The first poet we have featured today is Paul David Adkins. Paul David Adkins was born in North Miami, Florida, and lived his formative years in Fort Lauderdale. From there, he attended Mercer University, earning a BA in History, and, later, Washington University, receiving a MFA in Poetry while studying under Donald Finkel, John Morris, and Eric Pankey. Fellow students included Catherine Rankovic, Brad Richard, and Jonathan Smith.
After graduating from Washington University, he joined the US Army, serving for over 21 years. During his enlistment, he toured Korea, Afghanistan, and Iraq on three separate occasions. He earned three Meritorious Service Medals in support of The Tenth Mountain Division.
Upon returning from Afghanistan, he began writing poetry after a twelve-year hiatus in order to process his experiences there and, later, in Iraq. In 2009, he enlisted the assistance of poet Kelli Russell Agodon in order to further polish his artistic endeavors, allowing him to better share his war-related work with a wider audience. With her encouragement, he branched into reviews, fiction, and podcasts. In 2013, poet Sarah Cortez asked him to compose pieces addressing Mexico for an upcoming anthology. La Doña, La Llorona stemmed from Cortez’ inspiration.
He has published three chapbooks: Stick Up (Blood Pudding Press), The Great Crochet Question (Kind of a Hurricane Press), and The Upside Down House (Yellow Jacket Press). He works as a counselor and an adjunct instructor within the SUNY University system, and has taught in a state penitentiary.
He lives with his wife Melanie and children Lily Talitha and Malachi Ray in New York.
Our second poet is Brennan DeFrisco. Brennan DeFrisco is a poet, spoken word artist & educator from the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s been a National Poetry Slam finalist, a runner-up for the Drake University Emerging Writer Award, and Grand Slam Champion of the Oakland Poetry Slam. He’s the author of A Heart With No Scars (Nomadic Press) and has served as Poetry Editor on the masthead of Lunch Ticket. He facilitates writing and performance workshops as a teaching artist through California Poets In The Schools, Bay Area Creative, Writopia Labs, and Poetry Out Loud. His work has been published in Words Dance, jmww journal, Button Poetry, Gemini, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles.