Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts
ISSUE FIVE – Winter/Spring 2015


Jose Angel Araguz, author of three chapbooks including Corpus Christi Octaves (Flutter Press), is a CantoMundo fellow. He has had poems recently in Salamander, RHINO, Hanging Loose and Poet Lore. He is presently pursuing a PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Cincinnati. He runs the poetry blog, The Friday Influence.

Photographing in South Louisiana and New Orleans for over 25 years, Denise Guidry Forbes records people and places rich in Louisiana’s cultural history, such as the disappearing Louisiana wetland, the Louisiana landscape, and local musicians. Her recent exhibits include: the 2013 September Competition, Alexandria Museum of Art; the 2013 Art Melt, Capitol Park Museum, Baton Rouge; and the 2013 Lone Tree Arts Center, Colorado.

John Grey is an Australian born poet recently published in Oyez Review, Rockhurst Review and Spindrift with work upcoming in New Plains Review, Big Muddy Review, Hurricane Review and Louisiana Literature.

Todd Kennedy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages and Literature at Nicholls State University, where he directs the program in Film Studies. Best known for his work on Sofia Coppola, Kennedy has also published academic articles on the films of Julio Medem, Robert Altman, Ang Lee, and Gordon Ball, and on Bob Dylan’s music. His article “‘Off with Hollywood’s Head’: Sofia Coppola as Feminine Auteur” remains on the suggested reading list for both the French and Mexican national cinemeteques. His current book project The Road to Nowhere Leads Everywhere takes an interdisciplinary approach as it explores the trope of the hobo-hero throughout modernity. Kennedy is also the resident film critic for WhatNow magazine.

Steve Lapinsky’s work is forthcoming from Mid-American Review and Poem, and has appeared in such magazines as The Gettysburg Review, The Massachusetts Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and West Branch. He received his MA in poetry from the University of Texas at Austin and his MFA in poetry from Florida State University.

Pushcart-nominee Bruce McRae is a Canadian musician with over 900 publications, including and The North American Review. His first book, The So-Called Sonnets, is available from the Silenced Press website or via Amazon books. To hear his music and view more poems visit ‘TheBruceMcRaeChannel’ on Youtube.

Brent McKnight likes living in Seattle, dogs, and growing beards. He has an MFA from the University of New Orleans, writes about movies for too many outlets to name, and still considers Steven Seagal a viable movie star.

William Miller is a widely-published poet and children’s author. Over two-hundred of his poems have been published by such journals as The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner and Shenandoah. He lives and writes in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Kerry O’Keefe sang blues for a decade, published poems randomly in a wide range of journals, taught writing workshops in Northampton, MA, and helped Jack Gilbert put together the manuscript of REFUSING HEAVEN. She currently sells used cars for a ten billion dollar corporation in Hartford, CT, which she finds nicely supports her life as a poet–on all levels.

Ramona Reeves, a native of Alabama, also has fiction forthcoming in The Southampton Review. She received the 2013 Marg Chandler Fellowship from A Room of Her Own and completed her MFA at New Mexico State University. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.

Benjamin Shields is a high school English teacher in rural Louisiana. He earned an MFA in Fiction from the University of New Orleans, and his stories have appeared in Fiction Southeast, decomP, and Dead Mule.

Ana Silva is 18 years-old and lives in Oxnard, California. Last year, she participated in Poetry Out Loud and recited “First Poem for You” by Kim Addonizio and “Deliberate” by Amy Uyematsu. She is also inspired by the poems of Tupac Shakur.

Judith Skillman is the author of fifteen collections of poetry. Her how to is Broken Lines—The Art & Craft of Poetry, Lummox Press. Poems have appeared in Poetry, FIELD, Seneca Review, The Iowa Review, Southern Review, Pontoon, and other journals and anthologies. Skillman is the recipient of an Eric Mathieu King Fund Award from the Academy of American Poets for Storm, Blue Begonia Press. She has taught at City University, Richard Hugo House, and elsewhere. House of Burnt Offerings is forthcoming from Tebot Bach. Visit

Five-time Pushcart nominee as well as nominee for the Best of the Net Anthology, J.R. Solonche has been publishing in magazines, journals, and anthologies since the early 70s. He is coauthor of Peach Girl: Poems for a Chinese Daughter (Grayson Books) and author of Beautiful Day, forthcoming from Deerbrook Editions in 2015.

Judith Sornberger is the author of one full-length poetry collection, Open Heart (Calyx Books), and five chapbooks, most recently Wal-Mart Orchid, winner of the 2012 Helen Kay Chapbook Prize. The Hard Grammar of Gratitude won the 2010 Tennessee Chapbook Competion. Her other three chapbooks are: Judith Beheading Holofernes (winner of the Talent House Press chapbook contest), Bifocals Barbie: A Midlife Pantheon (Talent House Press), and Bones of Light (Parallel Press). Her prose memoir The Accidental Pilgrim: Finding God and His Mother in Tuscany is forthcoming from Shanti Arts Publications. Her poems and essays have appeared in such journals as Cimarron Review, Still Point Arts Quarterly, Pilgrimage, Calyx, Feminist Studies, Tiferet, The Comstock Review, Prairie Schooner, and, Ekphrasis, and in anthologies such as Claiming the Spirit Within (Beacon Press), Out of Line (Longmire) and Breaking Free: Women of Spirit at Midlife and Beyond (Beacon Press). Her poems have received four nominations for the Pushcart Prize. She recently “graduated” from a college teaching career and lives on the side of a mountain among bears, bobcats, and whitetail deer.

Dante di Stefano’s poetry and essays have appeared recently in The Writer’s Chronicle, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, Shenandoah, Brilliant Corners, The Southern California Review, and elsewhere. He was the winner of the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award, The Ruth Stone Poetry Prize,The Phyllis Smart-Young Prize in Poetry, The Bea Gonzalez Prize in Poetry, and an Academy of American Poets College Prize. He currently serves as a poetry editor for Harpur Palate and he was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Charles Thielman was born and raised in Charleston, S.C., moved to Chicago, was educated at red-bricked universities and on city streets, and has enjoyed working as a social worker, truck driver, city bus driver and enthused bookstore clerk. His poems have been accepted by literary journals such as The Pedestal, Gargoyle, Poetry365, The Criterion [India], Poetry Salzburg [Austria], Gangway, Windfall [Oregon], Muse [India], Battered Suitcase, Poetry Kanto [Japan], Open Road, Poetry Kit and Pastiche [England], Belle Reve, Tiger’s Eye and Rusty Nail.

The author of three books of poetry and a work of creative nonfiction, Natasha Trethewey won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her collection, Native Guard, and served as Poet Laureate of the United States from 2012 to 2014. She is the Robert R. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, and is currently serving as Poet Laureate of Mississippi. The poems in this issue, reprinted from her books, offer a brief retrospective of her work.

Vivian Wagner lives in New Concord, Ohio, where she teaches English at Muskingum University. Her essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Zone 3, The Pinch, Silk Road Review, and other publications, and she is the author of Fiddle: One Woman, Four Strings, and 8,000 Miles of Music.

Ron Wallace is an Oklahoma Native of Choctaw, Cherokee and Osage ancestry and is currently an adjunct professor of English at Southeaster Oklahoma State University He is the author of six volumes of poetry. His work has appeared in Oklahoma Today, Walt’s Corner of The Long Islander, Cross Timbers, Cowboys and Indians Online Magazine, Traveling Music, Sugar Mule, Oklahoma Edge, Grandmother Earth and a number of other journals and anthologies. His books have won the Oklahoma Writer’s Federation Best Book of Poetry three times: I Come from Cowboys… and Indians in 2009, Oklahoma Cantos in 2011 and Hanging the Curveball in 2013. He’s also been a finalist in the Oklahoma Book Awards three times with his first book Native Son in 2007, Oklahoma Cantos in 2011 and Cowboys and Cantos in 2013.

Mathew Woodman teaches composition and literature at California State University, Bakersfield and has had poems appear in recent issues of Two Words For, Catamaran Literary Reader, Fourteen Hills, Cactus Heart, 300 Days of Sun, Blue Lake Review, Cranky, Pacific Review, Prick of the Spindle, and Eternal Haunted Summer.