Poet, editor, and educator Tarfia Faizullah was born in 1980 in Brooklyn, NY and raised in west Texas. She received an MFA in poetry from Virginia Commonwealth University and is the author of Seam (SIU 2014), which U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey calls “beautiful and necessary,” as well as Register of Eliminated Villages, (forthcoming from Graywolf 2017).
Seam is the recipient of the 2015 Great Lake College Association New Writers Awards, the 2015 VIDA Award in Poetry, and the 2015 Binghamton University Milton Kessler Poetry Book Award. Her other honors include a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Ploughshares Cohen Award, a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Prize, as well as scholarships and fellowships from Kundiman, Bread Loaf, Kenyon Review, Sewanee, and Vermont Studio Center. Her poems appear widely in multiple countries.
Tarfia has collaborated with photographer Elizabeth Herman, emcee and producer Brooklyn Shanti, and composer Jacob Cooper, and serves as a contributing editor for The Offing. She is the Nicholas Delbanco Visiting Professor of Poetry in the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. She co-directs the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Press and Video Series with Jamaal May, and lives in Detroit, MI.
Jamaal May is an award winning poet, editor, and producer whose work appears in Mexico, France, China, and the UK in addition to dozens of American publications. His first book, Hum (Alice James Books, 2013) received several honors including a Lannan Foundation Fellowship, American Library Association’s Notable Book Award, and was finalist for the Tufts Discovery Award and an NAACP Image Award. Other honors include a Spirit of Detroit Award, the Wood Prize from POETRY, and a fellowship from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy. Alice James Books will publish his second collection of poems, The Big Book of Exit Strategies, in the spring of 2016. Jamaal’s poetry explores the liminal spaces between opposites to render a sonically rich argument for the interconnectivity of people as well as the worlds they inhabit. From Hamtramck and Detroit he co-directs Organic Weapon Arts with Tarfia Faizullah and acts as a contributing editor for The Kenyon Review.
Tommye Blount, a Detroit native, received his B.A. in Advertising from Michigan State University. He is a recent graduate from Warren Wilson College’s MFA Program for Writers and a Cave Canem alum. His work can be found in The Collagist, Upstreet, Vinyl, New England Review, Poetry, and Indiana Review. Tommye is a recipient of the John Atherton Scholarship in Poetry from Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and he is currently working on his first manuscript.
OW! Arts is lucky to have support from readers, volunteers, and even our own family of authors. In sales and shipping we get along by the grace of fiction writer Daniel May. Our new web and social media intern is poet Tariq Luthun. OW! Authors Rachel McKibbens, francine j. harris, and Michelle Peñaloza have pitched in at some point, and the last Blair Prize season would have been a disaster if poets Matthew Olzmann and Jennifer Tonge didn’t jump in to help when life did what life does.