Author Biographies

Stephanie Anderson is a writer living in Boca Raton, Florida. She holds an MFA from Florida Atlantic University, where she currently serves as a visiting instructor, and her work has appeared in The Rumpus, Grist Journal, The Chronicle Review, Sweet, Farm and Ranch Living and others. Stephanie is proud to have grown up in South Dakota, and she recently completed a book on regenerative agriculture.

Bob Armstrong lives in the geographic centre of North America (Winnipeg, Manitoba), where he writes fiction, plays, speeches, magazine articles and environmental impact reports (producing the latter for the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission). His comic novel Dadolescence, based on a play he wrote and performed at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival, was published in 2011 by Turnstone Press. His play Noble Savage, Savage Noble, a re-imagining of the rivalry between Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire, was published in 2004 in the Playwrights Canada Press anthology West of All Possible Worlds and staged at the 2008 hotInk International Playreading Series at New York University.

Dan Barton grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and has lived in both Florida and Malawi. Currently, he resides in Texas, where he has recently earned his MFA in creative writing from Texas State University. No matter where he is though, he finds a way to get lost in the woods. His work has appeared in About Place Journal and East Coast Literary Review.

Benjamin Bateman is Associate Professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at California State University, Los Angeles. His work has recently appeared in Minnesota Review, Modern Fiction Studies, Henry James Review, and Twentieth Century Literature. His recently completed first book, entitled The Modernist Art of Queer Survival, is under contract with Oxford University Press.

Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press.  His latest collections are Elliptic (Yellow Flag Press, 2016) and Bone-Hollow, True: New & Selected Poems, Call & Response, Come Rain, Come Shine, What Passes for Love and At the Bonehouse, all published by Texas Review Press (a member of the Texas A&M Press Consortium). His work has appeared in the Southern Review, Sport Literate, The Fourth River, Hudson Review, Connecticut Review, Paterson Literary Review, Texas Review, Southern Quarterly, and other journals.  Bedell is the recipient of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Individual Achievement in the Humanities Award and the Governor’s Award for Artistic Achievement, and he is a three-time finalist for Louisiana Poet Laureate. He and his wife Beth have three children, Jack, Jr., Samuel Eli, and Emma Louise.

Elizabeth Bernstein directs the Athletic Association Writing Center at The University of Georgia in Athens, where she has been teaching composition since 2001.

Tara Betts is the author of Arc & Hue and the chapbooks 7 x 7: kwansabas and THE GREATEST!: An Homage to Muhammad Ali. Tara’s writing has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including POETRYGathering Ground, Villanelles, The Break Beat Poets, Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movement, Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, and GHOST FISHING: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology. A Cave Canem alum, Tara teaches at University of Illinois-Chicago.

Pia Taavila-Borsheim grew up in Walled Lake, Michigan, and lives now in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with her husband, David Borsheim. She received her BA and MA in American Literature from Eastern Michigan University (1977, 1979) and an Interdisciplinary Ph.D. (1985) from Michigan State University with areas of qualification in English, Sociology, and Philosophy. She is a tenured, full professor and teaches literature and creative writing at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. In 2008, Gallaudet University Press published Moon on the Meadow: Collected Poems 1977-2007; Finishing Line Press released Two Winters in 2011 and her new chapbook, Mother Mail, from Hermeneutic Chaos Press, comes out in January, 2017. Pia’s poems have appeared in several journals including: The Bear River Review, The Broadkill Review, Southern Humanities Review, Narrative Northeast, Tar River Poetry, Barrow Street, Threepenny Review, Wisconsin Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Gargoyle, storySouth, The Asheville Poetry Review, 32 Poems, Measure, Ibbetson Street Review, and The Southern Review, among others. She is a frequent participant at the Bear River, Sewanee and Key West writing conferences. Her poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes. She has just finished a chapbook titled Love Poems and a full-length manuscript of poems titled Notes to David, both of which are just now beginning to seek happy publishing homes.

Dr. Matthew Steven Bruen is an Assistant Professor of English at Young Harris College in Young Harris, Georgia. His writing has been published by the University of Chicago Press, McFarland Press, and Narratively. He is at work on a book tentatively entitled American Ruins: Exploring the Lost Places that Made a Nation.

John Chavers enjoys working as a writer, artist, photographer, and general creator. Most recently, his writing and artwork have been accepted at The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library – So It Goes 2016 Literary Journal, 3Elements Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Ascent, The Roaring Muse, Birch Gang Review, Four Ties Lit Review, Ground Fresh Thursday, Silver Apples, The Ogham Stone, and Verity La among others. He has a fascination for the diminutive, works of art on paper, and the desert. This September he will be the artist in residence at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas.

Anne Coray is author of the poetry collections Bone Strings, A Measure’s Hush, and Violet Transparent; coeditor of Crosscurrents North: Alaskans on the Environment, (University of Alaska Press); and coauthor of Lake Clark National Park and Preserve (Alaska Geographic). A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Coray is the recipient of fellowships from the Alaska State Council on the Arts and the Rasmuson Foundation. She lives at her birthplace on remote Lake Clark in southwest Alaska.

Dan Fields holds a degree in film from Northwestern University. His horror novelette “Jonathan Apples” appeared in Issue #39 of Sanitarium magazine. He has also published work with Beyond Borderlands and Indiana Voice Journal. Between writings, Dan performs and records with country rock band Polecat Rodeo. He lives in Houston, Texas with his wife and son.

Jenna Gersie holds a master’s degree in environmental studies with a concentration in writing and communications from Green Mountain College. Her master’s thesis, which she presented at the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment’s 11th Biennial Conference in Moscow, Idaho, explores connections to nature and ideas of home through an ecocritical lens in the novels of Hermann Hesse. Jenna has attended the Wildbranch Writing Workshop and the Bread Loaf Orion Environmental Writers’ Conference. She is an editor of The Hopper, an environmental literary magazine, and a copyeditor for The Goose, the official journal of the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada. Her writing has appeared in Orion magazine, The Goose, and Dirt magazine, among others. She currently works as a literature and writing teacher at The Island School.

Gail Goepfert is an ardent poet, photographer, and teacher.  She reads lots and lots of poems as an associate editor of RHINO Poetry.  She authored a chapbook, A Mind on Pain, released by Finishing Line Press early in 2015.   Twice she’s received Pushcart nominations.  Publications past and forthcoming include Blue Lyra, Crab Orchard and Jet Fuel Reviews, Minerva Rising, Found Poetry Review, Room Magazine and Rattle.  Her photographs appear online at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Olentangy Review, 3Elements Review and on the cover of February 2015 Rattle.  She lives, writes, and snaps photos in the Chicagoland area.  More at

Originally from Ohio, Matt Gold has been living in Bloomington, Indiana for the past fifteen years and recently relocated to Brooklyn, NY. He divides his time between pursuing his musical
career, acting auditions and photography. As a singer and songwriter, Matt frequently performs; some of his music can be found online at As evidence of the democratizing nature of this approach to photography, Matt has no formal training in the visual arts. When he took a simple picture of his cat on his Sony Ericsson Z310A flip phone, Matt was amazed by the quality of the camera. He started exploring different subjects and this collection has grown from that picture. He continues to use this technique today, despite the advancement in current cell phone technology.

Poetry is Jamie Lynn Heller’s caffeine. She is a mother, wife, and high school counselor who gets up before the house starts to stir to write. Her chapbook, Domesticated, Poetry from Around the House was published in 2015 with Finishing Line Press. A Pushcart Prize nominee for 2014 (Little Balkans Review) and Best of the Net nominee for 2016 (805 Lit + Art), she has pieces published or accepted at  Prairie Schooner, Tule Review, Noctua Review, Gargoyle, Earth’s Daughters, Whistling Shade, The Main Street Rag and others. For a complete list of publications see

Lesley Instone is a more-than-human geographer whose work explores the multivalent entanglements of humans and nonhumans in Australian settings. She has a particular interest in how affect, encounter and contingency shape relations, identities and worlds.

Mercedes Lawry has published poetry in such journals as Poetry, Nimrod, Prairie Schooner, Harpur Palate, Natural Bridge, and others.  Thrice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she’s published two chapbooks, most recently “Happy Darkness”. She’s also published short fiction, essays and stories and poems for children and lives in Seattle.

Mark Luebbers is an English Teacher and lives with his wife, sons, dog and bicycles in Cincinnati, Ohio. His recent poems have appeared in Wilderness House Literary Review, Blue Line Magazine, Bird’s Thumb, and Miller’s Pond Poetry Magazine.

Melanie Jae Martin’s narrative writing as well as journalistic and scholarly work has been featured in many publications such as Yes! Magazine, Catalyst Magazine, and Animals and the Environment: Advocacy, Activism, and the Quest for Common Ground (2015). In her activism, she focuses on social and environmental justice work, including multimedia storytelling that highlights the intersections between issues.

Jeffrey Perso grew up along the banks of the Upper Mississippi River Basin hunting night crawlers and Northern Pike. He claims to have unwillingly donated blood to all 53 varieties of mosquitoes native to Wisconsin; he has never been bitten by a bat but he once spent time with a water moccasin in a flat-bottom bass boat. These days he teaches in the First-Year Writing Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Upper Iowa University—Milwaukee Center; his fiction has appeared in, among other places, Art Muscle, Iconoclast, Manzanita, Pangolin Papers, and The Rockhurst Review. “The Problem with Cows” is excerpted from his novel “Water Bodies,” chapters of which have appeared or are forthcoming in Crooked/Shift and Why I Right… Write Outside the Lines.

Lisa Roney has published a book-length memoir, Sweet Invisible Body (Henry Holt); a chapbook of poetry, The Best Possible Bad Luck (Finishing Line Press); and a creative writing craft book, Serious Daring (Oxford University Press). Short work has appeared in storySouth, Numéro Cinq, Saw Palm, Red Rock Review, So to Speak, Sycamore Review, Harper’s, and other publications. She is editor of The Florida Review. Her website is

Robert Walker is Professor of Geography and Latin American Studies at the University of Florida, and an adjunct faculty member at the Federal University of Pará, in Belém, Brazil.  An environmental scientist with a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, Walker’s creative writing has appeared in Beatdom, Black Elephant, Caribbean Compass, Earth Island Journal, pacificREVIEW, and Ragazine.CC.

Andrea Witzke Slot is winner of Able Muse and Fiction International’s 2015 Prizes in Fiction, with her work described by Eugenia Kim as having “a rare and satisfying command of storytelling” and by Harold Jaffe as “meld[ing] compression, humor, keen intelligence, and social awareness.” She is author of the poetry collection To find a new beauty (Gold Wake Press, 2012) and a novel The Cartography of Flesh: in the silence of Ella Mendelssohn, one of two finalists in A Room of Her Own’s Clarissa Dalloway Prize. Recent poetry and fiction have appeared (or will soon appear) in such places as NimrodFiction SoutheastThe American Literary ReviewBellevue Literary ReviewMeridianTupelo QuarterlySoutheast Review, and in the anthologies Red Sky/poetry on the global epidemic of violence against women (Sable Books, 2016) and All We Can Hold: poems of motherhood (Sage Hill Press, 2016). Her essays on the university faculty crisis can be found in The Chronicle of Higher Education while her academic papers on poetry and social change can be found in books published by SUNY Press (2013) and Palgrave Macmillan (2014). After teaching for a number of years (primary school level in England and college/university level in the U.S. after receiving her PhD), Andrea now writes full-time. She is mother/stepmother to five and calls both London and Chicago home.  Her website is:

Sarah Pemberton Strong is the author of a poetry collection, Tour of the Breath Gallery (Texas Tech University Press), and two novels. Her poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Southwest Review, Poetry Daily, The Sun, and many other journals. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson College and currently teaches writing at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.