Indira Allegra is a writer and interdisciplinary artist, representing poetry and creative writing in video, digital photography and fiber arts. She is concerned with themes of emotional intimacy, displacement and states of hyper-awareness. Her experimental video poem, Blue Covers, has screened at festivals and events both nationally and internationally. In 2008, she co-facilitated the artistic vision of performance project Sins Invalid, a re/view of embodiment for artists exploring intersections of sexuality and disability. Indira will share artistic directorship for Artists Against Rape in 2012.
Indira has contributed writing to the blog Bodyimagenation, Rivets Literary Magazine, Wordgathering Journal of Disability Poetry, Make/Shift Magazine and the 2008 Artists Against Rape Chapbook. She has forthcoming work in Sovereign Erotics, an anthology of Native American Two-Spirit and LGBTQ writing and Dear Sister, an anthology of letters and artworks dedicated to survivors of sexual violence. Indira is a 2007 VONA alum, the nation’s only multi-genre workshop for writers of color. She is also a participant in the 2011 Interdisciplinary Writer’s Lab hosted by Kearny Street Workshop, Intersection for the Arts and AMATE: Women Painting Stories. She is of African, Tsalagi (Cherokee) and Irish descent.
See bluecovers.wordpress.com for more information.
Maria T. Allocco
Maria T. Allocco is a second-generation Korean-Italian writer, educator, and artist.
She was an Academy of American Poets Prize recipient in 2003, and has published in Fusion Literary Magazine, Monday Night Literary Review, and The Lantern Review: A Journal of Asian American Poetry. Her work has shown at SomaArts Gallery in San Francisco, and in a crinkly white carpet on her bedroom floor.
Maria lives, loves, and breathes ocean air on the U.S. edge of the Pacific. She can be found skipping jade stones at the beach, picking seaweed out of her teeth, or on foggy days at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dylan Casama is a Filipino intersex writer living in South Berkeley. His IWL piece is influenced just a little by Ursula K. Le Guin's Always Coming Home. Other inspirations in life and art include Cherríe Moraga and Haruki Murakami.
Dylan writes about queer-bodied angst and longing, nature, the mundane and the epic, indigenous spirituality... and awkwardness. His current project is a play about young intersex love that is equal parts Peanuts and David Lynch.
Work experience includes stints as an oral historian, ESL teacher, customer service dude and suicide hotline counselor. Off the clock, he swims, does improv and takes apart vintage bikes. One day he will make a living off writing and teaching stories because that’s what he loves. Talk back at email@example.com
Elwin Cotman is the only black male in the Mills College English Department. He is the author of The Jack Daniels Sessions EP, a collection of short stories published by Six Gallery Press in 2010. He has been published in numerous journals, and has read his work at venues across the country.
Erika Céspedes-Kent is a first generation Colombian-American jot@ artist, childcare provider, and long-term community college student. She has been actively involved with numerous Bay Area arts education and youth development organizations including Precita Eyes Muralists, Brava! For Women in the Arts, Youth Speaks, and QWOCMAP (Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project). She currently tutors--and regularly gets dissed by--middle school youth in the Fruitvale District and is a part of the East Oakland Education Committee en la lucha against the gang injunctions.
Erika is significantly influenced by the complexities of self-discovery, fluidity of identity, and the passage of coming into body. She believes art is innate in everyone, for we are culture keepers who have the capacity to explore narrative, history, and collective survival through sound, movement, gesture, and expression.
Sarah Dayley is a writer, visual artist, and a native of Oakland, California. In the last year, she has lived in four different cities and had many accompanying adventures (for example: fighting a goose, being peed on by a lonely kindergartner, cultivating large quantities of river algae, harvesting almonds, helping 3rd graders stage a dance battle between a crew of dogs and a crew of cats, swimming with alligators, watching the sun rise over unfamiliar towns). Her current projects include: a series of unsent(/unsendable) greeting cards; a set of tiny, themed chapbooks; learning to play the piano; writing songs; and establishing a permanent residence somewhere. She almost became a Geologist, and is still known to abandon conversations mid-sentence in order to examine an outcrop of interesting rock.
Lisa Hsia is a transdisciplinary artist whose present work combines text and image to create new expressions. She has studied fiction and nonfiction writing, sequential art (comics), figure and portrait drawing, and watercolor painting, with forays into yoga, classical music, and culinary history. She is grateful to the IWL workshop setting, and to her amazing fellow artists, for launching her into a deeper exploration of her interests and her authentic creative voice.
Lisa is a native and current resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, whose natural glories she too often ignores in favor of curling up with a children's book and homemade cookies. Find her at her home on the Internet, http://satsumaart.wordpress.com, where she hosts a weekly Open Mic. Alas, the limitations of the Internet prevent the sharing of homemade cookies -- but still she looks forward to meeting you there.
Jen Palmares Meadows
Jen Palmares Meadows is a Filipina American writer living in the Sacramento, California area. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in journals and anthologies such as Denver Quarterly, Tayo Literary Magazine, Walang Hiya: Literature Taking Risks Toward Liberatory Practice (Carayan Press), Phati’tude, and Filipinas Magazine.
Jen earned her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University and her M.A. in Creative Writing from California State University Sacramento.
Visit her website at jenpalmaresmeadows.com.
Nayomi Munaweera is a Sri Lankan-American author, artist and teacher. Growing up in Nigeria and California, Nayomi spent months at a time in Sri Lanka witnessing the devastation wrought upon her country of birth by civil war. These experiences led her to write her first novel, Blood at the Root, and upon completion, her second, The Housemaid's Tale as vehicles by which to explore the deeply damaging psychological weight of war. She is currently pursuing publication for both these works and venturing into the world of the short story. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Please visit www.nayomimunaweera.com for more information.
Ron Ragin is a composer, vocalist, and writer living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. You may have seen and/or heard him walking the streets of San Francisco or Oakland singing at the top of his lungs. He does this always. Ron is from Perry, Georgia and is obsessed with his families' histories. His artistic interests include music of the African Diaspora, ritual music, queer spirituality and aesthetics, and collaborative-improvisational creative processes. He is currently working on his first collection of poems and a project to document contemporary performance of spirituals. Ron misses his grandmama’s collard greens, has a knack for baking red velvet cakes, and would be happy to serenade you upon request or not.
Jenny Strauss is a native San Franciscan who grew up with hippies and gurus as a die hard liberal. She was kicked out of high school at 15 for extreme truancy. Of this she is proud. She does not, however, want her two children to follow in her footsteps.
She has performed one-woman shows, taken her clothes off to make a statement in the Queer Nation 90’s, and done conceptual endurance performances utilizing her body to elucidate social hegemony and explore her Jungian shadow.
Jenny is currently working on a memoir and novel; two books in one, weaving tales of her 1970’s childhood among hippies, self-actualization junkies and wealthy suburbanites with a dystopian fantasy story about a girl, not unlike herself, who takes a stand against a society hell-bent on demonizing fat people.