Complete the sentence, “Being a Taurus is like…”

 

Nabila Lovelace: Being a Taurus is like

jayy dodd: “Being a Taurus is like being a monument only you know how to build but everyone else wants to worship.”

Wendy C. Ortiz: nose to the grindstone or nose in the grass

Sassafras Lowrey: “Being a Taurus is like holding people to high standards, and holding yourself to even higher ones.”

Rhiannon Collett: Being a Taurus is like being a force of nature – sexy n scary, intense and sometimes a little bit too windy for other people’s comfort.

Fran Tirado: Being a Taurus is like being the moon. You orbit around this thing much larger than you, but you didn’t even know you were orbiting. You know yourself to be so beautiful and powerful, you assumed everyone else was revolving around you this whole time.

Megan Fernandes: Being a Taurus is like wanting everything out of every moment and just exhausting the shit out of each temporality. It’s intense.

beyza ozer: being a Taurus is like learning how to live in a world that doesn’t always remember to text you back and you get REALLY offended by it but you ultimately understand that being human is hard

Amy Bonnaffons: Being a Taurus is like being Liz Lemon curled up on the couch in her snuggie, singing “Workin’ on my night cheese!”  We are sensual and full of appetites, but we’re not chaotic, unregulated hedonists; we can corral our appetites into a routine and find pleasure in that routine.  We’re experts at satisfying and comforting ourselves–which is why, I think, we can stay grounded and remain available for others.  

Paul Tran: Being a Taurus is like being the bull and the bullseye. I see, and I’m the cost of seeing.

 

Do you identify with your astrological sign? How?

jayy dodd: I deeply identify with Taurus, though coming into astrological beliefs later in life. I grew up with two ministers as parents & faith is something that means many things too me now. While some more religious folks believe a dissonance between the starts & the heavens that’s just not the case. (Between our sun, moon, & risings, we share three signs; most notable I’m the only Taurus yet it’s in both of their charts.)

Rhiannon Collett: Okay wild but both of my parents were ministers too… I was definitely taught to dismiss astro signs as “magical thinking” but the older I get the more magical I become. I definitely identify with Taurus – I am really ambitious and I work really hard. Definitely there with the high functioning anxiety as Meghan mentions below. I’m also loyal to a fault – if I love you, I really love you (even if sometimes, you really really suck).

Megan Fernandes: Oh yes. Tauri have high functioning anxiety. We are ambitious and get a lot done. We are social and charming. But also, we have a very “buzzy” interior life that demands a lot of attention. That’s why you have so many fabulous QUEEN poetesses who are Tauri including Jorie Graham, Louise Gluck, etc.

Sassafras Lowrey: I’m a total introvert Taurus. For me that looks like being super  driven and ambitious about my passions. I’m stubborn, and also really grounded (hello earth sign!) and committed to the having a solid and established home with/for my (created) family.

beyza ozer: i identify with Taurus way too much i think. being a cusp sign, i have always been very split in certain aspects of my everyday life, but Taurus is where i lean because of my stubbornness, my drive, committedness, and passion with art.  

Fran Tirado: Deeply. Narcissist, stubborn af, high attention to detail and visual aesthetic, control freak, maddeningly critical, practical to a fault, emotionally distant, but more empathetic than most. I will always trust my own logic, insight, and terms and could never blindly trust another person’s mandate. (Unless they are extremely cute.)

Nabila Lovelace: I definitely identify with my astro sign, the loyalty associated with Tauri especially (shoutout to Megan, for using the plural form above lol). I don’t really know how not to be loyal lol. I’m somewhat reclusive, so my circle is small, but once you’re my mans you’re my mans for life.

Paul Tran: Rio Cortez, the One True Supreme, read my astrological chart as we passed around a bottle of rosé two summers ago. She told me I’m a Taurus Sun, Cancer Moon, and Libra Rising, which, I surmise, means I’m a Fake of Color. So astrology seems accurate. I’m fascinated less by its accuracies and more by its function as a portal or primer for us to understand the self. Though I resist institutions of belief that totalize or reduce human complexity, it seems that people I love turn to astrology for the opening rather than the closing of thought and investigation. And that’s super important.

Wendy C. Ortiz: I did for most of my life but in the last few years, the only Taurean qualities I notice in myself are the discipline and drive to work and the usual love of food and sensual experiences. I’m much more aligned with my rising sign now.

Amy Bonnaffons: Yes, but I always identified only partially until very recently.  I’ve always prioritized sensual pleasure, and I’ve always had a slow-and-steady work ethic and a grounded, dependable nature.  But I never fully identified with the “stubborn” or the “totally bound to the Earth” parts of the Taurus profile.  When I got my full chart done and learned how to read it, I understood why–my Taurean nature is modified by my Cancer ascendant and my Aquarius moon.  My behavior in relationships is maybe a bit more accommodating and watery than a typical Taurus’s; but on the inside I’m hyper-independent, occasionally detached from others, and a bit weird.  Now that I’ve taken all those elements into account, I can see how the Taurean nature runs through me in a deep way, though it doesn’t define me one hundred per cent.    

 

How does being an Taurus affect your writing life?

jayy dodd: I think the Taurean luxurious taste is a critical feature in how committed I am to a personal aesthetic & voice. While I love what I love deeply, I always have a critical reasoning for why or why not something is worth discussion. This helps me parse out what is necessary for me to say. While I am in no way a perfectionist, if something I want to communicate or engage with is not articulated just as it NEEDS to be I’ll scrap it.

Sassafras Lowrey: The biggest way being a Taurus impacts my writing life is about my beign so driven and committed to my craft. I wrote my first novel on the NYC subway, on my  iphone while commuting to and from my muggle job. If I want to do something I’m stubborn and I’ll find a way to get that story out into the world.

Amy Bonnaffons: Slow and steady gets the novel done.

Fran Tirado: I am a victim to perfectionism, and therefore never get any writing done. I’ll sit and write, and rewrite the same chapter—then get mad I can’t do it perfect the same time, then ditch it and go try and find something else I can successfully control.

Megan Fernandes: Tauri are secretly practiced hedonists (or maybe not so secret?), but also very driven and strategic. We get shit done, but sometimes our apparent spontaneity feels a bit rehearsed because in actuality, we’re getting all the degrees, writing all the work, curating all the events, doing all the multi-tasking. I record all the poems I write and walk around the city listening to them, trying to catch where they are not working. When I’m not writing, I am pretty disciplined about reading or writing reviews or writing a letter to someone or honoring the literary in some way. Being a writer and a Taurus makes one kind of obsessive and sometimes that’s great for parts of the writing process (revising, sending stuff out, reading), but it can also at times feel counter to some of my writerly instincts (just leave the line alone, leave the poem for a while, leave the earth alone).

Rhiannon Collett : I take a lot of time to write – I think giving myself time to think is my biggest luxury. A lot of the time, my plays will percolate for months at a time in my brain, but I won’t actually write them until I have a solid deadline. Once I get a draft done, I’ll take time off again to let myself rest and let the piece breathe again. I also love attention – so I’m on Twitter a lot. Instant gratification is Not A Thing when you’re a playwright (it’s a hellish, long game and I need people to tell me I’m special before opening night, you feel)

Nabila Lovelace: I think it amounts to the fact that my process is sloooooooooooooooooooow af lol. It sometimes takes me weeks to get finally get a draft of a poem on the page. & after the draft, it could take me months to finally edit the draft. I try to read a lot to compensate for my pace.

Paul Tran: I cede myself to my obsessions. I stalk them. I strategize. I’m interested in the poem as investigation, so I relentlessly turn and turn the prism of autobiography until it yields what resisted recognition. Neither lackadaisical nor efficient, I lean on my stubbornness and indulgence to pursue a line of thought that feels daring, unfamiliar, and, at best, rigorous in its argument. I must evade, however, the impulse to envy or diminish the public achievements of friends or colleagues as I conduct this private toil. I must relinquish my operative modes governed by scarcity, by directionless ambition and competition. Instead of charging at what provokes me, I tell myself again and again to charge towards freedom. To this end, I choose to obsess with what frees me.

Wendy C. Ortiz: I have the ability to tune out noise, get fixated on what I’m working on, and I have the stamina to finish. Over and over.

 

What qualities in writing/reading are you drawn to because of your Astro position?

Paul Tran: Severity seduces me. I love poems that are precise and stark, merciless in their task. Sometimes these poems are tacit, overwhelmingly powerful in their concision. Sometimes they’re lush and paradisal, mouthy and demanding even more space. Whatever their manifestation, I’m lured into their gaze, which refuses to look away, to pardon, to settle for purpled language or flowery passages typically insufficient in establishing convincing arguments. A severe poem is a poem in which, as Carolyn Forche writes in “The Colonel,” “there is no other way to say this.”

Wendy C. Ortiz: My astro position makes me lap up food writing and any sensual writing about the body, places, and sex.

Megan Fernandes: Any poem that I don’t want to read on my death bed bores me. Intellectually, I like some experimental or conceptual writing, but if I’m honest, I like a poem to seize me and often it’s narrative or a fragment that refuses to narrate that gets me there. I like Jean Toomer’s Cane. I reread that book over and over and it keeps giving me new life. I also like Jorie Graham’s The Errancy and Franz Wright’s Walking to Martha’s Vineyard.

 

Are there habits (good or bad) you attribute to being an Taurus?

jayy dodd: I’m like amicably stubborn. Though internally very sensitive & empathetic, outwardly I feel this like bodily maintenance to not be inconvenient (i’m a 6’5 trans-femme glamazon). BUT, in any situation I definitely have an opinion or thought or statement on what’s going on but will (unsuccessfully, because my face) try my best to not let it show.

Megan Fernandes: Once I kicked a friend out of my apartment because when I asked him to grab me a salad on the way to my house, he bought me a Cobb salad. I started crying and told him that like… he didn’t even know me….and what did our friendship even mean. So yea… Tauri feel things pretty intensely (wonder, love, sadness, hatred of boiled eggs). We have convictions about shit.  

Sassafras Lowrey: Just to be stubborn I want to say that being stubborn isn’t a Taurus trait, but it totally is, and I’m super stubborn. Other Taurus traits I embody? I have very strong feelings about there being a right and a wrong way to approach various things that I have learned don’t always need to be shared.

beyza ozer: like Megan said, Taurus signs feel WAY too much and too often, which is a good and bad thing. i think anyone who is a Taurus can say they’re stubborn because that is what we’re known for, but a lot of the time this comes out of a place of emotion and not knowing how to express that love or fear or pain. in terms of my writing life, i feel like i always have so many thoughts and ideas to write down, but it takes so long because i overcommit myself and struggle to finish anything from projects, books, TV shows, etc.

Paul Tran: I hesitate using “we” language. I instead want to call attention to the utilities and pitfalls of my own dogged determination. I often mistake fortitude for my unwillingness to change, to assess my mistakes or challenges in order to forge more optimal paths. I fall in love, unsurprisingly, with my own suffering, thinking suffering is, in fact, what confers meaning to my life and my work. It’s been this fetishing of struggle, of ache and hustling, that obfuscated and complicated my focus. And it’s been difficult shifting my performance from a person driven by hurt to a person driven by joy, by magic and celebration. But I try everyday. That, I hope, counts for something.

Wendy C. Ortiz: I really do wish to be fed by people everywhere I go. Sorry/I love you. And yes, stubborn. Sorry/I love you.

Amy Bonnaffons: As long as I’m well-fed, I’ll be good-natured and pliant–but I’m a beast when I’m hangry.  Don’t make me wait for my food!  Over time, I’ve learned to view myself as both a tantrum-prone toddler and the mom of that toddler; I take snacks with me everywhere.  

 

What survival tactics do you have to offer fellow Taureans?

jayy dodd: Don’t let anyone tell you what you like isn’t worth it. Complicate any pleasure you enjoy & if you can see all of & still appreciate? Go for it. Cultivate your taste, but also trust it.

Fran Tirado: Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever settle.

Megan Fernandes: Basically what Fran said. Also… like… lean into failing. It’s okay to fail. Learning to fail is the opposite of settling.

Rhiannon Collett : Work hard play hard love hard but also please for the love of God sit down and “chill” occasionally.

Amy Bonnaffons: Advice: most walls are more like cell walls than brick walls — ie, they’re permeable.  Don’t let yourself feel boxed in by beliefs or by what seems apparent in a particular moment; stay curious and playful and open to surprise.

Nabila Lovelace: Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, you might not actually be right.

Paul Tran: Don’t be fooled by the matador or their cape. The way out of the arena is the way in.

 

What sign drives you crazy? Why?

jayy dodd: Aries / Virgo: So my Mercury & Venus are in Aries so how I love & how I fight are both very fiery which is sort of odd for a Taurus. Luckily, I don’t have to love or fight to often in this economy. Virgos yo, I get mad close to them then they break hearts but like their hearts are in the right place so I always feel like what’s wrong with me? IDK.

Fran Tirado: Sometimes the touchy-feely of a Pisces annoys me. The silent narcissism of Leos can also drive me fucking nuts, because it’s like “You’re a narcissist!!! Me too! Own it binch, stop being a martyr.” I really have the hardest times though with Aries & Virgos. Yet, somehow, I only ever date Aries & Virgos.

Megan Fernandes: Leo/Aries.

Rhiannon Collett : I fall in love with Capricorns on the regular and it is almost always terrible. I also have a tendency to dislike Scorpios at first glance because I can like… taste their intensity & feelings and I’m like “got enough of that over here!!!”.

Wendy C. Ortiz: Pisces. I’ll totally blame it on having my Mars in Pisces, though.

 

What sign do you love / couldn’t live without?

jayy dodd: Gemini / Sagittarius: IDK if that’s controversial but those are my parents signs & I’ve have / have had several really affirming intimate relationships with those signs. Something about the creativity of Geminis really inspire me, I feel constantly at their tutelage. Sagittarius folk I feel really try to hold me down in the ways they can & I’ve learned to appreciate how it manifests.

Megan Fernandes:  Sagittarius and Capricorn ALL THE WAY.

Sassafras Lowrey:  My partner of 13 years is a caretaking Cancer – that works really really well for me.

Fran Tirado: Aquarius & Gemini.

Rhiannon Collett: Virgo!!! Pisces!!! Gemini!!!

Wendy C. Ortiz: Aquarius and Sagittarius. We won’t talk about the fact that I have a number of Scorpio exes born the same week or two Aries exes also born the same week. I also can’t live without Capricorn women in my life.

Amy Bonnaffons: More than half of my best friends are Aries, and more than half of my significant romances have been with Leos.  I don’t think this is “typical” Taurus behavior.  I realized recently that there’s no Aries or Leo anywhere in my chart, so maybe I’m seeking out complementary energy.  I love the quick, galvanizing fire of an Aries (I can sometimes get stuck in my routines & lack spontaneity), and the way that Leos can match my sensuality and flatter my vanity while also bringing out my playful, goofy side.  

But I also (perhaps more predictably) have Capricorns, Scorpios, Sagittariuses and other Tauruses to whom I’m deeply, deeply attached.  Aquarians and Pisceans fascinate me deeply, though I can’t always get beneath the surface with them.

 

What lyrics most describe an Taurus?

beyza ozer: literally any song by Paramore

Nabila Lovelace: “If I gotta go hard on a bitch ima make it look sexy” -K.Dot

Fran Tirado:
Didn’t they tell you that I was a savage?
Fuck ya white horse and ya carriage
Bet you never could imagine
Never told you you could have it

Rihanna, Needed Me

Paul Tran: “When will my reflection show who I am inside?”

 

Famous Taurus you adore?

jayy dodd: Luther Vandross, Grace Jones, Phyllis Wheatley, Ma Rainey, William Shakespeare (same birthday), Malcolm X, & Janet Jackson.

beyza ozer: Lorraine Hansberry, Cher, Nellie Bly, Jane Jacobs, Alice B. Toklas, Wes Anderson (lol), Annie Easley, Keith Harring, and Ella Fitzgerald

Fran Tirado: Candice Bergen, Janet Jackson, Audrey Hepburn, Barbra Streisand (duh!!!), Eva Peron, Grace Jones, Blossom Dearie, Nora Ephron, Tammy Wynette, Liberace, Malcolm X, Keith Haring, & most importantly, Samantha Jones from Sex and the City.

Paul Tran: Nabila Lovelace.

Amy Bonnaffons: Audrey Hepburn, with whom I proudly share a birthday (May 4).

 

Common misconception about your sign?

 

jayy dodd: That our stubbornness is unfounded.

Fran Tirado: This ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^

Megan Fernandes: That we are practical. I mean, I am looking for flights for a sporadic three day trip to Shanghai that I definitely CANNOT afford at this very moment.

Sassafras Lowrey: That we are being stubborn just for the stake of being stubborn when actually we have strong feelings about this thing that might seem insignificant to someone else.

beyza ozer: like everyone else already said: STUBBORNNESS. we just care. probably more than most other signs. that isn’t necessarily excuse for bad behavior, but i think we learn to gain control of our stubbornness in a (hopefully) productive, careful way as we make our ways through life.

Amy Bonnaffons: So I love Rosa Lyster’s astrological profiles on The Hairpin, but I felt like she oversimplified the Taurean nature in a way that people often do.  Maybe we do dislike change more than other signs, but all the examples she gives (while perfect examples of typical Taurus behavior) aren’t really about change.  Her mom hated the red chair covers because all the details of a Taurus home are soooooo important to a Taurus, and if they are off by even a hair it is deeply upsetting.  I would cry if my chair covers were too shiny and red, too.  It wouldn’t be because they were different from the previous ones–I regularly move my furniture and swap out old pictures for new ones as part of my continual and never-ending Taurus nesting process–but because they were wrong.  You can’t luxuriate in full Taurean languor if any aspect of your lair grates on your aesthetic senses.  This is maybe something a Sagittarius could never fully understand, so it’s not her fault (a Libra would probably understand, because they really care about aesthetics too, but their aesthetic motivation comes from a really different place, a place that has to do with things being perfect and correct rather than with being sumptuous and harmonious.)

I also fully identify with the impulse to not leave the house until I’ve eaten my mango and finished my tea.  But that’s not because I hate change.  It’s because the mango and tea are sooo gooood, and I have to *really* enjoy them or my day will feel impoverished.  When I’ve done such a good job of corralling my pleasures into routines, I don’t want anybody to mess with those routines or rush me along.  It’s part of my compact with the world: I will be fully available to you, totally good-natured, if you just let me have my own pleasures at my own pace.

There is a Taurean Flow to which I am completely subordinate, a rhythm negotiated by my body with the world, and happiness resides in respecting this rhythm.  I’m not habitually late, but I’ve been known to almost miss flights because I decided that I needed some ice cream right then. I didn’t really have a choice.  It was in the Taurean Flow of things.

I realize that to a quick-pulsed sign like a Gemini or Sagittarius, this reasoning might seem inscrutable and weird and “stubborn,” and it would be easy to call it “hating change.”  But I believe that I am speaking a Deep Taurus Truth here, not just being defensive.

 

What does “Peak Taurus” mean to you?

jayy dodd: When you are surrounded by good stimulating things (human or otherwise), knowing all you care about is cared for & you can actually just enjoy whatever is in front of you.

Megan Fernandes: When you land after a turbulent airplane ride and just like… fall to the ground and take your shoes off and stick your feet in the closest grass or mud pile and realize what it means to be an earth sign and omg why do people even get into airplanes in the first place, everyone should just walk everywhere and never cross oceans or skies.

Paul Tran: Douching during the Warren Wilson College MFA reception at AWP 2017 to hook up with my man and running out the back door to catch an Uber to his spot as Hieu Minh Nguyen and Jayson P. Smith shout, “Where you going, dirty butt??” #ForTheRecordIDon’tHaveDirtyButt #Paula’sPeppermintPattie #TighterThanVacuumSeal #BelieveFemmes

Wendy C. Ortiz: Lying in a comfy bed with the softest linens eating oysters and day drinking and slow fucking and then chocolate cake delivery followed by more of the same.

Amy Bonnaffons: ^^yes, this

 

Compared to other humans, how hard is it for you to get out of bed in the morning?

Sassafras Lowrey: I LOVE mornings. I turn into a pumpkin after about 9pm, but mornings are where I feel most on top of my game.

beyza ozer: i’m definitely getting better at getting up in the morning compared to a few years ago. if i’m in bed past 9 am it’s probably because i was watching trick shots on youtube or reading fanfiction the night before ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Nabila Lovelace: My whole schedule changed up this year, so i’ve become a big morning person. Catch me between the hours of 4-8AM & i’m usually up drafting emails, reading books & lighting inscense.

Megan Fernandes: Hate mornings, total night owl. I like nights because the room becomes a spaceship and everyone leaves me the fuck alone. If you talk to me before noon, everything coming out of my mouth is preverbal like a pterodactyl squawk.

Paul Tran: Depends if its my bed.

Wendy C. Ortiz: I love jumping out of bed in the morning. My peak hours are like 8am-1pm.

Amy Bonnaffons: The concept of “getting out of bed” isn’t ever troubling, but I like to take my time.  If snuggles are available they will be enjoyed first.

 

Do you like celebrating your birthday? If so, what do you do?

Megan Fernandes: Yea, but I like the idea of “little dates.” There’s nothing worse than getting all your people together and forcing them in a room to celebrate you. Ugh. I’ll hop the train from one place to the next and see three people I love on my birthday for a meal or a museum and that feels very fulfilling.

Sassafras Lowery: I do! I like to celebrate my birthday like a little kid would (I’m very much a 5 year old in a adult body): party games, balloons, cake with candles I can blow out, and paper party hats!

Fran Tirado: Every year I throw myself my own birthday party and invite everyone I know. I also make my own cake because I do not trust anyone with the responsibility of doing my cake.

beyza ozer: birthdays make me sad sometimes, but this year i got a tattoo of flowers in a small jar for my grandma, ate thai food, and listened to 22 by taylor swift a lot.

Rhiannon Collett : I have a love-hate relationship with my birthday. Usually I spend it crying and calling my mom. Taking the day to be gloriously sad AND full of  love for my life is quickly becoming tradition.

Nabila Lovelace: I’m not a big birthday person, but I mostly just like to see people I love. I’ve tried to be the big party type & have literally failed at the last minute, sent out text messages apologizing for my change of plans/heart & asking fam to join me in celebrating my birthday in my literal crib where I can fall asleep at any moment.

Paul Tran: Nabi and I share the same birthday, though a year apart, and like Nabi, I never really invested in festivities. My mom and I didn’t have money for that. Parties often invited family to peep how poor we were, simultaneously disgusted by how we lived and delighted in that such living helped them feel good about themselves. They were rich and worthy against what they presumed was our poverty and unworthiness, beautiful against what they presumed was our ugliness. Instead, my mom and I went to temple to thank our ancestors for protecting us, to tithe and give back what little we had. We prayed for the haters. We prayed for the people who kept us alive.

Wendy C. Ortiz: I typically go to karaoke at The Smogcutter & invite anyone who wants to join but I’m not doing that this year. I like to be surrounded by friends. This year I’m doing it a little differently, though.

 

What do you say to people who don’t believe in astrology?

jayy dodd: If they believe something else, I’ll take it, but if they don’t believe in ANYTHING, I’ll just be curious how they sleep at night? I mean cause that’s all this is for me.

Megan Fernandes: Well, wtf do you believe in then?

Sassafras Lowrey: I can live with that, but if they don’t believe in unicorns then we probably can’t be friends.  

Amy Bonnaffons: [[shrug]] I totally get it, it’s just astrology.  (But you’re missing out!!)

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jayy dodd is a blxk question mark from los angeles, california– now based on the internet. they are a professional writer & literary editor. their work has appeared / will appear in Lambda Literary, The Establishment, Assaracus, Winter Tangerine, Guernica, & Yes,Poetry among others. they’re the author of [sugar in the tank]  (Pizza Pi Press 2016) & Mannish Tongues (Platypus Press 2017). they serve as Workshops Director for Winter Tangerine Magazine. they are a Pushcart Prize & Bettering American Poetry nominee; their work has been featured in Teen Vogue & Entropy. find them talking trash or taking a selfie.

Sassafras Lowrey is a straight-edge queer punk who grew up to become the 2013 winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writer Award. Hir books—Lost Boi, Roving Pack, Kicked Out and Leather Ever After—have been honored by organizations ranging from the National Leather Association to the American Library Association. Sassafras’ novella, A Little Queermas Carol  is a current  Lambda Literary Award Finalist for Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror. Sassafras lives and writes in Brooklyn with hir partner 3 amazing dogs and 3 bossy cats. Learn more at www.SassafrasLowrey.com

beyza ozer is a queer/trans/Muslim writer living in Chicago. beyza’s work has appeared in & is forthcoming from The Offing, Pinwheel, Vinyl, Nightblock, Witchcraft Magazine, Shabby Doll House, & the anthology SUBJECT TO CHANGE: TRANS POETRY & CONVERSATION (Sibling Rivalry Press 2017). beyza is the author of FAIL BETTER (fog machine 2017) & I DON’T MEAN TO REDSHIFT (Maudlin House 2016). They are deputy director of social media at YesYes Books. beyza works at Women & Children First, one of the last feminist bookstores in the country, & interns at the Poetry Foundation.

Fran Tirado is the second-in-command at Hello Mr and co-host of the Food 4 Thot podcast. I am also a homojournalist and aspiring Carmen San Diego. In my spare time, I’m finishing my first book, and posting compulsively on Instagram. You can stalk my thoughts on Twitter @fransquishco, or stalk my travels on Instagram @fransquishco, or just me: ImFran.com

Rhiannon Collett is a queer-identified playwright and performer whose work explores misogyny, sexuality and ritual. She is the first artist to be commissioned out of Nightswimming’s 5×25 initiative, dedicated to kick-starting the career of 5 artists born in 1995. Her play, Miranda & Dave Begin Again, won the Playwright’s Guild of Canada RBC Emerging Playwright Award as well as the Segal Centre Award for Most Promising English Theatre Company. Her work has been published in The Globe & Mail, Intermission Magazine, Bad Nudes, OMEGA and Spiderweb Show. Rhiannon lives in Montreal. @rhiann0n_ // rhiannoncollett.com

Nabila Lovelace is a first generation Queens native, her people hail from Trinidad & Nigeria. Sons of Achilles, her debut book of poems, is forthcoming from YesYes Books.

Megan Fernandes is an Assistant Professor of English at Lafayette College. Her work has been published or forthcoming in Tin House, Guernica, Rattle, Pank, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Common, among many others. She lives in NYC.

Paul Tran is Poetry Editor at The Offing and Poet-in-Residence at Urban Word NYC. Their work appears or is forthcoming in The New Yorker, Prairie Schooner, and RHINO, which gave them an Editor’s Prize. They received honors from Kundiman, VONA, Poets House, Lambda Literary Foundation, Napa Valley Writers Conference, Home School, Vermont Studio Center, The Conversation, Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Miami Writers Institute, and Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. They’re the first Asian American since 1993 to be the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam Champion, placing Top 10 at the Individual World Poetry Slam and Top 5 at the National Poetry Slam.

Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014); Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, 2015); and the genre-breaking dreamoir Bruja (CCM, 2016). Her work has been profiled or featured in various places including Fields, the Los Angeles Times, The Rumpus, and the National Book Critics Circle Small Press Spotlight blog. Selected pieces have appeared in The New York Times, Hazlitt, Joyland, StoryQuarterly, and The Lifted Brow. Wendy lives in Los Angeles. Visit her public notebook: wendycortiz.tumblr.com.

Amy Bonnaffons‘ fiction has appeared in Kenyon Review, The Literary Review, The Sun, Southampton Review, Anderbo, Day One, and elsewhere, and her nonfiction has appeared in Essay Review and The New York Times.  She is a founding editor of 7×7, an online literary journal featuring collaborations between writers and visual artists. Originally from New York City, she now resides in Athens, GA, where she is pursuing a PhD at the University of Georgia.

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