Cheryl Buchanan is an attorney who learned the power of storytelling and silence-breaking when she worked for a decade on over 500 cases of childhood sexual abuse in Los Angeles. She has taught in a wide range of university and college classrooms, from law school to undergraduate Communication Studies and Creative Writing, as well as written for a variety of audiences from college texts to network television. She earned her MFA at Emerson College. Cheryl has been the recipient of the Academy of American Poets Prize, the Boston Mayor’s Poetry Prize and the Naugatuck River Review Narrative Poetry Award as well as nominated for a 2016 Pushcart Prize and twice for Best New Poets. She was the recipient of the 2018 National Association for Poetry Therapy’s Social Justice Award and serves as Editor of Writers Without Margins: A Journal of Poetry and ProseFounder / Executive Director / Facilitator
Massiel is a Dominican writer and translator residing in Jamaica Plain. Massiel has published articles for Telemundo Boston, and three short stories, “El Cazador de Ciguapas” (2014), “El Arte de La Pesca” (2016), and “El Simulacro” (2017). In March 2016, Massiel was selected by SIN News Channel as one of the seven most notable Dominican women under 25. The committee sited her literacy activism and critiques of urban Dominican culture through her blog “Yo Soy Bau.” In August 2016, Massiel received an award from Mayor Walsh and the city of Boston for her leadership and academic excellence within the Dominican community in Boston.Facilitator
Evan Jymaal Cutts
Evan Jymaal Cutts is a 22 year-old Boston native. He appreciates Art & Black joy wherever he happens upon it. He believes the key to change is imagination, empathy, and action; that your story is a unique one worth listening to. Evan is a BFA Poetry candidate minoring in Africana Studies at Emerson College. He spent three weeks in South Africa during the summer of 2016 studying the construction of historical narratives, resistance, and art; Evan challenges himself to evaluate the role of these factors in his work and environment. His poetry explores themes of Blackness, magic, Boston, and the relationship between diaspora concepts of home and heritage. He is a 2016 Best of the Net Anthology nominee and his work can be found online at threelinepoetry.org, voicemailpoems.org, mapsforteeth.org, and projectpoetry.org.Facilitator
Caitlin McGill’s essays and flash fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in Blackbird, Crab Orchard Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Short, Fast, and Deadly, The Southeast Review, and elsewhere. She has won a 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award in Literature, a 2016 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarship, and the 2014 Rafael Torch Nonfiction Literary Award. She is working on a memoir in essays, one of which, “Silent Interrogations,” was named a Notable Essay in The Best American Essays 2016. She teaches writing and literature at Emerson College and MCPHS University.Facilitator
Andrew Dunn is a native of Northern Maine, raised on potatoes and politics, who, after studying under Benjamin Friedlander at the University of Maine, somehow ended up an urban dweller. Making his home at the intersection between writing and advocacy, his poetry has been published in UpCountry and Hollow, and he is currently working on (what he describes as) “a children’s book for adults” and the screenplay for a short film.
Development & Communications Director / Facilitator
Max Smith was born and raised in London, England. An aspiring playwright and screenwriter, he currently studies at Emerson College with the aim of creating folk and grunge operas that tackle difficult issues and open social dialogue. Diagnosed with Bipolar I in 2013, Max found writing to be a therapeutic outlet and has since become a strong advocate for those struggling with mental illness and addiction. He reminds himself often that curiosity rarely kills… though it may, occassionally, sting a bit.
Though he’s fairly new to the Boston Poetry scene, Kenny has been writing in one form or another for over nineteen years. Best known for his charismatic and emotional performances, he started off by going to Open Mics that were presented by Hope Inc. and the Haley House. There, Kenny’s poem, “You Don’t Look Like an Addict,” reached viral success with over 100,000 views. He’s also been interviewed by 1410 WBZ’s Bass of Boston and performed during the Community Against Substance Abuse (CASA) Overdose Vigil in Winthrop, as well as Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery’s (MOAR) Recovery Day in Faneuil Hall. He was also the leading force in starting the Addicts In Recovery Movement on Facebook – #AIRMOVEMENT – a platform to give people in-recovery the ability to showcase their talent. His openness to speak about substance abuse and depression has led to opportunities for him to speak in schools, prisons and detoxes across New England, eventually leading to the formation of poetry group, Compassionate Poets, who share their work at Youth Detoxes. They have featured in Boston areas, as well as Bowery Poetry Club in New York City.Facilitator
Susan Donnelly Cheever has been a literature and writing teacher for the past fifteen years in both public and private schools. Currently she is a writing tutor for international students preparing to continue their studies in the United States. As a writer, she writes fiction and poetry book reviews for the Colorado Review, and her own poetry has appeared in the Charles River Review. She has attended the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and is an active member of the Concord Poetry Center.Facilitator
Faith Breisblatt is a social worker and writer who received her masters in social work from Boston University and graduated with a specialization in group work. She currently serves as the Residential Program Director at Step By Step Supportive Services, a non-profit organization which supports adults with mental health diagnoses to live independently and reach their goals. She has facilitated many types of groups at her agency including creative writing, poetry, expressive arts, sobriety and peer support, self-esteem building, and interpersonal skills groups. Faith is also an Instructor at Brookline Adult Education and teaches a found poetry workshop. Her poetry can be seen in Unlost Journal, Found Poetry Review, Scripting Change, Toe Good Poetry, Boston Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere.Facilitator
Zachary Paul is a recovering heroin addict and convicted felon, but don’t judge a book by its cover. After being released from state prison, while in a six-month reentry program, he picked up writing and enjoys it very much as it helps him expand his mind and has been a good outlet to aid in his recovery. Zachary has also served as a Primary Trainer for New England Assisted Dog Services for people with PTSD, special needs, and disabilities; a member of Prison Voices, speaking to high school students; and a Lead Facilitator with the Correctional Recovery Academy addressing drug abuse and violence. Look for him in the documentary, In Their Shoes: Unheard Stories of Reentry and Recovery, due for release in Spring 2019.Assistant Facilitator
Skoot Mosby is a heavy hitting poet. As the Poetry Club president and the face of Roxbury Community College, he has created many sucessful events, such as “No Filter,” “Man vs Police,” and “What That Mouth Do.” Skoot is taking the poetry world by storm with his freestyle abilities on the mic. Skoot has featured at Rapping With The Writers, Comic Con, Roxbury Rocks, Art is Life Itself, Hope Inc, Verbalization, Lizard Lounge, and Stone Soup. In a major addition to his features Skoot has been a 3x Semi finalist and a Finalist for the Lizard Lounge National Slam Team.Facilitator
Kevin McLellan is the author of Hemispheres (Fact-Simile Editions, forthcoming), Ornitheology (The Word Works, 2018), [box] (Letter [r] Press, 2016), Tributary (Barrow Street, 2015), and Round Trip (Seven Kitchens, 2010). He won the 2015 Third Coast Poetry Prize and Gival Press’ 2016 Oscar Wilde Award, and his poems appear in numerous literary journals including American Letters & Commentary, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review, West Branch, Western Humanities Review, and Witness. Kevin lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Olivia Kate Cerrone
Olivia Kate Cerrone’s Pushcart Prize-nominated fiction recently won the Crab Orchard Review’s2016 Jack Dyer Fiction Prize. Her short stories have appeared in various literary journals, including New South, the Berkeley Fiction Review, The MacGuffin, War, Literature and the Arts, JMWW, Word Riot, Quiddity, and Paterson Literary Review. A regular contributor to The Rumpus, she is at work on a novel. She serves as an associate editor for CONSEQUENCE Magazine, and as a writing mentor for the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. She is a member of PEN American Center. Cerrone earned an MFA in fiction from New York University and a BFA from the Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College.
Lauren is a 21-year-old BFA fiction candidate from New York. They’re interested in web design and gender studies so they decided to minor in both. They’ve been passionate about writing since they were in third grade and started out making construction paper picture books about a golden retriever. They are currently interning with Tethered by Letters and have been published in Corridors Magazine, Atlas Magazine, Stork Magazine, and The Luminary.Assistant Facilitator
Amanda is a New England native who earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology and studio art, exploring how the arts could serve as an avenue into oneself and others. She spent several years in Denver, serving as an AmeriCorps member gaining clinical experience working for individuals with developmental disabilities, which lead her to pursue a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and expressive therapy at Lesley University. Amanda has facilitated community groups within a nonprofit serving at-risk youth, worked as a clinical coordinator at a partial hospitalization program, and clinician at a residential treatment facility for women. Ultimately, these experiences helped her develop a therapeutic lens and passion for working with marginalized populations to encourage life expression through hybrid uses of the arts.
Stephen is a 28 year-old Southerner and Bostonian with his eyes set on the future. After participating in some of the Writer’s Without Margins creative writing workshops, he quickly jumped on board and has been involved ever since. As a cast member of the non-profit’s upcoming documentary, In Their Shoes: Unheard Stories of Reentry and Recovery, Stephen plays an additional and unconfined role in the marketing and development of the film, as well as serving in a leadership position supporting all of the workshops and special events related to the larger non-profit.Communications Manager
Kaylee is a graduate of Emerson College who grew up in Frederick, Maryland. While at Emerson, they worked on staff for three literary magazines and interned at Candlewick Press and the Horn Book. They aspire to work in children’s literature and are motivated by the idea that in order to create media for young people, one needs to write alongside them. This motivation led them to pursue youth programming work in various settings, through two AmeriCorps positions and through volunteer work. Most recently, they served and now work in Roxbury at 826 Boston as Volunteer Coordinator. Looking ahead, they are excited to find ways to use their editorial, marketing, and community organizing experience to elevate marginalized voices, especially those of young people.Assistant Facilitator
Our special guest,Walden McGee, is a trained Therapy Animal, registered with Pet Partners, a national organization dedicated to positive human-animal interventions improving the physical, emotional and psychological lives of those it serves. According to the extensive body of research that supports Pet Partners and in alignment with our mission, interactions with animals have been shown to decrease the perception of pain, lower blood pressure, promote care compliance, and minimize anxiety. Walden is available to attend creative writing workshops, accompanied by a certified animal handler, in schools, hospitals, retirements homes, Hospice care facilities, and a variety of complex human services settings.Everyone's Best Friend