By The Seventh Wave

Xu Li, Isaiah Yonah Back-Gaal, dezireé a. brown, and Para Vadhahong

We are thrilled to introduce the four editors-in-chief who will be curating our 2024 Community Anthologies: Xu Li, Isaiah Yonah Back-Gaal, dezireé a. brown, and Para Vadhahong. 

You can read more about our Community Anthologies program here, but in short, it’s a cohort-based storytelling platform that gives TSW’s editorial keys to four community curators to create and publish their own digital anthology on our site. You can also read about how this program came to be in this post here (and the partnership that helped us turn this program into a reality). We are so excited to continue this important work of elevating our communities’ voices. And moreover, we’re thrilled to have Xu, Isaiah, dezireé, and Para at the helm of this year’s anthologies.

What topics did our EICs choose for their anthologies? On Endings, On Queer Family, On Gaming, and On Prayer. We’ll be shining a light on each editor and anthology over the next few weeks, but for now, get to know a little about our EICs below. 

In order of appearance above from left to right:

Xu Li is a writer and educator born in Beijing and raised in southeast Michigan. She received her MFA in poetry at Arizona State University (‘23) and was a recipient of the 2023 Kathryn Blair Swarthout Fellowship. She previously served as the poetry editor for Hayden’s Ferry Review, and alongside writing, has taught and mentored K-12 and university students in literature, composition, and creative writing. She is currently based in Los Angeles.

Isaiah Yonah Back-Gaal is a poet, editor, drag queen, Dua Lipa stan, climate organizer, Bundist, and Junior Bake Off enthusiast. Isaiah received an MFA from The Ohio State University, where they served as Managing Editor for The Journal and was an Abolition and Freedom Dreams fellow, leading poetry workshops for community organizers and activists. Their writing can be found in or is forthcoming in Copper Nickel, MAYDAY, Foglifter, Cleveland Review of Books, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets.

dezireé a. brown (they/he) is a Black queer nonbinary Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, scholar, and sjw, born and raised in Flint, MI. They are the winner of the Betty Stuart Smith Award from the University of Illinois Chicago, where they received a Ph.D. in English with concentrations in Black Studies and Gender & Women’s Studies. They received an MFA from Northern Michigan University and were also a Quarterfinalist in the 5th Annual Screencraft Screenwriting Fellowship, often claiming to have been born with a poem written across their chest. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in wildness, Four Way Review, Foglifter Journal, Obsidian, and the anthology A Garden of Black Joy: Global Poetry from the Edges of Liberation and Living, among others.

Para Vadhahong is a Thai diaspora poet and artist.  Their writing can be spotted in Salt Hill Journal, The Hyacinth Review, Lover’s Eye Press, Ice Lolly Review, fifth wheel press, DVAN, Sine Theta, Honey Literary, and others. They are the winner of Salt Hill Journal’s Arthur Flowers Flash Fiction Prize (2022), the Lex Allen Literary Festival’s Fiction Prize (2023), Hollins University’s Nancy Thorp Poetry Prize (2023), and Palette Poetry’s Sappho Prize for Women Poets (2023). They are a CNF reader for Atlas and Alice and a past editor for Gravel and Cargoes at Hollins University.


Submissions are open until July 18. You can find more information about submitting on our FAQ page here. To submit, please visit our Submittable page here

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