Contributors, Fall 2008

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Dessale Berekhet is an Eritrean journalist, poet and translator.  He has a degree in English from Asmara University and is one of Eritrea's leading experts in Tigre.

Rosa Alice Branco is a poet, essayist, and translator. She has a Philosophy and is a Professor of the Theory of Perception. She has published eight volumes of poetry, including her collected poems, Spelling Out the Day. Her two volumes of essays are What Prevents the World from Becoming a Picture and Visual Perception in Berkeley. Volumes of her poetry have appeared in Spain, Tunisia, Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, Brazil, Venezuela, and Quebec. Her work has been anthologized in numerous countries, including Russia, Latvia, Hungary, Macedonia, Germany, Corsica, and the United States. In the United States, her poems have appeared in twenty-two magazines, including New England Review, The Literary Review, and Per-Contra.

Charles Cantalupo is the co-translator and co-editor of Who Needs a Story? Contemporary Eritrean Poetry in Tigrinya, Tigre and Arabic (Hdri Publishers: Asmara, 2006) and the writer and director of the new documentary, Against All Odds: African Languages and Literatures into the 21st Century (Michigan State University Press & African Books Collective:  East Lansing & London, 2007) . He also published two other books of Eritrean poetry translations, scholarly studies on Thomas Hobbes and Ngugi wa Thiong'o, and two books of poetry.

Fred Chappell is the author of a dozen books of verse, two story collections, and eight novels. A native of Canton in the mountains of western North Carolina, he has taught at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 1964. He is the winner of, among other awards, the Bollingen Prize in Poetry, Aiken Taylor Prize, T. S. Eliot Prize, and Roanoke-Chowan Poetry Prize seven times over.

Elizabeth J. Coleman’s poetry will appear in upcoming issues of Connecticut Review and The Raintown Review and has been published in Legal Studies Forum, The Lyric, Contemporary Rhyme and other publications. Elizabeth is a member of the board of the Poetry Society of America.

Elizabeth is founder and President of the Beatrice R. and Joseph A. Coleman Foundation for environmental and social justice, and of Professional Stress Management Solutions, Ltd. She has served as Executive Director of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association, National Civil Rights Director of the Anti-Defamation League, and Chair of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Maidenform, Inc. A past Chair of the Board of the National Women’s Law Center and of the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and Vice-Chair of the United States President’s Export Council, Elizabeth received the New York Women’s Agenda 2004 Star Award and NOW New York’s 2003 Woman of Power & Influence Award. She is co-author of Commercial and Consumer Warranties: Drafting, Performing and Litigating (Matthew Bender 1987). She also performs as a classical guitarist. 

Elizabeth is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Swarthmore College, where she majored in French Literature. She has taught French and English at the Fieldston School.

Mariana Dan is the author of twelve books including three collections of poetry. She was born in Bucharest but has lived for almost thirty years in Belgrade, Serbia. Dan was educated at the University of Bucharest and received her doctorate from the University of Belgrade, where she now heads the Romanian department. A participant in the neo-avantgardist movement of the 1970s and 80, Klokotrism, Dan’s interests range from Romanian literature to the Romanian minority in Serbia. She is an important link between the Serbian and Romanian literatures. Angels at the Bus Stop (2006), where these poems derive, is her most recent book of poetry.  Poems from this book are appearing in Words Without Borders, Puerto del Sol, Subtropics and Rhino in joint versions with Adam Sorkin.

Frankie Drayus writes poetry and short stories.  Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ninth Letter, Third Coast, Boxcar Poetry Review, diode, poemeleon, Barrow Street, Passages North (finalist in Just Desserts Short Fiction Contest),  and Art/Life Ltd. EditionsMid-American Review chose her short-short as a finalist in the 2007 Fineline Competition, and her poetry manuscript, Tuesday like citrine, was a finalist for the May Swenson Poetry Award.  She earned an MFA in Creative Writing at New York University, and now lives in Los Angeles where she was recently Artist in Residence at Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center.

Siomara Espańa was born in 1976 in Manabi, a coastal region famous for its beaches and its jungle-covered hills. Her poetry has strong confessional and erotic strains. Her sensuality, however, is matched by the shadow of a serious fascination with death. The Return of Lolita, soon to come out, was preceded less than a year before by her first book length collection, Concupiscence. She lives and teaches in Guayaquil. The publication of these five poems in Per Contra marks her first appearance in the United States. Her work will be appearing in Alexis Levitin's forthcoming collection of translations: Five Ecuadorian Women Poets.

Kathy Fish’s stories are published or forthcoming in Quick Fiction, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, New South and elsewhere. Her collection of short shorts is available from Rose Metal Press in a book entitled "A Peculiar Feelings of Restlessness: Four Chapbooks of Short Short Fiction by Four Women."

Gagan Gill was born in 1959 in Delhi. Considered one of the outstanding poets of her generation, she had an extremely successful career as a journalist, but chose to give up the journalist to the poet in her in order to secure the 'long periods of silence in her everyday life' which she considered necessary to remain 'truly connected to words'.  Gagan Gill has published four collections of poetry and two volumes of prose: her first collection, Ek din lautegi larki (One day the girl will return), focuses on the gamut of female experience (but also includes epigrams and verses about political events); the poems in Andhere me Buddha (Buddha in the darkness) are variations on the theme of sorrow in human existence; her third volume, Yah akanksha samay nahin (This is Not the Time of/for desire), is dedicated to the enigma of desire; the songs of her fourth collection, Thapak thapak dil thapak thapak, (thump, thump heart thump, thump)rely on sound and images, rather than narratives, to crystallize suffering as the one constant in the impermanence of human existence. Those who are familiar with Buddhism will see the reflections of the Buddha's four noble truths in much of Gagan's writing.

Gagan Gill was a visiting writer at Iowa International Writing Program in 1990 and a Nieman Fellow for Journalism at Harvard University in 1992-93. She lives in New Delhi.

Sonja Haussman-Smith was born in Strasbourg in 1923. After several years of study in Strasbourg, Paris and London, she obtained "certificats de licence" in German and English at the Sorbonne. She worked as a translator for several years in Paris and later in New York. She married the American poet, William Jay Smith, in 1966, and collaborated on the translation of The Madman and the Medusa by the African writer (Cameroon)  Tchikaya U Tam Si. She translated a selection of William Jay Smith's poems into French under the title of L'Arbre du Voyageur (The Traveler's Tree).

Colettte Inez has authored nine poetry collections, the most recent of which is Spinoza Doesn’t Come Here Any More from Melville House Books. She is widely anthologized and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, twice from the NEA, and has won two Pushcart Prizes.  Her memoir, The Secret of M. Dulong was published in 2005 by The University of Wisconsin Press.

Robert Leone is the communications manager for an international health fellowship program of the Public Health Institute in Oakland, CA. His short stories and interviews have appeared in the Evergreen Chronicles, Rosebud Magazine, The Bay Area Reporter and online at the Grace Cathedral website. Currently he is working on a play, Rights of Passage, with his husband, Edward Decker. [They were married July 1, 2008.] The play deals with the stories of LGBT human rights violations around the world. The project's blog address is

Alexis Levitin - Click Here

Antonios Maltezos has had numerous stories published both online and in print at such places as Nighttrain, Ink Pot, Thieves Jargon, Elimae,and Mindprints. When he isn't reading for The Vestal Review, he working on his novel, A Train Runs Through Here. He's also one of the regulars on The Canadian Writers Collective blog.

Robert Mezey was educated at Kenyon, Iowa, and Stanford;  he has taught at Western Reserve, Fresno State, Univ. of Utah, Franklin & Marshall and elsewhere; from 1976 to 2002 he was professor and poet-in-residence at Pomona College, teaching occasionally at the Claremont Graduate School.

His poems and translations have been appearing since 1953 in many journals, including New York Review of Books, Paris Review, Hudson Review, New Yorker, New Republic, Raritan, TLS, Partisan Review, Poetry, Kenyon Review, Yale Review, New Criterion, New Letters and so on. His poems can be found in nearly a hundred anthologies. Translations of many of them have appeared in Italy, Spain, Israel, and Greece.

His books of verse include THE LOVEMAKER, A BOOK OF DYING, WHITE BLOSSOMS, THE DOOR STANDING OPEN, SMALL SONG, COUPLETS, SELECTED TRANSLATIONS, EVENING WIND, and COLLECTED POEMS 1952-1999. He has edited ten books, including NAKED POETRY, POEMS  OF THE AMERICAN WEST [Everyman], THOMAS HARDY: SELECTED POEMS [Penguin Classics], THE POETRY OF E. A. ROBINSON [Modern Library], and A WORD LIKE FIRE: THE SELECTED POEMS OF DICK BARNES. With the late Dick Barnes he has translated all of Borges’ poems, many of which have appeared in journals and magazines.

Awards:  Robert Frost Prize, the Lamont (for THE LOVEMAKER); an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; a PEN prize and a Bassine Citation (for EVENING WIND); the Poets Prize (for the COLLECTED POEMS); the Barnstone Translation Prize; the Trustees’ Medal of Merit from Pomona College; an honorary doctorate from Kenyon College; and fellowships from the Ingram Merrill and Guggenheim Foundations and from the National Endowment for the Arts.

He has given hundreds of readings and talks at such venues as Yale, UCLA, Duke, Kenyon, Brown, Dartmouth, Boston U, Vassar, Princeton, Virginia, Bryn Mawr, Penn, USC, Columbia, Tufts, Wellesley, Reed, Oberlin, Georgetown, MIT, Occidental, Bennington, Ohio State, North Carolina, Michigan, Amherst, Sarah Lawrence, Miami, Iowa, Syracuse, Stanford and many others; in Europe (Suffolk and Madrid); at poetry centers such as Beyond Baroque and the New York YMHA; at MLA, ALTA and ALSC conventions; at the Clark, Huntington and Donnell  Libraries; at the Guggenheim Museum; & at festivals celebrating the work of Robinson, Hardy, Kees, and James Wright.

His work has been praised by such fellow-poets as Mark Strand, Donald Justice, Rosanna Warren, Henri Coulette, Thom Gunn, John Hollander and W. S. Merwin.

David Moore Robinson is a recent graduate of the MFA program at Colorado State University, and he also holds an MA from Columbia University Teachers College.  A native of Albany, New York, he currently lives in Miami. He has published a short story in Aethlon: The Journal of Sports Literature.

Carter Ratcliff is a poet and art critic. He is a contributing editor of Art in America and a member of the editorial board of Sculpture Magazine. Ratcliff's writings have appeared widely in European and American journals and in the publications of museums here and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Guggenheim, NY, and the Royal Academy, London. His awards include the College Art Association's 1987 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two national Endowment for the Arts' Art Critics Grants, and a Poets Foundation Grant. He is the author of monographs of John Singer Sargent and Andy Warhol.  His other books on art include The Fate of a Gesture: Jackson Pollock and Postwar American Art and Out of the Box: The Reinvention of Art 1965-1975.  His books of poetry include Fever Coast (1973), Give Me Tomorrow (1983), and Arrivederci, Modernismo (2007). 

Philip Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, and the founder/director of The Writers Studio, a private school for fiction and poetry writing based in New York City. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including his most recent Failure (2007, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize), Living in the Past (2004), and The Holy Worm of Praise (2002), all published by Harcourt. He is also the author of Deep Within the Ravine (Viking 1984, recipient of The Academy of American Poets Lamont Prize); Like Wings (Viking 1978, winner of an American Academy & Institute of Arts and Letters Award as well as a National Book Award nomination) and the poetry chapbook, My Guardian Angel Stein (1986). His work has been published in The New Yorker, Partisan Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Slate, among other magazines, and he is the recipient of a Fullbright Fellowship and a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship in poetry. He also received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry (1981), a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry (1985), as well as the Levinson Prize from Poetry magazine. He lives in East Hampton, NY with his wife, sculptor Monica Banks and their two sons, Elias and August. 

David Slavitt - Click Here 

Lee Slonimsky has two books of sonnets from Orchises Press, Pythagoras in Love (2007) and the forthcoming Logician of the Wind (2012).  His sonnets have also appeared or are forthcoming in The Carolina Quarterly, Connecticut Review, Measure, The New York Times, North Dakota Quarterly, Poetry Daily and elsewhere.  He manages a hedge fund, Ocean Partners LP, that takes a special interest in companies which hire the developmentally disabled.

Adam J. Sorkin’s recent volumes of translation include three 2006 books: Magda Cârneci’s Chaosmos, translated with Cârneci (White Pine Press), Mihai Ursachi’s The March to the Stars, translated mostly with the poet (Vinea Press), and Mariana Marin’s Paper Children, with various collaborators (Ugly Duckling Presse). Other books include Daniela Crăsnaru’s short stories translated with the author, The Grand Prize and Other Stories (Northwestern UP, 2004), and Marin Sorescu’s The Bridge, translated with Lidia Vianu (Bloodaxe Books, 2004)—the winner of the 2005 Corneliu M. Popescu Prize for European Poetry Translation of The Poetry Society, London. In 2007, he published Radu Andriescu’s The Catalan Within (Longleaf Press), translated with the poet. Sorkin is Distinguished Professor of English at Penn State Brandywine.

Archana Verma Born April, 1946 She has published two volumes of poetry: Kuchch DurTak (For Some Distance) and Lauta Hai Vijeta (The Conqueror has Returned).   A third collection, , is in press.  Verma has published one collection of short stories, Sthagit (Postponed)and a second one is in the press.

An established critic, Verma has been associated with Hans, a leading literary magazine for more than 20 years. On the verge of beginning hopefully as meaningful and lengthy an association with another equally important journal, Kathadesh.  Currently Verma teaches at Miranda House, University College for Women, University of Delhi, India.

Shrikant Verma  (1931-86), a poet from a small town in Madhya Pradesh, Central India, had a career spanning bothjournalism and politics. He was a General Secretary of the then ruling Congress Party and rose further to become the speech writer of the late Indian Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi.  While he wielded considerable clout in the power circle, his poetry was haunted by self doubt and paradox. He worked in different genres such as poetry, short story, essays, intimate journals and published 25 volumes in all. He was awarded almost all major literary awards during his short life time. The poem represented here, comes from Magadh, his book of poems named after the fabled ancient Indian city, remains one of the groundbreaking works in contemporary Hindi poetry.

Zeineb Yassin (Mother Zeineb) was a veteran fighter in Eritrea’s 30-year armed struggle for independence and mother of nine.  Zeineb Yassin – popularly known as Mother Zeineb – died at the age of 87 in 2005.  Translated from Tigre, “Under the Sycamores” is a transcription based on her performance on 1/15/2000 at the Against All Odds literary festival.

Arlene Zide b. 1940, NYC.  Poet, linguist and translator, her work has appeared in journals and anthologies in the US, Canada and in India  such as:  The Alembic,  Meridians (Smith College), Xanadu,  Rattapallax, Primavera, Colorado Review, California Quarterly,  Women’s Review of Books, A Room of Her Own, Oyez,  Earth’ Daughters,   Rhino, and in anthologies such as In Love United, Kiss Me  Goodnight and Rough Places Plain and online in e.g., Anderbo, Chicago Poetry, Red River Review, The Pedestal Magazzine, R-KV-R-Y, and Kritya. She has lived in India nine times over the last 39 years, most recently involved in translation from Hindi. (An anthology of contemporary Indian women poets out from Penguin India  (1993) contained a number of her own translations.)  Translations from Hindi and other Indian languages have appeared in places as diverse as The Bitter Oleander, Manushi, Salt Hill, Paintbrush, Smartish Pace,  Modern Poetry in Translation (UK),  Blue Unicorn,   Indian Literature, Rhino, International Poetry Review,   The Malahat Review,  International  Quarterly,  Chicago  Review, and in the Everyman series: Indian Love Poems.






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