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Hipolito Alvarado born in Guayaquil, in 1929, is a quiet poet whose work reveals a feeling of social commitment and, stylistically, a desire to break down the usual literary genre distinctions. His poetry manifests two diverse interests: one focusing on the day-to-day of ordinary people, filled with the details of quotidian urban life, the other leaning towards an examination of spirituality principally through Indian religions. The literary influences on Alvarado, as on several other poets in this anthology, include James Joyce and e.e. cummings, as forerunners in the search for artistic freedom and especially in the championing of the use of colloquial language. 

His books are: Short Story: La segunda voz (Guayaquil, 1975). Poetry: Más allá del tiempo y las imágenes (Guayaquil, 1996). Short Story Anthologies: Cuento ecuatoriano contemporáneo (Guayaquil, s.f), Nuevos cuentistas del Ecuador (Guayaquil, 1975), Bajo la carpa (Guayaquil, 1981), 40 cuentos ecuatorianos (Guayaquil, 1997), Antología básica del cuento ecuatoriano (Quito, 1998). Read Hipolito Alvarado's work in this issue.

Sefi Atta was born in Lagos, Nigeria. She trained as an accountant in London and began to write while working in New York. Her works have won prizes from Zoetrope, Red Hen Press, the BBC and PEN International. In 2006 she was short listed for the Caine Prize for African Literature and her debut novel, Everything Good Will Come was awarded the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa. It is forthcoming in France, Germany, Spain and Australia this year. Her second novel Swallow and collection of short stories Lawless will be published in April 2008 by Farafina, Nigeria. - Read Sefi Atta's work in this issue.

Jürgen Becker, born in Köln, Germany, in 1932, is the author of over thirty books—novels, story collections, poetry collections, and plays—all published by Germany’s premier publisher, Suhrkamp. He has won numerous prizes in Germany, including the Heinrich Böll Prize, the Uwe Johnson Prize, and the Hermann Lenz Prize, among others.  Read Jürgen Becker's work in this issue.

Fernando Cazón Vera, born in Loja in 1950, is a major figure in artistic circles in Guayaquil. He is active in painting, graphics, theater and poetry. As a member of the generation of the 70s, he reveals in his art a deep sympathy for the marginalized urban poor. His painting is considered neo-expressionist, with evident influences from pop culture and conceptual art. The reflection of his artistic tendencies in his poetry make his style unique in contemporary Ecuadorian letters. Despite a substantial poetic output, most of his poetry has only appeared in marginal and limited editions, or in the form of mixed media constructions, pamphlets, or imbedded in larger visual projects. - Read Fernando Cazón Vera's work in this issue.

Maritza Cino, born in Guayaquil in 1957, Cino’s primary concern is freedom. In her poetry, she struggles against traditional assumptions and modes of expression. This struggle is reflected in stylistic challenges to the norms of grammar and syntax, as well as in her personal questioning of accepted social paradigms. Her poetry can be seen as an act of defiance against the given in the two realms that concern her most, the sexual and the linguistic. 

Her publications are: Poetry: Algo parecido al juego (Guayaquil, 1983), A cinco minutos de la bruma (Guayaquil, 1987), Invenciones del retorno (1992), Entre el juego y la bruma (Guayaquil, 1995). Anthologies: La palabra perdurable (Quito, 1991), Between the Silence of Voices: An Anthology of Contemporary Ecuadorean Women Poets (Quito, 1997), Poesía y cuento ecuatorianos (Cuenca, 1998), Poesía erótica de mujeres: Antología del Ecuador (Quito, 2001). Read Maritza Cino's work in this issue.

Dave Clapper edits SmokeLong Quarterly and writes fiction. His work has appeared in a number of publications, most recently in FRiGG. - Read Dave Clapper's work in this issue.

Wiley Clements lives in Lewisburg, PA, in retirement after a long career, first as a miltary journalist and later as a developer of health maintenance organizations (HMO's). Besides publishing in a good many print journals, anthologies and online magazines he published, in 2004, a collection of poems entitled Yesterday, or Long Ago. Miss McFarland published some of his earliest poems in Senior Scholastic Magazine in 1946 when he was a high school student. He says that “her encouraging remarks started me on a lifetime of versifying.” Read Wiley Clements' work in this issue.

Tsitsi Dangarembga (b. 1959) is a writer and film-maker living in Harare, Zimbabwe.  In l988 she published the first novel in her Tabudzai Trilogy, Nervous Conditions.  Nervous Conditions, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (1989).  The second novel in the trilogy, The Book of Not, was published in 2006.   “Through the Looking Glass” is an excerpt from the third novel in the Triology, Bira.]  She is also a playwright: She No Longer Weeps (pub. 1987), The Lost of the Soil, and The Third One.  She studied film at the She studied at the Deutsche Film und Fernseh Akademie. She wrote the story for Neria, and directed the feature film, Everyone’s Child.  She and her husband, Olaf Koschke, run Nyerai Films.  She also organizes the International Images Film Festival for Women.  Click Here to read the Per Contra Interview with Tsitsi Dangarembga.  Click Here to read Tsitsi Dangarembga's work in this issue.

Stephen Dixon taught fiction at Johns Hopkins University. He published fourteen collections of short fiction and fifteen novels. His most recent novels are Phone Rings (2005), and The End of I (2006) and Meyer (2007). He has received two NEA fiction fellowships, a Guggenheim, a Literature Award from the Academy-Institute of Arts and Letters, an O.Henry Prize, a Stanford University Stegner fellowship, 1964, and the Train Prize (Paris Review).  Read Stephen Dixon's work in this issue.

Okla Elliott, currently an MFA student at Ohio State University, also holds an MA from UNC-Greensboro and has studied at the University of Mannheim, Germany, and at the University of Wrocław, Poland. His non-fiction, poetry, short fiction, and translations have appeared or are forthcoming in Blue Mesa Review, Cold Mountain Review, International Poetry Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Pedestal Magazine, The Rambler, and the Sewanee Theological Review. He is the author of the chapbooks The Mutable Wheel and Lucid Bodies and Other Poems and is co-editor, with Kyle Minor, of The Other Chekhov (forthcoming in 2008).  Read Okla Elliott's work in this issue.

Chris Ellis was born in Brighton, UK in 1959. He has worked as a salesman, a swordsman in historic re-enactments, and a barman. In 2006 he became homeless, and spent most of that winter sleeping in a car park. This did not do much for his health, as he is asthmatic. Eventually, after four months he was given a place in a hostel.  Chris attended a writing project called Write For Life, organized by community publisher QueenSpark Books. It was for those who had experienced homelessness. As a result, he had a publication in their anthology, Roofless.  He also had a poem published on the BBC website No Homes.  In 2007 he attended a second series of workshops, Writing for a Living, and learned about fiction, non-fiction, journalism and writing for radio. At present he still lives in the hostel, but is doing more and more writing, and one day hopes to make a living from it. Read Chris Ellis' work in this issue.


Rhina P. Espaillat, Dominican-born and bilingual, has translated poetry into and out of English and her native Spanish, and composes poems, essays and short stories in both languages. Her seven books and three chapbooks include, most recently, Playing at Stillness, a collection of her poems in English; Agua de dos rios/Water from Two Rivers, bilingual poems and essays; and El olor de la memoria/The Scent of Memory, bilingual short stories. She has won several national awards, including the T. S. Eliot Prize in Poetry, the Richard Wilbur Award, the Oberon Prize, the Frost Foundation's "Tree at My Window" Award, and various prizes from the Poetry Society of America and the New England Poetry Club, as well as a number of honors from the Dominican Ministry of Culture and the City University of New York. Her work appears frequently in literary magazines, anthologies and websites. She lives in Newburyport, MA, where she is active with the Powow River Poets.  Read Rhina P. Espaillat's work in this issue.

Kathy Fish’s stories are published or forthcoming in Quick Fiction, Spork, Denver Quarterly, New South, Storyglossia, Night Train and elsewhere. Her collection of 17 short shorts is featured in a book published by Rose Metal Press entitled "A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness: 4 Chapbooks of Short Fiction by 4 Women.”  Read Kathy Fish's work in this issue.

Anne Frydman is a poet and translator whose original poetry has appeared in a number of literary magazines, as have her translations. Many of her translations of Sergei Dovlatov’s work were published in The New Yorker. She translated Osip Mandelstam: 394 with Jean Valentine. Among her translations from the Russian, OURS: A Russian Family Album, By Sergei Dovlatov was a New York Times Notable Book in 1989. She also translated Dovlatov’s The Compromise, (1983) and At His Side: The Last Years of Isaac Babel, by A. N. Pirozhkova, (with Robert L. Busch) (1996). She was a Fellow in the Columbia University Society of Fellows in the Humanities. She was also on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University.  Read Anne Frydman's work in this issue.


Vanessa Gebbie is a writer, teacher and editor living in the UK. Since her first short story was accepted for publication in 2004, Vanessa’s work has appeared in print in the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, India and Ireland. Her stories have also been published in many online literary journals, translated into Italian and Vietnamese, broadcast on BBC radio and distributed on London Underground.


Her novel-in-progress won a first prize in The Daily Telegraph Novel Competition, 2007. Other successes include winning second prizes in two major short story competitions in the same year: Bridport and Fish, 2007. Vanessa teaches Creative Writing in schools and adult workshops.  She has worked with addicts in rehabilitation facilities and with other marginalised adults. Her work has led to the publication of anthologies of writing by the homeless, refugees and asylum seekers.


She is founder and editor of Tom’s Voice Magazine , an ezine dedicated to writing by those whose lives have been touched by addiction.  Many of Vanessa Gebbie’s award winning stories have been brought together for the first time by Salt Publishing of Cambridge, UK, in her debut collection, Words from a Glass Bubble (March 2008).    Her website is www.vanessagebbie.comRead Vanessa Gebbie's work in this issue.

Paul D. Green Click Here for Biographical Information.  Click Here to read Paul D. Green's work in this issue.


Daniel Hoffman Click Here for Biographical Information.  Click Here to read Daniel Hoffman's work in this issue.

Carlos Eduardo Jaramillo, born in Loja in 1932, is one of the strongest poetic voices in Ecuador, belongs to the same generation as David Ledesma and Fernando Cazón Vera. His work reflects an international perspective, that is, his lyric voice places itself simultaneously abroad and at home, in the present and in the past. Frustration with the political realities of his country and his own life as poet turned lawyer are counter-balanced by deep ties of personal friendship and love. His poetry is characterized by a strong religious dimension, along with an openness to modern pop culture, including the blues, jazz and international cinema.

His books of poetry are: Poetry: Escrito sobre la arena (Quito, 1959), 150 poemas (1961), La trampa (1964), Maneras de vivir y de morir (1965), La noche y los vencidos (1967), El hombre que quemó sus brújulas (Guayaquil, 1970), Las desvelaciones de Jacob (Quito, 1970), Una vez la felicidad (1972), Crónica de la casa, los árboles y el río. Viaje al planeta Eurídice (1973), Perseo ante el espejo (Guayaquil, 1974), La edad del fuego (Guayaquil, 1977), Trafalmadore (Guayaquil, 1977), Veinte años de poesía -1953-1972- (Quito, 1979), Veinte años de poesía (Cuenca, 1985), Blues de la calle Loja (Loja, 1990), Leves canciones sadomasoquistas (Quito, 2000).  Read Carlos Eduardo Jaramillo's work in this issue.

Maxine Kumin. Her 16th book, Still to Mow, was published in September 2007. She is the author of Jack and Other New Poems and a memoir, Inside the Halo and Beyond: Anatomy of a Recovery. Kumin's awards include the Pulitzer and Ruth Lilly Poetry Prizes and the Harvard Arts and Robert Frost Medals. She served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a position now called the Poet Laureate) She and her husband live on a farm in New Hampshire.  Read Maxine Kumin's work in this issue.

Donald Kuspit: Click Here for Biographical Information. Click Here to read Donald Kuspit's work in this issue.

Alexis Levitin: Click Here for Biographical Information. Click Here to read Alexis Levitin's work in this issue.

Fernando Iturburo is a poet, fiction writer, and critic from Guayaquil. He teaches Spanish at Plattsburgh State College in New York. His collections of poetry include Maitines y laúdes, Vastagos, El camino tomado and Contra sí mesmo. Other work includes a collection of stories about a detective, El cholo cepeda, investigador privado, a book of personal essays or cronicas, and a collection of cultural criticism. He is currently working on an anthology of contemporary Ecuadorian poetry, The Ocean and the Forest, with his colleague and co-translator Alexis Levitin.  Read Fernando Iturburu's work in this issue.

Edwin Madrid, born in Quito in 1961, is a cultural activist and prolific writer. Madrid has become one of the internationally recognized offspring of the famous Donoso Pareja literary workshop. He has served as literary editor at the Casa de la Cultura de Quito and is a long-time cultural journalist. His awards include the National Award for Young Poets "Djenana" (1989), the National Award of Ecuadorian Writers of the 90s, and the Poetry Award from the Casa de América in Spain (2004). He is currently Director of Literary Workshops at the Casa de la Cultura, editor of the Revista de Literatura Hispanoamérica, and editor of the Collection of Poetry published by Ediciones de Línea. 

His books of poetry are: !Oh! muerte de pequeños senos de oro (Quito, 1987), Enamorado de un fantasma (Quito, 1991), Celebriedad (Quito, 1992), Caballos e iguanas (Quito, 1993), Tambor sagrado y otros poemas (Quito, 1995), La tentación del otro (Quito, 1995), Puertas abiertas (Quito, 2000). Anthologies: Poesía viva (Bogotá, 1993), La joven poesía hispanoamericana (Buenos Aires, 1995), Antología de la poesía latinoamericana: el turno a la transición (México, 1997); Memorias II Festival de Poesía Eskeletra'98 (Quito, 1998).  Read Edwin Madrid's work in this issue.

Antonios Maltezos has published his fiction at such places as Ink Pot, Night Train, Smokelong Quarterly, The Madhatter’s Review, Mindprints, and Word Riot. He’s a member of the Canadian Writer’s Collective, a blog dealing with literary issues from a Canadian perspective. - Read Antonios Maltezos' work in this issue.

Sonia Manzano, born in Guayaquil in 1947, is one of the strongest female voices in Ecuadorian literature, Sonia Manzano, in both her fiction and poetry, examines with an aggressive irony the limits of machismo, and elaborates on the condition of women, with a combination of forceful self-affirmation and feminist solidarity. Her poetry draws on tradition and the past in its imaginative deconstruction of fundamental Western myths, including the biblical foundational stories behind our modern culture. 

Her books of poetry are: El nudo y el trino (Guayaquil,1972), Casi siempre las tardes (Guayaquil, 1974), La gota en el cráneo (Guayaquil, 1976), La semana que no tiene jueves (Guayaquil, 1978), El ave que todo lo atropella (Guayaquil, 1980), Caja musical con bailarina incluida (Guayaquil, 1984), Carcoma con forma de paloma (Quito, 1986), Full de reinas (Quito, 1991), Patente de corza (Quito, 1997), Ultimo regreso al Edén (Quito, 2006). Her books of fiction are: Y no abras la ventana todavía -zarzuela ligera sin divisiones aparentes (Quito, 1994), Que se quede el infinito sin estrellas (Quito, 2001), Eses fatales (Quito, 2005), El flujo escarlata (Quito, 1999).  Read Sonia Manzano's work in this issue.

Elizabeth McFarland (1922-2005)

While Poetry Editor of The Ladies Home Journal (1948-1961) she published new poems by W. H. Auden, Marianne Moore, Richard Eberhart, Theodore Roethke, Mark Van Doren, Walter De la Mare, and other eminent poets, as well as by such rising younger poets as Maxine Kumin, Adrienne Rich, Donald Hall, Galway Kinnell, Philip Booth, John Updike, et al. She had the LHJ pay the most they ever received for individual poems, and brought their work to up to six million readers, thus influencing popular taste.

Her own romantic, formally conservative poems gain intensity from their reserve and imaginative metaphors; a postumous volume, Over the Summer Water (Orchises Press) appeared in 2008, compiled and with a preface by her husband, former Poet Laureate Daniel Hoffman. Per Contra 10 presents several of McFarland's poems, new poems by four of the poets she published in the LHJ (and one from Scholastic, where she was poetry editor, 1946-1948), and Miriam Kotzin's interview with Hoffman about their marriage and McFarland's work.  Read Elizabeth McFarland's work in this issue.


Jo Nean is a writer and environmentalist living in Brighton on the south coast of England. She has completed an OCN (Open College Network accreditation) and an Undergraduate Certificate in Creative Writing from Brighton City College and University of Sussex, respectively. In 2006 she attended a writing group run by community publishers QueensPark Books, which led to the publication of an autobiographical story in an anthology entitled 'Roofless – Homeless in Brighton'. Since then she has twice been published in The Big Issue 'Streetlights' pages. The Big Issue is a street newspaper published on behalf of and sold by homeless people. Jo now writes regularly for Rocks Magazine, an ecologically minded Brighton based magazine and is currently working on some new fiction and non-fiction for future publication.  Read Jo Nean's work in this issue.


M.G. Piety teaches philosophy at Drexel University. She has published numerous articles on the philosophy of Søren Kierkegaard, as well as on other philosophical subjects, in both scholarly and popular journals. Her work has appeared in The International Kierkegaard Commentary, Faith and Philosophy, Rockhurst Review, ASK (the journal of the College of Arts and Sciences of Drexel University) and the Times Literary Supplement. She is presently translating two books by Kierkegaard for Oxford University Press.  Read M. G. Piety's work in this issue.

Carter Ratcliff is a poet and art critic. He is a contributing editor of Art in America and a member of the editorial board of Sculpture Magazine. Ratcliff's writings have appeared widely in European and American journals and in the publications of museums here and abroad, including the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Guggenheim, NY, and the Royal Academy, London. His awards include the College Art Association's 1987 Frank Jewett Mather Award for Art Criticism, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two national Endowment for the Arts' Art Critics Grants, and a Poets Foundation Grant. He is the author of monographs of John Singer Sargent and Andy Warhol.  His other books on art include The Fate of a Gesture: Jackson Pollock and Postwar American Art and Out of the Box: The Reinvention of Art 1965-1975.  His books of poetry include Fever Coast (1973), Give Me Tomorrow (1983), and Arrivederci, Modernismo (2007).  Read Carter Ratcliff's work in this issue.

Larry Silver: Click Here for Biographical Information. Click Here to read Larry Silver's work in this issue.

David R. Slavitt: Click Here for Biographical Information Click Here to read David R. Slavitt's work in this issue.

R.T. Smith books of poetry include Messenger (LSU, 2001), winner of the Library of Virginia Poetry Prize, and The Hollow Log Lounge (Illinois, 2003), winner of the 2004 Maurice English Prize, The Cardinal Heart, Trespasser, Split the Lark, and Brightwood. A new collection of poetry is forthcoming from the University of Arkansas Press. His collections of short fiction are Faith and Uke Rivers Delivers (LSU 2006). Smith's fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, The Pushcart Prize Anthology and three times in New Stories from the South. has received fellowships from the Alabama State Council for the Arts, the N.E.A., the Virginia Arts Commission and Arts Council. He lives in Rockbridge County, Virginia and has edited Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review since 1995. - Read R.T. Smith's work in this issue.

William Jay Smith has been a major force in American letters for over half a century. He is the author of more than sixty books of poetry, children’s verse, memoirs, and criticism. From 1968 to 1970 he served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (a post now called the Poet Laureate). Two of his thirteen poetry collections were finalists for the National Book Award, and his translations have won awards from the French Academy, the Swedish Academy, and the Hungarian government.

Smith was born in Louisiana in 1918 and brought up at Jefferson Barracks, just south of St. Louis, Missouri. His memoir, Army Brat (1980), which recounts his unusual boyhood as the son of a professional soldier, a clarinetist in the Sixth Infantry Band, was widely acclaimed. Artur Lundkvist of the Swedish Academy said of it: “One would have to go back to the books of Kipling portraying military life seen through a child’s eyes in order to find anything comparable.”

Of Native American (Choctaw) descent, Smith explores his family roots in The Cherokee Lottery (2000), a poetic sequence describing the forced removal of Indian tribes east of the Mississippi. Harold Bloom has found the book to be Smith’s “masterwork: taut, harrowing, eloquent, and profoundly memorable.”

A member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1975 and its former Vice President for Literature, he divides his time between Cummington, Massachusetts and Paris.

His poems in this issue are in Words by the Water to be published in October 2008 by the Johns Hopkins University Press.  Read William Jay Smith's work in this issue.

John Updike has published over 60 books, including novels, collections of short stories, drama, memoirs, essays, poetry, and literary criticism. He received both the National Medal of Art and the National Medal for the Humanities. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Among his other awards are O. Henry Prize, American Book Award, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, a Guggenheim, a Rosenthal Award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, a National Book Award for Fiction, and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  Read John Updike's work in this issue.

Hernan Zúñiga, born in Loja in 1950, is major figure in artistic circles in Guayaquil. He is active in painting, graphics, theater and poetry. As a member of the generation of the 70s, he reveals in his art a deep sympathy for the marginalized urban poor. His painting is considered neo-expressionist, with evident influences from pop culture and conceptual art. The reflection of his artistic tendencies in his poetry makes his style unique in contemporary Ecuadorian letters. Despite a substantial poetic output, most of his poetry has only appeared in marginal and limited editions, or in the form of mixed media constructions, pamphlets, or imbedded in larger visual projects.  Read Hernan Zúñiga's work in this issue.


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Per Contra Contributors, Spring 2008