NA. My first question is about the name, CavanKerry. A nice Irish name. Can you tell me how you came up with this name? What it means to you? Is there anything Irish about the press besides the name?
JCH People often ask about the origin of the CavanKerry Press name. It originated with my mother. Her cancer erupted during my earliest days planning for the press, and she seemed energized discussing our progress. Her interest in my writing, which had until then been lukewarm at best, also increased; until then, her pride had focused on my education and my long time career as a psychologist in clinical practice. But when she got sick, she wanted to know about my writing and wanted me to read to her, so during our daily visits, I often read to her from my memoir about the early days of our family. That was a great joy for both of us.
In a conversation about possible names for the press, a friend suggested I name the press for her—Mary’s Press or O’Connor Press or some variation. I liked the idea of honoring her, but I didn’t want to exclude m father, nor did I want to name the press after any one person. Our goals included creating a community, so I wanted a more inclusive name. The combination of Cavan and Kerry, the two counties in Ireland where my parents were born and raised, seemed the most natural way to honor both of them and the two lands that spawned my own writing. Though the name came quickly. I researched the logo endlessly. I wanted a Celtic symbol that would define CavanKerry, so I studied the Book of Kells and settled on the linked circles which represent our core value, equality—separate identities and relatedness, equality of voices—diverse and distinct, equality of artist and audience—speaker and listener.
So, though I never conceived of CavanKerry as an ‘Irish’ press, its name. logo, and sensibilities are: fine writing, individuality, community, and generosity.
NA. You started CKP eleven years ago. What inspired you to start a press? What are the best and worst aspects of being a publisher?
JCH The story of CavanKerry Press begins with my own writing story and is grounded in my study of human behavior and my life as a clinical psychologist. People fascinate me. As do their stories. Each and every one—diverse and unique, public and private. But that doesn’t really explain my need to publish books.
Ever since I started writing, which was in my early 40s, I was acutely aware of the lack of opportunities for new writers, for older writers (youth is venerated in all of the arts—particularly in our culture), for a preference for more intellectual over emotional/psychological poetry which I preferred, wrote and considered most vital. The fact that I am a psychologist as well as a writer and publisher clearly informed this preference--I believe we write to communicate and that the deepest connection between people is emotional. It follows then that it is the work that speaks to/from that intimacy/vulnerability that I would find most gratifying and nourishing. It would certainly be the work I’d most likely turn to if awake in the middle of the night. It was the poetry that I read, loved and wrote. It’s what I longed to publish.
Though my own work and that of so many of my friends had been widely published in literary journals and in most cases were finalists in several major first book competitions, the years passed with none of us winning. I dreamed of starting my own press that would bring out the work of all these gifted writers along with my own and get our shows on the road. Despite my initial success in contests, interest in my work diminished as my fascination with the poem as a visual life in space increased. Once I abandoned the more traditional long line that started and returned to the left margin for a form that flowed from the emotional logic of the voice and used the whole page as canvas to bring this voice to life on the page. Clearly the more inventive I became, the more I reduced my already slim chances of winning a competition. I had stepped over the line. Journal editors remarked on the interesting form that would be a ‘typesetting nightmare’ to publish. Other’s found it too distracting. Clearly, if I was ever to see my poems collected in a book, I would have to publish my own.
Other friends were coming to the same conclusion about their own books. Either bite the bullet and risk castigation by the literary elite for self-publishing or abandon the work to the bottom of a dusty file cabinet. Neither solution was attractive: inviting public criticism or disappearing. Of the two, I chose the first; the latter was unthinkable. I would give myself one more year to find a way to start my own press, but if unsuccessful, I’d publish my book myself despite the fact that my preference had always been to publish other work beside mine. The dilemma was more than personal; it was/is universal. I wanted to create a press that would provide a home for the more personal emotional work I so admired.
My concerns were broadening, crystallizing. Given the paucity of publishing venues for poetry, the absence of opportunities for first book publication (other than those supported by fee for entry competitions), an apparent bias against older writers, as well as one against psychological and emotionally daring work, I dreamed of a press established, first, to provide publishing opportunities for gifted writers under-recognized or rejected by the literary mainstream, and secondly, to create a community of and for writers: a home where writers could share their art and the products of that art with each other and with the greater community of readers. A community of writers and a community or readers: I wanted to do my part to make that happen. My childhood living in a small blue collar community which took on each other’s burdens as their own as well as my early years at The Frost Place Center for Poetry and Arts in Franconia, New Hampshire formed the bedrock of my commitment to a community of writers.
Remarkably, it was my husband, my beloved generous Alan, who made it possible and rescued all of us. As if miraculously, he received an unexpected inheritance and handed it over to me as the seed money that would give birth to CKP. That was in 1999. The rest is history.
Regarding the pluses and minuses of my job as publisher, there are scores of things to love about my work— lots to regret and whine about too—but aside from my head-over-heels giddy delight about our newest baby, The Waiting Room Reader: Stories to Keep You Company (discussed later), the best part of my job besides bringing wonderful work to print is reading manuscripts. I read every one. And we receive hundreds annually.
My favorite pastime when I was a girl was to hide a flashlight under my pillow and read books when I was supposed to be studying history, doing math, sleeping or saying my prayers. Throughout college, I played hooky from every chore, assignment or responsibility by reading books. I’m still doing that—dodging phone calls, bills, grant applications—to read. But now, it’s my job! And I’m stunned and humbled at the abundance of fine poetry manuscripts CKP receives every year. True, they aren’t all engaging or publishable, but remarkably, the majority are. And I hear them—vibrant quirky voices creating, shaping, singing brilliant poems…. These poems deserve readers; readers deserve these poems. It is our loss that we can publish so few. We need is more presses.
And if the pleasure is in the acceptance and publication of wonderful work, the down side is in having to pass on so many deserving manuscripts. When I first started CKP, my goal was to have a broad aesthetic—to publish, not only our own preference in poems (emotionally, psychologically based) but the full range of aesthetics that deserved publication. I quickly learned however that that was an impossible task and that the best we could do was publish diverse voices. Of necessity we narrowed our aesthetic returning to our preferred emotionally psychologically accessible personal stories as is reflected in our tagline: Lives Brought to Life.
NA. . CavanKerry has a different mission from most poetry presses I know. There is lot more emphasis on outreach, for example. Can you talk a little about the CKP mission?
JCH Like the soft place in my heart that’s reserved for FirstBooks and LaurelBooks (discussed later), I have another for our community outreach programs that bring poetry to new audiences. In fact, very early on, when someone asked me for a phrase that would describe CKP, I immediately answered, “a not for profit press that serves both art and community”. And that we do. In fact our community programs are our lifeblood. At the heart of my wish to include the general reader in the poetry banquet, goes back once again to the fact that I was raised in a community that took care of each other—be it building extensions on one another’s houses, minding the children, or organizing a beach patrol to fix up the beach so the kids could swim in safe clean water. It’s natural then for me to want to create that same spirit of connectedness and generosity in CKP.
One such program is GIFTBOOKS which brings fine literature to underserved populations. The idea came from a story I read sometime ago of a man who stood on a corner giving out free poetry books to passers by. This seemed like such a simple way to share poetry with people who might otherwise not be privy to it. Though we don’t quite stand on street corners, we do give liberally; as of August 2011, we’ve donated more than 15,000 books to underserved communities in such places as geriatric centers, shelters, hospitals, correctional facilities, veteran’s homes, schools and underfunded libraries. Requests from interested agencies are welcomed. Operation Support Our Troops, the Widows and Children’s Fund of Police and Firefighters Lost on 9/11 as well as schools and libraries damaged by Katrina are three of our recipient groups.
Another of our outreach programs is PRESENTING POETRY & PROSE which focuses on bringing literary art to people where they live—into their own homes and meeting places. The original Presenting Poetry and Prose was the program that I founded and curated at the John Harms Center for the Arts in Englewood, New Jersey. Though the program was highly successful and desirable from the point of view of the writers who participated and the audience that we were able to attract, the program was not able to sustain itself because we were unable to maintain an audience. It occurred to me at that time that to ask people to come out of their homes to a theatre, nice as it was, to listen to poetry on a weeknight was somewhat unrealistic. People are inundated with time commitments to family, work and rest and have little time (and inclination I believe) to break away to come to hear poetry read. In addition, since most poetry and prose readings take place in libraries and bookstores, they tend to be attended only by those who visit these places. That excludes a large percentage of the reading population. It became clear that we needed to bring the poetry to the audience rather than ask them to come to us.
Thus, CavanKerry brings poetry into people’s neighborhoods and community centers through free readings at hospitals, community centers, churches, schools, synagogues, prisons etc. We do this in two ways. First, we accept requests for free readings from the general reading public/specific groups and work with the individual/social director/librarian to arrange these readings in which CK writers read their own work and that of others. Without any cost to the person or organization requesting it. Usually 2-3 CK writers participate in each readings/discussions. In addition, Presenting Poetry & Prose is an outgrowth of the Giftbooks program in that populations that receive free books are also offered free readings and workshops. These too are sponsored and organized by CK and conducted by CK poets.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, as part of their contractual agreement with CavanKerry, our writers are committed to three free outreach efforts each year while their book is in print; these are over and above any marketing or literary readings/workshops they do. Thus, our writers go out into their own communities and bring their poems and stories to listeners: offering workshops/ readings, mentoring younger writers, visiting infirm writers et al. CavanKerry writers then become the spine of our community outreach. In addition to being excellent writers, each is an excellent teacher and reader. Writers who have published their first book have learned a great deal about the heroic making of poems: they thereby have a great deal to offer students of poetry. Writers are welcome visitors to ailing writers; they make themselves available to go out to read/ & conduct workshops to underserved communities in their geographical area.
The twin to our community of readers is CKP’s commitment to creating a community of writers that would be at least a partial antidote to the isolation and loneliness that we writers often feel. Our goal was to create a community where writers could share their art and the process of making art. Towards that end, we instituted the CKP Writer’s Summit which occurs annually at my home and includes 5 hours of poems, conversation and good food and touches on topics of interest and concern to the writers and to the press. We’ve missed our summit for the past two years and I’m hoping to revive it again this year. To further promote dialogue between our writers, we also instituted the CKP ListServe on line. Additionally, CKP or the writers themselves arrange for readings and events in which they can read together and introduce each other’s work; these are joyful occasions when the poets share their work with each other and a broader audience. We are features at the Bryant Park Reading Room Series each summer, and we’ve established an ongoing semiannual reading series with The NYU Bookstore and will initiate another at Le Poisson Rouge Arts Center also in NYC. We’d be delighted if our writers started reading series in their own communities. CavanKerry writers also participate with CK where we need them—in recommending manuscripts,, writing articles for the CKP newsletter, offering workshops, helping with fund raising and organizing events. More and more we resemble that community we set out to create.
NA. . Most of the books I’ve read by other CKP poets are accessible, sincere, and somewhat autobiographical. Is this a coincidence? Or is there a specific type of book you prefer to publish?
JCH In the beginning and well into our work, I was awed and humbled at the number of worthy manuscripts that were out there without a home. Why hadn’t they found publishers already? How could I refuse such splendid work? As I mentioned earlier, though I set out initially to publish voices that spoke from their emotional and psychological core and in accessible language, I became committed to publishing the best work that came to me—irrespective of aesthetics, head or heart dense or accessible language. And that I did. But the longer we were publishing, the more amazing was the work sent our way. We were and are flooded. Our choices became more difficult.
The down side to this great banquet was that we couldn’t say yes to all the books we believe deserve publication. We had to choose. Therein lies the problem. How would we decide? The logical answer was that we’d need to establish criteria that would help us select the right book for CKP. Initially I resisted; defining a CKP book beyond the expectation of the finest art we could find seemed to fly in the face of our commitment to publish a broad range of aesthetics. This troubled me for a long time. Eventually however, I realized that this was not really a reversal. We did publish and would continue to publish a broad range of aesthetics and delight in invention.
The issue for us was not a narrowing of aesthetics but rather a choice of focus. CKP’s mission has always been to bring attention to the under-recognized and underserved—be it writer or reader. Further, we’ve showcased voices that speak for the individual over the collective. Unique and disparate voices not commonly heard. Recognizing that our niche was small and would probably remain small (I never envisioned CKP as much larger than it is now), we decided to revert to our original plan and honed in on the voices which speak from the primitive emotional/psychological center (also under-recognized and under-represented) that is the root of human behavior and relationships. Along with that refocusing came our return to the music of everyday speech. So often neglected by contemporary poetry in favor of a poetry of ideas and the intellectual life, one’s psychological emotional core is the well from which imagination and inspiration spring. This is critical work and the bridge that connects writers to readers (all audiences—the literary and the general), person to person. It is our common denominator.
This homing in, however, brought with it a new problem which we hadn’t anticipated. It had always been our intention to publish subsequent work of CKP writers. Refocusing though meant that some work, work outside this new frame, would no longer be appropriate for CKP. We would have to say no to some of our own writers. Though turning down any fine manuscript is by far the most difficult part of a publishers job, nothing compared to this. Yet we had no choice. We could only publish 5-6 books a year. During our last open submission period we received hundreds.
Once again we were faced with how small we were/are and how limited our reach. The need remains huge; talented writers are out there by the thousands seeking publishers. We need many more independent presses, particularly those that focus on the unpublished writer. Likewise, where opportunities do not exist, poets need to publish their own books (the process has been simplified by the internet). Many are already doing it; more need to. Writing may well be the only art that stands in judgement of those who produce and sell their own work. In the long run, the vehicle doesn’t really matter; what matters is that the work find its way to its audience.
NA When I first heard of CKP, I heard it described as a press that publishes literature on illness. Could you talk a little about your interest in books on illness?
JCH During our second season we found yet another category of book that we wanted to support, specifically those that dealt openly and honestly with the profound psychological, emotional and physical issues connected to illness. This came to us in the form of Life with Sam by Elizabeth Hutner, a book sent to us by Molly Peacock which recounted the deeply moving story in poems and photos of a woman who lost her 5 year old son to Leukemia. Having spent most of my adult life with serious (though not life threatening) orthopedic problems (I’ve had two spinal fusions and one ankle fusion among several other surgeries), I struggled as a writer with a need to confront the effects of these in my writing and a need to escape them. When I suffered a very serious fall that resulted in a trimalleolar fracture of my left ankle, I avoided the pain in my writing until Molly, my mentor, insisted I confront it. I balked. I didn’t want to appear self-pitying, nor did I want to write what I was convinced no one wanted to hear- yet, as a psychologist, I knew how important it was that I do so.
So much work about illness, including my own, seemed to tackle the problems either glibly and almost cavalierly or stoically and devoid of feeling; all seemed to avoid the emotional pain that of necessity accompanies serious illness. This was/is important and powerful work and very necessary. Readers need poems to help them live with their illnesses. Poems name things for us. Sometimes they name what we feel--what we cannot express on our own. They tell us that we are not alone. The incredibly courageous story of Sam brought to mind the whole array of important works that must be out there that families, caregivers, physicians as well as the ill need. I wanted CavanKerry to claim this work as a major part of our mission. We approached the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for the Advancement of Humanism in Medicine requesting that they partner with us in CavanKerry’s imprint, LaurelBooks, The Literature of Illness and Disability. (The name stems from my mad love affair with trees and a line from one of my poems: Have you noticed/ how the laurel dips down/crawls along the ground/to find the sun/ like any life or body/ that’s known love?) The interface was the Gold Foundation’s concern with the education of young doctor’s in the practice of humanistic medicine and CKP’s interest in exploring a literature of the body and mind that included illness and disability. Since CKP’s focus has always been on poetry that explores the emotional/psycho- logical underpinnings of human experience, it was natural that we would turn to the underrepresented topic of illness and disability. Besides appealing to the general reader—for illness is a reality in all of our lives, the new imprint would serve as clinical ‘tools’ to teach young doctors and medical students the lived’ experience of illness, thereby encouraging greater empathy in them. Literature would do its original work— unveiling and unlayering the authentic experience of the life lived. Fine literature is often a more accurate window into the psyche because the project for the creative artist is to dig as far down as one has to expose the deep belly of the truth. Like all CKP books, LB are finely crafted poetry or prose by writers who have experienced serious illness in their own lives. To date, nine LaurelBooks have been published, gifted and their authors brought to medical students across NY and NJ. LB topics include: cerebral hemorrhage, childhood leukemia, emotional disability, Ewing’s sarcoma, bone marrow transplant, lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, suicide, and schizophrenia. LaurelBooks readings have taken place at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons Narrative Rounds, Gilda’s Club ( for cancer patients and survivors), several times at University of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ, Holy Name Hospital, Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and Columbia University Medical Schools.
Our next project with the Gold Foundation and an extension of our LaurelBooks Program was a book designed for and offered free to patients waiting in doctors’ and hospital waiting rooms. Both committed to patient care—physical and psychological, Gold and CKP were acutely aware of the long hours patients spend in waiting rooms—be it for routine or critical care. Given CKP’s commitment to bring poetry to people where they live, work and receive services and Gold’s commitment to humanistic patient care, there seemed no more deserving a community than the many thousands of patients held captive waiting for medical services. Waiting leads to impatience, anxiety and loneliness and the need for solace and companionship. Once again, the natural choice was literature: a book filled with up-lifting stories—finely written poetry and prose focused on life gifts—-that would help to ease the stress of waiting and remind the patient that he/she was/is not alone. The title: The Waiting Room Reader: Stories to Keep You Company. I approached an anonymous lover of poetry with a generous heart to ask for support and received it. Together with an editorial committee, I edited the book choosing pieces from CKP collections (future editions would include work from open submission) while the Gold Foundation approached doctors/hospitals with whom they had an ongoing relationship to distribute The Reader.
The response from patients, caregivers and medical staff was overwhelmingly positive. Clearly, the success of the project underscored what CKP and Gold had suspected—that there is a great hunger on the part of patients for fine literature to help shorten the wait for medical services. It is gratifying to note that the WRR is answering that need. In just six months, we depleted our supply of 5000 Readers (to 200 + waiting rooms in 28 hospitals in NY, NJ, Ma, Ca). We applied for additional support, reprinted the book and distributed 4500 additional books to medical facilities throughout NJ. We are still receiving requests and once again are coming to the end of our supply. Currently, Volume II is in process with renowned poet/memoirist Rachel Hadas guestst editing poems and short prose pieces submitted through open submission and recommendation. This second volume is due out in late 2012—early 2013. Long range plans include a WRR advisory board, large print and bi- lingual editions, and regional and eventually national distribution. The Reader is also offered for sale through our distributor UPNE and wherever books are sold.
NA. How do you find the writers you publish?
JCH Through OPEN SUBMISSION and RECOMMENDATION. That said, however, irrespective of how highly a book is recommended, for a book to be published by CKP, both editors (myself and Florenz Eisman, the Managing Editor), must agree that the work is both fine art and a natural fit for CKP.
NA What are some of the CKP’s happiest moments? (Feel free to provide links to reviews, photos, announcements, etc.)
JCH The day we received our:
--First book from the printer—Howard Levy’s A Day This Lit
--Our second, third, and fourth books—Karen Chase’s Kazimierz Square, Peggy Penn’s So Close, our anthology Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Robert Frost Place
--Permanent Not For Profit status as a 501C3
--First grant from NJSCA awarded with a Citation of Excellence (awarded to a very small percentage of NJ arts organizations)
--Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Robert Frost Place won the gold award for Poetry Book of the Year from Foreword Magazine
--First NEA grant
--Check to underwrite the Waiting Room Reader, the book in our hands, the overwhelmingly positive response
--publication and launch of Jack Wiler’s posthumous third collection, Divina Is Divina
--Writers are recognized for their splendid work: 3 were featured in Poets and Writers Best Debut Poets. One was also a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Prize and won the Fodder Fellowship from Princeton One won The Witter Brynner Fellowship from US Poet Laureate Donald hall. Another received an NEA fellowship. Several were finalists for Paterson Poetry Prize, over 10 have been gold, silver, bronze winners or finalists in the Foreword Book of the Year Award, a few have been featured readers at the Library of Congress and Folger Library and scores of CKP poems that have been read on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, so many wonderful reviews from such journals as The Harvard Review, Publisher’s Weekly, The Hudson Review, The Literary Review among others.
NA. CKP books are very beautiful. How do you come up with such beautiful book designs?
JCH CavanKerry’s commitment to art extends to the book itself as frame for the poetry. The Book as Art piece. Designing and producing beautiful books is a vital part of our mission. All too often the body of books is shabby and cheaply printed and designed. Always a lover of books, I view them as art objects in and of themselves; therefore, I’ve always longed for visual art and paper that is as fine as is the literary art. The body of the book should be a beautiful and fitting frame for the poetry it showcases. Thus, CK books celebrate the marriage of visual and literary art: design and the written word. And in fact, we have held to this commitment with each book published. In addition, CK writers are actively involved in the design and production of the book along with the publisher and designer.
Writers are invited to submit a piece of art work for their book cover and CK designer and publisher concur and either accept or reject it based on its artistic merit and its appropriateness for the book. If we reject an art piece submitted by the writer, we seek other more appropriate art and then continue to include the writer in the process. The writer is usually presented with 3-4 designs that have been approved by both the designer and publisher and for the most part the author is offered his/her choice. Always interested in furthering the work of all artists and in the synergy between arts, wherever possible CKP book covers also showcase the work of contemporary artists working today.
At the helm of these beautiful designs for the past three years is our designer, Greg Smith, an amazingly talented artist. Before Greg was Peter Cusack, with us for 5 years, and also very talented. Peter is my nephew so I knew his work well and admired it; Greg came to us through recommendation. Both men are inventive and committed to the visual beauty of the book as much as we are, so the marriages work/ed. Very early on I was aware how common our language/standards were for beautiful books and recognized what a great gift that was to me as publisher. I simply love their work and they respect my eye and my ideas; it’s a great pleasure for us to work together.
NA. I’d love to hear a little about your own writing life. What are you currently working on?
JCH Of particular interest to me as a writer and as a publisher and teacher is the evolution of voice. (I’ve written an essay about it, published in 2009 by the Tampa Review entitled “Poems and the Psyche: The Threat of Making Art”). In my poems I strive to recreate the voice on the page—using words as visual arts pieces that when moved out of the traditional line and manipulated according to the flow of the voice –strives to deepen the emotional experience for the reader. My goal is to ‘insist’ that the reader experience the emotion along with the poet.
I’m currently working on a collection of poems about my father. He passed away at 99 ½ two years ago this month. His loss was/is very painful. Interestingly enough, people assume that we needn’t mourn a person who has had such a long, full life. Instead, we should be grateful for the time we had and let the loved one go seemingly without sadness—after all, we had him for so long; we can’t be selfish. The fact is, for me anyway, that it was precisely because he was such a constant presence for my entire life—I was 68 when he died—that the loss has been so monumental. The fact that he remained a vital wise man with a wonderful sense of humor for his entire life kept him s a central force in my life and that of so many others. We enjoyed many long conversations over the years and the poems now are a continuation of those talks. The book will also include several pieces written in his voice—some actually recorded and others from memory.
The other big project for me is a memoir written in the voice of a 13 year old Irish Catholic girl living in the Bronx in 1954 entitled CONFESSIONS OF JOAN THE TALL. It will come out from CKP in 2012-2013.
Before closing this interview, I’d like to take a moment to focus on the CKP staff. There is absolutely no way that CKP would have the full rich life that it does without the splendid efforts of our committed staff: Florenz Eisman, Managing Editor, with me from the beginning—we created this press together; Catherine Breitfeller, our financial director who cares for the fiscal health of CKP and demands that we do the same, Donna Rutkowski, our administrator angel at the gate who takes care of all of us and Teresaa Carson, our development director who spreads the CKP word far and wide. So too our outside contractors—Greg Smith, designer, Baron Wormser, manuscript editor, Bob Weibezahl, press release writer, Dawn Potter, copyeditor, Susan Newman, website designer, and interns Joanne Chin and Jenine Holmes. Most of these people have been with CKP since its inception, others for several years. I could not be more blessed or happy to spend my days tending to CKP alongside such caretaking professionals. They make CKP (and me!) look good.
Joan Cusack Handler, is a poet and prose writer, editor, creative writing teacher and psychologist in clinical practice. Her work has appeared in The Boston Review, The New York Times, Poetry East, Seattle Review, and Southern Humanities Review and has received five Pushcart nominations and awards from The Boston Review. Her first poetry collection, GlOrious, debuted in 2003 and its CD followed in 2007. Her second book of poems is The Red Canoe: Love in Its Making,(2008). She is the editor of The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Robert Frost Place and The Waiting Room Reader: Stories to Keep You Company (CavanKerry). She has served as resident faculty at The Robert Frost Place and co-chair of its Advisory Board. She was a member of the Board of Governors of the Poetry Society of America. Handler has taught creative writing and psychology.
Nin Andrews received her BA from Hamilton College and her MFA from Vermont College. The recipient of two Ohio Arts Council grants, she is the author of several books including The Book of Orgasms, Spontaneous Breasts, Why They Grow Wings, Midlife Crisis with Dick and Jane, Sleeping with Houdini, and Dear Professor, Do You Live in a Vacuum. She also edited Someone Wants to Steal My Name, a book of translations of the French poet, Henri Michaux. Her book, Southern Comfort was published by CavanKerry Press in 2010. Follow Nin's blog here.