Writers in the Schools 2015-2016
For nearly two decades, Turiya Autry has spent her time educating, motivating, and inspiring audiences of all ages. Her work incorporates the arts, pop culture, and history with personal, community, and political struggles. An author and performer, her recently released collection of poetry, Roots, Reality & Rhyme, is a poetic journey that bridges the personal and political, the mythic, and the real. Turiya has provided performances, workshops, panels, and keynotes to over 20 colleges throughout the country, as well as hundreds of community venues across the country. As a teaching artist, she’s provided assemblies, workshops, and residencies to over 50 different K-12 schools. Creating and delivering almost 20 unique university courses across 4 departments, Turiya has built a veritable trunk show on culture and identity.
Alex Behr is a writer and teacher who has played in bands for about 25 years. Her work has appeared in Utne Reader, Oregon Humanities, Salon, Tin House, and Bitch. She’s also written children’s material for Disney and National Geographic, among others. She’s performed comedy based on her teenage diaries on the East and West Coasts through “Mortified.”
Cooper Lee Bombardier is a writer and visual artist based in beautiful Portland, Oregon. His writing has appeared in various publications, including CutBank, Original Plumbing, Unshod Quills, Cavalcade, Lambda Literary Review, and The Rumpus, as well as several anthologies, most recently Sister Spit: Writing, Rants, and Reminiscence from the Road, from City Lights Books. A veteran of the original Sister Spit tours, he has performed and exhibited art nationally. He holds a Master’s degree in Writing and Publishing and an MFA in Creative Writing from Portland State University, where he also teaches writing.
Arthur Bradford is an O Henry Award-winning writer, Emmy-nominated filmmaker, and Moth GrandSLAM winner. He is the author of the books Dogwalker, Benny’s Brigade, Turtleface, a 2016 Oregon Book Award finalist. He directed the “How’s your News?” documentary series for HBO and MTV and also the film Six Days to Air, about the making of South Park, for Comedy Central. He’s currently shooting a feature documentary about Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators of South Park and the musical The Book of Mormon. He lives in Portland and works part-time at a juvenile detention facility.
Trevino Brings Plenty is a poet and musician. He is singer/songwriter/guitarist for the musical ensemble Ballads of Larry Drake. He has performed his work at poetry festivals as far away as Amman, Jordan. In college, Trevino studied with Primus St. John and Henry Carlile for poetry, Tomas Svoboda for music composition, and Jerry Hahn for Jazz guitar. Trevino is an American and Native American, a Lakota Indian born on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Some of his work explores the American Indian identity in American culture and how it has, through genealogical history, affected indigenous peoples in the 21st Century. He also writes about urban Indian life. His books include Wakpá Wanáǧi, Ghost River, Real Indian Junk Jewelry, and Shedding Skins: Four Sioux Poets.
Serena Crawford has received a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship and an Oregon Literary Fellowship. Her story collection, Here Among Strangers, won the Spokane Prize for Short Fiction and was published in April of 2016. She has taught creative writing at the University of Portland and the University of Oregon.
Leslee Chan earned an MA from Miami University of Ohio, and an MFA in fiction from Florida State University. Born and raised in Eastern Oregon, she now lives in Portland. Chan is the 2015-16 WITS Apprentice.
Lisa Eisenberg is a cartoonist and illustrator. Her comics have been published at TheNib.com and in a number of anthologies, including Papercutter, Love in All Forms: The Big Book of Growing Up Queer, and The Strumpet. Since 2008 she has self-published the print and webcomic series I Cut My Hair, a collection of fiction and nonfiction comics. She also works as a teaching artist with Young Audiences, Caldera, and The Right Brain Initiative. Lisa is currently at work on a graphic novel about middle school.
Elyse Fenton is the author of the poetry collections, Clamor, winner of the 2010 Dylan Thomas Prize and Sweet Insurgent (Saturnalia 2017), winner of the Alice Fay di Castagnola Prize. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Best New Poets, American Poetry Review, Pleiades, Brain,Child, and Prairie Schooner, and has been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and PRI’s The World. She has worked in the woods, on farms and in schools in Texas, New England, Mongolia, and the Pacific Northwest and lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.
James Gendron is the author of Sexual Boat (Sex Boats) and the chapbook Money Poems. He was born in Portland, Maine, and lives in Portland, Oregon, where he teaches writing at Portland State University.
Jonathan Hill is a cartoonist and illustrator. His first graphic novel, Americus, a collaboration with MK Reed, garnered many accolades, including YALSA 2012 Best Graphic Novel for Teens Nominee, ABC New Voices 2011 Title, Graphic Novel Reporter Best of 2011, and the 2012 Carla Cohen Free Speech Award. He currently freelances, teaches comics classes at the Oregon College of Art and Craft, and is working on two new graphic novels and a children’s book.
Jamie Houghton is a poet, musician, and performer who has been teaching creative writing to youth and adults in a diverse range of educational settings for seven years. Her poetry has been featured online at High Desert Journal, Folly, La Fovea, torches n’ pitchforks, qarrtsiluni, and Abramelin and she has performed in poetry slams throughout the country. She is the book reviewer for High Desert Journal and received a Fellowship Residency at Playa Arts in the fall of 2014. She is currently working on a chapbook length poetry collection called Feed the Animals.
Apricot Anderson Irving has taught writing in MFA programs, on a semester abroad in the UK, and in Indonesia. She worked with youth and elders in North Portland to create the Boise Voices Oral History Project, and her writing has been featured on This American Life as well as in Granta, Oregon Humanities, MORE Magazine, and The Best Women’s Travel Writing. She is the grateful recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award and a Literary Arts Fellowship. A memoir about her childhood in Haiti is forthcoming from Simon & Schuster.
Emiko Jean is a Young Adult author. Her debut novel, We’ll Never Be Apart, will be published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s in October 2015. She just finished her second novel, tentatively titled If You Leave Me. She is represented by Erin Harris at Folio Literary Management. When she’s not writing, she’s reading. She lives in Vancouver, Washington with her husband and very large dog and loves the rain.
Ramiza Koya’s fiction and nonfiction have appeared in publications such as Washington Square Review, Lumina, and Catamaran, and she has been a fellow at both MacDowell Colony and Blue Mountain Center. She has both a BA and an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has taught in Spain, the Czech Republic, and Morocco. In addition to teaching composition courses, she also works as a freelance writer and editor. She is currently an adjunct instructor at Portland Community College.
Bettina de León Barrera is a joyful, bilingual writer born in Los Angeles, California of Guatemalan descent whose writing stems from a natural inclination to transform words into meaningful exchanges. In addition to being a community activist, she is a Graduate of UC Berkeley and attended graduate studies at St. Mary’s College in Moraga and Mills College in Oakland, CA. Her poetry recently appeared in New American Writing and was chosen as a finalist for the Boston Review 2014 Discovery contest.
Lin Lucas is a multi-disciplinary artist whose artistic explorations span performance, literary, and visual mediums. His comics and illustrations have been in publication since 1994 and have appeared in Seattle’s weekly paper, The Stranger, Top Shelf Comics anthologies, the Xeric Award-winning Two-Fisted Science, The Psychology of Race, and the French anthology Le Dernier Neurone. Lin is currently working on the development of a graphic novel series for young adults. “The Black Flame Society,” a short story based on the upcoming series, was published in 2014. Lin serves as an Arts Integration Coach for the Right Brain Initiative and is a Washington state certified teacher.
Amy Minato is the author of a memoir, Siesta Lane, published in 2009 and a poetry collection, The Wider Lens, published in 2004. Her poetry has appeared in Wilderness Magazine, Poetry East, Windfall, Cimarron Review, and The Oregonian Poetry Corner, and has been recognized with a 2003 Oregon Literary Fellowship. She teaches creative writing independently and through Fishtrap, Multnomah Art Center, Breitenbush, Sitka, and Opal Creek, as well as a community service course at Portland State University in sustainable living.
Laura Moulton is the founder of Street Books, a bicycle-powered mobile library that serves people who live outside in Portland, Oregon. She has taught writing in public schools, prisons, and teen shelters, and is an adjunct professor at Marylhurst University and Lewis & Clark College. Her social art practice projects have involved postal workers, immigrants, prisoners, and students. She earned an MFA from Eastern Washington University.
A.M. O’Malley has been writing, making zines, and publishing on various planes since 1994. She has recently been published in The Newer York, Poor Claudia, Phenome, UnShod Quills, The Burnside Review, and The Portland Review. Her chapbook of memoir-prose poems, What to Expect When You’re Expecting Something Else, was published in 2015. Ms. O’Malley teaches writing at the Columbia River Correctional Institution and at Portland Community College. She is also the Program Director of the Independent Publishing Resource Center, a literary arts and zine resource non-profit in Portland, Oregon.
Mark Pomeroy is the author of The Brightwood Stillness. He has received an Oregon Literary Fellowship for fiction and a residency at Caldera Arts. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in Open Spaces, The Wordstock 10, Portland Magazine, The Oregonian, and What Teaching Means: Stories from America’s Classrooms. A former classroom teacher, he holds an MA in English Education from Teachers College, Columbia University, where he was a Fellow in Teaching. He lives with his family in northeast Portland.
Joanna Rose is the author of the award-winning novel Little Miss Strange (PNBA Fiction Prize). Other work has appeared in numerous literary journals. Her story “A Good Crack and Break” is in the new Forest Avenue Press anthology, The Rain, and the Night, and the River, and an essay, “The Thing with Feathers” (Oregon Humanities) was listed as a Notable in 2015 Best American Essays. She is known to readers of the Oregonian as a reviewer on the books page and contributor to Poet’s Corner. She started out with the Dangerous Writers oh so many years ago, and now she and her teaching partner Stevan Allred host the regular Pinewood Table prose critique group.
byroN José sun has an MFA in bilingual creative writing from the University of Texas at El Paso. His mission is to use creativity to promote a vision of humanity, compassion, sacrifice, courage, and justice by exploring life in both violence and nonviolence. He strongly believes the writer mustn’t try to replace the world with a less violent version, but rather present it as it is, to force people to feel and think of their place in the world. For a moment, he wants the reader to suspend their reality, their own perspective—”to send them spinning in a different direction so they can experience the things I have seen firsthand.”
Jessica Tyner Mehta is the author of The Last Exotic Petting Zoo and What Makes an Always. She is the founder of MehtaFor, a writing company serving a variety of clients, including Fortune 500 enterprises and major media outlets. As a member of the Cherokee Nation, Jessica offers complimentary writing and editing services through her company to Native American students as well as nonprofits based in the Pacific Northwest and/or serving Native communities. She received her Master’s in Writing from Portland State University and established The Jessica Tyner Scholarship Fund in 2013. It is the only scholarship for students with a Native American connection pursuing an advanced degree in writing or a related field. An extensive traveler, she has lived in England, South Korea, and Costa Rica.
Matt Zrebski is a multi-award winning playwright, composer, script consultant, teaching artist, and producer-director whose career has been defined by new play development. As an Artistic Director, he mounted over 40 world premieres, and has had several of his plays produced, including Texting the Sun, 1 ½, Ablaze, Arm, and Chrysalis. As the Resident Teaching Artist at Portland Center Stage, he teaches playwriting through Visions and Voices and is on staff for Acting Academy at Oregon Children’s Theatre. Zrebski holds a BFA in Theatre from the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.