MVP Poetry Finalists

Back in April, we announced our Prose finalists. Now it’s the poets turn! One of these poet’s manuscripts will be selected for publication!

aokiElizabeth “Betsy” Aoki (Coder Girl Takes Over) has received grants from the City of Seattle, Artist Trust Foundation, and a Hedgebrook residency. Her poetry publications include the chapbook, Every Vanish Leaves Its Trace by Finishing Line Press, and The Seattle Times, Nassau Review, Carbon Culture Review, Enizagam, Phoebe, Poetry East, Hunger Mountain, Nimrod, and Poetry Northwest. (Photo Credit: JLD Imagery)

Tara Ballard (House of the Night Watch) was born and raised in Alaska. For seven years now, she and her husband have been living ballardin the Middle East and West Africa, where they teach English literature to high school students and travel often throughout the regions. Tara holds an MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and her poems have been published or recently accepted by Cutthroat: A Journal of the ArtsOneSalamanderThe Southampton ReviewWar, Literature and the Arts; and other literary magazines.

borowiczKarina Borowicz (Touch Stone) is the author of two poetry collections, Proof (Codhill Press, 2014) and The Bees Are Waiting (Marick Press, 2012), which won the Eric Hoffer Award for Poetry and was named a Must-Read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her poems have appeared widely in journals, and have been featured in Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry series and on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. Trained as an historian, Borowicz also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She makes her home in the Connecticut River Valley of Western Massachusetts. Visit her website at

Lauren Rooker Cardwell’s (Incarnate) poetry has appeared in Cider Press ReviewCrab Orchard ReviewMatterPainted Bride cardwellQuarterly, and elsewhere. Her poetry collection, Incarnate, was a semifinalist for the 2017 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry, and an earlier version of the same manuscript was the finalist for the 2011 Perugia Press Prize. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from New York University. She works as a doula, childbirth educator, and homeschool teacher in Nashville, where she lives with her husband and their four children.

dowHannah Dow (Rosarium) is a PhD candidate at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers, where she has served as an Associate Editor for Mississippi Review. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in North American ReviewNinth LetterCrab Orchard Review, and The Journal, among others. She has received finalist nods and honorable mentions from the AWP Intro Journals Project, the Sycamore Review Wabash Prize, and the American Literary Review annual contest.

Patrick Cabello Hansel (The Devouring Land) has published poems, short stories and essays in over 40 anthologies and hanseljournals, including Painted Bride Quarterly, Epiphany, Ilanot Review, Lunch Ticket, The Meadow, Ash and Bones, Switchback, Poetica, subprimal and Hawai’i Pacific Review. He was a 2008-2009 Loft Literary Center (MN) mentee, and a 2011 grantee of the MN State Art Board. His novella Searching was serialized in 33 issues of The Alley News. He is the editor of The Phoenix of Phillips, a new literary magazine for and by people of Phillips, the most diverse neighborhood in Minneapolis. He and his wife Luisa pastor a bilingual church in Minneapolis.

nichollGreg Nicholl ((there) a town) lives in Baltimore and works in publishing. His poetry has most recently appeared in The Cortland Reivew, Crab Orchard Review, Ecotone, Nimrod, Post Road, Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere.

Kathryn Smith (No Wings, No Fins) is the author of Book of Exodus, a poetry collection smithforthcoming from Scablands Books. Her poems have been nominated for Best American Poetry and the Pushcart Prize, and have been published or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Laurel Review, Bellingham Review, the Collagist, Mid-American Review, Redivider, Southern Indiana Review, Duende and elsewhere. She is a graduate of the MFA program at Eastern Washington University and the recipient of a grant from the Spokane Arts Fund.

squillanteSheila Squillante (Mostly Human) is the author of the poetry collection, Beautiful Nerve (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2016), and three chapbooks of poetry: In This Dream of My Father (Seven Kitchens, 2014), Women Who Pawn Their Jewelry (Finishing Line, 2012) and A Woman Traces the Shoreline (Dancing Girl, 2011). She is also co-author, along with Sandra L. Faulkner, of the writing craft book, Writing the Personal: Getting Your Stories Onto the Page (Sense Publishers, 2015). Recent work has appeared or will appear in places like Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, North Dakota Quarterly, Waxwing, Menacing Hedge and River Teeth. She teaches in the MFA program at Chatham University, where she edits The Fourth River, a journal of nature and place-based writing. From her couch in front of wonderful bad television, she edits the blog for Barrelhouse.

Diana Woodcock (Heaven Underfoot) is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, most recently Under the Spell of a Persian woodcockNightingale. Her first, Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders, won the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux International Women’s Poetry Prize. Her seventh chapbook, Near the Arctic Circle, is forthcoming from Tiger’s Eye Press. Since receiving an MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2004, she has been teaching creative writing, environmental literature and composition at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar.  Previously, she spent nearly eight years working in Tibet, Macau, and on the Thai-Cambodian border.  She is a PhD candidate (creative writing/poetry) at Lancaster University.

zaroMariano Zaro’s (Under the Wrong Light) poems have been included in the anthologies Monster Verse (Penguin Random House), Wide Awake (Beyond Baroque, Venice, CA), The Coiled Serpent (Tía Chucha Press, San Fernando, CA), Angle of Reflection (Arctos Press, CA) and in several magazines in Spain, Mexico and the United States: Luces y Sombras (Tafalla, Spain), La Peste (México D.F.), LARB (Los Angeles Review of Books), Askew (Ventura, CA), Diálogo (DePaul University, Chicago), Zócalo Public Square (Arizona State University), Tupelo Quarterly (Finalist of the Tupelo Quarterly Inaugural Poetry Contest, Tupelo Press) and The New Guard Vol. V (Finalist). Since 2010 he conducts a series of video interviews with prominent American poets as part of the literary project Poetry.LA. (www.Poetry.LA). Mariano Zaro earned a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Granada (Spain) and a Master’s in Literature from the University of Zaragoza (Spain). He teaches Spanish for Heritage speakers at Rio Hondo College (Whittier, California).

MVP Finalists Announced

Announcing our Many Voices Project finalists! Meet this year’s stellar group of writers, and look forward to our two winners’ publications in the fall.

dealJanice Deal recently completed her first novel, The Sound of Rabbits. Written with unsparing prose, The Sound of Rabbits explores a woman’s attempt to reconcile her past as she returns to a hardscrabble small town to help her sister care for their elderly mother. The novel explores powerful themes of loss and personal resilience, both also evident in Janice’s collection of short stories, The Decline of Pigeons, which was published by Queen’s Ferry Press in 2013. The Decline of Pigeons was named a finalist in the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and selected as one of the five best bets for fall by the Chicago Reader.

Janice’s work has also appeared in literary magazines including The Sun, the Ontario Review, and The Carolina Quarterly, as well as in publications such as the anthology, New Stories from the Midwest. She is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Artists Fellowship Award for prose. In addition, she is working on a new book of linked short stories, and regularly contributes nonfiction articles to ESME, a site dedicated to the needs of solo moms. She lives in the Chicago area with her husband and daughter. Learn more about Janice at

delizza-author-photo Timothy DeLizza was raised in Brooklyn, New York. He currently lives in Washington, DC, where he works as an energy attorney for the government. His complete publication history may be found here:



fisher Robert Morgan Fisher’s fiction has appeared in The Arkansas Review, Red Wheelbarrow, The Missouri Review Soundbooth Podcast, Dime Show Review, 0-Dark-Thirty, The Huffington Post, Psychopomp, The Seattle Review, The Spry Literary Journal, 34th Parallel, The Journal of Microliterature, Spindrift, Bluerailroad and many other publications. He has a story in the 2016 Skyhorse Books definitive anthology on speculative war fiction, Deserts of Fire. He’s written for TV, radio and film. Robert holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles and is currently on the teaching faculty of Antioch University Santa Barbara. Since 2016, Robert has led a twice-weekly writing workshop for veterans with PTSD in conjunction with UCLA. He often writes companion songs to his short stories. Both his music and fiction have won many awards. Robert also voices audiobooks. (

kolosov Jacqueline Kolosov grew up north of Chicago and now lives in the Texas Panhandle with her family. She has published 3 collections of poetry, most recently Memory of Blue (Salmon, 2014) and several novels for teens. Her essays and stories have appeared in journals including Boulevard, The Sewanee Review, Cimarron Review, Bellevue Literary Review, and The Southern Review. Currently, she is Director of Creative Writing at Texas Tech University where she is Professor of English. She is currently developing arts programming for at-risk communities in the region. Also an editor, she has coedited three anthologies, most recently Family Resemblance: An Anthology and Exploration of 8 Hybrid Literary Genres, which won Foreword’s Gold Medal in Writing (2015).


Gary Eldon Peter’s short stories have appeared or are forthcoming in Callisto, Alexandria Quarterly, Water~Stone Review, Great River Review, Blithe House Quarterly, and other publications. His awards include a Loft-McKnight fellowship in Creative Prose and two Minnesota State Arts Board grants. He has been awarded residencies to the American Academy in Rome, the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Anderson Center. His short fiction collection, Oranges, was a finalist in the 2013 New Rivers Press Many Voices Project competition and was shortlisted for the 2015 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction and the 2016 Mary Roberts Rinehart Fiction Contest. He earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and is a faculty member at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches in the College of Education and Human Development.

ulmerSpring Ulmer is the author of Benjamin’s Spectacles and The Age of Virtual Reproduction.