Jerri Hardesty lives in the woods of Alabama with husband, Kirk, also a writer. They run the nonprofit organization, NewDawnUnlimited, Inc., dedicated to poetry publishing, production, performance, promotion, preservation, and education.
She attended the University of Montevallo (BS, MA), where she was also briefly an adjunct professor. Jerri has won more than 1600 awards and titles in both written and spoken word/performance poetry and has had almost 500 poems published. She was the 2009 ASPS Poet of the Year.
2nd Vice-President (contests)
Dargan M. Ware is a poet and attorney who was an over-the-road truck driver until he decided to go to law school at 35. A friend once described him as a “high-functioning drifter,” and he has been unable to come up with a better description. He practices consumer protection law, trying to fight the good fight for regular folks against big corporations. He lives in Birmingham, Alabama with his wife Kristi and their 15-year-old triplets, where he enjoys trivia, cooking, and attempting to get a turn on the computer. He is the author of two novels, The Legend of Colgan Toomey and the forthcoming Old Soldiers Never Die, and has published poetry in The Wild Word, Cagibi Lit, and Artefact Nouveau.
Dr. Jessica Temple
Jessica Temple earned her PhD in poetry from Georgia State University and currently teaches at Alabama A&M University. She attended the 2019 Sewanee Writers' Conference as a contributing participant in poetry and was Alabama State Poetry Society's 2019 Poet of the Year. Her work has recently appeared in Thema; Crab Orchard Review; Aesthetica; Blast Furnace; Canyon Voices; and Stone, River, Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems from Negative Capability Press, among others. She is the author of two poetry collections, Seamless and Other Legends (Finishing Line Press, 2013) and Daughters of Bone (Madville Press, 2021). Find out more at jessicatemple.com.
Urainah Glidewell has been writing poetry since she was a child. Her first published collection, “Cluttered Thoughts,” is a compilation of poetry written from the age of 13 until the age of 21. As a part of Writers Anonymous and ASPS, Urainah has extended her writing and won several poetry awards over the past seven years.
She was appointed as the Pell City Chamber of Commerce Executive Director in December 2019. She was previously Content Manager with the St. Clair News-Aegis. She was in that role since June 2017, but wrote freelance articles for the paper for over a year.
She has served as President of The Heart of Pell City for the past four years, a non-profit organization formed to support local small businesses, local non-profit groups, and to revitalize and raise awareness about Historic Downtown Pell City.
She also serves on the Pell City Public Library Board as Vice-President, is a member of the Friends of the Animal Control Center Board that helps promote fundraising and adoption efforts of the Pell City Animal Control Center, and has served on the CEPA Advisory Board, volunteering for different events at the center. She is also co-chair of the Pell City Historical Committee which is pursuing efforts to continue the preservation and education of the community in Pell City history.
Urainah has lived in Pell City since 2000 and has three children.
Alicia Clavell McCall
Alicia Clavell McCall serves as founder/publisher of the electronic publication Southern Women’s Review. She has two decades of experience in magazine publication and currently serves as an instructor and co-coordinator of the UAB Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop for high school students. Clavell McCall is a former Hackney Award winner, and she has published in venues such as Red Truck Review, Light Journal, and Birmingham Arts Journal. Email her at email@example.com.
Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and lives in Birmingham, Alabama with her partner and several intense mammals. Recent books include a creative nonfiction chapbook, Ribald (Bull City Press Inch Series, Nov. 2020). Her poetry collection, dor, won the Wandering Aengus Press Prize and is forthcoming in July 2021. Alina's writing can be found in diverse journals, including Prairie Schooner, North American Review, FLOCK, Southern Humanities Review, Crab Creek Review, Virga, and others. She serves as Poetry Editor for Pidgeonholes, Poetry Editor for Random Sample Review, Poetry Reviewer for Up the Staircase Quarterly, and Co-Director of PEN America's Birmingham Chapter. She was nominated for 5 Pushcart Prizes by various journals in 2019. A finalist for the 2019 Kurt Brown AWP Prize, Alina won the 2019 River Heron Poetry Prize. She still can't believe (or deserve) any of this. More online at www.alinastefanescuwriter.com.
1st Vice President (Events)
Dr. Allen Berry is a 2013 graduate of the Center for Writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. He is the author of the poetry collection Travel for Agoraphobics, the Chapbooks Distractions and Illusions and Sitting up With the Dead, and the upcoming collection The Hunger Strategy from New Plains Press.
In 2001, he founded the Limestone Dust Poetry Festival and served as president of its board of directors until 2009. He currently lives in Huntsville, AL where he teaches Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing at Calhoun Community College.
Rita Aiken Moritz
Muse Messenger Co-Editor
Rita Moritz is a writer, poet, blogger, editor, and inspirational speaker who often speaks at churches, civic groups, and ladies’ conferences. She is also the founder and president of Writers Anonymous, a local group of creative poets. Rita was selected as the ASPS's 2017 Poet of the Year. Rita and WA have organized the Mid-Winter Writer’s Conference held in Pell City for the past four years. Rita is the fearless leader, the perpetual cheerleader, the gentle guide, and tenacious teacher of this inspired group. She says that: “I love words and the people who write them. I consider it a privilege to be able to encourage them and be a part of their success.”
Rita is the author of Precious Poems: A Journey of Hope which was published in 2013. She has also been published in Educational Leadership, Indeed magazine, and Open Windows, and has won numerous awards for her poetry. She published her second book, So You Love a Prodigal in 2017. Rita also is a regular contributor to the St. Clair News Aegis.
Webmaster (reluctant) :)
Steven Gillis a retired library director His undergraduate degree is in English with a Creative Writing Minor from the University of Alabama where he studied poetry under Thomas Rabbitt. He earned his Masters in Library and Information Science in 2005 and has served as President of the Alabama Chapter of the National Library Honor Society, Beta Phi Mu.
Steven has published multiple poems in literary journals and served as chief judge for the Island Wide Poetry Contest for lower Baldwin County for over 7 years.
His principle joy in verse is new formalism, the sounds and stresses and how form can bring these out in a poet's work especially when reading aloud.