Sierra DeMulder, Danez Smith, Carolyn Williams-Noren, and Sun Yung Shin
Sun Yung Shin is the author of poetry collections Unbearable Splendor (forthcoming), Rough, and Savage and Skirt Full of Black (Asian American Literary Award) all from Coffee House Press. Her new anthology, A Peculiar Price: New Writing on Racial Realities in Minnesota, is forthcoming from Minnesota Historical Society Press in 2016. She is the co-editor of the anthology Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption, and is also the author of Cooper’s Lesson, a bilingual Korean/English illustrated book for children. She is a 2014–15 McKnight Foundation fellow for literature and has received grants and fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Bush Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, and elsewhere. Shin has written for the likes of Star Tribune, Gazillion Voices, The Nerds of Color, and presents her work in a wide variety of community, literary, and academic venues. She lives in Minneapolis.
Carolyn Williams-Noren has built a writing life while raising two daughters and working as a communications manager for a housing nonprofit, and has learned the craft of poetry primarily from teachers, mentors, and colleagues at the Loft. Carolyn's chapbook, Small Like a Tooth, was published this year by Dancing Girl Press. Other recent poems can be found in Salamander, Tar River Poetry, Calyx, and Sugar House Review. Carolyn received a 2010–2011 Loft Mentor Series award, a 2010 Blacklock Nature Sanctuary fellowship, and a 2013 Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. She is also the founder and custodian of a free poetry lbrary (littlepoetrylibrary.org) in the Minneapolis neighborhood where she lives with her family.
Sierra DeMulder is an internationally touring performance poet and educator. She is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion and the author of The Bones Below and New Shoes on a Dead Horse (2010, 2012, Write Bloody Publishing). Sierra is the recipient of a 2014 McKnight Fellowship. Her work has been featured on NPR, Huffington Post, The Advocate, and more. In addition to performing, Sierra is the curriculum director of the Gustavus Adolphus College Institute of Spoken Word and Poetry Slam, an annual writing summer camp for high school students, and one of the founders of Button Poetry, the largest digital distributor of spoken word in the world. Sierra holds a BA from the University of Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis with her dog, Fidelis.
Danez Smith was born Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of insert Boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Lambda Literary Award, and the chapbook hands on ya knees (Penmanship Books, 2013). Smith is the recipient of fellowships from the McKnight Foundation, Cave Canem, Voices of Our Nation (VONA), and elsewhere. He is a founding member of the multigenre, multicultural Dark Noise Collective. His writing has appeared in Poetry, Ploughshares, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kinfolks, and elsewhere. In poetry slam, he is a 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam finalist and the reigning two-time Rustbelt Individual Champion, and was on the 2014 championship team Sad Boy Supper Club. In 2014 he was the festival director for the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam, and he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. He earned a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was a First Wave Urban Arts Scholar. (The_Loft_Library)