Named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture” by Brooklyn Magazine, Jason Koo is the founder and executive director of Brooklyn Poets and creator of the Bridge. A second-generation Korean American poet, he is the author of the poetry collections More Than Mere Light, America’s Favorite Poem and Man on Extremely Small Island and coeditor of the Brooklyn Poets Anthology. The winner of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center and New York State Writers Institute, he earned his BA in English from Yale, his MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston and his PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is an associate teaching professor of English at Quinnipiac University and lives in Beacon, NY.
r kay (they/them) is a trans poet in Western Massachusetts by way of Brooklyn, Appalachia and other beautiful, strange places. Their work can be found in Copper Nickel, HAD, Catapult, Glass, Yes Poetry, Bedfellows, the West Review, lickety-split and elsewhere. They were also recently selected as a semifinalist for Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Contest. They have a BS in Quantitative Methods in Economics and Math from the University of Tennessee that they put to no use and years of study with mentors such as Jay Desphande, Natalie Eilbert, Shira Erlichman and Angel Nafis (whom they studied with in Catapult’s year-long poetry intensive) that they are grateful for every day.
Mentorship Program Director
Jay Deshpande is the author of Love the Stranger (YesYes Books, 2015), named one of the top debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers, and the chapbooks The Rest of the Body (YesYes Books, 2017) and The Umbrian Sonnets (PANK Books, 2020). A 2018–20 Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and the winner of the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award and Narrative‘s Annual Poetry Contest, he has also received fellowships from Kundiman, Civitella Ranieri, and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. His poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, New Republic and New England Review, among many other places. He is an advisory editor for Northwest Review and writes criticism for Guernica, Pleiades, Kenyon Review and Boston Review. He holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and has taught workshops for Poets House, the Academy of American Poets and Columbia’s MFA program.
Features Editor & Bridge Coordinator
Justin Maki is a writer and editor based in New York City. He studied at the University of Colorado–Boulder and in Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program and has edited books related to global media, humanitarian crisis reporting and the politics of representation in foreign news. After four years as a teacher in Osaka, Japan, he currently works in the NYC bureau of a Japanese news agency. He joined Brooklyn Poets in 2013.
Assistant Manager, 144 Montague St
Sofia Baluyut is a filipinx american poet from Brooklyn, NY. She recently received a Writing Certificate and a BA in American Studies from Wesleyan University, where she was also a senior editor for The Lavender literary magazine. Sofia’s work is published in the Route 9 Anthology and elsewhere. She loves to be by water, and her poetics are often informed by questions of diaspora, grief, queer kinship and the creation of different worlds.
Assistant Manager, 144 Montague St
Bella Blue is a poet and organizer living in LenapeHoking / brooklyn, originally from Huchiun / oakland, california. She is currently wrapping up her degree in global studies with a minor in poetry at the New School, where her research focuses on nuclear colonialism, queer ecologies, abolition, and the usage of poetry in liberation movements. Her poetic work unpacks notions of consumption, land, labor, the nonhuman world and embodiment. From 2018 to 2019, she was the editor-in-chief of Enizagam Literary Journal.
Assistant Manager, 144 Montague St
Caroline Crawford (they/she) is a multimedia artist, writer, and project-person living in Brooklyn after chapters in Northeast Ohio, Tennessee, and London. They earned a BA in English and Psychology from Vanderbilt University, where their work was published in The Vanderbilt Review. Her poetic writing has recently woven together obsessions with geology & mineralogy, fantastical world-building, and tensions between queer and religious identities to explore and celebrate the regenerative life that emerges in affirming spaces.
Assistant Manager, 144 Montague St
Darius Phelps is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is an adjunct professor at CUNY–Queens, Hunter College and Teachers College. An educator, poet, spoken word artist, and activist, Darius writes poems about grief, liberation, emancipation, reflection through the lens of a teacher of color, and experiencing Black boy joy.
Office Manager & Bridge Editor
Jae Eason is from Long Island, New York. Growing up, Brooklyn was the place where they found their space within the poetry community. They graduated with a BA in English literature from Arizona State University, and the desert is where their voice flourished. Their poetry is the study of how everything in the world connects and the spaces that lay in between.
Social Media & Membership Manager
Paula Gil-Ordoñez Gomez is a poet and narrative strategist based in New York City. She graduated from Tufts University, where she majored in international relations and minored in Latinx studies, focusing on human rights. While at Tufts, Paula edited poetry and prose for the Tufts Observer and studied creative writing under Natalie Shapero and Joseph Hurka. She finds joy in being part of creative communities.
Jess Gagne (she/her) is a Montessori educator and poet from Connecticut who is currently living, teaching and writing in Brooklyn. She is working on keeping all her plants alive, mastering the art of the stationary bicycle, reading more nonfiction and writing a poem in time to read at the Brooklyn Poets Yawp open mic each month.
Kayla Schwab (she/her) is a Brooklyn-based poet, copywriter and yoga teacher. She has been attending the Brooklyn Poets Yawp since July 2018, and she has been an active member of Sweet Action Poetry Collective since 2019. Kayla graduated in 2017 from Vassar College, where she received English Department Honors and was the winner of the Deanne Beach Stoneham Prize for Best Original Poetry. Her work has been published in Stone Pacific Zine, Intangible Magazine and Oyedrum, where her poem “Great Expectations” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2021. You can connect with her on Instagram @80smomchic and on Twitter @KaylaAnnSchwab.
Naomi Regina Brenman (she/her) is a writer from Brooklyn. She received her BA in creative writing and religion from Sarah Lawrence College. After writing personal essays for many years, she finds the brevity of poetry exciting. She draws inspiration for her poetry from personal experience with God, mental illness, and dating in New York. Her favorite poetic form is the villanelle. She still lives in Brooklyn with her cat, who is a terror.
Hunter Hodkinson (he/him) is a queer writer and poet living in Brooklyn, NY, after a rural upbringing in Northeast Ohio. His work can be found in Saint Katherine Review, Samfiftyfour, Meat For Tea: The Valley Review and elsewhere. Hunter seeks to uncover truth about his own past by taking trauma and funneling it through the prism of poetry. His inspiration stems from his small-town origins and giving a voice to those muffled by the echo chamber of Appalachia. Hunter likes writing about his grandmother, capitalism and evil rich people on the Upper East Side.
Heather Kim is an MFA candidate of poetry at NYU. She lives in New York.
Hafsa Zulfiqar (she/her) hails from Pakistan and is a recent graduate of Bennington College, where she studied literature and psychology. Her work, which has received the WNDB Walter Grant and a Pushcart nomination, explores Brown identity, dreams, language, liminality and, above all, the notion of home; it can be found or is forthcoming in the Margins, the Offing, Columbia Journal, South Dakota Review, Kissing Dynamite and Anti-Heroin Chic. You can find her on Twitter @HafsaZUnar and @vibingwithabook on Instagram.
Sébastien Bernard is a Turkish poet and fiction writer based in Istanbul. His work appears in Evergreen Review, DIAGRAM, SUSAN/The Journal, KGB Bar Lit, Prelude and Queen Mob’s Teahouse, among other places. He was a 2018 Poets House Emerging Poets Fellow and has also called NYC, Poughkeepsie and Maputo home.
Tarika Chandran is a 20-year-old college student currently taking a break from the college part of her title. Now she spends her time writing for fun and just being a student of the world. A serial procrastinator, yet ever the optimist, she believes that one day her motivational drive will catch up to her love for writing.
Lila Rutishauser is a queer poet born and raised in New York City. She is more eager with every passing day to return to Smith College in person, where she plans to study the mind, movement, creative writing, and Generalized Unemployment Studies™. By day, she works as a nursery school teacher and writes during the rare moments between yogurt spills.
Kyndal Thomas is a Texas-raised, Brooklyn-based poet. She graduated with honors from the creative writing program at Northwestern University, where she received a Faricy Award for Poetry. Her work explores multiraciality, privilege, lineage and intimacy as navigated within the everyday. She works in the literary nonprofit sphere and is passionate about inclusive and accessible creative spaces. In her spare time, you can find her listening to ghost podcasts and attempting to prove to her loved ones that she has, in fact, taught her cat how to play fetch. In the summer of 2019, she was awarded a Brooklyn Poets Fellowship.
Ashna Ali is a Best of the Net–nominated, queer, disabled diasporic Bangladeshi poet and writer raised in Italy and based in Brooklyn. They are the author of the chapbook The Relativity of Living Well (The Operating System, 2021) and the Substack PAIN BABY. Their poetry appears or is forthcoming in the Margins, Sun Dog Lit, Indiana Review, Kajal Mag, Nat Brut and beyond. They hold a PhD in comparative literature from the Graduate Center–CUNY and reside in Kensington with their hairless feline familiar, Kubo Avatar.
Maddy Holden (she/her) is a poetry MFA student at Queens College, City University of New York. She graduated from the University of Vermont in May 2023, where she majored in English with a concentration in writing and minored in Latin American and Caribbean Studies in an effort to combine a love of reading and writing and Spanish language and culture. She is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.
Chloe Johnson is a poet new to Brooklyn by way of Detroit and many other strange places. After spending a very isolate year living in a boathouse on a lake, she is eager to be returned to the city. She is currently preparing applications for her MFA in poetry. Her writings are drawn from personal experiences and attempting to make sense of hard-to-explain emotions. With an astrological chart as crazy as hers, she definitely has a lot of them.
Zoe Perls was born and raised in New Mexico. She now writes, lives, loves and eats in Brooklyn. She was previously the editor-in-chief of Conceptions Southwest. Her interests include local agriculture, fairies and sitting in circles with others.
Jamie Yonker is a writer living in Brooklyn by way of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She finds deep poetic inspiration via Midwestern farming, familial grief, freshwater bodies and her Craigslist dog, Jack.
Molly Zucchet is an artist living in Brooklyn by way of San Diego, California, and a brief time in school in Northeast Ohio. Their poetic work often centers on queerness (broadly defined). Molly is a woodworker and fabricator for a design firm in Greenpoint and works to draw upon varied creative languages like music and the physicality of object-making within their poetry.