Contributing Toads {1:3}

Jessica Barksdale

Jessica Barksdale is the author of twelve novels (some under Jessica Inclan). She is Professor of English at Diablo Valley College and teaches novel writing for UCLA Extension. Her novel Intimate Beings will be re-released September 8, 2011. You can read more about her work at: www.jessicabarksdaleinclan.com or at www.redroom.com where she blogs.

I start every day by going out to look at my garden. Something has always happened, and it’s not always a good thing. It’s a daily, wondrous, changeable feast for the senses and always gives me impetus to act.

J.P. Dancing Bear

J. P. Dancing Bear is the author of Inner Cities of Gulls (2010, Salmon Poetry). His tenth collection, Family of Marsupial Centaurs will be released by Iris Press in 2011. His poems have been published in Mississippi Review, Third Coast, Natural Bridge, Verse Daily and many other publications. He is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP and available as podcasts.

Eleanor Bennett

Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 15 year old artist and photographer who won the National Geographic Kids Photography Contest and the World Photography Organization’s Photomonth Youth award in 2010. She was the only person from the UK to be placed in National Geographic’s See The Bigger Picture Photography Competition and the youngest person to be exhibited with Charnwood Art’s Vision 09 exhibition. She has had her photography exhibited around the world in galleries in Europe, Asia and America and has been showcased in many magazines including the most popular children’s magazine in the world, NG Kids. and CV.

The part of my life that I most consider to be art I how the people around me deal with illness and hardship.
I enjoy the opportunity to observe others in their time of need. To show someone images of themselves when they were worse off helps to make them realize how fortunate they are currently. I like working with family and friends as the photos become more emotionally invested and important as a record.
I even see photos of others as being more important than my self-portraits. I can chose the face I pull but a lot of my best works include catching my subject off guard.
I also enjoy capturing the patterns, rhythms and movements in objects around me. I like to make the dull of interest. That second look and puzzlement of onlookers makes me have a sense of happiness.

Mary Biddinger

Mary Biddinger is the author of three collections of poetry: Prairie Fever (Steel Toe Books, 2007), Saint Monica (Black Lawrence Press, 2011), and O Holy Insurgency (Black Lawrence Press, forthcoming September 2012), and co-editor of one volume of criticism: The Monkey and the Wrench: Essays into Contemporary Poetics (U Akron Press, 2011). Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in numerous magazines, including Copper Nickel, Devil’s Lake, diode, Gulf Coast, Minnesota Review, Puerto del Sol, Redivider, Waccamaw, and South Dakota Review. She teaches literature and creative writing at The University of Akron, where she directs the NEOMFA program. She also edits Barn Owl Review, and the Akron Series in Poetry, and considers herself to be Akron’s premier photographer of garbage, traffic cones, and general detritus. She aspires to do one creative thing every day, whether it’s writing a poem, making a salad look a little more whimsical, or photographing a napkin perched like a wren in a tree.

Kathryn Buckley

Kathryn Buckley is a Brooklyn native who has an MFA in Fiction from The New School and is an Adjunct English Instructor. An aspect of everyday life that she considers art is riding the New York City subway.

Rachel Bunting

Rachel Bunting lives and writes in the beautiful half of New Jersey. In the summer she believes in the Jersey Devil and in the winter she doesn’t. Her poems can be found in Boxcar Poetry Review and Weave Magazine.

Right now I like to look at the way man-made things fall apart: houses, barns, old hotels, cars, bicycles. Anything you can think of. The rust and decay is beautiful. And somehow humanizing.

Linh Dinh

Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a just released novel, Love Like Hate. He’s tracking our deteriorating socialscape through his frequently updated photo blog, State of the Union.

Any encounter between two people is art material, though, of course, nothing is art until it’s properly framed. I mean, who are these people, really, and what do they want, deep down as well as superficially. Also, to transcribe is no joke. It will take all of your attention and sensitivity to capture, for example, a “yes” or a “no,” or a “Well, I am drunk,” with an emphasis on “am.” Are the eyes glazed or gleaming? Where are the hands? Is there a ring on it?

Amelia Gray

An everyday aspect of life, or something witnessed once? Because I just saw some bathroom stall graffiti that says MAKE JESUS CHRIST THE LORD OF THE FLIES and I’m lovin it.

Kyle McCord

Kyle McCord is the author of two books of poetry. His first book, Galley of the Beloved in Torment, was the winner of the 2008 Orphic Prize. His second book, co-written with Jeannie Hoag, is a book of epistolary poems entitled Informal Invitations to a Traveler from Gold Wake Press. He has work forthcoming or featured in Boston Review, Columbia Poetry Journal, Cream City Review, Gulf Coast, Volt and elsewhere. He lives in Denton, Texas where he is a teaching fellow at University of North Texas and co-edits iO: A Journal of New American Poetry.

As an Irishman, I consider shaving to be an art. When you have to do it every two to three days, you discover there is a method and magic to de-bearding efficiently. I still consider myself a student of that unassailable art.

Omar Singer

Omar Singer is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who refers to himself in the third person. He is currently inspired by ice-cream trucks as arbiters of muzak culture and regional taste.

More of my work can be found at:
www.worldofamro.com.

Jessy Randall

Jessy Randall (http://personalwebs.coloradocollege.edu/~jrandall) is the Curator of Special Collections at Colorado College. She and Daniel M. Shapiro have a collection of collaborative poems, Interruptions, forthcoming from Pecan Grove Press. She considers these aspects of everyday life to be art: putting the car in reverse, zippering up zippers, opening doors with keys, and making that circular thumb motion one makes to turn the volume up or down on one’s IPod.

Chrissy Reilly

One aspect of everyday life that I consider art is any moment of intimacy with another living being, whether it be a significant other, family member, stranger, pet, or plant — a small, often humbling, moment where you where you are aware that they contain vulnerability, the ability to die, and also the ability to live. This happens when I feed my cat or catch a friend talking in his or her sleep or accidentally touch somebody on the subway. I am currently pursuing her MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence University. I received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English: Creative Writing at Bucknell University. Two of my poems will be featured in “The Clearing: Forty Years with Toni Morrison, 1970-2010”, a book by James Braxton Peterson and Carmen Gillespie. I have been published in Barely South Review, The Salzburg Review, and seventeen other journals. I was named Breadcrumb Scabs’ Editor’s Pick of the Month. I currently live in New York.

Brent Schipper

Brent is an architect from Iowa.

Matthew Siegel

Matthew Siegel is a poet and essayist from New York. A recent Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, he currently teaches writing and literature at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and De Anza College. He has work recently appearing or forthcoming in Indiana Review, The Journal, The Lumberyard, Mid-American Review, TheRumpus.net, and elsewhere.

Will Storm

William Storm writes most of his poems for future late nights: tucked away in file drawers and notebooks awaiting happenstance, manic encounters when he will attempt to “erect a monument to his living self.” His appearance in Toad is his first published work. But meanwhile, he studies theology and language intemperately at the University of Chicago, where he is a Master of Divinity student. Once, he was a classicist and before that a child, but now he looks out into Lake Michigan and wants to hire a vessel and sail to some unseen shore. He imagines it’s an art to know the sea, and envies all the lifetime it would take.

Adam Tavel

Adam Tavel won the 2010 Robert Frost Award, and was a finalist for Four Way Books’ 2010 Intro Prize in Poetry as well as the 2011 Patricia Goedicke Prize in Poetry. His recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Indiana Review, Phoebe, Redivider, Ellipsis, New South, Cave Wall, Folio, and At Length, among others. Tavel is the poetry editor for Conte (http://www.conteonline.net/) and an assistant professor of English at Wor-Wic Community College on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. He considers fatherhood the most rigorous artistic practice in his daily life.

Shane Watt

Watt is a self taught artist from Montreal Canada who has been exhibiting and creating commissions since 2000. His work has been featured in print (From Here to There, Princeton Architectural Press) and has been acquired by collectors in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

As far as everyday art is concerned here’s a few…..
the sound of church bells, urban decay (abandoned factories especially) and sidewalk chalk drawings that the children in my neighbourhood make……

Amanda Zubillaga

Amanda Zubillaga has no middle name. She is currently an MFA candidate in fiction at Virginia Tech. Sometimes she says amusing things on Twitter (@rdvelvetcupcake).

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