Visiting Writers & Artists – 2012-13 Inaugural Season

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April 2012

Black is another emerging poet whose work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry, Boston Review, Harvard Review, Blackbird, Gulf Coast, Columbia, Pleiades, and elsewhere. The recipient of a 2009 Ruth Lilly Fellowship, he has also received recent fellowships and awards from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, The MacDowell Colony, the University of Texas at Austin's Michener Center for Writers, and the University of Utah, where he is a Vice Presidential Fellow.

O, Miami 2012

April 2012

A playwright and poet from Brooklyn, Reines produces a unique brand of the spoken word. She is the author of three poetry collections, THE COW (Alberta Prize, FenceBooks: 2006), COEUR DE LION (Mal-O-Mar: 2007; FenceBooks: 2011), MERCURY (FenceBooks: 2011), and the play TELEPHONE, winner of two Obie awards. In 2009 she became the youngest ever Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at University of California Berkeley.

Reines gave a reading on April 25 in B-Bar of new works written during her stay in the Writer's Room.

April 2012

An acclaimed editor and publisher as well as poet, Daniel Halpern was the founder and longtime editor of the literary magazine ANTAEUS, and he is currently the president and publisher of Ecco Press. The author nine books of poems, most recently SOMETHING SHINING (1999), he has also edited anthologies of both poetry and prose, such as DANTE'S INFERNO: TRANSLATIONS BY TWENTY CONTEMPORARY POETS (1993) and THE ART OF THE STORY: AN INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY SHORT STORIES (1999), which includes works by Bobbie Ann Mason, Joyce Carol Oates, and Martin Amis. Halpern has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in New York City.

Halpern gave a reading and Q & A with poets Campbell McGrath and P. Scott Cunningham on April 29 in B-Bar.

April 2012

Billy Collins was born in New York City in 1941. He is the author of several books of poetry, including BALLISTICS (2008), THE TROUBLE WITH POETRY (2005); PICNIC, LIGHTNING (1998); THE ART OF DROWNING (1995), which was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; QUESTIONS ABOUT ANGELS (1991), which was selected by Edward Hirsch for the National Poetry Series; THE APPLE THAT ASTONISHED PARIS (1988); and POKERFACE (1977). Collins's poetry has appeared in anthologies, textbooks, and a variety of periodicals, including Poetry, American Poetry Review, American Scholar, Harper's, Paris Review, and The New Yorker. His work has been featured in the Pushcart Prize anthology and has been chosen several times for the annual Best American Poetry series. Collins has edited POETRY 180: A TURNING BACK TO POETRY (Random House, 2003), an anthology of contemporary poems for use in schools. In 2001, Collins was named U.S. Poet Laureate. His other honors and awards include fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. He has taught at Columbia, Sarah Lawrence, and Lehman College, CUNY. He lives in Somers, New York.

Former US Poet Laureate Billy Collins was the keynote poetry presenter for O, Miami 2012, with his appearance funded by a community consortium led by the Knight Foundation. The Betsy Hotel provided accommodations and hosted a dinner in his honor, attended by dignitaries, who also toasted to the opening of The Writer's Room.

May 2012

Ted Merwin, Ph.D is a professor, writer, journalist and noted public speaker. He is the author of IN THEIR OWN IMAGE: NEW YORK JEWS IN JAZZ AGE POPULAR CULTURE. He is also the author of a forthcoming book on the history of the Jewish delicatessen, PASTRAMI ON RYE: AN OVERSTUFFED HISTORY OF THE JEWISH DELI. Ted teaches religion & Judaic studies at Dickinson College (Carlisle, PA), where he also directs the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life. He lives in Harrisburg, PA with his wife and three daughters.

July 2012

Scott Blankenship is a classical music host for Minnesota Public Radio. He started his radio career in college when he began working as a volunteer at a local cable radio station, announcing alternative and new rock music. His love and appreciation of classical music began at public radio station KVNO in Omaha, where he spent 13 years in various on-air and management roles, five of those years as the morning drive-time host. Indications that radio was in his blood go back to age five, when he used a corkboard and a battered phonograph as a makeshift radio studio; his father's Air Force issue flashlight served as his "on air" light. In his spare time, Blankenship is an avid cyclist and amateur playwright with several produced scripts to his credit.

July 2012

Matthew Luhn is a cartoonist and animator. He began his career at Pixar Animation Studios in 1992 as an Animator on the very first CG movie, TOY STORY. Since that time, Matthew has worked as a Story Artist on TOY STORY 2, MONSTERS INC., FINDING NEMO, CARS, RATATOUILLE, UP, and TOY STORY 3. Prior to Pixar, Matthew attended the California Institute of the Arts, and would later be hired as an Animator on THE SIMPSONS. Matthew grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where his family has owned and operated "Jeffrey's Toy's" toy stores for over three generations. Along with working at Pixar, Matthew teaches children and adults all over the world how to draw and create cartoon stories, characters, perspective, and animation.

July 2012

Doug comes to the film from a background of graphic design and letterpress printing. Born and raised in the Midwest, he has travel in his blood and has visited five continents. He has a BFA in Graphic Design and Art History. In 2008, he spent a summer as an artist in residence at l'Association pour le Patrimoine Industriel in Geneva, Switzerland. He also has worked at an advertising agency and taught typography as an adjunct professor. When not editing the film, he enjoys the great outdoors with his wife, Allison.

Wilson screened his documentary Linotype at FIU Wolfsonian.

August 2012

Luis Eligio is a poet, writer, actor-performer, animator, graffiti artist, experimental musician, dancer, Hip-hopper, audiovisual director, and mega-incredible orator. His poems appear in several anthologies and magazines within and outside of Cuba. He has published a book of poetry, STATES OF WAR, and has an unpublished book titled GHOSTS CIVIC. He has conducted more than two hundred artistic presentations of his poetry, participated in the creation, art direction, editing and realization of an audio CD of poetic experimentation called SONORA ALAMAR EXPRESS. Among other things, Luis is co-creator and Artistic Director of Public Relations of the poetry festival World Poetry Without End (1999-2011, held in the city of Alamar, in Havana, Cuba).

August 2012

Editor, author and poet as well as pen-for-hire, Jen Karetnick tackles a variety of lifestyle subjects. Her writing has been published in The Atlantan, Boca Raton Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul Magazine, Continental Magazine, Florida Travel & Life, The Miami Herald, The New York Times, and Poets & Writers. She has MFAs in Poetry and Fiction from UC Irvine and the University of Miami. As a poet, she has placed more than 75 poems in journals and anthologies including The Greensboro Review, The Nebraska Review, North American Review, and River Styx. Jen's poetry chapbook, NECESSARY SALT, was released by Pudding House Publications. She has won honors from the North American Travel Journalists Association, Association of Food Journalists, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Missouri School of Journalism, and is a member of the Poetry Society of America, Association of Writers and Writing Programs, and Les Dames d'Escoffier.

August 2012

Leslie King-Hammond is a writer, curator, arts advocate, art educator and historian. She recently published THE LIFE AND WORK OF HUGHIE LEE-SMITH with Pomegranate Press. She has a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and was appointed Dean of Graduate Studies at Maryland Institute College of Art where she provided leadership for over 30 years, retiring in 2008 to become the Founding Director of the new Center for Race and Culture. In January 2007 she became the Chairperson of the Board of the Lewis Museum in Baltimore. King-Hammond has won Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Studio Museum in Harlem (2002), Lifetime Service, MICA (2005), and The DuBois Circle (2006). In 2008 she received Lifetime Achievement Awards from the Women's Art Caucus-College Art Association, the James A. Porter Colloquium from Howard University, and an Andy Warhol Curatorial Fellowship.

June, August 2012

P. Scott Cunningham is the co-founder and director of the O, Miami Poetry Biennial and the author of CHAPBOOK OF POEMS FOR MORTON FELDMAN (Floating Wolf Quarterly, 2011). A graduate of Wesleyan University, he is also the founder and director of the University of Wynwood, a faux-institution dedicated to advancing contemporary literature in Miami, FL. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Harvard Review, Court Green, Sou'wester, Pool, PANK, McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Abe's Penny, and elsewhere. He lives in Miami, FL.

September 2012

Sarah Heston received her MFA in poetry from UC Irvine in 2003 and has since published chapters of her current project, a memoir, in Hotel Amerika and American Literary Review. She is also the recipient of the 2009 Eda Kriseova Fellowship in creative nonfiction from the Prague Summer Program and the Mizzou CWP 2011 Nonfiction Award. She is completing a Ph.D. in nonfiction at the University of Missouri.

September 2012

Mark Bibbins is the author of two books of poems, The Dance of No Hard Feelings and the Lambda Award-winning Sky Lounge. His third, They Don't Kill You Because They're Hungry, They Kill You Because They're Full, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, Fence, A Public Space, and an e-chapbook called The Anxiety of Coincidence. He teaches at The New School, where he co-founded LIT magazine, and at Columbia University. He edits the poetry section ofThe Awl.

September 2012

When not traveling to find true stories about the places she goes and the people she meets, she says she writes lies. Fiction, actually. Burns-Bass' current work in progress is a novel called THE SWORD SWALLOWER'S DAUGHTER, an up-market literary adventure through culture and catastrophe. In addition to writing travel features and fiction, Burns-Bass is the founder and moderator of #litchat, a reader/writer discussion operated entirely through Twitter. She has acted as assistant editor of a national music magazine (CCM), written magazine cover features, personality profiles, music reviews and food features and is an active member of the Backspace writing community.

LitChat Virtual Writers Workshop and Literary Salons

September 2012

Bisztray has always been a writer, scribbling in little blank books, recording life as it took place around her. She tells her story, "The year I spent in Japan following my college graduation changed the direction of my career. After eating rare fish parts in tiny Kyoto restaurants, learning weaving at a remote textile school, and starring in karaoke videos, I decided to be a writer. I woke up at 6 a.m. to read and write for three hours before I went to work in a flower shop and then in an Italian restaurant. I became a student of sentences I read and loved." She has been published in Vogue,I sold a feature story to Vogue, O, Gourmet, Metropolitan Home, Islands, Miami Modern Luxury, Conde Nast Traveler, and other magazines.

October 2012

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram has been a Bread Loaf Writers' Conference work-study scholar, a writer-in-residence at the Montana Artists' Refuge, and is a Cave Canem alumna. Her poetry has appeared in Black Warrior Review, Callaloo, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, Narrative Magazine, Subtropics, and other journals. Bertram is a graduate of the writing programs at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was a 2009-2011 Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow at Williams College where she taught creative writing and literature. Her first book, But a Storm is Blowing from Paradise, won the Red Hen Press 2010 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, judged by Claudia Rankine. Lillian's visit would not be possible without generous support from Tom Healy & Fred Hochberg.

Poetry Reading and Conversation, hosted on October 9, 2012 at The Betsy.

October 2012

Gary P. Steuer, Chief Cultural Officer, City of Philadelphia, Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy - Gary Steuer has headed Philadelphia's Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy since 2008. As Chief Cultural Officer, he serves as a member of the Mayor's Cabinet, advising the Mayor and all City agencies on cultural and creative economy issues. Recent major accomplishments include creating the City's first arts and creative industry-targeted Community Development Block Grant capital funding initiative, completing a new study on Philadelphia's Creative Vitality, and initiating a new arts and creative economy data mapping project. Before joining the Nutter administration, Mr. Steuer was the Vice President for Private-Sector Affairs at Americans for the Arts, where he was responsible for leading efforts to stimulate more private sector support for the arts, including promoting partnerships between the arts and business sectors. Mr. Steuer served for ten years as the President and CEO of the Arts & Business Council Inc. before and during its merger with Americans for the Arts. Earlier in his career he was a theatre producer, both in the commercial and nonprofit theatre, and served as Capital Funding program director for the New York State Council on the Arts, He blogs at

October 2012

Presented in partnership with FIU Creative Writing Program's Writers on the Bay Series, David Lehman will be Writer-in-Residence at The Betsy. In an interview with Tom Disch in the Cortland Review Lehman addresses his great variety of poetic styles: "I write in a lot of different styles and forms on the theory that the poems all sound like me in the end, so why not make them as different from one another as possible, at least in outward appearance? If you write a new poem every day, you will probably have by the end of the year, if you're me, an acrostic, an abecedarium, a sonnet or two, a couple of prose poems, poems that have arbitrary restrictions, such as the one I did that has only two words per line." Lehman has been awarded fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and received an award in literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writer's Award. Lehman divides his time between Ithaca, New York, and New York City. He is married to Stacey Harwood. (Taken from

Lehman will host a reading at FIU Writers on the Bay and a private Dinner Salon at The Betsy.

October 2012

Jan Wagner was born in Hamburg, Germany. He is a poet and translator of poetry from English to German, including the work of Charles Simic, James Tate, Simon Armitage, Jo Shapcott, Louis MacNeice, and Kevin Young. He studied English and American Studies in Hamburg, Dublin and Berlin. He has worked as a freelance reviewer for various newspapers such as Frankfurter Rundschau and Tagesspiegel, and he co-published the international literature "box" DIE AUSSENSEITE DES ELEMENTES until 2003. He has published five poetry collections, most recently AUSTRALIEN (2010, Berlin Verlag). He is the recipient of numerous German awards for poetry including the Friedrich-Holderlin Prize (2010), the Ernst-Meister Award for Poetry (2005), and a Heinrich Heine Fellowship (2004). In English, Wagner's work appears in the anthology 20th CENTURY GERMAN POETRY, edited by Michael Hoffmann (FSG, 2008). He has lived in Berlin since 1995.

Wagner will host a reading at The Betsy on October 30th, with sponsorship from the German Consulate and Florida International University.

November 2012

James Bertolino's poetry has been appearing internationally in books, magazines and anthologies for over 40 years. His first book was published in 1968, and his most recent of 25 titles appeared in 2009. Bertolino's poetry has been recognized nationally by the Book-of-the-Month Club Poetry Fellowship, the Discovery Award, a Hart Crane publication award, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. His work has been published by Copper Canyon Press, Carnegie Mellon University Press, New Rivers Press, Ithaca House, QRL Award Series at Princeton and Cherry Grove Collections. He holds an MFA from Cornell University and taught creative writing at Cornell, Washington State, U. of Cincinnati and Western Washington U. His latest poetry volume is POCKET ANIMALS: 60 POEMS, published in 2002 by Egress Studio Press. Currently retired from teaching, he lives on five rural acres with Anita K. Boyle near Bellingham, WA.

November 2012

Edward Moran, an author and historian who specializes in literary biography, has contributed many articles to reference works. In the 1990s, he served as associate editor of H. W. Wilson's World Authors series, a comprehensive update of the Twentieth Century Authors project originally edited by Stanley Kunitz in the 1930s. Edward also co-authored, with Patrick Coyne, a bio-bibliography of American writer Clarence S. Day., Jr., published by Edwin Mellen Press in 2003 as part of its Studies in American Literature Series. Moran has been an associate editor of the Random House Dictionary of the English Language, and has written script, song lyric, and voiceover material for films by Yongman Kim, Marilyn Perez, and Jin Yan. Having contributed research as the literary consultant to the documentary film HYAM PLUTZIK: AMERICAN POET (2007, dir. Christine Choy and Ku-Ling Siegel), Moran is the literary advisor to the Plutzik Centennial Committee for 2011-12.

November 2012

Brian Turner is a soldier-poet who is the author of two poetry collections, Phantom Noise (2010) and Here, Bullet (2005) which won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times 'Editor's Choice' selection, the 2006 Pen Center USA "Best in the West" award, and the 2007 Poets Prize, among others. Turner served seven years in the US Army, to include one year as an infantry team leader in Iraq with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Prior to that, he was deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1999-2000 with the 10th Mountain Division. He earned an MFA from the University of Oregon and has lived abroad in South Korea. In 2009, Turner was selected as one of 50 United States Artists Fellows.

November 2012

John McNally is the author of three novels: AFTER THE WORKSHOP, THE BOOK OF RALPH and AMERICA'S REPORT CARD; and two story collections, TROUBLEMAKERS (winner of the John Simmons Short Fiction Award and the Nebraska Book Award) and GHOSTS OF CHICAGO (a Chicagoland Indie Bestseller and voted one of the top twenty fiction books of 2008 by readers of The Believer). He is also the author of two nonfiction books: THE CREATIVE WRITER'S SURVIVAL GUIDE and the forthcoming VIVID AND CONTINUOUS: ESSAYS ON THE CRAFT OF FICTION, both published the U. of Iowa Press. He has received fellowships from Paramount Pictures (Chesterfield Writer's Film Project), the U. of Iowa (James Michener Award), and George Washington U. (Jenny McKean Moore Fellowship). He holds degrees from U. of Nebraska-Lincoln (Ph.D.), U. of Iowa (M.F.A.), and Southern Illinois U.-Carbondale (B.A.). A native of Chicago's southwest side, John is an Associate Professor of English at Wake Forest University.

December 2012

Megan Roth is a writer from Alabama currently living in Dania Beach, Florida. After publishing a nonfiction book, The Green Guide to Daily Living, she studied Creative Writing at the University of Miami and earned an MFA in 2010. A lover of both poetry and prose, she writes across genres and is currently working on both a novel and a collection of poems. She can be found online at

December 2012

Creator of Artist Books - Anne Thompson works in the genre of "artist books" and is creator of the "Central Collective" archive. She received an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2001 and teaches at the University of Missouri. She also attended Brandeis University (2000), University of Missouri (1991), and Vassar College, where she received a degree in English (1986). Anne Thompson is represented by Hudson Franklin Gallery in New York.

January 2013

John Murillo is a two time Larry Neal Writers' Award winner, a New York Times Poetry Fellow, and Cave Canem alum. A recent graduate of New York University's MFA program in creative writing, his poetry has appeared in such publications as Ploughshares, Ninth Letter, Lumina, and the anthology DC POETS AGAINST THE WAR. A former instructor with DCWritersCorps and coach of Washington D.C.'s 2001 and 2005 National Teen Poetry Slam Teams, John has performed his own work in a wide array of venues, from the Kennedy Center to the Bowery Poetry Club. This fall, he begins his residency as a Creative Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

January 2013

Keith Eggener was Associate Editor of the Buildings of the United States series, and currently serves as Book Review Editor (Americas) for the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians and Contributing Editor to Places: Forum of Design for the Public Realm. He is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, American Art and Architecture at University of Missouri and has a PhD from Stanford University.

January 2013

BOB REISS is a bestselling New York-based author and journalist whose work has been published in Smithsonian, Washington Post Magazine, Parade, Rolling Stone and many other national publications. Reiss' new book THE ESKIMO AND THE OIL MAN has received critical acclaim. In the spirit of Thomas L. Friedman's 'Hot, Flat, and Crowded', Bob Reiss traveled in America's High North over three years and spent time with scientists, diplomats, military planners, Eskimo whale hunters and officials at the highest levels of government.

Reiss is featured speaker-in-residence at Florida International University on January 23, 2013, and will make a special second presentation for STEM scholarship students and their mentors.

February 2013

John Hodgen is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Assumption College, and also teaches at Mount Wachusett Community College and the Worcester Art Museum. He is the author of HEAVEN AND EARTH HOLDING COMPANY (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010); GRACE (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006, winner of the 2005 AWP Donald Hall Prize in Poetry); IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE (Lynx House Press Poetry Series, 1993, winner of the 1993 Bluestem Award from Emporia State University in Kansas); and BREAD WITHOUT SORROW (Lynx House Press /Eastern Washington University Press, 2001, winner of the 2002 Balcones Poetry Prize).

Hodgen will read his works as part of the FIU Writers on the Bay Series on 2/7/13.

February 2013

Amy Eisner received her AB in English from Harvard and her MA in poetry from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in American Literary Review, decomP, Failbetter, Fence, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Harvard Advocate, and more - as well as the WYPR radio show "The Signal" and the exhibit Entangled: Art and Word at Case[werks] Gallery.

March 2013

Alicia Svigals is the world's leading klezmer fiddler and a founder of the Grammy-winning Klezmatics, who she co-led for seventeen years. She has played with and composed for violinist Itzhak Perlman, playwrights Tony Kushner and Eve Ensler, the late poet Allen Ginsburg, Robert Plant and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, and many others.

Svigals presents The Yellow Ticket as part of the 2013 Miami Int'l Film Festival on 3/3/13.

March 2013

Exhilarating jazz pianist/improviser Marilyn Lerner performs to acclaim internationally, from her native Montreal to Havana, from Jerusalem to Amsterdam and the Ukraine. Her groundbreaking recordings have garnered recognition, including "Best Western Jazz Recording 2004" for her "Special Angel" duo with legendary guitarist Sonny Greenwich.

Lerner performs as part of the The Yellow Ticket for the 2013 Miami Int'l Film Festival on 3/3/13.

March 2013

Nigel Maister has been the artistic director of the University of Rochester International Theatre Program since 2002 (before that he was the program's associate director). Born in South Africa, he has trained both as an actor and as a director.

The Betsy will host an Invitation-Only Arts Salon for Maister's visit.

March 2013

Graduated Magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard College. A.B. in Social Studies. M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she was the recipient of a Truman Capote Fellowship and a Teaching-Writing Fellowship. Kyle was also awarded the Edgar Eager Memorial Fund Prize, Cyrilly Abels Short Story Prize, and the Louis Begley Award.

The Betsy will host a Reading Salon at 7pm on 3/20.