2017 Workshop Leaders
Caits Meissner (Poetry/memoir) is the author of the hybrid poetry book Let It Die Hungry (The Operating System, 2016), and The Letter All Your Friends Have Written You (Well&Often, 2012), co-written with poet Tishon Woolcock. Her work has won multiple awards and fellowships, and is widely published or forthcoming in many literary journals including The Literary Review, Narrative, Adroit, Public Pool, and The Offing. Multidisciplinary by nature, Caits experiments with writing’s relationship to illustrations and sound.”Fresh, honest and loving,” Erykah Badu called Caits’ blend of poetry and music, naming her, “a delicate heart like mine.” With a long history in community arts, Caits currently facilities creative writing in prisons, public school, and at CUNY and The New School University. She is a Spring 2017 MFA candidate at City College of New York.
RICH VILLAR (Poetry) is a writer, performer, editor, activist, and educator originally from Paterson, New Jersey. His first collection of poems, Comprehending Forever, won the Editor’s Choice from the Willow Books Literature Awards in 2013, and it was published by Willow the following year. He is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee for both his prose and his poetry, and his work has been published in several journals, including Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Rattapallax, and Black Renaissance Noire.
He served as a founding director, host, and co-curator for Acentos, a grassroots project fostering the Latino/a voice in American letters. From 2003-2012, through its workshops, panels, reading series, and public programming, Acentos allowed Latino/a poets at all skill levels to connect with multicultural audiences as well as their peers, in the one of the most historic Latino enclaves in the nation, the South Bronx. He has been quoted on Latino/a literature and culture by HBO, The New York Times, and the Daily News. On the radio, he has been heard on WBAI 99.5 FM in New York, and on the long-running NPR newsmagazine “Latino USA.”
Since 2008, he has served as a curator for La Casita at Lincoln Center Out Of Doors, appearing twice as the show’s emcee. He has been a frequent performer, host, and curator at the iconic Nuyorican Poets’ Cafe, and he has contributed poems and performances to various theater spaces, including Actors Stock NYC, and Luna Stage in West Orange, NJ.
Amy Ewing (Fiction) grew up in a small town outside Boston, where her librarian mother instilled a deep love of reading at a young age. Amy moved to New York City in 2000 to study theater at New York University. Unfortunately, her acting career didn’t quite pan out. She worked in restaurants, as an administrative assistant, a nanny, and a sales representative for a wine distributor before the lack of creativity in her life drove her to begin writing.
Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.
Dave Roman (graphic storytelling) is the author/illustrator of the Astronaut Academy series and writer of the graphic novels Teen Boat! and Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery. He has contributed stories to Comics Squad: Recess!, Explorer: The Mystery Boxes, Nursery Rhyme Comics, and Goosebumps Graphix: Slappy’s Tales of Horror. Dave is the co-author of two New York Times bestselling graphic novels, X-Men: Misfits and The Last Airbender: Zuko’s Story. A graduate of the School of Visual Arts, Dave has worked as an editor at Nickelodeon Magazine, and First Second Book’s Science Comics imprint. He lives in Astoria, NY and his latest project is the all-ages webcomic Starbunny, Inc.