Michael Russell is a queer poet with BPD, Bipolar Disorder and massive jolts of anxiety. His first chapbook Grindr Opera was recently published by Frog Hollow Press in their Dis / Ability series. He lives in Toronto. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Arc Poetry Magazine, Heavy Feather Review, Plenitude, Prairie Fire, untethered among other places. He thinks you’re fantabulous. Instagram: @michael.russell.poet
My practice makes use of the capabilities of painting within an expanded field, exploring the painting as an object rather than an image, and challenging restrictive structures often associated with painting practice. I am as interested in deconstruction as reconstruction, questioning the very concept of the structures and surfaces on which paintings exist, and in which painting as a subject exists.
The pieces delve into means of portraying a non-binary position in painting, finding grounds to visually explore gender outside of gender through abstraction. Painting is caught up in this push and pull between femininity and masculinity, and what these mean iconically. Identifying as non-binary, I find myself stuck in this whirlwind of tropes, questioning where a painter like me fits amongst the history of painting. As such, my work attempts to be a mediator within this divide.
Mollie Balshaw is based at Islington Mill in Salford, and is a Gallery Invigilator at AIR Gallery in Altrincham. They studied BA (Hons) Fine Art at The University of Salford from . In 2018 they were highly commended in the Visual Arts category at The 10th Global Undergraduate Awards. On completion of their study they were awarded a 12-month Graduate Scholarship with The University of Salford and Castlefield Gallery, and were also shortlisted for the Create Student Awards 2019 in the Art & Design category. Exhibitions include the Neo Art Prize 2019 at Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Contemporary Venice ITSLIQUID International Art Show at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi and duo show Material Concerns at PAPER Gallery in Manchester. Currently, they are undertaking a year of study with School Of The Damned Class of 2020. Balshaw is also Co-Director of Short Supply, an artist-led curatorial collective established for the purpose of generating creative opportunities and facilitating and curating collaborative events specifically for artists in the North West. Exhibitions include MADE IT 2019 at Paradise Works, Saoirse Lewis: Methods of Observing at CASS ART Manchester and the upcoming Queer Contemporaries supported by Superbia and Manchester Pride at AIR Gallery, Altrincham.
Amanda is a South Florida native with Cuban-American heritage, pursuing a Bachelor’s in Creative Writing at UCF. Her work is previously unpublished. She identifies as bisexual, with she/her preferred pronouns.
Zarnab Tufail (she/her) is a 19-year-old from Lahore, Pakistan. She enjoys taking photographs and writing poetry when she isn’t binge-watching Netflix. Her poetry has been published in various online and print magazines like Capulet Mag and sister-hood Mag. Her photographs are to be published in the upcoming issue of the winnow magazine. Her photography blog can be found here (https://www.instagram.com/zarnable/).
Gabrielle Grace Hogan is a poet from St. Louis, Missouri. She is pursuing her MFA from the University of Texas at Austin as part of the New Writers Project. Her work has been published by the Academy of American Poets, Ghost City Review, Sonora Review, Best Buds! Collective, and more. She is also the co-editor of the forthcoming anthology, You Flower / You Feast, an anthology of poetry and prose inspired by Harry Styles. Gabrielle’s social media and poems can be found on her website: gabriellegracehogan.com.
Bailey Grey is a non-binary, neurodivergent software developer living in Virginia. Their work has been published in Crab Fat Magazine, Dovecote Magazine, Kissing Dynamite, Kanstellation, and Empty Mirror, and they were a finalist for Sundog Lit’s Summer Collaboration Contest (2019). They can be found on twitter @BaileyGWrites.
Walking the Tracks
As a girl, I’d walk the rails the length of town,
thinking the summer into a vanishing point
between the side-by-side outcroppings
of scrubby trees just under the highway bridge.
Past the firepits of the railyard, muddy
currents flashed twenty yards underfoot,
and the water trapped in pools at the riverbank
warmed all afternoon like reptiles in the sun.
My Tevas left lazy prints on metal tracks.
I’d put a penny on the rails to watch it
transform into shine and curve by the heat
of speed. One afternoon, a man caught me.
It’s boys like you that derail these trains.
When I picked her up, she’d be warm and
smooth, hot through. On the Wisconsin
& Southern, the coal came by every night
at nine. It shook the house, and I felt it
all the way up in my bedroom. The train’s gone,
past the river. I stand before my childhood mirror,
turning chin left and right, balancing the track.
I squint to see a boy, a ripple driving away
from a place I thought firm–a place where I
jump out from the bushes just to hear a little
scream, just to startle myself to life.
Alexa Garvoille (@garvoille) is a queer educator and creative writing studies scholar currently pursuing an MFA at Virginia Tech. She edits poetry for NCTE’s English Journal, and her work has appeared in Lavender Review, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, and the Adroit Journal.
Zach Keali’i Murphy is a Hawaii-born, multi-faceted writer who somehow ended up in the charming but often chilly land of St. Paul, Minnesota. His stories have appeared in Haute Dish, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, WINK, and the Wayne Literary Review. He lives with his wonderful wife Kelly and loves cats and movies.
Denise Nichole, MFA, is the Editor in Chief of The Hellebore Press and Founder of HUES Foundation. She currently teaches and resides in Sacramento, CA. Her writing focuses on identity, family, adolescence, and mental health. She also enjoys, photography, indie music, afternoon naps, and loose leaf tea. To keep in touch with Denise, tweet her @DNicholeAndrews.
Amanda Pendley is a junior studying Creative Writing and Publishing at The University of Iowa. Her recent and forthcoming publications include Dream Noir Literary Journal, Crêpe and Penn Magazine, Storm of Blue Press, and Ghost City Review. She has worked as an editor for Elementia Teen Literary Magazine and as the Nonfiction Editor of Ink Lit Mag. She is the Editor-in-Chief of Ink Lit Mag. Amanda is a queer woman who is in search of wonderful queer authors and publications to connect with.