Lola Todman is a Scholastic National Medalist and Young Arts award winner looking forward to becoming a published poet. Being raised in New Jersey, then attending boarding school in Michigan, and later pursuing a degree in Georgia, has given Lola the varied, unique understanding of Black-American girlhood expressed in her work. Her writing is a delicate but complete undressing of her innermost curiosities and conflictions. A former student at Agnes Scott College, Lola is now happily engaged at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia where she continues her education while working as an advocate for trafficked persons. Her interests outside of writing include working with children and volunteering for women’s organizations.
Christella Almonacy is a 24-year-old college student studying Early Childhood Education, Birth through Kindergarten. With her degree, she intends to become an Infant/Toddler specialist; work with young children in need of early intervention, and help young children with developmental delays. She writes poetry, plays, short stories, novels, and children’s books and developed a love for writing in the 4th grade with a class poetry anthology assignment. Her intentions in her writing are to increase the number of strong, Black characters and writers within the literary world. Her work in this issue, Timeless Vengeance with roots in African and African Diaspora mythology, is the Libyan retelling of the story of Medusa and Perseus. It tells of their battle that stretches across time. Medusa, known in the country of Libya as Anatha, is a wise woman and a healer; she is part of the Triple Moon Goddess which consist of Metis, Athena, and Medusa. Perseus is a Greek explorer sent by the jealous Athena to slay Medusa. Medusa escapes her first battle with Perseus, but encounters men like him throughout history before coming in contact with his reincarnated self in the year 2018. Christella shares, “With my writing, I hope to open up a world of wonder to young children and young adults. I want all my writing to be from the point of view of relatable and empowering Black people that my readers can emulate. My greatest goal is to create characters that remind Black readers of their importance and worth in this world.” Through her writing, she wants to give voice to the ideas and experiences of the Black community.
Lanette Ware-Bushfield is a London Academy graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama who has studied Cinematic Language at The Toronto Film School. Lanette is a licensed Red Cross Instructor, published writer, and certified basic Spanish teacher. Born and raised on Manhattan’s upper east side, she was hired for her first commercial at age three, began studying piano at age six and violin at age thirteen. Although a music major at The High School of Music and Art in New York City it was during her drama courses at Marymount College in Tarrytown, NY and London, England, that she would discover her passion for writing, classical literature and theater. Lanette has also studied Image Consulting at The Fashion Institute of Technology, NY and received her earliest training in music theory, writing and directing from the Fiorello High School of Performing Arts and Diller Quaile Music School in New York. Enjoy Lanette’s poem, “Time” and her non-fiction piece, “The First 50” in aaduna’s summer 2019 issue.
Quiana Katumu grew up in North Carolina and currently resides in Maryland with her family. She graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary of Orlando, FL in 2008. She’s had various publications of her short stories including her work “Lost & Found,” which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2016. In her free time, she enjoys reading suspense novels; connecting with friends, and spending time with her husband, Josiah and two-year-old son. Currently she is working on her first novel, which is a drama based on her short story, “Lost & Found.”
Lanette Ware-Bushfield is a multi-talented creative and as such, she delves into different literary genres in interesting ways with subtle nuances. Possibly in the future, aaduna will further explore her poetic leanings. Enjoy Lanette’s poem, “Time” and her non-fiction piece, “The First 50” in aaduna’s summer 2019 issue.
Arthur Hutchinson (Arthur the Artist) was born and raised in Auburn, New York (NY) to Jamaican parents. He attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where he received a bachelor’s degree in architecture. After working as an architect for nearly eight years, he became disillusioned and decided to quit his job to become a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It’s during this time that he began creating art with the intention of finding his true path in life. This unleashed a torrent of inspiration leading to the creation of hundreds of works using the rigorous tools and methods learned while working at top architectural firms. His beautiful and strange self-portraits served as a roadmap in search of a true identity while his jubilant digital paintings celebrate the freedom that comes with personal discovery. Most notable are his intricately cut paper relief sculptures which use layers of colored paper to create symbols and imagery that emerge deep from the world within. Now he’s returned to his hometown of Auburn, NY to share what he has learned with the hopes of inspiring others and bring awareness to that fact that power and beauty often lie beyond our deepest fears. He currently teaches art at Hillside Children’s Center and continues to create work designed to captivate, reveal and inspire.
Inalegwu Omapada Alifa is a Nigerian poet whose works have appeared in “Parousia Magazine,” “NaijaStories,” “Yellow Chair Review,” “Lunaris Review” and “Sentinel Literary Quarterly.”
Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today, he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. Mr. Johnson is published in more than 1072 new publications; his poems have appeared in 38 countries, and he edits and publishes ten poetry sites. Mr. Johnson, has been nominated for two Pushcart Prize awards poetry 2015, one Best of the Net 2016, two Best of the Net 2017, and two Best of the Net for 2018. One hundred ninety poetry videos are now on YouTube via Mr. Johnson’s channel, poetrymanusa. He is editor-in-chief of the poetry anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762; editor-in-chief of the poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses available here https://www.amazon.com/dp/1545352089, as well as editor-in-chief of Warriors with Wings: The Best in Contemporary Poetry, http://www.amazon.com/dp/1722130717.
Ms. Celestin is a Haitian-American writer, performer, and facilitator. She received her B.A. from Wesleyan University, her M.A. in Humanities and Social Thought from the John Draper School, New York University where she penned her thesis dealt with Haitian-American Literature and Identity. Jennifer also earned a M.F.A. in Fiction at Queens College, The City University of New York (CUNY.) Her writings have appeared in Akashicbooks.com, No, Dear Magazine, The Hawai’i Review, and most recently in la Revue Trois/Cent/Soixante. She resides in Brooklyn, NY and can be found on the A/D/B/Q/2/5 subway trains commuting to Harlem for her 9-5 where she works in Development and Grants at CUNY. Her best days are when she can get a seat on the train and then write.
Dr. James Piatt lives with his wife in a replica 1800s eastern farmhouse in Santa Ynez, California. He has had four collections of poetry, “The Silent Pond,” (2012), “Ancient Rhythms,” (2014), “Light” (2016), and “Solace between the Lines,” (2019), over 1,375 poems, four novels, seven essays, and thirty-five short stories published. His poems have been nominated multiple times for “Pushcart” and “Best of Web” awards. He earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, and his doctorate from BYU (Brigham Young University.)
Dionna Vereen (aka Dionna V) of African-American/Asian-American decent represents a level of being and cultural authenticity, which is grounded in being a proud and determined young woman. A pursuer of pLaY, authenticity, and connection, as well as by her enthusiastic self-description she is “Feverishly in love with language…her poetic adventures…investigate the intrinsic physicality and musicality in language and explores the world [where] she/the page with an inquisitive and curious eye.” A senior at Syracuse University, Ms. Vereen is a classically & contemporary trained actor & vocalist; creator of the South Jersey holistic forest festival SunGround; vice president and a founder of Syracuse University’s Linguistics Club, and “just generally fascinated by the concept of existence.” She has read as part of the 2019 Just Poets Reading Series, Nox Cocktail Lounge, Rochester, NY; the annual Art in the Age of Trump, 2018 convened at ArtRage Gallery in Syracuse, NY; Love and Relationsh*t at Wildflowers Armory, Syracuse, NY, as well as at numerous open mics showcased in New York, New Jersey and London, England. Dionna was a selected vocalist at Syracuse University’s annual Songwriters Showcase, and hosted SU’s annual Rep Where You’re From Spoken Word event in the fall 2018. In October 2018, she released a poetry album titled, Curiously Sensual: Words for the Physical & Mental Body. And that recording is available on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc.
Rekha Valliappan is a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominated poet. A creative writer of multiple literary genres including science and climate fiction, fantasy, horror, humor and satire, she is drawn to Asia for inspiration and the invaluable experiences of life enhanced by the opportunity of having lived in multi-ethnic countries, including Malaysia. Her passion for travel in the US, Europe and Japan opened up diverse glimpses in the way she viewed the world from a different lens. Formally educated in both literature and law she worked as a university lecturer, engaged in stage productions, volunteerism in Boards on women’s issues and as editor. She won Boston Accent Lit‘s prize for short fiction, emerged Best of Fiction in Across The Margin‘s annual list, secured a spot in Ouen Press (UK) prize winners anthology and has her work published in international journals including Lackington’s Magazine, GHLL, Madras Courier, Small Orange Journal, Aphelion Webzine, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Five:2:One Literary Journal, Liquid Imagination, Prehistoric Magazine, The Fictional Cafe, Rabid Oak, Locust Magazine, Indiana Voice Journal, Mercurial Stories, The Ekphrastic Review, Schlock! Webzine, ColdNoon Journal, Theme of Absence, Thrice Fiction Magazine, The Punch Magazine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse and elsewhere. She has her own website Silicasun. Follow her on Twitter @silicasun
Alex Clermont is a native New Yorker and the author of You, Me and the Rest of Us: #NewYorkStories, Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely, and dozens of several short stories that have appeared in literary journals and anthologies including, Black Elephant, The aois21 Annual, Foliate Oak, and Out of Place. Alex writes literary stories about fictional people with real problems.”
Olga Abella has been a professor of literature and creative writing at Eastern Illinois University for 30 years. She is also the department advisor for the English major. Whenever she can get away from class preps and teaching, she rides her bicycle. Being on her bike or walking her dogs frees her mind to envision the world as poetry, and inspires her to write. The two essays she has appearing in this issue of aaduna are more prose poems than essays. Writing poems enables her to handle life in a more manageable way, and to put herself in perspective. Her poems have been published in various journals, including black dirt, CALYX, Urban Spaghetti, The MacGuffin, Natural Bridge, The Mom Egg, Long Island Quarterly, Kalliope, poetrybay.com and others. She has two chapbooks, Grasping to What Is (A Short Book Press) and What It Takes (Birnham Wood Graphics), and a book Watching the Wind (Writers Ink Press).
M.E. Mishcon has had fiction, commentary, and/or poetry published in: The G.W. Review, Urthona, The Women’s Times, The Artful Mind, The Philadelphia Inquirer, to name a few. Her Novel, Just Between Us, won first prize from Birmingham Southern University’s Hackney Award. She has likewise been named for commendation by Serpentine (1st Prize), New Millennium, as well as other journals and periodicals. M.E. Mishcon is a practicing psychotherapist who lives with her husband in The Berkshires in Massachusetts.
Ms. Ayuk, is a final year medical student at the University of Buea, Cameroon, where she lives. She is also a blogger at www.pregcompanion.com. Between medicine and all kinds of writing, Glennise finds time to sleep and obsess over art as she slowly learns to paint. Her poetry is published and/or forthcoming in Parousia Magazine, Authorspress International anthology, Munyori literary journal and Verbal Art, among others. Her e-mail is email@example.com, in case readers want to keep in touch.
Dr. Neal Zeilinger has an undergraduate degree in general science, most noticeably math and physics from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas. He received his Master of Divinity degree from Wartburg Theological Seminary located in Dubuque, Iowa, and achieved his Doctor of Ministry from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Dr. Zeilinger has served as pastor to congregations of the Evangelical Lutheran Church-Papua New Guinea, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as well as Ordained Lay Preacher to a congregation of the Metropolitan Community Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and under license to the Christian Church-Disciples of Christ congregation in Cape Girardeau. (“Under License” indicates that a person from a different denomination has met criteria to provide pastoral care.) Neal’s work history includes motion picture projectionist, auto and truck technician, marine engine mechanic, industrial spray painter, and machine operator. Currently retired, he spends time writing, riding motorcycles, feeding the homeless, and works as an ally for the LGBTQ+ community. He is married, with two adult daughters, and resides in St. Joseph, Missouri. He prefers to be addressed as “Neal.”