LAURA MAYLENE WALTER
Laura Maylene Walter is a writer and editor in Cleveland. Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, the Sun, Kenyon Review, Ninth Letter, Michigan Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. She was a Yaddo Fellow, a Tin House Writers’ Workshop Scholar, the recipient of the Ohioana Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant, and a past Fiction Editor of Mid-American Review. Her debut story collection, Living Arrangements (BkMk Press), won the G.S. Sharat Chandra Prize, a national gold IPPY, and a Foreword Book of the Year Award. Laura holds an MFA from Bowling Green State University, is a contributing editor for Cherry Tree, teaches workshops for Literary Cleveland, blogs for the Kenyon Review, and works for Cleveland Public Library. She is no stranger to rejection.
Laura's preferred aesthetic :
I am equally enamored with the contemplative realism of Tessa Hadley or Alice Munro as I am compelled by the magic of Aimee Bender or Lesley Nneka Arimah. Lucy Corin’s apocalypses, Brenda Peynado’s “Yaiza,” and Wendy Oleson’s “How I Liked the Avocados” are just a few examples of short fiction that catches my eye. For nonfiction, I’m drawn to a gorgeous essay like Jaquira Diaz’s “Beach City,” but I also love work that blends the personal with research, like “On Not Eating the Marshmallow” by Helen Betya Rubinstein or just about anything by Roxane Gay. I welcome writing that takes risks, whether in terms of structure, content, or language.
Ali Black is a poet, educator, consultant and youth advocate. She directs one of the city's most successful after school and summer program for girls ages 10-18 at West Side Community House. Ali has been writing and performing poetry for over 15 years. She has taught and performed at Playhouse Square, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Juvenile Detention Center, various schools throughout Cuyahoga county and elsewhere. She is the co-founder of acerbic, which is an arts collective dedicated to providing a safe and resourceful home to artists of color. She is currently working on her first collection of poetry and is a current graduate student for poetry at Cleveland State University's NEOMFA program. Her work has appeared in A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts From a Segregated City and she is the recipient of the 2016 Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prize for her poem “Kinsman.”
Ali's preferred aesthetic:
I admire poetry that is clear and meaningful and rich with imagery. My favorite poets use imagery to intensify language and ground the reader in the scene. I’m also attracted to poems that are structurally interesting in terms of how they appear on the page. I respect poets who know the rules, but also break the rules and I believe poems should always have clean lines, unblinking honesty and energy. A few poems I admire include: From “summer, somewhere” by Danez Smith; “Bullet Points” by Jericho Brown; “Spring” by Chloe Honum; and “The Shoots” by Shane McCrae.
Matt Weinkam is a writer, editor, and college instructor with published work in Denver Quarterly, Sonora Review, New South, Quarter After Eight, Split Lip, DIAGRAM, and Electric Literature. He is founding editor of Threadcount Magazine and a former Managing Editor of Passages North literary journal. He holds an MA in creative writing from Miami University, an MFA in fiction from Northern Michigan University, and he has taught creative writing as far away as Sun Yat-sen University in Zhuhai, China. Originally from Cincinnati, Matt moved to Cleveland the same month LeBron broke the curse.
Matt's preferred aesthetic :
I admire prose that gives me a new way of seeing the world. Most of my favorite writers twist or upend our preconceived ideas about what a story or an essay should be. I’m drawn to those who reinvent structure (Teju Cole, Maggie Nelson, Ander Monson), mingle genres (Amber Sparks, Charles Yu, Colson Whitehead), funk with language (Lindsay Hunter, Junot Díaz, Susan Steinberg), reveal untold perspectives (Valeria Luiselli, Svetlana Alexievich, John Keene), and generally get weird (Jesse Ball, Jen George, Alissa Nutting). “Post-Mortem” by Traci Brimhall has a lot of what I look for in a nonfiction piece: attention to language wrapped in an unconventional structure that is expertly designed to deliver emotional gut punch. “The Alive Sister” by Megan Giddings tackles topics so big in such a small space that only metafiction can allow for such meaning and emotion. A perfect display of everything fiction can do as well as why we continue to write it.