Contributing Toads {5:2}

Joe Bichard

Joe Bichard grew up in Brighton and is now a film maker and writer based in London. He studied Illustration and Animation at Kingston University before more recently graduating from the Royal College of Art with a Masters in Animation. Bichard's work often makes use of his darkly witty sense of humour. Currently freelancing around the world, he likes holding hands, long walks on sunny beaches and writing in third person. "Humour, cooking and football."

Lauren Camp

Lauren Camp is the author of two collections. Her third book, One Hundred Hungers, was selected for the Dorset Prize (Tupelo Press, 2016). Her poems have appeared in Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, Radar Poetry, Memorious, The Laurel Review, and elsewhere. Lauren hosts “Audio Saucepan,” a global music/poetry program on Santa Fe Public Radio. www.laurencamp.com. "Surprising musical segues, a homemade dinner, the path to my desk."

Allison Cekala

Allison Cekala is a photographer and filmmaker currently based in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work is an investigation of nature; a documentation of the way in which humans move, shape, and transform their surroundings. She holds a BA in photography and environmental studies from Bard College '06 and MFA at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts/Tufts University '15. Her work has been reviewed in the Boston Globe, WBUR's Artery, Light Leaked, among others and exhibited her work nationally. Recent solo shows include "Road Salt: A 4500 Mile Journey" at the Museum of Science, Boston, and "Salt Mountain" at the Howard Art Project, Dorchester, MA. Allison is a currently a teaching fellow at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and will be an artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire in the summer of 2015. "I am constantly observing my surroundings. I now reside in a city, so much of what I am surrounded by is a built environment, resulting from the work of humans. This having been said, natural forces are constantly acting upon these structures and systems. In my present environment, I look for moments where the natural and the artificial are blurred. I seek to uncover new spaces by memorializing them through the lens of photography or video, even though they are largely ephemeral--like a dirt pile or an unruly garden of hedges. These initial observations are where my work always originates. After that, the ideas can take me in many directions, but the core of the work remains in my interpretations of the everyday spaces I inhabit."

Andrew Collard

Andrew Collard lives in Madison Heights, MI, and attends Oakland University. His poems appear in journals including Juked, A Minor, and Word Riot, among others. He co-edits SiDEKiCK. "I consider waking up a form of art. It doesn't ever really stop."

Lee Etheredge IV

Lee Etheredge IV is an artist living and working in Shanghai China. He was born in 1968 in the United States. After completing a Medical Degree in1995, he gave up a career in medicine and moved to New York to study drawing, painting and sculpture. His work combines this artistic training with a scientific background and his affinity for conceptual, language and process driven art. He lived and worked in New York for over 15 years, until 2011 when he relocated to Shanghai. He has works in both public and private collections. "Lately I have become fascinated with mechanical watches and in some way they are art - not in the way we usually perceive fine art but in a sense they come close to what we understand as art - what makes them approach art in the world that we live in today is their redundancy and obsolescence - with a smartphone in my pocket and our lives being synced to the atomic clock I in no way need to use a mechanical watch for what it was intended - the technology that was developed when this was the only way to keep time is antiquated and irrelevant in today's world, but the physical watch itself becomes a living entity and a direct link to the past right on our wrists - now this type of watch can also become jewelry and a show of wealth and if used as such the mechanical watch is much less of an art object, merely an image builder - but if the mechanical watch is worn with an understanding and intent of wearing it to connect with it and its essence then that is when the mechanical watch that we have on our wrist everyday is more than just a timekeeper."

Allen Forrest

Graphic artist and painter Allen Forrest was born in Canada and bred in the U.S. He has created cover art and illustrations for literary publications and books. He is the winner of the Leslie Jacoby Honor for Art at San Jose State University's Reed Magazine and his Bel Red painting series is part of the Bellevue College Foundation's permanent art collection. Forrest's expressive drawing and painting style is a mix of avant-garde expressionism and post-Impressionist elements reminiscent of van Gogh, creating emotion on canvas. "Anything and everything. Art is in the eye of the beholder. I choose from many everyday subjects. I always use my feeling/emotion for the subject from everyday life as my guide. A strong emotion for a subject guides me to make a choice of what to paint or draw."

Jessie Janeshek

Jessie Janeshek's first book of poems is Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). An Assistant Professor of English and the Director of Writing at Bethany College, she holds a Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and an M.F.A. from Emerson College. She co-edited the literary anthology Outscape: Writings on Fences and Frontiers (KWG Press, 2008). "Everyday art is using a pink pen and curlicues to eviscerate a student paper."

Nathan Kemp

Nathan Kemp lives in Denver, Colorado. His forthcoming chapbook, Gnomic Verse, won the 2014 Dream Horse Press Poetry Chapbook Prize. His work appears in Columbia Poetry Review, Paper Darts, Cream City Review, and H_NGM_N, among others. He is a contributing poetry editor for Whiskey Island Magazine and Barn Owl Review. "One aspect of everyday life I consider art is when I watch the kids eat lunch at the school where I work—specifically how they have established their own barter system in which they trade various food-products back and forth to get what they want to eat."

Lucian Mattison

Lucian Mattison's first full-length collection, Peregrine Nation (The Broadkill River Press, 2014) won the 2014 Dogfish Head Poetry Prize. His work appears or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, The Boiler, Everyday Genius, Hobart, Muzzle Magazine, Spork, and The Valparaiso Poetry Review, among other journals. He received his MFA from Old Dominion University. He is an associate editor for Big Lucks and a poetry editor for Green Briar Review. To read more visit Lucianmattison.com "I try allow myself the pleasure of believing in loitering ghosts and proactive alien races whenever possible, but it's hard. Then again, ants can be interpreted as some kind of undiscovered intra-terrestrial race and people act like ghosts all the time."

Heather McNaugher

Heather McNaugher is the author of System of Hideouts and two poetry chapbooks, Panic & Joy and Double Life. She teaches at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, where she is poetry editor of The Fourth River. "One aspect of daily life I consider art is the morning’s first cup of coffee; it is typically all downhill after that. And, if art is that thing that makes us stop, look again, and engage our fellows in conversations of hopeful inquisitiveness, then seeing folks read actual hard- and paperbound books on the bus is another."

Jessica Scicchitano

Jessica Scicchitano was born, raised, and now raises herself in Syracuse, New York. Lore suggests she's the soul of the city. A recent graduate of the Creative Writing MFA Program at Syracuse University, Jessica was the former Nonfiction Editor at Salt Hill Journal. You can find other poems at Prelude, Sixth Finch, Cosmonauts Avenue, Night Block, and Birdfeast, but her Tumblr proves a dedication to thought-provoking screenshots and cows. "Art is the exceedingly large in the exceedingly small, i.e. "infinitesimal," i.e. the despair from a 48 hour binge of Twin Peaks or Breaking Bad, methods of avoidance to your unique, creative impulse. You learn a lot about what art is when you're not producing it, privy to another's creation during a delay of your own. Consider it "edging," the practice of building yourself to orgasm and refusing release. It feels both enormous and empty."

Melinda Wilson

Melinda Wilson will receive her PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University this spring, and she earned her MFA in poetry at The New School in 2007. Her poems have been published in or are forthcoming from Diner, Verse Daily, The Cincinnati Review, Valley Voices, The Minnesota Review, and others. She is the author of Amplexus, a chapbook from Dancing Girl Press. Melinda lives in Manhattan. "Elizabeth Bishop writes, 'The art of losing isn't hard to master,' but, in my experience, art is necessarily hard. It requires time, patience and dedication because art demands more than ordinary significance. To be fair to Bishop, who is an extraordinary poet, she does note the necessity of practice. "Practice losing farther, losing faster," she writes. One daily art I practice is the art of listening well. In our current socio-political climate, listening to one another is paramount, but I also mean to suggest that we listen well to ourselves and to our surroundings and not just to the sounds that we find beautiful or pleasing. We must also listen to the grating sound of the subway car pulling into the station, the yowl of the alley cat in heat, the dental drill meeting the painful tooth. When we listen well, we write well."

Laura Madeline Wiseman

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of over twenty books and chapbooks and the editor of Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press). Her recent books are Drink (BlazeVOX Books), Wake (Aldrich Press), Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink), and the collaborative book The Hunger of the Cheeky Sisters (Les Femmes Folles) with artist Lauren Rinaldi. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Margie, Mid-American Review, The Iowa Review, Calyx, Ploughshares, and Feminist Studies. Currently, she teaches English and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. www.lauramadelinewiseman.com "This semester, I’ve been working in an office with a view of my city—great plains, broad, open skies, Midwestern architecture. When I’ve arrived here before dawn, I watch the sky move from black to purple, to orangey-pink as the sun rises and slants a golden beam of light across my desk. The light’s brilliance makes me squint and pull the blinds down until it rises above the window’s vantage. For most of the day, I see only a scrim of the city’s treetops and roofs. A windmill pair spins fervently in the Nebraska air. Starling flocks swoop and gather in winter trees. A crew of workers builds a church, the bells of which have just begun to toll. Life is art—that is the lesson this window teaches me—to look up and out and notice."