Kirwyn Sutherland was inspired to write poetry while watching the HBO series Def Poetry Jam. Issues of racial discrimination, apartheid, and survival as a black man discussed in the poetry of Amiri Baraka, Craig muMs Grant, and Black Ice hit home for Kirwyn. Writing poetry became a vehicle for introspection, community building, connecting with people from diverse cultures, and healing. These early writings culminated in a chapbook, self- published March 2013, entitled X: A Mixtape. The majority of the proceeds from this book went to a $500 book scholarship (Delores Sutherland Scholarship) to a freshman student. Kirwyn’s second chapbook, published by Two Pens & Lint June 2014, entitled X: A Mixtape Re-mastered contained a combination of new and old poems on the topics of slavery, racial discrimination, mental health, and biological sciences. Kirwyn has featured at several open mic and slam venues in Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York, DC, Delaware, and Detroit. Additionally, he was one of 5 poets to represent Philadelphia at the 2015 National Poetry Slam. The team made the Semi-finals of the competition (top 20 out of 72 teams). Kirwyn has participated in workshop/residencies at Cave Canem, Poet’s House, Pearlstein Art Gallery at Drexel University, Philadelphia Sculpture Gym, and Lincoln University. Kirwyn’s poetry has been published in Tobeco Literary Arts Journal, Drunkinamidnightchoir, BlueShift Journal, MadHouse Magazine, APIARY magazine, and Public Pool. Kirwyn currently serves as list editor/book reviewer at WusGood magazine.
Jacob Winterstein is a poet, host, teaching artist and event producer. He has traveled to twenty-four countries and always comes home to Philadelphia where he was born, raised and educated. Jacob has represented Philadelphia at the National Poetry Slam, The Individual World Poetry Slam, the Red Bull Word Clash Poetry Competition, and is a winner of the Philadelphia Poet VS MC freestyle competition. He has taught poetry, performance and improvisational rapping (freestyling) since 2006 at schools, universities, community centers and jails. He is the co-founder of The Philly Pigeon Poetry Slam, a Philadelphia Magazine Best of Philly 2012 winner and a Knight Foundation Arts Challenge 2013 winner. He also is the co-director of Camp Bonfire, a summer camp for adults.
Cynthia Arrieu-King was raised in Louisville, Kentucky, and earned her PhD from the University of Cincinnati. A former Kundiman Fellow, Arrieu-King is the author of the poetry chapbook The Small Anything City (2006) and the full-length poetry collections People Are Tiny in Paintings of China (2010) and Manifest (2013). With Sophia Kartsonis, she coauthored the chapbook By Some Miracle a Year Lousy with Meteors (2013). She also cowrote the collection Unlikely Conditions (1913 Press, 2016) with the late Hillary Gravendyk. Arrieu-King is an assistant professor at Stockton University and has been a featured poet at the Dodge Poetry Festival.
A 2017 John Simon Guggenheim Poetry Fellow, PATRICK ROSAL is the author of four full-length poetry collections. His newest book, Brooklyn Antediluvian (2016), was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award for Poetry and winner of the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. He is Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Rutgers University-Camden where he directs the MFA program. His poems and essays have been published widely in journals and anthologies including The New York Times, Tin House, Poetry, New England Review, American Poetry Review, Grantland, Brevity, Breakbeat Poets, and The Best American Poetry.