Kifah Abdulla is a poet, artist, writer, teacher, performer and activist. He was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq. Abdulla spent over eight years as a prisoner of war in Iran and over twenty years as a refugee. He is currently the Arabic teacher at Southern Maine Community College, The Language Exchange in Portland Maine, as well as the Arabic calligraphy teacher at Maine College of Art. His first book of poetry, Dead Still Dream, was published in 2016. He is a member of the Portland Public Art Committee (PPAC), has his own radio show, "Poetry and Music" at WMPG.
Charlotte Agell is an author/illustrator of 14 books for children and young adults. Her latest books (Maybe Tomorrow?, a picture book illustrated by Ana Ramirez, and Mud, Sand, and Snow, a board book illustrated by the author) focus on grief, loss, and the healing power of friendship.
Richard Blanco, the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, is the youngest and the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in that role. Born in Spain to Cuban exile parents, he was raised in Miami. The negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his four collections of poetry: “City of a Hundred Fires,” “Directions to The Beach of the Dead,” “Looking for The Gulf Motel” and his latest book of poems, “How to Love a Country.” His memoir “The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood” won a Lambda Literary Award. “One Today,” his inaugural poem, was published as a children’s book. He has a home in Bethel.
Mia Bogyo received a BFA in K-12 Art Education with a studio concentration in ceramics. Since graduating from USM, she has focused on her studio practice, experimenting with traditional watercolor techniques applied to glazing processes. She has been an art educator in various programs in Southern Maine, and has participated in a number of art service projects, including the East Bayside Community Mosaic Mural.
Ellen Booraem spent 20 years as a Hancock County journalist before she quit her day job to write three fantasies for readers age 10 and older (The Unnameables, Small Persons with Wings, and Texting the Underworld). A fourth book is due out in 2021.