Rickey Laurentiis is the author of Boy with Thorn, selected by Terrance Hayes for the 2014 Cave Canem Poetry Prize (University of Pittsburgh Press, Fall 2015). He is the recipient of many honors, including a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and fellowships from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy and the National Endowment for the Arts. His poems appear in Poetry, The New Republic, New York Times, Kenyon Review and Boston Review, among other journals. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, he currently resides in Brooklyn.
Janae Johnson is a spoken word poet, teaching artist, educator, and organizer originally from Sacramento, California. She was a finalist at the 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam Festival and serves as one of the founders and slammasters at The House Slam poetry venue in Boston, MA.
Janae’s work is primarily centered on her love, her sexuality and her blackness. She is the coach and advisor for the Simmons College Speaks Poetry Slam Team and is committed to creating safe artistic spaces for queer people of color. Janae also appreciates black musicals, Stevie Wonder songs and pineapple-based smoothies. She currently resides in Roxbury, MA.