Introducing Our Fall 2015 Contributors . . .


Update: The issue is now live! You can read it here.

We’d like to thank all of our readers and those who submitted work to us during the last reading period. We’re excited and encouraged to see such growth at Compose, having received more than 800 submissions to consider for the forthcoming issue. Wow!

Our senior editors are preparing our Fall 2015 acceptances for publication, while our assistant editors are getting a head start on reading submissions for Spring 2016.

Fall 2015 is going to be huge: 27 selections, comprising poetry, fiction, nonfiction and artwork, as well as two features—an excerpt from Sonja Livingston’s new collection of essays, Queen of the Fall: A Memoir of Girls and Goddessesand an interview between Livingston and our features editor, Eva Langston.

Now, meet our latest lineup of contributors:


Sonja Livingston‘s latest book, Queen of the Fall, was published this spring as part of the American Lives Series at the University of Nebraska Press. Her first book, Ghostbread, won the AWP Prize for Nonfiction and is taught in classrooms around the country. A new essay collection, Ladies’ Night at the Dreamland (forthcoming, 2016), blends memoir and biography to provide poetic profiles of fascinating but often little-known historical women. Sonja’s writing appears in many fine journals and has garnered awards from Arts & Letters, the Iowa Review, New York State Foundation for the Arts, the Deming Fund for Women. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Memphis.

Eva Langston is the features editor at Compose. She received her MFA from the University of New Orleans in 2009, the same year she won 3rd place in the annual Playboy Fiction Contest. Her work has since been published in many literary journals, and she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2011. Recently Eva obtained representation from Conville & Walsh for a middle-grade novel, but she enjoys writing adult fiction as well. She is a regular contributor to Carve Magazine’s blog and the Burlesque Press Variety Show, and she blogs (sometimes quite personally!) about writing at In addition to writing, she is also a math curriculum consultant and an ESL Skype tutor for Ukranians.


Devin Murphy‘s recent fiction appears in The Chicago Tribune, Glimmer Train, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Missouri Review, and Shenandoah as well as many other literary journals and anthologies. He holds an MFA from Colorado State University, a Creative Writing PhD from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, and is now an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Bradley University.

P Kearney Byrne’s work has won the Francis MacManus Award (2012) and the Bryan MacMahon Award (2014). In 2013 she was long-listed in the UK Sunday Times EFG Short Story Competition and this year she was a finalist in the inaugural Hamlin Garland Award for Fiction (Beloit Fiction Journal, USA). She is currently enrolled on an MA programme in University College Dublin. Originally from Dublin, she and her partner now live in Co Leitrim, Ireland.

Nafissa Thompson-Spires earned a PhD from Vanderbilt University and an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in East Bay Review, Blinders Literary Magazine, FLOW, The Feminist Wire, and other publications. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of African-American Studies and Creative Writing at UIUC.

José Angel Araguz is a CantoMundo fellow and winner of RHINO Poetry’s 2015 Editor’s Prize. He has had poems recently in Prairie Schooner, Borderlands, and The Laurel Review. He is pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Cincinnati. Author of Reasons (not) to Dance, a chapbook of microcuento style short prose, he runs the poetry blog The Friday Influence.

Matthew Grolemund’s fiction and poetry has appeared in The Ampersand Review, Permafrost, Euphony and Jelly Bucket. A native of Erie, Pennsylvania, and a founding editor of Wichita State University’s online literary journal mojo, he currently writes and teaches in Seoul, South Korea.

Katya Cummins earned a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her book reviews and other short pieces have appeared at Inside Higher Ed, Prick of the Spindle, Sleet, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, and Under The Gum Tree. She earned an MA in English Literature and MFA in Creative Writing from McNeese State University. While there, she served as the Fiction and Managing Editor for The McNeese Review. She is the Founding and Managing Editor of an online literary magazine called Niche.


Catherine Cobb Morocco was born in South Dakota and currently lives in Newton, Massachusetts. Her first book, Moon without Craters or Shadows (Aldrich 2014), explores her recovery from brain injury. “Son’s Story” from that volume won the Dana Foundation (Neuroscience) prize for poetry about the brain.  Her poems are published in The Massachusetts Review, Prairie Schooner, The Spoon River Poetry Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Salamander, Hamilton Stone Review, CALYX and Poet Lore. She is first author of two professional books on the role of writing in teaching for deep understanding with adolescents.

Eleanor Swanson’s fiction and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of publications. Awards include a Fiction Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and a Colorado Council on the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Her first poetry collection, A Thousand Bonds: Marie Curie and the Discovery of Radium, was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Her third book of poetry was Memory’s Rooms (Conundrum Press). Swanson lives in Denver and teaches environmental literature and fiction and poetry workshops at Regis University.

Deborah Bacharach is the author of After I Stop Lying (Cherry Grove Collections, 2015). Her work has appeared in Many Mountains Moving, The Antigonish Review, Literary Mama, and Blue Mesa Review among many others.

George Freek is a poet/playwright living in Belvidere, IL. His poetry has recently appeared in The Missing Slate; Offcourse Literary Journal; WrightVerseChiron Review; New Plains Review; Rockhurst Review; Blue Door Quarterly; Mud Season; and Samizdat Literary Journal. His plays are published by Playscripts, Inc.; Lazy Bee Scripts; and Off The Wall Plays.

Lauren Schmidt is the author of three collections of poetry: Two Black Eyes and a Patch of Hair Missing, The Voodoo Doll Parade; and Psalms of The Dining Room. Schmidt teaches Developmental English at Passaic County Community College, serves as a Poet-in-the-Schools for Paterson Public Schools, and volunteer teaches a creative writing workshop at a recovery center for homeless men and women in Paterson as well.

Kathleen Boyle‘s work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Zyzzyva, Poet Lore, and The Bellingham Review.

Elizabeth Tannen is a Brooklyn-born, Minneapolis-based writer and teacher. She has essays, poems and stories published or forthcoming in places like Front Porch Journal, The Rumpus, Southern Humanities Review, B O D Y Literature, Salon and The Morning News. Sometimes she posts on her blog, Dating in the Odyssey Years.

Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of Small Chimes (Aldrich Press, 2014) and three chapbooks, most recently Beautifully Whole (Hermeneutic Chaos Press, forthcoming 2015). Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, Four Way Review, diode, storySouth, UCity Review, Prime Number Magazine, burntdistrict, The Rumpus, Midwestern Gothic, and Verse Daily. She is co-editor of Border Crossing and Associate Poetry Editor at Connotation Press: An Online Artifact. She teaches composition and creative writing at Lake Superior State University.

Lane Falcon’s poems have been published in The Cortland Review, Rhino, december, Verse (online) and more. She lives with her daughter and newborn son in Northern Virginia.

Jenna Kilic-Somers received her MFA in Creative Writing from The Ohio State University, where she served as poetry editor of The Journal. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Southern Humanities Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Pleiades, and elsewhere. She grew up in North Fort Myers, Florida and lives in Columbus, Ohio.

Creative Nonfiction

Bernard Grant is a recent winner of the 2015 Paper Nautilus Press Chapbook Contest. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Stirring, Fiction Southeast, and other journals. He was awarded a 2015 Jack Straw Fellowship and is currently enrolled in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA program.

Betty Jo Buro recently received her MFA in creative nonfiction from Florida International University. Her essays have appeared in Hippocampus Magazine, Cherry Tree, The Lindenwood Review, Sliver of Stone, and Hunger Mountain. She lives and writes in Stuart, Florida.

William Blomstedt is a geographer and a beekeeper. He lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Caroline Swicegood is an American writer and educator living in Turkey. Her fiction has appeared in Fiction Southeast, Upstreet, Prick of the Spindle, and other journals, and her nonfiction has appeared in The Literary Bohemian. She lives with her husband on the Asian side of Istanbul.

Richard LeBlond is a retired biologist living in North Carolina. He has been writing about life experiences, travel to Europe and North Africa in the 1970s, and more recent adventures in eastern Canada and the U.S. West. His essays and photographs have appeared in several U.S. and international journals.

Chris Duggan, a former newspaper journalist, is public relations coordinator at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., where he lives with his two kids. He is a 2012 graduate of Lindenwood’s MFA in Writing program, and his essays and short stories have appeared in Stymie Magazine, Foliate Oak, and the anthology Flash 101: Surviving the Fiction Apocalypse. His story in the latter was also selected for adaptation in Denver’s Stories on Stage project.


Lavinia Roberts is a visual artist, facilitator, activist, and published and award-winning writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She creates masks, puppets, and other objects for live performances. Her work has been produced in Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, and London. She is literary manager for The New Alchemists, a social justice oriented performance collective.

Harry Wilson is a retired professor of Art at Bakersfield College. His photographs have been exhibited and published widely. He has exhibited at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art among others, and he has published in Cerise Press, Rolling Stone, The Sun and Zyzzyva among others. He has been on the brink of a brilliant career for 50 years! He still uses film and a dark room.

Emma Zurer is a Brooklyn-bred artist, performer and educator. She helps to promote the acceptance of clowns and the legacy of Klaus Nomi. Her collages have been exhibited in New York at the SculptureCenter and CULTUREfix Gallery. Emma has performed with the artistcollective Cheryl in nightclubs around New York, including the Museum of Modern Art. She has recently joined the engagement team at the Abrons Arts Center where she also teaches movement and art classes for children. You can view more of Emma’s collage work at

Keep an eye out for our Fall 2015 issue, coming soon!

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