Contributing Toads {1:4}

Sam Alper

SAM ALPER is a writer, director and actor from Santa Monica, California. He earned a BA in Literary Arts from Brown University in 2011, where he studied dramatic writing with playwrights Lisa D’Amour, Erik Ehn and Greg Moss. His short films with Josh Margolin have been featured in the LA, S.N.O.B. and WYFF film festivals. He has appeared in world premieres of new plays by Greg Moss (PUNKPLAY) and Max Posner (THE FAMISHED). His monologues and poetry have been featured in The Brown Literary Review and The College Hill Independent.

Devon Branca

Devon Branca teaches literature and composition at Morrisville State College. He’s published in such journals as Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, Fugue, and Forklift, Ohio. And he still finds the old man eating alone at the mall food court as some of the best art out there. Even if it’s a cliché. Then the man, his taco, and his downcast eyes are even more important, relevant, and contrapuntal to our “hipster” times.

Christopher Citro

Christopher Citro’s poetry, forthcoming in Poetry East, Arts & Letters Prime, Tar River Poetry, PANK, NANO Fiction, Gargoyle, and Forklift, Ohio, has been published recently in The Cincinnati Review, The Cortland Review, Harpur Palate, Faultline, Poet Lore, and Permafrost. His poetry has been featured twice on Verse Daily and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. One aspect of everyday life that I consider art is Darjeeling tea in a pint mug with cream and sugar. You bet your sweet bippy!

Tiffanie Desmangles

Hi, my name is Tiffanie Desmangles. I live with my husband and two children in West Lafayette, Indiana. I have a background in psychology and have worked as a social worker for nine years. A recent graduate of Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers, I have work forthcoming in Innsifree Poetry Journal, New Plains Review, The Ledge, and CALYX.

As for your question, I think anything is game. For example, I asked a client how he was doing one day, and he answered, “Mark Twain.” Subsequently, I wrote a poem, tracing the logic of his response. Personally, I like work that hasn’t been done a million times and is “person-centered.”

Tony Leuzzi

Tony Leuzzi lives in Rochester, NY. Hecht hated it here and Ashberry fled, but he likes it because here one can savor the urban and natural worlds simultaneously. The prose poems submitted here are part of a series called “American Songbook,” in which each poem is titled after an American standard written in the pre-Bop era. Each poem makes some direct or oblique reference to some aspect of the lyric in the original song. They are, in a word, improvisations.

Paul Hostovsky

Paul Hostovsky is the author of three books of poetry, Bending the Notes (2008), Dear Truth (2009), and A Little in Love a Lot (2011). To read more of his work, visit his website at “When it comes to everyday life as art,” he says, “I have to credit the Italian bullies back in junior high–the ones with the big coglioni and the pretty names (Diorio, DelVecchio, Policarpio) for teaching me to love poetry. If I told any one of them he had a pretty anything, I would get a metaphor for my trouble: a knuckle sandwich, a brand new asshole, my ass kicked into next week. Of assonance they were overly fond, those Roman poets spouting their beautiful smoke rings out behind the junior high. And the smoke rings were kind of like the names, with those decrescendo O’s.”

Buzz Hudson

Buzz has found herself to be an ambitious new writer at the glorious age of 57. She also fancies herself a painter and pianist, what else is there to do?
Moment by moment, art keeps wickedness at bay.

Kimberly Lojewski

Kimberly Lojewski is an MFA candidate in fiction at UMass Amherst’s Poets and Writers program. She lives in Western Mass, a place full of glacial bogs, fireflies, and waterfalls… that still doesn’t quite make up for the strangeness and stillness of the Florida swamps. She has her MA in English from Florida Gulf Coast University and has been published (or is forthcoming) in Aesthetica, PANK, Gargoyle, and Mangrove Review.

She finds art in the everyday aspects and multiple variations of storytelling in its many mediums. To that end, she has founded the magazine Belletrist Coterie, which attempts to spotlight the spirit and ebullience of storytelling craft and style.

Priscilla Mainardi

Priscilla Mainardi is a registered nurse, currently working as a freelance writer and completing an MFA at Rutgers-Newark. You can find her work in Nu Bohemia and an upcoming issue of Nursing Spectrum. She finds art in the stories people tell each other and the view of trees and sky outside her window.

Michael Mlekoday

Michael Mlekoday is an MFA candidate at Indiana University and a National Poetry Slam Champion. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Journal, kill author, Sentence: a Journal of Prose Poetics, and others. He believes that not killing creepy bugs is an art.

Jonah Ogles

Jonah Ogles is an associate editor at Cincinnati Magazine. He lives across the river in Kentucky.

Everyday art: A sleeping dog.

Ruthie Rodriguez

Raised in a culturally diverse New York, Ruth Rodriguez is a Dominican American artist who dreams of beautiful rainbow colors and fluorescent lights. Questioning gender roles, stereotypes and expressing them through oil paint and silkscreen. Her paintings concern various tangible and social phenomenon viewed through her life experiences. Questioning the Kitsch, the expected and the unexpected. “Hmm, art is what we do or see when we don’t have money for a vacation, but need to escape.”

Julie Ridl

Julie Ridl has been a storyteller her whole life. Most times she tells stories through writing, and has done, in many forms, for many decades. Then she got sick with an infection that sometimes plays with the language center in her brain, and at its worst, brought on visual hallucinations that could only be quieted when she drew. She didn’t draw much before the illness, but has taken on drawing, and particularly cartooning, since then. She is drawn (hee!) to all the ways people use humor during a crisis. Jokes told over the body of a dying man, say, and dark humor shared when conditions become dangerous. Cartoons, she has learned, are especially good at letting painful stories be heard and seen. Her Lymejello cartoon blog is her way of representing the patient experience of late, disseminated Lyme disease.

Lauren Schmidt

Lauren Schmidt’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in The Progressive, Alaska Quarterly Review, New York Quarterly, Rattle, Nimrod, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Ekphrasis Journal, Wicked Alice and other journals. Her poems have been selected as finalists for the 2008 and 2009 Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize, the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry and the Dancing Girl Press Chapbook Contest. Her awards include the So to Speak Poetry Prize and the Neil Postman Prize for Metaphor. In 2011, she was nominated for the Best New Poets Anthology. Her chapbook, The Voodoo Doll Parade (Main Street Rag), was selected as part of the 2011 Author’s Choice Chapbooks Series. Her second chapbook, Because Big Boobies Are Necessary (Amsterdam Press), and her first full-length collection, Psalms of The Dining Room (Wipf & Stock) are both forthcoming. Lauren Schmidt teaches writing at Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, New Jersey.

Poetry exists in the smallest moments, and in people and places it might be easy to miss. On my better days, I’m paying close enough attention to see it.

Dustin Timbrook

Sheri Wright

What is discarded and overlooked, perceived as having no value, can often be a source of interest, even beauty to those who choose a different approach in seeing their surroundings. Ms. Wright looks for what is hidden, discarded or considered to have no worth by the mainstream pov, through poetry and images that are constructed from an altered awareness of the ordinary.

Sheri L. Wright’s visual work can be seen in Blood Orange Review, The Single Hound and is forthcoming in THIS Literary Magazine, Prick of the Spindle, Blood Lotus Journal and Subliminal Interiors. More examples of her work can be seen at With Ms. Wright’s consent, all work is available for publication, unless otherwise noted.