Jenessa Abrams is a Norman Mailer Fiction Fellow and Researcher in Residence at the New York Public Library. She is a fiction writer, translator and essayist who cherishes baked goods and can finish a box of Oreos in a single sitting. Her work focuses on her main obsessions: grief, mental illness, sexual and emotional violence and food. When not writing, she serves several nonprofits around New York City. Currently, she is working towards a second Masters Degree from Columbia University, this time in Narrative Medicine. The most frequent question she gets asked is: What’s Narrative Medicine? Feel free to message her and she’ll tell you. Recently, she completed two short story collections and is about to begin work on a novel. You can come see her Sunday, January 14th at DTUT in New York City where she will be participating in the Dead Rabbits Reading Series.
Philip Matthews is a poet and meditation teacher from eastern North Carolina. Anchored by site-specific, land-based rituals and performative acts in the guise of his alter ego Petal, his writing investigates spirituality, queerness, power, eco-consciousness, and questions of home. His practice increasingly turns towards writing unique, poetic meditations to support others — two of which he led this fall in Kansas City in response to exhibitions at PLUG Projects and the H&R Block Artspace. He was a finalist for the 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and awarded a 2017 Tending Space Fellowship for Artists by the Hemera Foundation. He was a 2016-2017 Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, where each morning he drew the Tarot to guide the day’s writing and completed his first-book poetry manuscript, currently seeking a publisher. He believes in the Tarot’s ability to clarify and surprise, and offers these consultations to other writers and artists. In his previous life, Philip was the Assistant Curator of Public Projects at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation in St. Louis, where he organized cross-disciplinary projects including a residency with Bhanu Kapil and an exhibition of video poetry and essay featuring works by Thylias Moss, John Bresland, and commissioned work by Claudia Rankine and John Lucas.
- “The Priest and Warrior”
- “A New Function”
- “Four Poems”
- “Wig Heavier Than a Boot (collaboration with photographer David Johnson)”
- “Obedience and Possession”
- “Notes on Ritual, Healing, and Articulation”
Photo Credit: Carly Ann Faye
Omotara James is the daughter of Nigerian and Trinidadian immigrants. Her poetry chapbook, Daughter Tongue, was selected by African Poetry Book Fund, in collaboration with Akashic Books, for the 2018 New Generation African Poets Box Set. Her debut full length collection, Mama Wata, is forthcoming in 2018 from Siren Songs, of CCM press. She is a 2017 Lambda Literary Fellow and has been awarded scholarships by Cave Canem and The Home School. Her awards include the Bridging the Gap Award for Emerging Poets and the Nancy P. Schnader Academy of American Poets Award. Her work has appeared in the Poetry Project’s Newsletter, The Recluse, A Public Pool, Winter Tangerine, The Seventh Wave, Arkansas International and elsewhere. You can find Omotara knitting sweaters for her cat, named Brooklyn, over-relating to an episode of Chewing Gum or sketching strangers on the train. Currently, she is an MFA candidate at NYU, guest edits for Luna Luna Magazine and reads poems for Newtown Literary.