Britney Allen is a senior at Miami Jackson Senior High School. She has been published in nine literary magazines and several of her sweeter poems have appeared in cupcakes at Bunnie Cakes bakery. Notable awards she has won include becoming a finalist in Poetry Matters Ltd., first place in The Poetry Society of Virginia (Jenkins Prize), first place in The Sprayregen Family Foundation awards, the honorary Prolific Quill Award, five honorable mentions, and five silver keys in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.
Gerri Almand retired from 40 years of social work practice, having spent over 30 of those years with the Hillsborough County School Board in Tampa. She enjoys gardening, reading, public speaking, and writing. She has completed several book-length manuscripts, one of which was published under a pen name in October 2017. Her greatest satisfaction, however, comes from crafting creative nonfiction. Her zany, colorful family, fortunately, provides limitless material.
Mikah Amani is a high school senior attending the Creative Writing program at Miami Arts Charter. She has received multiple awards and publications, including a gold medal and B.I.G. award from Scholastic, third place in Princeton’s Poetry Contest, honorable mentions from the Jack London and Rider University Competitions, and first place in the Sprayregen Poetry Contest. She hopes to enter the journalism field as a career.
Sami Andrews is fifteen years old and lives in Largo, Florida. She is homeschooled and loves to read, write, and draw. She plays flag-football and is a coach for gymnastics. Sami enjoys the beach, playing piano, and she absolutely adores her cats, Thunder and Keeper.
Holly Apperson has lived in the Tampa Bay area since birth. She began learning photography in high school and hasn’t been able to put her camera down since. Her Nikon helps capture her beautiful surroundings but she enjoys exploring other subject matters as well. Her work has been published in corporate publications and promotions, and in A Brief History of Safety Harbor, Florida and Odet.
Nathan Beard specializes in acrylic abstraction, using a variety of processes to achieve complex, multi-layered paintings inspired by the human conception and experience of Space-Time. His work is represented locally by ARTicles Art Gallery (St. Petersburg) and in Japan by agent Noriko Kuehn. Nathan also serves as Curatorial Assistant at Dunedin Fine Art Center, Preparator at Scarfone/Hartley Gallery (University of Tampa), and Independent Art Installer for businesses and museums throughout Tampa Bay.
Walt Belcher has more than 40 years’ experience writing for newspapers, including 35 years as a feature writer, reporter, columnist and television critic for The Tampa Tribune. He also taught Mass Communications history and Media Writing as an adjunct professor at the University of Tampa for several years. He graduated from the University of Georgia’s school of journalism and earned a Master’s Degree in Mass Communications from the University of Arizona.
Patricia Blauvelt creates her art as a journey to encourage the viewer to cherish the nature around us. Her artistic goad is to share this beauty and if she can make someone laugh, smile, and feel, she has done just this. Her work has a deep meaning for herself and she is always trying to uplift her viewers or relate to them.
“First Lady of Radio News” personality, Pat Brooks, was part of Q105’s legendary hit morning show, The Q-Zoo in Tampa Bay. Now a prolific, nationally known voice artist, she also lifts her voice for animal rights. Pat lives in Safety Harbor, Florida with her husband, Darrel, and their lovable feline, Miss Marble.
Living in America as a woman of color, Amy Bryant’s life and that of her family has been shaped by a multicultural mosaic, spanning Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. Her memoir, You CAN Go Home Again: Reflections of a Nubian Daughter is a collection of vignettes honoring the richness of a heritage that defines her unique American experience. Amy has expanded her writing to include poetry as well as a blog for the Safety Harbor Connect.
George Chase studied art at Ringling College of Design in Sarasota, Florida and Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. He worked as an art director at Leo Burnett, USA in Chicago, creating TV and print ads before establishing his graphic design business, Chase Creative. His art has been used to illustrate books, events, locales, religious figures and more. His work has won over thirty national design awards.
Jess Contreras is a junior attending Miami Arts Charter at Homestead. She hopes to someday be a published author as she continues to write poetry, short stories, and the occasional play. Her greatest achievement is earning a silver key in the Scholastic Art and Writing Competition.
After living in New York, Georgette De Salvo is living in and enjoying the Florida lifestyle. She was first introduced to photography in high school. She became addicted to the anticipation she felt when she first walked into the darkroom, wondering what magic would next appear from the watery bath. De Salvo also loved photography for the excuse to go out and explore the world with her camera. It made her slow down and carefully examine the details of anything that caught her interest. It allowed her a way to capture her own vision of things and bring them to life to share with others. She loves the way it feels to create just one beautiful image from all the subjects out there.
Over the years, Daniel Dees continues to be fascinated by the 1985 Charles O. Perry pipe art sculpture “Solstice” installed at the Bank of America building in Tampa. Dees is a retired LMT and resident of Tarpon Springs for 30 years. Like most old hippies his age, he has enjoyed several careers, but has always been a photographer and woodworker and produces about 30 sculptures a year in a style he calls arrested decay.
Most mornings, for the last six years, Jarine Dotson has taken a walk around Safety Harbor, taking pictures of the sunrise at the Safety Harbor Waterfront Park. You can find more of her work on social media, and in various retail stores around Safety Harbor including Safety Harbor ’N Such art gallery. Message her, and she’ll meet up with you at the gallery, or the Safety Harbor sunrise!
Stuart Dwork is a graduate of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in NYC, majoring in Fine Art and Design. After graduating, he entered the U.S. Army, Special Services. After his military service he joined the advertising world as a Creative Director for William Esty Advertising. He later opened an office in Palm Beach, Stu Dwork International. He currently focuses his attention on helping veterans, such as through his work facilitating Star Spangled Art. He is president of TESA, the Exhibiting Society of Artists, an honorary member of MOAA, the Military Officers Association of America, a committee member for Operation Helping Hand, Safety Harbor Public Art Committee, a member of Safety Harbor Writers & Poets, and the Safety Harbor Historical Society. His award-winning artwork is displayed in museums and private art collections. Stuart is currently working on a book featuring his artwork and poetry.
Louise Eastin first pursued an academic career in mathematics and computer science, recently developing her skill as a poet. She is intrigued by the way poetry acts as both a mirror and a magnifying glass, allows the writer and the reader to venture into timelines of past and future, and, more importantly, live fully in the concurrent lines of the present. She is featured as the Gold Writer in the current issue of ArtAscent magazine where she is described as “a master at creating imagery with her work.” During her short time as a submitting poet she has been granted two journal publications as well as several local, national and international awards including, April 2018, 1st place in the poetry division in the Writers and Editors Network National and International writing competition. A Florida resident, she has lived and worked in Ohio and Nebraska, as well as Paris, Exeter (UK), Madrid and Prague.
Marina Ellis has been published by Canvas, Poetry Matters, Colorism Healing, Literature Wales, ZO, and World Enough Writers. Marina has been awarded two Gold and one Silver Medal from Scholastic Art and Writing and second place in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ 2017 contest. In her free time, Marina enjoys to garden and cook family recipes.
Barbara Rupp Finkelstein has served as Safety Harbor’s poet laureate since 2017. Professionally she has worked as a children’s librarian, a teacher, and small business owner. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the Rainier Writers Workshop. Her poems have appeared in The West Marin Review, the Sanibel Captiva Review, and local Florida publications. Barbara is a member of Safety Harbor Writers & Poets.
In addition to being the cofounder of Odet and serving as its managing editor, New Jersey native Warren Firschein is the author of two middle grade novels, The Pirate of Janaconda Island and Out of Synch, as well as the coauthor of A Brief History of Safety Harbor, Florida. When not writing, he is an attorney for the Federal Communications Commission. He lives in Safety Harbor, Florida with his family. Visit him at www.warrenfirschein.com.
Emily Garroway is a twelfth-grade writer enrolled at Miami Arts Charter School. She is seventeen years old and lives in Miami with her parents, two dogs, and two cats. She has been published in the Poetic Power Competition, the PoetryWITS Competition, Orange Island Arts Foundation, Hypernova Lit, Pamlico Writers Group, and the AIPF Youth K-12 Anthology. While she wants to go into politics someday, she will always hold writing dear to her heart.
Carrie Font Granato is a former advertising art director and graphic artist. She has been published in Scene magazine and is currently working on a near future rom-com novel. She is a member of Safety Harbor Writers & Poets and is an editor and the art director of Odet.
Kelley Hails is a former Emergency Room physician who, after a health crisis of her own, turned to mind-body healing instead. She is now a writer, painter, poet, and mindfulness coach who facilitates others in their healing. Her poetry comes out of a meditative experience of communion with nature on themes of importance in her life.
Alyssa Harmon is a senior at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and majors in English writing studies. Once she graduates, she hopes to publish books of her poetry. You can find some of her work published in Papercut Literary Journal, Minerva Rising, and The Merrimack Review.
Lennie Hay lives in Florida and Kentucky. She is an MFA student in the Spalding University low-residency program in creative writing. She draws creative energy and inspiration from work with other writers and visual artists, from study and reflection on her family’s history, and all types of music. Her poems have been published in Trajectory, Odet, Literary Leo, BEATS, Uproot, and HARTS & Minds. She has a poem forthcoming in the next issue of Shanghai Literary Review.
Continental Divide tells of a literal and metaphysical line Gary Hogenson crossed sending him on a life-redefining arc. Even his association with the Tarpon Springs Writers Group can be traced to that long-ago journey. Most of his engineering and finance career took place in Latin America and Israel and was centered on numbers and formulas, not words. This is his first venture in putting thoughts and stories on paper, not just reading someone else’s words.
Roger Howard was a retired surgeon from Michigan who relocated to the Clearwater area. He took writing classes at The Gotham Writer’s Workshop in New York City and wrote poetry for over 12 years. His poems have been published in ODET, The Esthetic Apostle, the Pamplemousse literary journal and in the periodical The Senior Voice. Before passing away in November, 2018, he was frequently heard reading at the Safety Harbor Art and Music Center and was a beloved member of the Safety Harbor Writers & Poets group. He often said that the poem he continually returned to for reflection and inspiration was “Ulysses” by Alfred Lord Tennyson.
Laura Kepner is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in numerous publications. She created Safety Harbor Writers & Poets in 2010 and has since facilitated writers groups, workshops, conferences, and open mics. She is co-author of A Brief History of Safety Harbor, Florida and is editor-in-chief of Odet. She loves living in the quirkiest state in the US and spending time with her family and friends.
D. Klein is a Safety Harborite who likes to write. That rhymes! She is a member of Safety Harbor Writers & Poets and lives with her two cats, Cosmo and Colette.
Kiara Korten is a 7th grader at Miami Arts Charter School. She has won awards such as a silver key in scholastic competition and has won, has been published in the Austin International Poetry Book, and won a Wilda Moris competition. In her spare time, she likes to listen to music, and play with her dog.
Karen Koven is a poet living in Clearwater Fl. She was published in Odet, 2018. Her passion for poetry started in high school where she read competitively. In her career, she was a Senior Consultant with an International training and development company. She has earned Toastmasters International’s highest designation, Distinguished Toastmaster. She has been a year-round resident of Florida since 1989.
Romeo Lemay was born in Quebec, Canada in 1924 and passed away in Palm Harbor, Florida in 2013. He left a legacy through his stories in his self-published two-volume set of books Facts, Fiction Fantasies and Foolishness. While he is greatly missed by his family and friends, his memory lives on through an annual writing contest in his name.
Ralfo Manzur is a 10th grade poet attending Miami Arts Charter School for the Creative Writing program. He has won many awards from Scholastic and has been published in various literary magazines such as Poetic Power. Although occasionally experimenting with flash fiction pieces, his favorite form of literature, and the one he writes the most, is poetry.
Doran Marold is primarily a self-taught artist. She has enjoyed a 25-year collaborative partnership with art director and fine artist Frank Lane. Her geometric abstract paintings are bold visual statements of color and design that reflect a sense of organized chaos. She has delved into the world of photography with an unusual portfolio of doll heads arranged in unique settings. Her latest artistic expression is the written word in the form of poetry.
Russ Moses’ love affair with the visual began as a college student where he studied painting and art history. Photography, first as a hobby then as a business, came soon after. In 2004 his photographs were exhibited in a one-man show at the University of Mount Union. His portfolio is defined by his fascination with light and shadow, and commitment to the premise that individuals and cultures are best revealed by the environments they create and live in. He travels extensively in search of the perfect window or rooftop.
MK Nanian is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Chair of the East Pasco Writers Forum, which is a new member of the Florida Writers Association. Professionally, she has been a photographer longer than a writer, attorney, or college professor. Her children have always been the unwilling subjects of her camera.
Rhonda J. Nelson’s published work includes Musical Chair, (Anhinga Press. 2004), The Undertow, (Rattapallax Press, 2001) and individual poems in many journals. She is a Florida Fellow in Poetry 2000-2001, winner of Writer’s Exchange 2000, sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc., and recipient of two Hillsborough County Emerging Artist grants and one Hillsborough County Individual Artist Grant. She placed first in Creative Loafing’s 2018 Best of the Bay for Spoken Word.
Cathy Rebhun, a published writer, Army veteran, and amateur genealogist, lives in Hillsborough County, Florida with her husband and two enthusiastic golden retrievers. She volunteers with several local non-profit organizations and participates in a writing critique group. Cathy finds inspiration from the world around her and, of course, always wears Aunt Ella’s ring.
Carlos (Chino) Rolon, now a three-year Tampa resident, has been writing and performing spoken word since 1975. He was first inspired to write by the poets heard at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York City. Besides his writing, he is also a percussionist and plays with local bands The Katz, and The Drunken Bassist.
Cassandra Smallen is a proud police wife, teacher, and mother of two fabulous children. She has lived in Florida for almost 19 years. She graduated with a BS in Psychology from College of Charleston and recently completed her MEd from University of South Florida. She believes we should not be scared to try new things in order to live our lives to the fullest. She believes in doing what you love to do and for her, that is writing.
Jonathan Tennis is a graduate of Eckerd College (BA) and Norwich University (MSIA). He resides in Tampa where he works as a consultant and is pursuing his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Tampa. His work has appeared in the Eckerd Review, Military Experience and the Arts, O-Dark-Thirty, Odet, Proud to Be: Writing by American Warriors, Sanctuary Literary and Arts Journal, Sandhill Review, and a festschrift in honor of the poet Peter Meinke.
Cheryl A. Van Beek is grateful to have had poems published with Odet, River Poets Journal, Sandhill Review, Poeming Pigeon and many other online journals and magazines as well as printed anthologies. She has also written for a local newspaper and enjoys the thrill and challenge of writing in many different forms. A nature enthusiast, living with her wonderful husband and their two cats in Wesley Chapel, she draws great inspiration from Florida’s unique beauty.
Janet Watson, who has lived in Pasco County for over 35 years, has had poetry published in many anthologies and literary journals including Sandhill Review, Snowy Egret, and TirraLirra (Australia). She has written several chapbooks and published a book-length collection of her work entitled Eyes Open, Listening. She was Youth Chair for the Florida State Poets Association for nine years and is president of New River Poets, a chapter of that organization.