Dima Matta was born in Beirut, Lebanon. She has a BA in English Literature and a Teaching Diploma in Secondary Education from Haigazian University in Beirut, where she earned placement on the President’s List for excellent academic performance and won the title of “Best Poet” in 2008. In 2010, she taught English at the Lebanon Evangelical School and received a Fulbright scholarship in order to attend the Rutgers Newark MFA Program. She has performed in various plays in theaters around Lebanon since 2007 and has taken part in poetry readings, where she shared poems such as “Mother in Gaza,” which was voted “Best Poem of 2009/2010” by the Haigazian University Herald.
Vincent Toro is a Puerto Rican poet, playwright, and director. He was a finalist for the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize (2005) and the Artist Foundation Literary Arts Award (2007), 2nd Prize winner of the Metlife Nuestras Voces Playwriting Award, winner of Global Rhythm Magazine’s Unsigned Artist of the Year Award (2004), and winner of the San Antonio Theater Arts Council’s award for Best Director (2009) for his staging of Suzan Lori Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog.” He was the City of San Antonio’s November 2008 Artist of the Month, and a recipient of an associate artist residency at the Atlantic Center for the Arts (2001). A member of Sandra Cisneros’s Macondo Writers Foundation, Mr. Toro has been published in Coloring Book: An Anthology of Multicultural Poems and Stories, Word is Bond, Issue #2, Rattapallax’ Shortfuse (2004), Paterson Literary Review #35 (2006), Vallum (2007), Bordersenses, and the San Antonio Express News Poetry Page. He was commissioned to create two poems for the Ry Cooder sponsored exhibit, “Chaves Ravine,” by Vincent Valdez, and for “Zoe’s Room,” by John Hernandez, for the San Antonio Museum of Art.
Mark Labowskie was born and raised in Philadelphia and educated by Quakers. He earned a B.A. in English from Columbia University, where he was involved in a lot of theatrical goings-on. Since graduation, he has taught English to middle school students in Seoul, led a wild faction of third-grade boys at a Hasidic yeshiva in Williamsburg, and mentored public high school students in Philadelphia. His writing has appeared in Philadelphia Magazine, Philadelphia Weekly, and Panjeon, the official magazine of one of the foremost Buddhist monasteries in South Korea.