Tanya Coke is a civil rights lawyer and writer. Her work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Root, and USA Today. She is currently working on a graphic novel about race and suburban motherhood.
Your essay “Brother Love” reads not only as a heartfelt meditation on how familial ties can be rekindled, but also as an intricate, personal account of your family history over time. How did you navigate weaving the personal with the historical? How did you determine which moments in your life to highlight in your narrative?
That’s a good question. I didn’t write an outline or give much thought to structure. For me, it was a little like reviewing the tape of a home movie and picking the most emotionally laden scenes in a story that traverses 40 years. Or maybe squinting at a landscape to make an impressionist painting and trying to capture the most vivid things in the frame. Like the moment when my father told my sisters and me that we had a nine-month-old brother. The moment when he first handed this scrawny baby to me. The way it made me feel both special and grown up when my father took me to jazz club with him, when I was 14. The look of grief on my brother’s face at 17, when he was a pallbearer at our dad’s funeral. Or the joy on his other dad’s face, when he danced to a brace of Indian drummers on Shawn’s wedding day. Those became the touchstones for the essay.
Frances Richey is the author of two poetry collections: The Warrior (Viking Penguin 2008), The Burning Point (White Pine Press 2004), and the chapbook, Voices of the Guard (Clackamas Community College 2010). She teaches an on-going poetry writing class at Himan Brown Senior Program at the 92nd Street Y in NYC, and she is the poetry editor for upstreet Literary Magazine. She was poetry editor for Bellevue Literary Review from 2004-2008. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming from: The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, Plume, Gulf Coast, Salmagundi, Salamander, Blackbird, River Styx, and Woman’s Day, and her poems have been featured on NPR, PBS NewsHour and Verse Daily. Most recently she was a finalist for The National Poetry Series for her manuscript, “On The Way Here.” She lives in New York City.
David Moloneyworked in the Hillsborough County Department of Corrections, New Hampshire, from 2007 to 2011. He received a BA in English and creative writing from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, where he now teaches. He lives north of Boston with his family.
A. Kendra Greene began her museum career marrying text to the exhibition wall, painstakingly, character by character, each vinyl letter trembling at the point of a bonefolder. She became an essayist during a Fulbright fellowship in South Korea, finished her MFA at the University of Iowa as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow, and then convinced the Dallas Museum of Art they needed a writer-in-residence. She is a guest artist at the Nasher Sculpture Center and a Library Innovation Lab Fellow at Harvard University. Her first book,The Museum of Whales You Will Never See, will be published by Penguin Books.
Kritika Pandey is a writer from Jharkhand, India, and a final year candidate at the MFA for Poets and Writers, UMass Amherst, where she is working on her first novel. Her works have been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and are forthcoming or have appeared in Guernica, The Bombay Review, Raleigh Review, UCity Review, and eFiction India, among others.
Ama Codjoe is the author of Blood of the Air (Northwestern University Press, 2020), winner of the Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize, and Bluest Nude (Milkweed, forthcoming 2022). She has been awarded support from Cave Canem, Jerome, Robert Rauschenberg, and Saltonstall foundations as well as from Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, Crosstown Arts, Hedgebrook, and MacDowell. Her recent poems have appeared in The Yale Review, Massachusetts Review, Southern Indiana Review, and elsewhere. Codjoe is the recipient of a 2017 Rona Jaffe Writer’s Award, the Georgia Review’s 2018 Loraine Williams Poetry Prize, a 2019 DISQUIET Literary Prize, a 2019 Oscar Williams and Gene Derwood Award, a 2019 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship, and a 2020 BRIO Award from the Bronx Council on the Arts.
Blessing Ofia-Inyinya Nwodo studied Adult Education/ English language at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where she earned the “Best Female Writer” award. Her short story “Vaginismus” was featured in Erotic Africa: The Sex Anthology by Brittle Paper and she was awarded the Highly Rated prize in the Nigerian Travel Story competition organized by Travel Next Door in 2016.