Shakira Croce, "Leave It Raw" (Finishing Line Press, 2020)


Like a storm waiting to break over a plain, Shakira Croce pulls at tensions and heartstrings in a debut collection filled with longing, wit, and intelligence. Through masterful imagery, Croce floats between the rural and urban with ease, pulling back the veil to see what lies beneath. These poems do not shy away from looking at life in all its beauty, violence, or complexities because within those boundaries we can begin to understand what it means to be human. As she writes in Homecoming, "It’s about finding/the space/to bring out what’s already/inside you." In Leave It Raw (Finishing Line Press, 2020), Croce makes that space and empties out the heart for all to see.

Shakira Croce’s poetry translations have appeared in Babel magazine, and her poetry has been featured in several literary magazines and journals, including the New Ohio Review, Pilgrimage Press, HIV Here & Now, Transactions, Ducts, pioneertown, Permafrost Magazine, and Shark Reef. She was a featured reader in the Boundless Tales Reading Series, and she was a finalist in the Linda Flowers Literary Award competition.

Croce holds a Bachelor of Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and a Master’s in Public Administration from Pace University. Born in Geneva, New York in 1987, she grew up in Gainesville, Georgia and later studied in Florence, Italy. She currently works in New York City as Assistant Director of Communications and Public Relations at New York’s largest Medicaid Special Needs Health Plan, Amida Care. She lives with her husband, son, and two cats in Brooklyn.

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Athena Dixon

Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Athena Dixon is a poet, essayist, and editor. She is Founder of Linden Avenue Literary Journal, which she launched in 2012. Athena's work has appeared in various publications both online and in print. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, a Best of the Net nominee, a Callaloo fellow, a V.O.N.A. fellow, and a Tin House Workshop attendee. Athena is a member of the Moving Forewards Memoir Writers Collective. She is the author of No God In This Room, a poetry chapbook , originally published by Argus House Press. Her work also appears in The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 2: Black Girl Magic Vol. 2

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