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Tofu Ink Arts Press Volume 5 Contributors


Ignatius Valentine Aloysius earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Northwestern University, where he won the distinguished thesis award for fiction. He teaches as an adjunct lecturer at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and in the Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). Ignatius is the author of the literary novel Fishhead. Republic of Want (Tortoise Books, Chicago), and his writing has appeared in Tofu Ink Arts Press, Third Coast Review, TriQuarterly, The Rumpus, Newcity, The Extraordinary Project, among others. He was a 2020-21 Creative Writing Fellow for the Ludington Writers Board and the Ludington Area Center for the Arts in Michigan. Ignatius is co-curator of the popular reading series, Sunday Salon Chicago. He also sits on the curatorial and diversity boards at Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. @ignatius2u /


Abol Bahadori has actively shown his work in the UK, Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia. His first major solo show was in PEPCO Edison Place Gallery in DC with more than 85 paintings on display (2011), later in Aron Gallery, DC (2012) and DESI Gallery Arlington, VA (2013). His works are regularly selected and awarded by the Art League Gallery, Alexandria, VA, with a solo show in 2021. He also routinely been juried in for Washington DC’s most anticipated art event; The Washington Project for Arts (WPA) Auction Gala.  He has worked in various creative fields throughout his career. As a fabric designer, graphic designer, art director, and currently creative consultant, he’s solely relied on fine arts and his continuous painting process as a source of inspiration. As well as a foundation for his professional life, painting is also his livelihood.  He considers himself more of a colorist. For Abol color is everything. Color comes before shape and form. It creates space, dimension, and—most importantly—feelings.

Charlie Becker is a retired speech pathologist who now studies and writes poetry with the Community Literature Initiative in Los Angeles. He also has helped bring poetry to under-served high school students through the Living Writers Series and L.A. Unified School District. Charlie's first book of poetry and drawings, Friends My Poems Gave Me, was published by World Stage Press in 2016. He has also had poems published by Passager Journal, Comstock Review, The Dandelion Review, and Silver Pinion. Charlie lives with his partner, Aubry, in Laguna Woods, California.


Gordon Blitz at as a child was called a sissy, girlie, fag, queer, and homo. Getting towel whipped, stomach punched and spit on were part of his world. His father, who died after Gordon’s Bar Mitzvah, berated him with shouts of “Walk straight.” Gordon never found his writer’s voice until he retired in 2017 from forty years of accounting and became a passionate writing machine. During 2020, Gordon had published work in Whoa Nelly Press, Wingless Dreamer, Two Hawks Quarterly, the Santa Monica College Journals Chronicles and On Going Moments, and Gay Wicked Ways. In 2021 his best-selling novel “Shipped Off” was published and is also available as an audiobook. On February 2022, his second novel “Fathers and Other Strangers” was published. Ten of his autobiographical stories are available on the Queer Slam Episode 21, podcast called “Just Gordon.” Gordon has been a member of the oldest LGBTQ synagogue in the world Beth Chayim Chadishim since 1990. blog URL is:

Hayley Mitchell Haugen holds a Ph.D. in 20th Century American Literature from Ohio University and an MFA in poetry from the University of Washington. She is currently Professor of English at Ohio University Southern, where she teaches courses in composition, American literature, and creative writing. Her chapbook What the Grimm Girl Looks Forward To appears from Finishing Line Press (2016), and poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Rattle, Slant, Spillway, Chiron Review, Verse Virtual, and many other journals. Light & Shadow, Shadow & Light from Main Street Rag Publishing Company (2018) is her first full-length collection. The Blue Wife Poems is forthcoming from Kelsay books in 2022. She edits and publishes Sheila-Na-Gig online and Sheila-Na-Gig Editions.


Jones Irwin teaches Philosophy and Education in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. His vision is of a postmodern existentialist, with a dash of noir mixed in with a progressivist ethic.  He has been featured before in Tofu Ink.


Brian L. Jacobs is a poet and editor of Tofu Ink Arts Press. Brian grew up in Southern California and has been teaching GATE English and Humanities for thirty one years in both K-12 and college settings. He lives in Pasadena and has been married for 17 years to Thye, a Professor of Nursing and a Nurse Practitioner. Both Thye and Brian are currently PhD candidates and will finish this year. Brian was the assistant to the Poet's Allen Ginsberg and Julie Patton while studying at Naropa. During this time he also on a peace pilgrimage with Buddhist monks commemorating WWII walking through Europe, the Middle East and India. Brian is also a three time Fulbright Scholar, which has allowed him to study in Brazil, where he studied its water issues; China, where he studied its vast 10,000 year history; and Japan, spending time to participate in a case study in one of its small towns near the Japanese Alps. He had also earned a National Endowment of Humanities grant to China, studying its philosophies and histories, a Fund For Teachers grant visiting South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho, plus earning other various grants that have taken him to places all over in the United States. He also taught teachers at a university in Fuzhou, China for five summers under grants from SABEH. Subsequently he has earned an Earthwatch grant to the rainforest of Ecuador, to study climate change and caterpillars and he recently earned another Earthwatch Senior Fellow Grant to teach teachers in Acadia, Maine studying climate change and crabs. Brian has been to 110 countries and had visited all 50 states, practices Yoga and is a proud vegan. Brian's poetry has been published in several publications including, Shiela-Na-Gig, the Crank, The South Florida Florida Poetry Journal, Progenitor Art and Literary Journal, GRIFFEL, Foxtail, Rip Rap, The Bangalore Review, Sunspot Lit, Anthropod, Pa'Lante, Dark Moon Lilith Press, Black Tape Press, Genre, Inky Blue/Celery, Red Dancefloor Press, Entelechy, 1844 Pine Street, Pasta Poetics, Trouble and Praxis. 


Queen Kimberly Jae is an award-winning Slam Poet ranking in the top 30 slam poets in the world by PSI in 2018.  In 2019, she had a stroke, rendering her disabled. She developed a language-based disability called Aphasia, which affects her ability to speak, read and write. Undaunted, she has since won multiple fellowships, competitions and have been published.  Forthcoming publications include In Between Spaces: An Anthology of Disabled Writers(November 2022, Stillhouse Press) and Tupelo Quarterly.



Cynthia Kerby is a visual artist, former design professor, jewelry designer, curator, and co-founder of True Ideas, a design studio in Evanston, Illinois. Her visual art has been included 

in ArtPrize, and shown at the Evanston Art Center and Noyes Cultural Arts Center, at Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, at White Bear Center for the Arts in Minnesota and in the Valade Family Gallery at the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education, in Detroit, to name a few. She has curated exhibitions at The Westchester Children’s Museum in New York and at Space 900 in Evanston. Cynthia’s conceptual Coronavirus mask was included in the Port Townsend Wearable Art Exhibition. She was a featured artist in (Re) An Ideas Journal in New York and also a recipient of a Ragdale Foundation Artist Residency in Lake Forest, Illinois. Cynthia earned her MFA in Visual Communication from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. As a visual artist she shows familiar objects in unfamiliar ways and makes observations of life’s frailties or uncertainties through a lens of personal awareness and curiosity. Her focus is to create work that facilitates change in human behavior and the role she plays in promoting public awareness towards action.


Karin Falcone Krieger writes poetics, stories, essays, reviews and articles which can be seen in Tupelo Quarterly, The Laurel Review, BlazeVOX and Contingent Magazine. She taught freshman composition as an adjunct instructor from 1999-2019, and holds an MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. Her other projects can be seen at


Claire Lawrence is a storyteller and visual artist living in British Columbia, Canada. She has been published in Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Greece and India. Claire’s stories have appeared in numerous publications including: Geist, Litro, Ravensperch, Brilliant Flash Fiction. She was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. Her artwork has appeared in Inverted Syntax, A3 Review, Black Lion Journal, Esthetic Apostle, and Haunted to name a few. She was nominated for Best of the Net (artwork) 2021-2022. Her goal is to write, create and publish in all genres, and not inhale too much paint.


Amy Lerman, a native Floridian, lives (via the Midwest ) with her husband and cats in Arizona and is English Faculty at Mesa Community College. Her poems have appeared in Radar, Rattle, Slippery Elm, Smartish Pace, Euphony, and other publications.


Brendan Lorber is a writer, visual artist, and teacher. He is the author of If this is paradise why are we still driving? (subpress, 2018) and several chapbooks, most recently Unfixed Elegy and Other Poems. He’s had work in The American Poetry Review, Brooklyn Rail, Fence, McSweeney’s, The Recluse, and elsewhere. Since 1995 he has edited Lungfull! Magazine, currently in hibernation, an annual anthology of contemporary literature that prints the rough draft of contributors’ work in addition to the final version in order to reveal the creative process. He’s also edited The Poetry Project Newsletter, and curated both the Zinc Bar Reading Series and the Segue Foundation Reading Series. His visual art is in The Museum of Modern Art, The Free Black Women’s Library, Opus 40 Gallery, Artists Space, The Free Library of Philadelphia, The Woodland Pattern Center, The Scottish Poetry Library, and in private collections. He teaches fantasy cartography through Uncommon Goods. He lives in a little observatory in a Brooklyn neighborhood that nobody can quite find on a map.


Mario Loprete; I live in a world that I shape at my liking. I do this through virtual, pictorial, and sculptural movements, transferring my experiences and photographing reality through my mind’s filters. I have refined this process through years of research and experimentation. Painting for me is my first love. An important, pure love. Creating a painting, starting from the spasmodic research of a concept with which I want to transmit my message this is the foundation of painting for me. The sculpture is my lover, my artistic betrayal to the painting that voluptuous and sensual lover that inspires different emotions which  strike prohibited chords. This new series of concrete sculptures has been giving me more personal and professional satisfaction recently. How was it born? It was the result of an important investigation of my own work. I was looking for that special something I felt was missing.Looking back at my work over the past ten years, I understood that there was a certain semantic and semiotic logic “spoken” by my images, but the right support to valorize their message was not there. The reinforced cement, the concrete, was created two thousand years ago by the Romans. It tells a millennia-old story, one full of amphitheaters, bridges and roads that have conquered the ancient and modern world. Now, concrete is a synonym of modernity. Everywhere you go, you find a concrete wall: there’s the modern man in there. From Sydney to Vancouver, Oslo to Pretoria, this reinforced cement is present, and it is this presence which supports writers and enables them to express themselves. The artistic question was an obvious one for me: if man brought art on the streets in order to make it accessible to everyone, why not bring the urban to galleries and museums? With respect to my painting process, when a painting has completely dried off, I brush it with a particular substance that not only manages to unite every color           and shade, but also gives my artwork the shininess and lucidity of a poster (like the ones we’ve all had hanging on our walls). For my concrete sculptures, I use my personal clothing. Through my artistic process in which I use plaster, resin and cement, I transform these articles of clothing into artworks to hang. The intended effect is that my DNA and my memory remain inside the concrete, so that the person who looks at these sculptures is transformed into a type of postmodern archeologist, studying my work as urban artefacts. I like to think that those who look at my sculptures created in 2020 will be able to perceive the anguish, the vulnerability, the fear that each of us has felt in front of a planetary problem that was covid 19 ... under a layer of cement there are my clothes with which I lived this nefarious period.

clothes that survived covid 19, very similar to what survived after the 2,000-year-old catastrophic eruption of Pompeii, capable of recounting man's inability to face the tragedy of broken lives and destroyed economies.Links to the socials


Nik Orlando is an educator and artist. I was born in Las Vegas, moved with my family to the tiny town of Shingle Springs, CA when I was 10, I came to Los Angeles to attend college and the city has been my home for the past 32 years. I am intrigued by all art mediums and fascinated by how they can be manipulated to make a vision come alive. For the past several years I have focused on creating resin sculptures and paintings, wearable art. Sculpture and fashion provide a platform for experimentation and backward planning; thinking with the end in mind. I am intrigued by the concepts of layers, reflections, patterns, and symbols. I am driven by the unexpected combination of these constructs to elicit memories of the past and possibilities of the future. I draw inspiration from music, performance, wallpaper, trees, birds, casinos, and mirrors. Every day is a day to live your look and be unexpectedly inspired by what you see and hear.


Brad O’Sullivan (Brado) is a letterpress printer and mechanic by default. He’s a writer, teacher, analog enthusiast and proprietor of Smokeproof Press, a letterpress & design workshop in Boulder, where he employs his Tetris skills at arranging glorious heavy metal machinery. He wears pencils, plays typewriters and guitars, endlessly collects useless items, draws stuff and relishes collaborations with writers, artists, musicians and publishers. Recently became disillusioned with the Oxford comma.


Julie Ezelle Patton is a perma-culturist, poet, performer, artist, and sculptor. Her poetics take the form of scrolls, extended texts, limited edition work, performances, and site-specific installations.  Patton's performance work emphasizes improvisation, collaboration, and otherworldly chora-graphs, and bridges literary and musical composition. She has taught at Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Learning Thru Art at the Guggenheim Museum, the Studio In a School Program at New York University, Case Western University, Naropa University, and Schule fur Dichtung in Vienna, Austria. 

Ali Telmesani is a Creative Writing PhD Candidate at Swansea University in South Wales, UK. His 2018 publication by Claritas Books, London, is entitled ‘House of Abbas: The Legacy of Harun al-Rashid’. Whilst pillaging chariot battles from the Iliad and Aeneid for ideas, Ali developed a burning desire to hear dactylic or ‘heroic’ hexameter in the original Homeric Greek and Latin, but knew neither. Down and out, he resolved to compose his own hexametic poem in English instead, then deflect blame by placing it in the mouth of a principle character/narrator/perfect fall girl, Aya of Herak, from his doctoral project tentatively entitled ‘The Zagra Valley Codices’


R.L. Edmondson Vance is an artist who explores feminism and the self. My work is inspired by pre-history, antiquity, pop culture, nature, and cosmos. My art explores ways to present real figures that both myself and others can see their own bodies represented in.


Diego Share Vargas is a LA based multimedia artist with an undergraduate degree from UCLA who makes their art in their free time when not working as an EMT or Covid Compliance Officer. Their roots come from Oaxaca Mexico and their art explores the complexity and plurality of identity, survival, sex, anticapitalim, and honoring lived experiences. Pre-Pandemic they performed regularly as part of the cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Nuart Theatre in Santa Monica. Diego links are to zines they have written with art, poetry, and intergenerational knowledge. The Beauty of Belonging: Biracial Chicanx Narratives: Basin: Metal y Tierra Documenting Funds of Knowledge: Medicine and Midwife Family Narrative


Brian Yapko is a lawyer whose poems have appeared in Tofu Ink, PrometheusDreaming, Wingless Dreamer, Gyroscope, Cagibi, Society of Classical Poets,

Chained Muse, Abstract Elephant, Poetica and other publications. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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