Contributors Issue #9 (2024)

Angela Alés, of Andalusian and Lebanese heritage, originally from city of Barranquilla, Colombia, embarked on a transformative journey in 1984, making the United States her new home. With her artistic foundations laid at the prestigious Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in New York City, Alés furthered her commitment to the Arts by earning a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Miami International University of Art and Design. Merging Magic Realism and Surrealism, her art invites viewers into a realm of introspection. Embracing Automatism, she intertwines the conscious and unconscious mind, crafting thought-provoking and deeply personal artwork. Her work can be found across the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Australia.  In her artistic exploration, Alés delves into profound socio-political themes, drawing from her experiences as a Latin American, an immigrant, and a woman. Her visual narratives serve as a reflections of the human condition, inviting viewers to explore identity amid the intricate intersections of culture.  As Angela Alés continues in her artistic journey, her commitment to authenticity and the exploration of the subconscious and shadow aspects of the human experience remains steadfast. Her work stands as a testament to the transformative power of art, inspiring a profound understanding of our shared humanity.

From a young age, Theodore “Teddy” Anganes harbored a fascination with stories and fictional worlds, spurring a great desire to create in any manner possible. His work pulls from a bottomless well of inspirations and fascinations with a deep love for film, music, literature, video games, art, and the unique ways each can tell their stories. His stories often explore the strange, the surreal, the horrifying, and the personal, using the vessel of his characters’ fears and mistakes to better understand the world around us.

Isabella Angelucci

Jonathan Bennett Bonilla is a Professor and Chair of the Humanities Department at Middlesex Community College. They received their PhD in Philosophy and Critical Thought from The European Graduate School, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Warren Wilson College. A chapbook of their poetry, What Matters Who’s Speaking, was published by Delere Press in 2017, and their literary translations appear in various publications. They are a co-organizer for La Guagua Poetry in Translation Festival, hosted by Middlesex Community College, and a translator and editor of La Guagua Poetry Anthology (Loom Press 2017/2018/2019). Their recent work studies politico-poetic practices of convulsive beauty and poetic weapons as forms of anticolonial struggle. They aim to work towards the advancement of a free society in which everyone will be a poet.

earned a PhD in philosophy from The European Graduate School, received his MFA from The Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and is a Professor of Humanities at Middlesex Community College. Bennett Bonilla published a chapbook of poetry with Delere Press (What Matters Who’s Speaking), and he is the editor of several volumes of poetry in translation (La Guagua Poetry Anthology) published by Loom Press.

Kenneth Brown is an alumni from Middlesex Community College with a degree in Engineering Technology who also does art in his spare time. Outside of work he enjoys being outside hiking and being online playing video games with friends.

Conor Burrell is a writer focused on writing both poetry and creative short fiction. He has just started to branch out creatively with his work at Middlesex Community College. Writing has changed the course of his life for the better, and he plans to continue this journey.

Robert Castagna teaches Pictures and Poetry at his local senior center. A photographer and poet, he has received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Photography Fellowship and The Artist’s Resource Trust Grant. An alum of MCC, he is now a student of creative writing at UMass Boston.

Philip Chau plays guitar as part of the MCC Blues Band.

Brianna Correy is a writer and student currently living in Westford, MA. Her passion for writing began in early high school and has been growing ever since. She grew up in a large household with eight brothers and three sisters, often feeling unseen or unheard; therefore, her goal in writing is to give others and sometimes herself a voice.

Micah Descoteaux
plays guitar and sings as part of the MCC Blues Band.

Brian Egan is a creative writing major at Middlesex Community College hailing from Dracut, MA. He primarily writes short horror fiction and poetry and plans on publishing collections of his works very soon. He has two dogs, a garden, and a love for horror and all things writing, as well.

El Engerman is a poet and emerging playwright. They are currently a Creative Writing student at Middlesex Community College with lofty ambitions of continuing their education and becoming a research librarian. El strives to reject form and embrace the fundamental awkwardness of the human experience.

Neal Finnegan plays guitar as part of the MCC Blues Band.

Andrew Hallon

Stacie Hargis is a Professor and Entrepreneurship Program Coordinator at Middlesex Community College. When she is not focused on helping small businesses and advocating for entrepreneurial endeavors as a form of economic justice, you can find her hiking and traveling. She has always had a healthy interest in creative writing, poetry, and art and recently has committed more free time to these pursuits. Her undergraduate degree is a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a focus in Graphic Design.

Lizzy Haynes is a creative writing major at Middlesex Community College. She grew up in Chelmsford and lives in Lowell, MA. Her main goal with her writing is to help give a voice to issues that aren’t spoken about enough

Susan A. Hutchinson began writing seriously after attending online and in-person writing workshops with acclaimed New Mexican author Jimmy Santiago Baca, who she considers her brother in the realm of “putting your heart on the page.”  Susan lives in Shirley, MA, and is often seen outside three seasons a year tending to her gardens and watching the serene unfoldings of nature in her backyard.  She is currently working on a novel about a world traveler and environmental activist named Minkey* and has been informed by a fellow friend and renowned author that “One must suspend all disbelief and know that Minkey is as real as one wants him to be.”  *Minkey is a Tanzanian chimpanzee whose creed is “Live by love, respect, bravery, truth, honesty, humility, and wisdom” (The Seven Grandfather Teachings).

David Kane is that big guy you have probably seen around campus. Prior to being a student at Middlesex Community College, he was just a simple young boy with a crippling anxiety disorder. While writing, David seeks to imbue his work with the rarest and most unspoken topic of all: fun. He is a firm believer that if you can find laughter within each and every day, then you are winning the competition of humanity.

Kelly E. Keough is an adjunct professor at Middlesex Community College teaching for the English department. As a screenwriter, she wrote “Mermaid Tattoo” as a sonnet to be performed as a song in her Family/Animated/Musical feature script, Swish, which placed in the Top 20 of Final Draft’s Big Break Screenwriting Contest in June 2023. She’s adapting her screenplay to a middle-grade fantasy novel and pens a newsletter for creative writers and storytellers called Story Waves on Substack.  Swish story premise: When a rejected 13-year-old wannabe songstress magically swaps bodies with a mischievous mermaid on a mission to save the whales, the teen has only 48 hours before her new fantail is permanent and her old legs are lost for good, only to discover she must find her true voice with the help of the ancient humpbacks to switch back, or she’s stuck as a mermaid forever.

Marc, a Massachusetts native, discovered his love for storytelling and poetry at age seven; his first story was about a group of chickens staging a coup against a chicken coop. He is inspired by Moses Sumney, Adrianne Lenker, Emily Dickinson, Nagarjuna, Jon Kabat-Zinn, and the film Paterson. A soon-to-be pre-med student at UMass Lowell, he aspires to pursue a career in oncology and cancer research, driven by his grandmother’s battle with lung cancer. In the realm of medicine, Marc finds fulfillment in tackling humanity’s most formidable health challenges, aiming to instigate change and bring about incremental benefits that resonate both near and wide: inspired to embody the words of wisdom from Cambodian dancer/incredible human being Prumsodun Ok—”local in character, global in significance.”

Mariah McGee

Paul Melkonian is a writer, student, and Pollard Memorial Library Bookmobile driver living in Lowell. He is currently revising his novel Home Again. Paul earned his first credits at Middlesex Community College in 1980. He returned to MCC in the fall of 2023 and plans to graduate with a Creative Writing Concentration in 2025. When asked about his epic forty-five year educational journey, he replied, simply, “I’m pacing myself.”

Marc Montesanti plays guitar as part of the MCC Blues Band.

Joe Nardoni is an iconoclast, dreamer, activist, poet, professor, step and adoptive father, grandfather five times over, wool-gatherer, vegetable picker, eye popper, egg-dropper, bee-bopper, tree-topper, paint glopper, bottle stopper and floor mopper who once ate French Brie while in Wisconsin; drank California Cabernet on the Left Bank; ate blue ox steak in a diner outside of Elko, Nevada; stole a salmon from a Grizzly Bear; sank Mike Fink’s barge; cut Pecos Bill’s lasso, setting the tornado free; and somehow after that found the time to get poems published in Memoryhouse, The Syzygy Poetry Journal, Blue Heron Review, The Ekphrastic Review, and  the anthology, Vagabonds: An Anthology of the Mad (2016), by Weasel Press. He is one of the faculty founding editors of Dead River Review, whose first issue was released in May, 2016.

Annah Phen grew up in Lowell, Massachusetts. Ever since she was a child her passion was for the arts. It expanded into poetry, visual art, and songwriting. Often her writing is based on personal experiences to soothe her anxieties.  Annah’s eagerness for poetry and songwriting led her to major in Creative Writing. She loves to read and sing to her own rhythm to find her voice in the world. Her goals in life are to be seen and heard for who she is and what she creates.

Jack Richardson is not real; he is a figment of imagination. If you see Jack Richardson, don’t be alarmed; contact the proper channels and it will be taken care of. Remember Jack Richardson is a friend.

Natalie Ryzhova is a young graphic designer who loves art in many forms. Whether sketching on her tablet or crafting 3D models, she finds joy in creating. Learning about graphic design history is one of her passions. In her art, Natalie loves to express her thoughts, beliefs, and cultural influences. She’s always open to learning new things and challenging herself!

Raë Silva (she/they) is a genderqueer writer and filmmaker from Reading, MA. A 2021 graduate from Middlesex Community College, Raë enjoys spending her time writing in many different forms: poems, short stories, songs, and films, to name a few. After MCC, Raë continued her education in Film at Fitchburg State University, where she will be graduating this May 2024. Two of her short films have been in film festivals, and she’s working on another one currently! Raë loves diving into different kinds of art projects — from filmmaking and songwriting to her creative non-fiction book Keeping It Real: Part 1 and her upcoming poetry novel Written in the Stars: Poems for the Soul — she always tries to find a way to stay busy in her creative endeavors.

Rook Skudder

Olivia Steen is an aspiring poet and writer who is graduating this May 2024 from MCC with a degree in Creative Writing.  She has been a full-time student working at a bookstore in Nashua.  Her poetry has previously been published in Dead River Review, where she also served as an editor for Issue #8. 

Katelynn Sullivan is a twenty-year-old, Type One Diabetic writer and artist currently studying at Middlesex Community College. She is an old soul who is just now learning how to get her work out there on the interwebs.

In the gaps between studying as a radiologic technology student, k.r. taylor writes poems about the things she despises, the things she loves, the things leaving her skeptical, and the things leaving her readers uncomfortable. Her poetry can be found in The Weight Journal, Teen Ink, Dead River Review, Ghost City Review, and Lyrical Somerville.

Matthew Tighe is an eighteen-year-old English major with a concentration in creative writing from Lowell MA. Matthew mostly writes poetry focusing on heartbreak and misery, but he also writes fantasy as his main genre in fiction. He is currently in his final semester at Middlesex Community College and is transferring to UMass Amherst in Fall 2024.   

Thomas Swanson

Lucas Vaudo

Layla Walton is a student and poet who was born and raised in Billerica, MA. Laila uses poetry as an escape but also a way to figure out and express her feelings

Jared Waugh is a twenty-three-year-old life-long resident of Massachusetts (give or take five years) currently working towards his Associate Degree with a Creative Writing Concentration at Middlesex Community College. He loves exploring themes of science-fiction, science fantasy, creative nonfiction, and found family in his writing, whether the format be in prose or in comics (he definitely wants to be making more comics than he already is). In his spare time, he enjoys reading, being outdoors, and battling the dragon known as Executive Function Disorder. He is currently based in Fitchburg and can be found trying to figure out the next step.



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