FAYLITA HICKS (she/they) is a queer Afro-Latinx activist, writer, and interdisciplinary artist. Born in South Central California and raised in Central Texas, they use their intersectional experiences to advocate for the rights of BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ people by interpreting policy’s impact on the individual using poetry, music, performance, and digital art. Their poetry, essays, and digital art have been published in or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Ecotone, Kenyon Review, Longreads, Poetry, Slate, Texas Observer, The Slowdown Podcast, Yale Review, amongst others. Author of HoodWitch (Acre Books, 2019), A Map of my Want (Haymarket, 2024), and a debut memoir about their carceral experience, A Body of Wild Light (Haymarket, 2025). Find out more information on Faylita's involvement on the Grammy board and social justice projects on their website.
CRYSTAL SIMONE SMITH is the author of three poetry chapbooks, Routes Home (Finishing Line Press, 2013) Running Music (Longleaf Press, 2014), and Down To Earth (Longleaf Press, 2020). She co-authored, One Window’s Light, A Collection of Haiku, edited by Lenard D. Moore (2017), which won the Haiku Society of America’s Merit Book Award for Best Haiku Anthology. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Prairie Schooner, POETRY Magazine, Crab Orchard Review, Frogpond, and Modern Haiku.
Chris Tonelli is a co-founder of the independent poetry press Birds, LLC. He is the author of five chapbooks and two full-length poetry collections, most recently Whatever Stasis from Barrelhouse Books. He works in the Libraries at NC State University and is the co-director of the NC Book Festival and co-owner of So & So Books in Raleigh, where he lives with his wife Allison and their kids Miles and Vera.