A CLOSER LOOK: Wesley McNair

John Allman

John Allman is the author of ­­many books of poems and stories, including A Fine Romance (Quale Press, 2015), Algorithms (Quale Press, 2012), Lowcountry (New Directions, 2007), Loews Triboro (New Directions, 2004), Inhabited World (Wallace Stevens Society Press, 1995), Descending Fire & Other Stories (New Directions, 1994), Curve Away from Stillness (New Directions, 1989), Scenarios for a Mixed Landscape (New Directions, 1986), Clio's Children (New Directions, 1985), Walking Fours Ways in the Wind (Princeton University Press, 1979). Allman is a two-time recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Pushcart Prize winner in Poetry. His stories, poems, and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Yale Review, The Massachusetts Review, New York Quarterly, Hotel America, 5am, and FutureCycle, among others

Christopher Buckley

Christopher Buckley’s Star Journal: Selected Poems will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in fall 2016.  His 20th book of poetry, Back Room at the Philosophers’ Club was published in 2014 by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. Among several critical collections and anthologies of contemporary poetry he has edited: Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California, 2008, and One For The Money: The Sentence as a Poetic Form, 2012, both from Lynx House Press, both with Gary Young. He has also edited On the Poetry of Philip Levine: Stranger to Nothing, University of Michigan Press, 1991, and Messenger to the Stars: a Luis Omar Salinas New Selected Poems & Reader, 2014, for Tebot Bach’s Ash Tree Poetry Series.

Grace Cavalieri

Grace Cavalieri’s newest publication is a chapbook, Gotta Go Now (Casa Menendez, 2012). She’s the author of 16 books and chapbooks of poetry, as well as 28 produced plays, short-form and full-length. Her recent books—Millie’s Tiki Villas, Sounds Like Something I Would Say, and Anna Nicole: Poems—are on Kindle’s free lending library. For 35 years, Grace has produced and hosted “The Poet and the Poem” on public radio, recorded at the Library of Congress and transmitted nationally via NPR and Pacifica. She is the poetry columnist for The Washington Independent Review of Books. Her play “Anna Nicole: Blonde Glory” opened in NYC in 2011. Her play “Quilting the Sun” opened in S.C. in 2011.

Antonia Clark

Antonia Clark
is the author of a chapbook, Smoke and Mirrors (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and a full-length poetry collection, Chameleon Moon (David Robert Books, 2014). Her poems and short stories have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Anderbo, The Cortland Review, The Missouri Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Rattle, and Softblow. She works as a medical writer and editor. She has taught poetry and fiction writing and is co-administrator of an online poetry forum, The Waters. Toni lives in Winooski, Vermont, loves French picnics, and plays French café music on a sparkly purple accordion.

Renee Emerson

Renee Emerson is the author of Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing, 2014). She teaches online poetry courses for Poetry Barn and Shorter University, and her poetry has been published in 32 Poems, Christianity and Literature, Indiana Review, and others. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and three young daughters.

Alice Friman

Alice Friman’s sixth full-length collection is The View from Saturn: Poems (LSU Press, 2014).  Her previous collection, Vinculum: Poems (LSU, 2011), won the 2012 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Poetry. A recipient of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, Friman’s poems were included in Best American Poetry 2009 and have been published in 14 countries. Friman lives in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she is Poet-in-Residence at Georgia College. Her podcast, Ask Alice, can be seen on YouTube. Friman was the subject of our Closer Look in Innisfree 9. See much more of her work there.

Michael Gessner

Michael Gessner is the author of six poetry collections. The most recent is Transversales, and forthcoming this year Selected Poems. He lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife, a watercolorist, and their dog, “Irish.” His son Christopher writes for screen. Other publications, reviews, and readings can be found at

William Greenway

William Greenway's tenth collection, Everywhere at Once, won the Poetry Book of the Year Award from the Ohio Library Association, as did his eighth collection, Ascending Order. Both are from the University of Akron Press Poetry Series.  His work appears widely: Poetry, American Poetry Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, Missouri Review, Southern Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, and Shenandoah. He has been named Georgia Author of the Year and received many other honors, including the Helen and Laura Krout Memorial Poetry Award, the Larry Levis Editors' Prize from Missouri Review; the Open Voice Poetry Award from The Writer's Voice, the State Street Press Chapbook Competition, an Ohio Arts Council Grant, and an Academy of American Poets Prize. He is Distinguished Professor of English at Youngstown State University.

Sonja James


Sonja James is the author of The White Spider in My Hand (New Academia Publishing: Scarith Books, 2015) and Calling Old Ghosts to Supper (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Innisfree, Poet Lore, Beloit Poetry Journal, and The Gettysburg Review, among others. Among her honors are five Pushcart Prize nominations. She resides in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

Rod Jellema

Rod Jellema, long associated with the University of Maryland and with The Writer's Center (Bethesda, MD), won the Towson University Prize for Literature for A Slender Grace. His most recent book, Incarnality: The Collected Poems (Eerdmans, 2010), includes a CD of his readings of many of them. Jellema was the subject of our Closer Look in Innisfree 12.

Claire Keyes

Claire Keyes is the author of The Question of Rapture from Mayapple Press and the chapbook, Rising and Falling. A second book of poems, What Diamonds Can Do, was published in 2015 by Cherry Grove Collections. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Literary Bohemian, Sugar Mule, Oberon, Crab Orchard Review, Blackbird, and on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac. She is Professor emerita at Salem State University and lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Michael Lauchlan

Michael Lauchlan’s poems have landed in many publications including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Harpur Palate, Sugar House Review, and Poetry Ireland. His most recent collection is Trumbull Ave., from WSU Press.

Michael Lythgoe

Michael H. Lythgoe was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. His chapbook, Brasss, won the Kinloch Rivers contest in 2006. His full collection, Holy Week, is available from B& as an ebook. Lythgoe received an MFA from Bennington College after service as an Air Force officer. His essay on the obsessions of artists received a literary award from the Porter Fleming Foundation in 2011. He has recent work in Windhover, Slant, The Caribbean Writer, Spillway, Cairn, The Santa Fe Review, Verge, and Petigru Review. Mike lives in Aiken, SC.

Laura Manuelidis

Laura Manuelidis is a physician and neuroscientist at Yale who found how repeated DNA sequences define chromosome folding and structure. She is the author of two books of poems: Out of Order (iUniverse, 2007) and One / divided by Zero: poems (CreateSpace, 2014). Her work, which appears in Oxford Poetry, The Nation, and Evergreen Review, has been nominated for Pushcart prizes. She continues to investigate infectious causes of dementia and to publish scientific articles and other essays.

John McKernan

John McKernan—who grew up in Omaha Nebraska in the middle of the USA—is now a retired comma herder after teaching 41 years at Marshall University. He lives in West Virginia and Florida. His most recent book is a selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust.  He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field, and many other magazines.

Roger Mitchell

Roger Mitchell is the author of eleven books of poetry, most recently The One Good Bite in the Saw-Grass Plant. His new and selected poems, Lemon Peeled the Moment Before, was published by Ausable Press in 2008. The University of Akron Press published his two previous books, Half/Mask, in 2007 and Delicate Bait, which Charles Simic chose for the Akron Prize, in 2003. Mitchell directed the Creative Writing Program at Indiana University and for a time held the Ruth Lilly Chair of Poetry. Other awards include the Midland Poetry Award, the John Ben Snow Award for Clear Pond, a work of non-fiction, two fellowships each from the Indiana Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, the River Styx International Poetry Award, and the Ren Hen Press’s Ruskin Art Club Award. He was a 2005 Fellow in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts. Currently at work on a biography of poet Jean Garrigue, he and his wife, the fiction writer Dorian Gossy, live in Jay, New York.

George Moore

George Moore's poetry collections include Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016), Children's Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015), and The Hermits of Dingle (FutureCycle 2013). His poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, North American Review, and Poetry. His lives with his wife, a Canadian poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia.

Beth Paulson

Beth Paulson is the author of several collections of poems, including Wild Raspberries, The Company of Trees, and The Truth About Thunder. Her most recent book is Canyon Notes (Mt. Sneffels Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in more than one hundred national literary magazines and anthologies; her work has received three Pushcart Prize nominations. Paulson lives in Ouray County, Colorado, where she teaches writing classes and also leads Poetica, a monthly workshop for poets. She is a co-founder and co-director of the Open Bard Poetry Series in Ridgway, Colorado. Previously, she served as a columnist for the Ouray County Plaindealer for ten years and taught English at California State University in Los Angeles for over twenty years. You can read more of her poetry at

Roger Pfingston

Roger Pfingston is a retired teacher of English and photography who lives in Bloomington, Indiana. He is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. His poems have appeared recently in Poet Lore, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Ragdale, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.

J. Stephen Rhodes

J. Stephen Rhodes is the author of two poetry collections, What Might Not Be (Wind Publications, 2014) and The Time I Didn’t Know What to Do Next (Wind Publications, 2008). His poems have appeared in over fifty literary journals, including Shenandoah, Tar River Poetry, The Texas Review, and several international reviews. His essays have appeared in Gettysburg Review, Brevity, and Sojourn, among others. He has won a number of literary awards including two fellowships from the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences and selection as a reader for the Kentucky Great Writers Series. Before taking up writing full-time, he served as the co-director of the Appalachian Ministries Educational Resource Center in Berea, Kentucky.

David Stankiewicz

David Stankiewicz is the author of My First Beatrice (Moon Pie Press, 2013). Recent work has appeared in Poetry East and The Café Review and was featured in the 25th anniversary issue of The Aurorean. He lives in Maine with his wife and daughter and teaches at Southern Maine Community College.

Myrna Stone

Myrna Stone’s last two books, The Casanova Chronicles in 2011 and In the Present Tense: Portraits of My Father in 2014, were both Finalists for the Ohioana Book Award in Poetry. Her poems have most recently appeared in River Styx and Nimrod. She is currently at work on her fifth book-length manuscript, Luz Bones.

Anne Harding Woodworth on Jean Nordhaus

Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, Unattached Male (Poetry Salzburg, 2014).

Donald Zirilli

By day, Don Zirilli is a director of web programming for a healthcare informatics company.  Most of the rest of the time, he is writing poetry, taking photographs and making art.  He has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Drew University. His poetry has been published in River Styx, Art Times, Specs, Anima, Iota, Antiphon, and other literary magazines and anthologies. He was the editor of Now Culture, a journal of literature and arts, in addition to being the art editor of The Shit Creek Review. In 2015, his painting served as the cover of the Red Wheelbarrow poetry anthology, in which he was also the featured poet. Don and his wife, Colleen, live in Tranquility, New Jersey, with 2 dogs and 3 cats.

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Contributors' Notes

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