In blending the found with the invented, and the researched with the lived, poets inhabit speakers that both approximate and diverge from their experiences. Five women poets will share their work and situate their speakers on a spectrum from near self to complete persona. In doing so, they will explore identity and appropriation, examining how to access otherness responsibly in persona poems and how to distill art from mere biography when the speaker is an avatar of the self.
Amie Whittemore is the author of Glass Harvest, an educator, and cofounder of the Charlottesville Reading Series. Her poems have appeared in North American Review, Smartish Pace, Gettysburg Review, the Missouri Review poem of the week, and elsewhere.
Ruth Awad is a Lebanese American poet and the author of Set to Music a Wildfire, which won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize from SIR Press. She is the recipient of a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and she won the 2012 and 2013 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize.
Raena Shirali is the author of Gilt and is a Pushcart Prize recipient. Her honors include the spring 2017 Philip Roth Residency, the 2014 Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, and a Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize in 2013. She currently serves as a poetry reader for Muzzle magazine.
Shelley Wong is the author of the chapbook Rare Birds. Her poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, Southern Humanities Review, The Volta, Sixth Finch, and others. A Kundiman fellow, she is a recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a MacDowell fellowship.
Claudia Cortese is a poet, essayist, and fiction writer. Her first full-length, Wasp Queen, is a hybrid collection of prose poems and stories. Cortese is also the author of two chapbooks: Blood Medals and The Red Essay and Other Histories. Cortese teaches at Montclair State University.