Featured Performers 2016

Saturday, July 23

Saturday Night Reading and One-shot Open Mic

MJA M'ing WB

Mark James Andrews has had a full and checkered career as a gravedigger, inspector at a defunct auto plant and jail librarian.  He is author of several chapbooks of poetry including Burning Trash (Pudding House), Compendium 20/20 (Deadly Chaps) and a poetry CD, Brylcreem Sandwich (with Tom Brzezina).  His poems, stories and nonfiction have appeared in many print and online venues including Chiron Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Working Stiff; The Anthology of Professional Wrestling Literature & Art and Blotterature Literary Magazine. He continues to live and write with three women on a suburban farm in Harper Woods, Michigan on the borderline of Detroit most of the time.


shaindel beers

Shaindel Beers is the author of two full-length poetry collections, A Brief History of Time (2009) and The Children’s War and Other Poems (2013), both from Salt Publishing. She serves as Poetry Editor of Contrary Magazine and teaches at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon. Learn more at http://shaindelbeers.com. 

Cristler 1

Curtis L. Crisler was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. He received a BA in English, with a minor in Theatre, from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), and he received an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His poetry book Don’t Moan So Much (Stevie): A Poetry Musiquarium is forthcoming from Kattywompus Press. His poetry book “This” Ameri-can-ah (Cherry Castle Publishing) was recently released. His poetry chapbook, Black Achilles (Accents Publishing), was released in 2015. His previous books are: Pulling Scabs, Tough Boy Sonatas (YA), and Dreamist: a mixed-genre novel (YA); his chapbooks are Wonderkind, Soundtrack to Latchkey Boy, and Spill (which won the 2008 Keyhole Chapbook Award).  His poetry has been adapted to theatrical productions in New York and Chicago, and he has been published in a variety of magazines, journals, and anthologies. He is Contributing Poetry Editor for Aquarius Press, and Poetry Editor for HEArt. Crisler is an Associate Professor of English at IPFW.

Fragile Soul

Fragile Soul is duo (Rodney Golson and Pablo Baldetti) out of Northwest Indiana that plays an array of indie folk and blues. After winning the 2015 Acorn Theatre Singer Songwriter Contest, they have been traveling around Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan playing shows. They have one EP released and will soon be releasing a live session recordings EP.


Tolonda Henderson photo

Tolonda Henderson is a poet, a librarian, and a Harry Potter scholar. She writes from the perspective of a queer African-American woman raised in New England and living near Washington, DC. She is the Bout Manager for the Beltway Poetry Slam and regularly performs at Busboys and Poets and the legendary Spit Dat. Her work has appeared in Freeze Ray PoetryBig Lucks JournalYellow Chair Review, and Melancholy Hyperbole.


Jen Knox

Jen Knox directs Gemini Ink’s Writers in Communities program, which offers free creative writing workshops in homeless shelters, schools, community centers and detention centers across San Antonio. She also works with fiction writers as a freelance writing coach. Some of Jen’s short fiction appears in The Adirondack Review, Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row, Gargoyle Magazine, Istanbul Review, Room Magazine, and The Saturday Evening Post. Her recent collection, After the Gazebo (Rain Mountain Press), was nominated for the Pen/Faulkner. Jen recently completed another collection, Our Sky, The Ocean, and she is currently working on a novel. Find her at www.jenknox.com.

Karl 2

Karl Koweski continues to be at the forefront of solving the world’s Amish problem. His latest collection of short stories, Kockblockers, published by Kleftjaw Press and is available everywhere fine books are sold online… Namely Amazon.

Akron June 2015 (8) Len Lundh

Lennart Lundh has published as a poet, historian, short-fictionist, and photographer since 1965. His eighth and ninth poetry chapbooks will be released before Small Prestivus, and a full-length collection is expected in early 2017. He can be found at Writing Knights Press in Cleveland, as well as on Amazon, and can be contacted through Facebook.

Roberta Miles

Roberta Miles is a writer and performer in Chicago, Illinois. She is the Producer of “Loose Chicks” and “Café Cabaret” and performs regularly with “Beast Women”, “Seven Deadly Sins”, “Stoop Stories”, “This Much is True”, and many more. Her one-woman show, “I Want a Banana and Other Desperate Love Stories,” has been performed at Strawdog Theater and BoHo Theater. She has also had the honor of writing and performing as part of the Project Compass program at Steppenwolf Theater.

James Neary

James Neary is an award-winning singer-songwriter from the Chicagoland area. His blues-inspired vocals and soaring falsetto serve as perfect complements to his close-to-the-chest songwriting. James was the winner of the Acorn Theater’s very first singer-songwriter contest in 2013 with his song “Cutting Teeth”. The album that followed, appropriately titled “2013”, has been met with widespread praise. Since then, James has gone on to open for the likes of Katie Todd, Andrew Salgado, and Matt Schofield, and has even performed on-stage alongside Muse. His is a passionate, electrifying performance that you won’t want to miss.

T.A. Noonan headshot

T.A. Noonan is a writer, artist, witch, and translator whose books include The Bone Folders, Petticoat Government, four sparks fall: a novella, and The Ep[is]odes: a reformulation of Horace. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Whiskey Island, LIT, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Ninth Letter, Phoebe, and Open Letters Monthly, among others. She lives in Florida and serves as an Associate Editor of Sundress Publications, the Development Director of the Sundress Academy for the Arts, and the Founding Editor of Flaming Giblet Press.

Josh olsen

Josh Olsen is a writer, teacher, parent, and librarian. He’s written two collections of flash fiction, Six Months and Such a Good Boy, and he’s the literary editor of Working Stiff: The Anthology of Professional Wrestling Literature & Art.

Patti and Dave

 Patti Shaffner and David Cowan: Patti Shaffner – has been a mainstay in the musical scene of NW Indiana in Folk and Jazz for over 30 years. She has performed as far away as Hawaii and all over the Chicagoland area. Her songs have won numerous awards including the just announced 17th Annual Great American Songwriting Contest, taking first prize for her song “Blessings.” Not only a skilled vocalist, Patti has a compelling stage presence. Her thought-provoking lyrics and emotionally-honest songs celebrate a wide variety of styles. Together with her husband – David Cowan – they provide a delightful on-stage banter that engages audiences. David Cowan – perrenial “sideman” and multi-instrumentalist – David will accompany Patti on bass, guitar and percussion. But what many don’t know is that David is an accomplished singer/songwriter in his own right – with over 30 years of live performance and recording experience. Especially known for his humorous songs and his children’s songs, David is also a skilled finger-style guitarist and blues player. There is simply no telling what songs or song-styles Dave will choose to open up the show.

Bill Yarrow

Bill Yarrow, Professor of English at Joliet Junior College and seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee, is the author of Blasphemer, Pointed Sentences, and four chapbooks. His poems have appeared in many print and online magazines including Pirene’s Fountain, Poetry International, RHINO, FRiGG, Altered Scale, Gargoyle, Iodine Poetry Journal, and PANK. He is an editor at the online journal Blue Fifth Review.

Sunday, July 24

Literary Orphans’ Reading:

Jonathan Cardew

Jonathan Cardew’s stories, interviews, and articles appear or are forthcoming in Atticus Review, Flash, The Forge, JMWW, Rocky Mountain Revival, Smokelong Quarterly, and Segue, among others. He holds an MA in Writing from Sheffield Hallam University, and he teaches English at Milwaukee Area Technical College, where he co-edits The Phoenix Literary and Arts Magazine. He was a finalist in this year’s Best Small Fictions. More at his website: https://jonathancardew.wordpress.com/

merle and me on the green

A.S. Coomer is an avid reader, writer and taco eater. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in issues of Red Fez, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Literary Orphans, The Quill, Blotterature, GFT Press, Flash Fiction Magazine, Oxford Magazine, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review, Heater, The Broadkill Review, Degenerate Literature, The Merida Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Rat’s Ass Review, Moonglasses Magazine, Thirteen Myna Birds, Full Of Crow, Intrinsick Magazine and Serving House Journal, to name a few. He’s got some novels written (hint, hint all you publishers). You can find him at www.ascoomer.wordpress.com. He also runs a “record label” for poetry: www.lostlonggoneforgottenrecords.wordpress.com.


Nina Corwin is the author of two books of poetry, The Uncertainty of Maps and Conversations With Friendly Demons and Tainted Saints. Two chapbooks are coming out this year and next, OutPatient Suite and Dear Future. Her poetry has appeared in From the Fishouse, Drunken Boat, Harvard Review, Hotel Amerika, New Ohio Review/nor and Verse. Corwin, a Pushcart nominee, also curates the literary series at Chicago’s Woman Made Gallery. In daytime hours, she is a psychotherapist known for her work on behalf of victims of violence.


Allegra Frazier‘s fiction has appeared in Story Magazine, Armchair/Shotgun, Zymbol, Literary Orphans, and elsewhere. She was the winner of Bayou Magazine’s 2013 flash fiction contest and a finalist in 5Quarterly’s 2015 short fiction chapbook contest. She was raised in Arizona.


Lucy M. Logsdon’s work has appeared in such publications as Literary Orphans, Poet Lore, Southern Poetry Review, Iodine, Sixfold, Seventeen, Rose Red Review, Conclave, Drafthorse, Heron Tree, Right Hand Pointing, Rust & Moth and Gingerbread Literary Review. Recipient of a Macdowell Writers Colony fellowship, she’s taught at Columbia University, Univ. of Houston, HCC and Southeastern Illinois Community College. She received her MFA from Columbia University (and is ABD at U of H). Now back in rural America, she raises chickens, ducks and other occasional creatures with her husband, and two rebel step-grrrls. Recently on “break” from academia, she’s started an online store, LLCollector.com. She is also tutoring, conducting poetry workshops and explaining to past students what happens when pedagogy runs amok. Find her on Twitter @logsdon64_lucy.


Joani Reese is a writer, editor, feminist, and a woman with cats. She’s done a lot of stuff in the small press world. Of the previous four biographical notes, (those that comprise the first sentence of this bio.), the jury is out as to which is the most important. 

RV photo

Robert Vaughan teaches workshops in hybrid writing, poetry, fiction, and playwriting. He has facilitated these at locations like Alverno College, UWM, Fox Valley Technical School, JMWW (online), Red Oak Writing, The Clearing and Mabel Dodge Luhan House in Taos. He leads writing roundtables in Milwaukee, WI. Twice a finalist for the Gertrude Stein Award for Fiction (2013, 2014), his short fiction, “A Box” will appear in the Best Small Fictions 2016 (Queen’s Ferry Press). Vaughan is the author of four books: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press, 2012); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps, 2013); Addicts & Basements (CCM, 2014). His newest, RIFT, is a flash fiction collection co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press, 2015). He blogs at www.robert-vaughan.com.

Scott W

Scott Waldyn is editor-in-chief of Literary Orphans. He leads a quiet existence until his brain flares up and paints colors over a black and white reality.

Bill Yarrow–see above