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Author Bios (Spring 2018)

Author Bios

James E. Allman, Jr.’s credentials—degrees in biology and business—qualify him for an altogether different trade. However, he easily tires of the dissected and austerely economized. He is a dabbler with an expensive photography-habit and a poetry-dependency. Nominated for three Pushcart Prizes, his work appears, or is forthcoming, in Black Warrior Review, The Literary Review, Nimrod, Phoebe, Prairie Schooner, Sugar House Review, and Third Coast, among others. He’s written reviews for Rattle as well as other journals, blogs and sundries and is the co-founder of an artist community called Continuum. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his blog to read more of his work.


Laura Arciniega holds an MDiv from Beeson Divinity School. Her work has appeared in Burnt Pine Magazine, Mad Scientist Journal, Rascal Journal, Eastern Iowa Review and Saint Katherine Review. Originally from Southern California, Laura and her husband Dominic Zappia now live in Bayonne, New Jersey with their son. You can find Laura online and on Twitter.


Sarah Davis recently graduated from Taylor University with a degree in journalism, quietly fueled by her love of creative writing. All of her stories are written as worship.


Laurel Eshelman writes from rural Illinois where she works with her husband at Eshelman Pottery. Her chapbook, The Red Mercy, was a semifinalist in the 2014 Palettes and Quills Chapbook Contest and her poems have appeared in Sixfold, The Phoenix Soul, and The Prairie Wind.


Carly Gelsinger lives in California with her husband and two daughters. She holds a master’s in journalism and runs a small business helping people write their stories. Her first book, Once You Go In: A Memoir of Radical Faith, releases in the fall of 2018.


Meredith Stewart Kirkwood’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Eastern Iowa Review, Right Hand Pointing, Atlanta Review, Rock & Sling, Windfall, VoiceCatcher 6, and others. In addition, one of her poems was selected to be republished in the anthology She Holds the Face of the World: 10 Years of VoiceCatcher. She lives in the Lents neighborhood of Portland, Oregon where she co-hosts a reading series at the farmers’ market. Find her on the web.


D.L. Mayfield lives and writes in Portland, OR. Her essays have appeared in publications like Image, Ruminate, Geez, The Rumpus, and Sojourners. Her book Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith (HarperOne) was released in 2016.


Lisa Muir is the author of the short-story collection Taking Down the Moon. She lives at the top of a mountain in Boone, NC, and teaches English at the bottom of the mountain at Wilkes Community College. Her work has also appeared in Affinity: An Anthology, College Literature, and Centennial Review, among others. She looks forward to seeing her novel, Water Pressure, published soon.


Kimberly Ann Priest is the author of White Goat Black Sheep (FLP) and her poetry has appeared in several literary journals including The 3288 Review, Temenos, Borderlands: The Texas Poetry Review, The West Texas Literary Review, Windhover, Ruminate Magazine, and The Berkeley Poetry Review. A recent MFA graduate of New England College, she currently lives in Oklahoma where she is an English Instructor at Oklahoma Baptist University and an editor for the Nimrod International Journal.


Christie Purifoy is a writer and gardener who lives with her family in a Victorian farmhouse in southeastern Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Chicago and is the author of two books, Roots and Sky (Revel, 2016) and Placemaker (Zondervan, coming in 2019).


Jim Richards’ poems have been nominated for Best New Poets, two Pushcart Prizes, and have appeared recently in Sugar House Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, South Carolina Review, Juked, Comstock Review, Cumberland River Review and others. He lives in eastern Idaho’s Snake River valley and has received a fellowship from the Idaho Commission on the Arts. Visit his website.


Courtney O’Banion Smith has been a teacher of literature and writing for more than ten years and a mother of boys for more than five. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in several print and online publications, including Southwestern American Literature, alba, and a featured post on Poetic Asides.


Marjorie Stelmach has published five volumes of poems, most recently Falter (Cascade). Previous volumes include, Bent upon Light and A History of Disappearance (University of Tampa Press) and Without Angels (Mayapple). Her first book, Night Drawings, received the Marianne Moore Prize from Helicon Nine Editions, and a selection of her poems received the first Missouri Biennial Award. A group of her poems received the 2016 Chad Walsh Poetry Prize from The Beloit Poetry Journal. In addition to Relief, individual poems have appeared in American Literary Review, Boulevard, Florida Review, Gettysburg Review, Hudson Review, Image, The Iowa Review, New Letters, Poetry Daily, and Tampa Review, among others.


Jeremiah Webster teaches literature and writing at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals including North American Review, Crab Creek Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Floating Bridge Review, The Midwest Quarterly, REAL, Dappled Things, Rock and Sling, and elsewhere. After So Many Fires (Anchor and Plume, 2017) is his first collection.

Chris Anderson is a professor of English at Oregon State University, a Catholic deacon, and author of a number of books, including poetry and prose.


Susanna Childress has published two books of poetry. A book of essays, titled Extremely Yours, is forthcoming from Awst Press. She lives, teaches, parents, sings, flails, and glows in Holland, MI.


Ben Egerton is a poet and education lecturer from Wellington, New Zealand. He is currently studying for a creative PhD in poetry and theology at the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University of Wellington, where his interests lie in the articulation of faith and experience through contemporary poetry. Ben’s poems, and writing about education, are readable or forthcoming in such as places, among others, as the Times Educational Supplement (UK), The New Zealand Herald (NZ), Cordite Poetry Review (Aus), Turbine | Kapohau (NZ), Swamp (Aus), Eyewear Review (UK) and Landfall (NZ).


Hillary Jo Foreman recently graduated from Taylor University with a degree in English/Creative Writing. In the fall, she will begin working toward her MA in Fiction at Ohio University.


Rachel E. Hicks’ poetry has been published in St. Katherine Review, Off the Coast, Gulf Stream Literary Magazine, Welter, The Penwood Review, Bloodstone Review, and other literary journals. Her poem “Birth of the Girl-Child” won the second-place prize for the Maryland Writers Association 2016 Writing Contest. In addition, online magazines and blogs (e.g., A Life Overseas, antler, Velvet Ashes, Thrive!) have published several of her essays. You can see samples of her work on her website.


Andrew Koenig is a writer living in Chicago, IL. He received his MFA in Creative Writing from Seattle Pacific University and is the associate fiction editor for Saint Katherine Review.


A previous contributor to Relief, Julie L. Moore is the author of four collections of poetry, including Full Worm Moon and Particular Scandals, both published in The Poiema Poetry Series by Cascade books. Moore’s poetry has also appeared in Image, New Ohio Review, Poetry Daily, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Verse Daily. An Associate Professor of English and the Writing Center Director at Taylor University, Moore worships at R.E.A.L. Community Covenant Church, a congregation dedicated to multi-ethnic community and racial reconciliation in Marion, Indiana. You can learn more about her work on her website.


Jeff Newberry is a Professor of English at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia, where I teach in the Writing and Communications program. He serves as an advisory editor for Pegasus, the student-run literary journal. His most recent book is the novel A Stairway to the Sea. He has published a poetry collection and a chapbook. Recently, his writing has appeared in The MacGuffin, Xavier Review, and Mary: A Journal of New Writing, whose editors awarded his essay “Name” the Author’s Prize for that issue.


Jeannie Prinsen lives with her husband, daughter, and son in Kingston, Ontario, where she teaches an online course in essay-writing at Queen’s University. Her poetry has previously appeared at Altarwork and The Bangor Literary Journal. Jeannie’s poems, short stories, and blog posts (at “Little house on the circle” – prinsenhouse.blogspot.ca) mostly explore her interest in faith, personal growth, family, memories, nature, and autism—and her poem “Lakeside, with Jonathan” touches on all these themes. As a parent of two autistic teens, she is increasingly aware of the importance of listening to autistic voices of all kinds.


Suzanne Rhee is a writer and comic artist from Fort Wayne, Indiana. She is an artist resident at Artlink Gallery's 212 Arts Incubator, and is beginning an MFA at Seattle Pacific University.


Tania Runyan is the author of the poetry collections What Will Soon Take Place, Second Sky, A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air, which was awarded Book of the Year by the Conference on Christianity and Literature in 2007. Her guides How to Read a Poem, How to Write a Poem, and How to Write a College Application Essay are used in classrooms across the country. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Image, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Christian Century, Saint Katherine Review, and the Paraclete book Light upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany. She was awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship in 2011.


Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, Jeddie Sophronius is a senior at Western Michigan University, majoring in English with an emphasis in creative writing. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bridge, Watershed Review, Juked, and The Ear. He currently lives in Kalamazoo.


Prasanta Verma was born under an Asian sun, raised in the Appalachian foothills of the deep south, and now lives amidst snow piles in the upper Midwest. She has an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and an MPH from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She is a writer and poet and currently coaches high school students in debate.