist In Residence at Tacoma Community College.

He has performed in venues across the country and lives in the Seattle area.

Lorna Dee Cervantes

Poet Lorna Dee Cervantes is a major voice in contemporary Chicana literature. Her writing explores cultural difference—between Mexican, Anglo, Native American, and African American lives – as well as gender and economic divides.

Cervantes’ life was tragically transformed when her mother was brutally killed in 1982. This incident affected her work; From the Cables of Genocide: Poems of Love and Hunger (1991).

In 2006 Cervantes published Drive: The First Quartet, a selection of new poems arranged as five books and spanning two decades.

Cervantes has been much anthologized—most notably in multiples volumes of the Norton Anthology – and has been the recipient of awards, including a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, the Paterson Prize for Poetry, and a Latino Literature Award.

She is director of the creative writing program at the University of Colorado-Boulder.

Kevin Craft

Kevin Craft is the author of Solar Prominence, selected by Vern Rutsala for the Gorsline Prize (Cloudbank Books, 2005).

His second book, Vagrants & Accidentals, is forthcoming in spring 2017 from UW Press.

He has been awarded scholarships or fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the MacDowell Colony, the Bogliasco Foundation (Italy), the Camargo Foundation (France), 4Culture, and Artist Trust.

Kevin lives in Seattle, and directs the Written Arts Program at Everett Community College. He also teaches at the University of Washington Rome Center.

Editor of Poetry Northwest from September 2009 – June 2016, he now serves as the Founding Editor of Poetry NW Editions.

James Crews

James Crews’ work has appeared in Ploughshares, Raleigh Review, Crab Orchard Review and The New Republic, among other journals, and he is a regular contributor to The (London) Times Literary Supplement.

His first collection of poetry, The Book of What Stays, won the 2010 Prairie Schooner Book Prize and received a Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Award.

He is also the editor of the forthcoming ecopoetry anthology, Poems for the Earth. Other awards include residencies from the Sitka Center for the Arts and Caldera Arts as well as two Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prizes.

He holds an MFA in Creative Writing-Poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a PhD in Writing and Literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he was an Othmer Fellow and worked for Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry newspaper column.

James lives in Shaftsbury, Vermont.


Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz, a member of the Mojave and Pima Indian tribes, attended Old Dominion University on a full athletic scholarship.

After playing professional basketball in Austria, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey she returned to ODU for an MFA in writing.

Diaz’s debut book of poetry, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was a 2012 Lannan Literary Selection, and a 2013 PEN/Open Book Award shortlist; it “portrays experiences rooted in Native American life with personal and mythic power.

She has received the Nimrod/Hardman Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry.

Diaz currently lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona where she directs a language revitalization program at Fort Mojave, her home reservation, and works with the last Elder speakers of the Mojave language.

Kathy Fagan

Formerly the Director of Creative Writing and the MFA Program at The Ohio State University, Kathy Fagan is currently a professor of English, the Poetry Editor of OSU Press, and an advisor to The Journal.

Fagan is the author of four collections of poems. The fifth, Sycamore, will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2016.

Fagan is the recipient of awards and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Ohioana, and the Ohio Arts Council.

Tarfia Faizullah

Poet, educator, and editor Tarfia Faizullah was born in Brooklyn and raised in West Texas by Bangladeshi parents.

She is the author of Seam (SIU 2014), which won the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. Focused around a long sequence “Interview with a Birangona,” the book explores the ethics of interviewing as well as the history of the birangona, Bangladeshi women raped by Pakistani soldiers during the Liberation War of 1971.

Recent poems appear in Poetry Magazine, jubilat, New England Review and are anthologized in Best New Poets 2013, The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop (Haymarket 2015), Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation (Penguin 2015), and elsewhere.

A recipient of a Pushcart Prize,  she is the a professor at the University of Michigan, lives in Detroit, and is an editor for the Asian American Literary Review and Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Series.

Lorraine Ferra

Lorraine Ferra has been a poet-in-residence since 1980 with various state arts commissions.

She teaches poetry in classrooms, art museums, science centers, natural history museums, and in youth-in-custody programs.

She is founder/director of Wordtracks, a nature-based writing program, and author of A Crow Doesn’t Need a Shadow: A Guide to Writing Poetry from Nature.

Ferra’s poems, critical reviews, and translations of Portuguese poetry have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies.

She is the author of two collections of poems: Eating Bread, and What the Silence Might Say.

She lives with her partner in Port Townsend, Washington.

Norman Fischer

A Zen Buddhist priest and teacher, Norman Fischer earned an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and an MA from the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkeley.

He spent five years at the Tassajara Zen Monastery in San Francisco.

An author of both nonfiction and poetry, his collections of poetry include Turn Left in Order to Go Right (1989), Success (2000), Slowly But Dearly (2004), I Was Blown Back (2005), Questions / Places / Voices / Seasons (2009), Conflict (2012), The Strugglers (2013), and Escape This Crazy Life of Tears: Japan 2010 (2014).

Fischer was co-abbot for the San Francisco Zen Center from 1995 to 2000.

He is a founder of and teacher at the Everyday Zen Foundation. Fischer, the father of two sons, lives in Muir Beach, California (near Green Gulch Farm) with his wife Kathie.

Matt Gano

Matt Gano, popular poet and teaching artist, has represented Seattle at the National Poetry Slam multiple years and is the 2008 Seattle Grand-Slam champion.

He is author of the poetry collection Suits for the Swarm and numerous chapbooks: Up From the Mine, Bones For The Builder, Music Maker, Welcome Home, I Eight the Infinite, and Art Barker.  His poetry has appeared in Drunk In a Midnight Choir, The Breadline anthology, City Arts Magazine,  Bestiary Magazine and The Operating System Vol. 3.

Gano is the founder of “The Writing Circle” at Youth Speaks Seattle and co-founder of the Seattle Youth Poet Laureate Program.

The Seattle-based artist has also worked international residencies teaching creative writing at the Hong Kong School of Creativity and at Seoul’s Youth Creativity Summit.

Paul Hansen

Paul Hansen is a printer, poet, and renowned translator of Chinese poetry.

He is the author of Rimes of a Riverrat and has translated four collections of Chinese poetry: Before Ten Thousand Peaks, The Nine Monks, Lin Hejing: Recluse Poet of Orphan Mountain Lin Hejing’s Art of Poetry, and selections in The Clouds Should Know Me By Now.

His translations have also appeared in A Drifting Boat: An Anthology of Chinese Zen Poetry, and The Columbia Anthology of Chinese Literature.

Hansen lives in La Conner, WA.

Garrett Hongo

Japanese American poet, Garrett Hongo, was born in Volcano, Hawai’i, on May 30, 1951.

He attended Pomona University and the University of Michigan and received his MFA in English from the University of California at Irvine.

His collections of poetry include Coral Road: Poems (Alfred A. Knopf, 2011); The River of Heaven (1988), which was the Lamont Poetry Selection of The Academy of American Poets and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Yellow Light (1982).

He is also the author of Volcano: A Memoir of Hawai’i (1995), and he has edited Songs My Mother Taught Me: Stories, Plays and Memoir by Wakako Yamauchi (1994) and The Open Boat: Poems from Asian America (1993).

His honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Rockefeller Foundation.

He is currently Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Oregon at Eugene, where he directed the Program in Creative Writing from 1989 to 1993.

Kasey Jueds

Born in Coral Gables, Florida, Kasey Jueds holds degrees from Harvard, Stanford, and Sarah Lawrence College.

Her first collection of poems, Keeper, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2013.

Her work has appeared in journals including The American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, 5AM, Women’s Review of Books, Salamander, and Manhattan Review.

She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Soapstone, and the Ucross Foundation.

She works in educational research and lives in Philadelphia.

Richard Kenney

Poet Richard Kenney was born in 1948 in Glens Falls, New York and earned a BA from Dartmouth College.

His first collection of poetry, The Evolution of the Flightless Bird (1984), received the Yale Younger Poets Prize.

He is the author of four books of poetry: The Evolution of the Flightless Bird, Orrery, The Invention of the Zero, and The One-Strand River.

Kenney received a number of prestigious awards, including the Lannan Award, the Rome Prize in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and a fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

He is professor of English at the University of Washington, where he teaches in the MFA program.

He lives with his family in Port Townsend, Washington.

Tod Marshall

Tod Marshall, selected as the 2016-2018 Washington State Poet Laureate, is a professor at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

His books of poetry include Bugle (Canarium Press, 2014), The Tangled Line (Canarium Press, 2009), and Dare Say (University of Georgia Press, 2002).

He has also published a collection of his interviews with contemporary poets, Range of the Possible  (Eastern Washington University Press, 2002) and an attendant anthology of work by interviewed poets, Range of Voices (EWU Press, 2005).

Marshall was the first in his family to attend college and has dedicated himself to bringing humanities experiences to underserved populations.

“Poetry matters—not just to poets, professors, and students: poetry matters to everyone,” he says.

Jamaal May

Jamaal May’s first book of poems, Hum, won the Beatrice Hawley Award, the ALA Notable Book Award, and was a finalist for the NAACP Image award.

He has also been a recipient of the Kenyon Review Fellowship at Kenyon College, Bread Loaf, Callaloo and the Civitella Ranieri Fellowship.

He is the series editor, graphic designer, and filmmaker for the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook and Video Series. The National Advancement for Colored People (NAACP) has nominated Jamaal May, a new visiting faculty member in the MFA in Writing program at Vermont College, as one of five nominees for “Outstanding Literary Work” in poetry.

Jamaal May was born in 1982 in Detroit, MI where he taught poetry in public schools and worked as a freelance.

Garth Martens

Canadian poet Garth Martens is winner of the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers.

A long-time worker in large-scale commercial construction, his debut collection Prologue for the Age of Consequence was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for English-language poetry.

In 2014, he wrote and performed the libretto for Pasajes, an international flamenco production, with Alma de España.

His poems have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, Hazlitt, This Magazine, Vallum, PRISM international, Fiddlehead, Grain, and The Times Colonist.

He lives in Victoria, B.C.

Tim McNulty

Tim McNulty is a celebrated Northwest poet, essayist, and nature writer.

He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including Ascendance, In Blue Mountain Dusk, Pawtracks, and the recent Ascendance.

He has also authored seven chapbooks, including Last Year’s Poverty and Some Ducks. McNulty, an avid outdoorsman, has authored eleven books of natural history and co-authored an award-winning series of books on national parks.

He has been honored with a Washington State Book Award and the National Outdoor Book Award.

He lives with his family in the foothills of the Olympic Mountains.

Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Aimee Nezhukumatathil was born in 1974 in Chicago to a Filipina mother and Malayali Indian father.

Nezhukumatathil is known for writing poems that sit at the intersection of three cultures: Filipino, Indian, and American.

She received her BA in English and MFA in poetry and creative nonfiction from Ohio State University in Columbus.

She is the author of three poetry collections: Lucky Fish (Tupelo Press, 2011), winner of the 2011 Eric Hoffer Grand Prize; At the Drive-In Volcano (Tupelo Press, 2007), winner of the Balcones Poetry Prize; and Miracle Fruit (Tupelo Press, 2003).

She teaches creative writing and environmental literature at State University of New York–Fredonia, where she was named the SUNY–Fredonia William T. Hagan Young Scholar.

She lives in Fredonia, New York with her husband and two young sons.

She will be the Grisham Writer-in Residence at the University of Mississippi’s MFA program in creative writing for 2016-17.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Naomi Shihab Nye describes herself as a “wandering poet.”

Nye was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother and grew up in St. Louis, Jerusalem, and San Antonio.

Nye uses her writing to attest to our shared humanity.

She is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes, including 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), You and Yours (2005), and has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow, and a Witter Bynner Fellow.

She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, the Robert Creeley Prize, and “The Betty Prize” from Poets House, for service to poetry.

In January 2010 Nye was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets.

She was recently named Laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Award for Children’s Literature.

Martha Silano

Martha Silano teaches literature at Bellevue College and has authored four books of poetry, including Reckless Lovely (2014) and The Little Office of the Immaculate Conception (2011), Blue Positive (2006), and What the Truth Tastes Like (1999).

She is the poetry editor at Crab Creek Review, and her new work appears in Poetry, Sou’wester, and Monarch Review.

Silano is known for her word play, use of vernacular, and kinetic pacing.

The Seattle-based mother of two is a blogger, manuscript consultant, and outdoor enthusiast.

Jeanann Verlee

Jeanann Verlee describes herself as performance poet, editor, and a “former punk rocker who collects tattoos and wears polka dots.”

She is author of two poetry collections: Said the Manic to the Muse and Racing Hummingbirds, which earned the Independent Publisher Book Award Silver Medal in poetry.

She has also been awarded the Third Coast Poetry Prize and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry.

She has represented New York City ten times at the National Poetry Slam, Individual World Poetry Slam, and Women of the World Poetry Slam under both Urbana Poetry Slam and The louderARTS Project.

Verlee lives in New York City with her “moonlove,” Ian Khadan, and their rescue pup, Aulë.

Jan Zwicky

Jan Zwicky is a Canadian musician, philosopher and award-winning poet.

In 1999, she won the Governor General’s Literary Award for poetry for Songs for Relinquishing the Earth.

Her Thirty-seven Small Songs & Thirteen Silences was also nominated for the Pat Lowther Award and the Dorothy Livesay Prize in 2006.

Her 2011 book, Forge, was shortlisted for the 2012 Canadian Griffin Poetry Prize.