Staff

Kim Brown

Kim BrownI've always loved reading literature. It started as a way to escape the chaos of my dysfunctional family. But somewhere along the way, I realized that the stories I read empowered me with courage and determination. Someone understood. I wasn’t alone. It made me want to share my own story in hopes of encouraging others. So I began to write.

My work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Today’s Chicago Woman, Contemporary Fashion, National View (the alumni magazine for National Louis University), Naperville Sun and Pitkin Review. I have also written two novels and several short stories. However, my experience as a speaker and facilitator to women’s groups is what drives my passion for this project. I've always been fascinated by the stories I've heard in the company of other women. Whether anecdotal tales of daily life or heralding examples of strength and courage, they all empower and create a sense of camaraderie.

As women, we need to commune with one another, especially women artists. We understand the various roles a woman must play and what she sacrifices to balance the desires of her heart with the complexity of life. It is through this sharing of experiences that we all grow. Minerva Rising gives me the opportunity to combine my life's mission of championing women with my passion for the arts. Our collective creative energy coming together excites me.
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Emily Shearer

Emily ShearerAs a foreigner in a foreign land, my poems explore themes of home, language, and exploration. My most recent project is a 26-poem sequence about rock-climbing that has everything and nothing at all to do with the sport of rock-climbing! I write poems about Viking gods, wild mustangs and old crows, but of course the poems aren’t really about those things at all. They are about relation and connection. Poetry dwells below the level of our consciousness in that hallowed place where language and what’s-just-beyond-language meet. So much of our existence is spent denying that place or suffocating it. The best of poems bring that place out into the light, rummaging through it, plumbing it to its depths. That place needs to be voiced. It needs to be written, and it needs to be read.

When I read poetry, I look for rare combinations of words, musicality of syntax, the spark of insight and the goose-tingle of recognition that happen in shared, archetypal experiences. I love the gorgeous imagery, cataclysmic observations, and calm and shattering descriptions of worlds natural and ineffably emotional in the poetry of Jane Hirschfield, Naomi Shihab Nye, Lucie Brock-Broido, Paisley Rekdal, Aimee Nezhukumatathil. They achieve an alchemy of language to which I can only aspire.

I am lucky enough to have had my poetry published in the following journals: melancholy hyperbole, Stirring, ROAR, Quail Bell Press, about place journal, literarymama, writing the whirlwind, Mercury Retrograde from Kattywhompus Press, Bear the Pall: Stories and Poems about the Loss of a Parent, Twice Upon a Time Fairy Tale Anthology, and Minerva Rising.

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Lindsey Grudnicki

Lindsey GrudnickiGood stories nourish the spirit. I learned this truth years ago, and it has directed the course of my life ever since. It brought me through university as an English major, took me abroad to Europe for a year to experience first-hand the settings that inspired the classic novels I adore, and now it challenges me to find a place for myself in the world that allows me to immerse myself in literature. I seek out good stories to read and, though this undertaking is still in its infancy, I try my utmost to write them.

I joined the Minerva Rising team in April 2013, and it is truly a blessing to work the exceptional women at the heart of this journal. They have helped me to grow as a reader and editor, but - more importantly – their strength, creativity, and generosity inspires me to explore my potential as a woman and as a writer. These womean have so much to offer, and Minerva Rising is just one outlet through which they can exhibit their talents, share good stories, and encourage women to pursue their dreams. I’m thrilled to join them in their great mission. This work we are engaged in together continues to provide me with creative nourishment and a sense of grounding as I navigate the waters of a literary life.

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Michelle Orr

Michelle OrrI was told that I had to write a bio. Huh? You mean write something about myself? Me? For everyone to read?! Well…that’s just not a good idea. Sure I’m a member of the Minerva Rising team, but that doesn't mean I can write. I contemplated using Sesame Street’s “One of These Things (Is Not Like the Others)” lyrics, except that didn't really get the approval I was hoping for.

Although I’m not the literary talents that my Minerva sisters are, I do bring something to this amazing adventure--a more left-brained approach as the “techie.” My profession has involved a long stint in marketing mixed with quite a bit of information technology, yep, computers and programming. Weird combo, you may be saying to yourself. Yes, I’m fully aware of what an odd combination this is--which I now revel in! I am able to work with people as a “techie” in disguise.

While I’m comforted by the logic of programming and get a certain joy out of following instructions, my life would not be full without a love of the arts as an avid reader, a wannabe hip-hop dancer and an aspiring photographer.

I’m so grateful that I get to bring my unconventional set of talents to Minerva Rising and I hope for a long and fulfilling journey together.

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Mary Beecroft

Mary BeecroftPursuing my love of reading and writing has always been a no-brainer for me. There was a time in college when I played it cool and chose “undecided” as my major so that I could feign a vague interest in something normal. But deep down, I knew “undecided” was just a flimsy mask to hide me from that innocent but uncomfortable question from friends and strangers alike, “But what will you do with creative writing?” All I knew was that I couldn’t not write. Stories were turning in my brain, beating in my heart, flowing in my veins. Pretending to want to do anything outside of the literary world seemed like a betrayal of the very essence of me.

Minerva Rising resonated with me not only from a writer’s standpoint, but from a woman’s standpoint. Growing up with an older brother as my ultimate role model, I allowed some twisted notion to seize my subconsciousness, one that told me I should be ashamed of being a girl. Fast forward through meeting some awesome female friends, reading some fantastic women’s literature, and taking a big dose of that little old thing called maturity, and I now realize how incredibly wrong I was. I am so grateful to be a part of a team that promotes women and their stories, that revels in what it means to be female in all its wonderful variety and complexity.
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Michelle Donfrio

michelle_dAs a long admirer of Minerva Rising, I am thrilled to join the staff as a reader! For me, writing is a form of expression that feels otherworldly. Like all art, when done well, it stirs something within all of us. When I write, it’s my “true” voice. My tongue often stumbles when I try to verbally convey a moment. When I was a shy and slightly awkward child, writing gave me a powerful and confident voice that I didn’t know existed. I leaned upon books and the worlds within their pages. In this manner, I straddled two worlds. I lived in reality, but I made a literary world for myself that was just as palpable.

Reading work for Minerva Rising is a special privilege. I know the journal has given so many other writers a voice, a place to feel at-home, and a forum for social or self-change. Reading beautiful pieces, I’m often left pondering new constructions of language. Certain images linger in my mind. A stark truth strikes my heart. Even if we don’t accept a particular piece, we appreciate all that has been submitted. It means that voices are ringing. There are lives breathing onto the page.

I encourage everyone to try and submit as often as they can, whether to this journal or somewhere else. (Although we’d obviously love to read your work here!) Even if you have not been published before, don’t let that scare you from submitting. We are all on a journey and perhaps it just hasn’t been your time. Trust in what you have to say. Someone is eager to hear it.
When I’m not lapping up every word from the page, I work full-time in Chicago for an advertising company. I attend DePaul University as a student in the Masters of Writing and Publishing program. I was most recently published in the Great Gatsby Anthology by Silver Birch Press.

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Stephanie Passialis

Stephanie Bio PhotoI fell in love with the written word from the moment I learned how to (mis)spell in frankly illegible blue ink. As a young girl with unyielding optimism and self-assuredness, writing was a medium in which I could exude all the bubbling confidence, creativity, and charisma of my eight-year old self and beyond, and I adored learning and pursuing the craft through reading as well as writing of my own. Jump forward to the fickle beginnings of adulthood, and though that unshakably confident girl had begun to fade, my passion for story and the written word remained resolute, and I still see her continuously resurface each and every time I write. Young and still ever-learning in the adolescent stages of my literary career, I revel in the thought of still professing and perfecting my craft as I continue to grow and flourish into this confident, passionate writer.

As an outlet for confidence and creativity, Minerva Rising offers the promise of continued growth as both a young writer as well as a young woman. I am honored to work alongside this group of talented and passionate women as well as to read and learn from the works of our outstanding contributors, to witness the beauty and breadth of their voices, talents, and confidence firsthand.

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Jennifer Weiss

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It is a privilege to be a poetry reader for Minerva Rising Press. I enjoy reading the best writing of emerging and experienced poets and working with such a talented and dedicated team.

After years of practicing law and serving in public office, it is a joy to spend more time reading and writing fiction and poetry and engaging in other creative pursuits. I write poetry to crystallize moments, experiences and feelings that have great meaning for me. Hopefully, my captured epiphanies will resonate with other people, as well.

I am fortunate to have been a finalist in the 2015 Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival Poetry Contest and the 2015 James Applewhite Poetry contest. My work has been accepted for publication in the North Carolina Literary Review, KAKALAK, Minerva Rising, Quatrain.Fish, eno and Parody Poetry.

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