Danielle Paige Williams is a first-year poet in the MFA program at George Mason University. Hailing from Columbia, SC, Danielle strives to write poetry that gives a voice to unrepresented cultures. She has a passion for understanding and connecting with the past and makes it a point to expand on the many different narratives and experiences of her own cultures. Prior to George Mason, she attended Elon University where she earned her BA in arts administration with a double minor in music and creative writing. She currently serves as an editorial intern for Poetry Daily and as a reader for So to Speak. After nearly thirteen years, Danielle plans to travel back to her home in the Mariana Islands, where she will visit Guam, Saipan, Tinian, and Rota, to write poetry that breathes life into the untold narratives of the Chamorro, focusing on and celebrating the education and reinforcement of its rich culture. While there, she will also be expanding upon her translations of Chamorrita Songs, ancient Chamorro folk songs that served as a poetry debate, or spoken word battle amongst tribes, and hopes to breathe new life in a tradition that dates back as early as the 17th century.
Melissa Wade is a fiction writer in George Mason University's Creative Writing MFA program. Feeling like a journeyer at heart, she values the importance of place in her work; from her childhood spent on a self-sustaining farm in PA, she moved to the city of Baltimore, earned her BA in English and Secondary Education, and then took a job teaching high school in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. She spent last summer hiking the PCT in California. Currently, beyond tutoring at the GMU Writing Center, Melissa runs her own photography company and writes narrative nonfiction and short stories. She hopes to use photography in her proposed novel, which centers on the travels of two brothers, one who is seeking to end his life with the support of a death-with-dignity organization in Switzerland. Before making it to Zurich, Melissa plans to investigate the healing waters of Lourdes and the sacred sites of Paris, all to research choices made by those nearing the end of life.
Lisa DesRochers-Short is an artist born and raised in rural Maine. She received her BA in English from the University of Maine at Orono and is the upcoming Poetry Thesis Fellow for 2019-2020 at George Mason University. She is currently a reader with So to Speak and WEND. Her work has appeared in Permafrost, Common Ground Review, Breakwater Review,and others. Lisa will be primarily traveling to Montreal to translate the poems of the great 20th French-Canadian poet Alfred DesRochers, who is a relative of hers. Lisa’s family first arrived on Canadian shores in 1647, and she will also write an essay on her maiden name DesRochers, “of the large rocks” in French, while visiting Mont-Orford National Park in Quebec, a place possibly associated with her family history.