Four prominent New York City poets, Patricia Spears Jones, Lydia Cortes, Sheila Maldonado, and Bakar Wilson share their work and experiences.
Patricia Spears Jones
Spears Jones’s poetry collections include Painkiller (2010), Femme du Monde (2006), The Weather That Kills (1995), and several chapbooks. Her work has been featured in numerous anthologies, including Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (2013), Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days (2010), Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (2009), and Best American Poetry (2000).
A contributing editor at BOMB magazine, Spears Jones has also served as a program coordinator for the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and led the New Works Program for the Massachusetts Council of Arts and Humanities. Her honors include an appointment as senior fellow for the Black Earth Institute, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Art and the New York Community Trust, and residencies at Yaddo, Bread Loaf, the Millay Colony, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
A resident of New York for more than 30 years, Spears Jones has taught at LaGuardia Community College and Queens College CCNY, Parsons, The New School, and the College of New Rochelle. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Lydia Cortes is Williamsburg born Puerto Rican and the author of two collections of poetry: Lust for Lust and Whose Place. Her work appears in The Anthology of Puerto Rican Poetry: From Aboriginal to Contemporary Times; Breaking Ground, Anthology of Puerto Rican Women Writers in New York 1980-2012; Monologues From the Road (a play); Through the Kitchen Window; Teaching With Fire; In Praise of Our Teachers; and in Phati’tude Literary Magazine’s What’s Latin A Nombre? issue. Both her stories and poems have been published in online zines such as Press1. A story will also be published in the near future in Shale, a collection of fiction. She was awarded fellowships at The Valparaiso Artists Retreat in Spain; Virginia Center for The Creative Arts; and at The MacDowell Colony.
Sheila Maldonado is a New York-based artist who was born in Brooklyn, NY. Maldonado is a writer whose work explores the use of image. She authored one-bedroom solo (debut poetry collection), Fly by Night Press (A Gathering of the Tribes) (2011). Her published poems include In the American dream room, Dream Closet (anthology), Secretary Press (2016); At the Uptown Marsh, epic laundry, Ping Pong (journal), Henry Miller Library (2015); documents in disorder, abandoning the cities (again), guards, retiring in the murder capital of the world, In memoriam of the lives lost in the war against humanity (portfolio); The Poetry Mail, Red Laef Foundation, India (2015); great blood, The Quarry, Split This Rock poetry database (2015); and Submit/Resist, A Poet in a Shade of Jade, Hyperallergic (2014).
Her awards and residencies include the CantoMundo Fellowship (2015), the Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses Nomination (2013, 2012), the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance Creative Grant (2013, 2012, 2007), the Cultural Envoy to Honduras, U.S. State Department (2012), the Teachers & Writers Collaborative/Rockefeller Brothers Fund Residency, Pocantico Hills, NY (2011). She received a B.A. in English & American Literature from Brown University and an M.A. in English/Creative Writing (Poetry) from The City College of New York.
Bakar Wilson is a fellow of Cave Canem and an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. He has performed his work at the Bowery Poetry Club, Poetry Project, The Studio Museum of Harlem, and The Asian-American Writer’s Workshop among others. His poetry has appeared in The Vanderbilt Review, Stretching Panties, The Brooklyn Rail, and Flicker and Spark: A Contemporary Queer Anthology. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Bakar received his B.A. in English from Vanderbilt University and his M.A. in Creative Writing from The City College of New York. He is an Adjunct Professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College at CUNY.