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Naomi Ayala

Poet Educator Human Being Supreme

Born in Puerto Rico, Naomi Ayala moved to the United States in her teens, eventually earning an MFA from the Bennington College Writing Seminars. Writing in both Spanish and English, she is author of the poetry collections Calling Home: Praise Songs and Incantations (2013), This Side of Early (2008), and Wild Animals on the Moon (1997), chosen by the New York City Public Library as a 1999 Book for the Teen Age. Her poems have appeared in the anthologies Boriquén to Diasporican: Puerto Rican Poetry from Aboriginal Times to the New Millennium (2007), Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature (2006), and First Flight: 24 Latino Poets (2006).  

Photo: Erica Sánchez-Vázquez (c) 2024

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Carmen Calatayud

Poet Supreme

Carmen Calatayud is the daughter of immigrants: A Spanish father and Irish mother. Her second book This Tangled Body was published by FlowerSong Press, in conjunction with Letras Latinas, in June 2024. Her first book In the Company of Spirits was a runner-up for the Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Award and an Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize finalist. She is a Larry Neal Poetry Award winner, a Best of La Bloga winner, a Virginia Center for the Creative Arts fellow and a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop. She supports the immigrant, migrant and refugee rights movement through poetry and activism.

Photo: Truth Thomas (c) 2024

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Melanie Henderson

Poet and Photographer Supreme 
Art Consultant

Melanie Henderson was born, raised and lives in Washington, DC. She is an alumnus of Howard and Trinity Universities. Prior to earning an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, she studied poetry at the Voices Summer Writing Workshops (VONA) in San Francisco, CA. Her debut collection of poems, Elegies for New York Avenue, won the 2011 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award.

Photo: Melanie Henderson (c) 2024

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Joseph Ross

Poet and Educator Supreme

Joseph Ross has authored five books of poetry: Crushed & Crowned (2023), Raising King (2020), Ache (2017), Gospel of Dust (2013), and Meeting Bone Man (2012). His poems have appeared in a wide variety of publications including The New York Times Sunday Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Southern Quarterly, Xavier Review, Poet Lore, Tidal Basin Review, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Sojourners. His work appears in many anthologies including What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump, edited by Martin Espada. Over the last several years, his poems also appear in anthologies including Collective BrightnessPoetic Voices without Borders 1 and 2, Full Moon on K Street, and Come Together; Imagine Peace.

Photo: Ted Schroll (c) 2024

Truth Thomas

Artist

Truth Thomas is a singer-songwriter, poet, and photographer born in Knoxville, Tennessee and raised in the sacred DMV. An NAACP Image Award-winner, he is the Inaugural Poet Laureate of Howard County, Maryland.

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