SAT MAR 12 at 6:00PM  

First Wave Chapbook Series Readings hosted by Thiahera Nurse 

Overture Center, Promenade Hall

is a First Wave Artist Scholar of the 8th Cohort and student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, majoring in English-Creative Writing. Through The JVN Project, she is a One Life Writing Workshop facilitator at Madison East High School. She enjoys spending time at coffeeshops and quality time with her cat (whose name, according to his paperwork, is “Sunny” but really no one calls him that) in her home in Des Plaines, Illinois. Dance With Me. is her first collection of published writing. 

MARIAM COKER is a first generation Nigerian-American Muslim sophomore hailing from Prince Georges County, Maryland, double majoring in English-Creative Writing and Social Welfare with a certificate in African Studies. Along with being a member of the 8th cohort of First Wave, a scholarship program at UW-Madison that focuses on the hip-hop arts and activism, she is student council representative and Chair of the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Equity and Inclusion Committee, where she advocates for the rights, resources, and respect of historically marginalized students through grassroots campaigning. Coker is a first generation Nigerian-American Muslim spoken word and page poet, and dabbles in visual art and music production. She writes about home, about the diaspora, about being black, a womyn, and growing up in a Muslim family. She moved to Madison after living in the Washington, DC area where she participated in the 2012 DC Youth Slam Team and was captain of the Eleanor Roosevelt High School slam team for Louder Than a Bomb DMV in 2013 and 2014. After completing her studies at UW-Madison, Coker hopes to work in clinical social work, using art as a form of therapy for mentally ill children of color.

ELI LYNCH is an artist originating from Denver, CO, who specializes in the writing of words. His work is dense and philosophical. By way of several mediums, he aims to mix whit and wisdom in order to instigate complicated conversations and compelling creations. He appreciates alliteration. He enjoys being a mentor and teacher of young people. Although an artist by trade, his deepest passions are sarcasm and writing short bios. One.

Once upon a time, RICARDO CORTEZ DE LA CRUZ II, who calls himself a Langston Hughes’ “genius child,” wrote for a fairy tale beginning that would be the start of a storied career. Now he is the recipient of several awards for poetry, including bronze and silver medals for poetry in the NAACP’s ACT-SO national competition. He served as the original host of the talk show “Generation Next” for WXRJ 94.9 FM radio station. His 2012 stirring letter to the editor for The Pantagraph (a daily newspaper) online, titled “Trayvon Martin was running for his life,” generated 81 reader responses. Always the raptivist, de la Cruz has performed creative work in a variety of black/cool spaces and places, including the Festival of Language (an event featuring over 50 prominent authors) at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs annual conference; the ComeTogetherSpace in Bloomington; and, the Hip-Hop Literacies Conference “Pedagogies for Social Change” at The Ohio State University. He is one of Millikin University’s 15th Annual Young Writers National Scholarship recipients and the winner of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale’s Younkin-Rivera Young Writers National Scholarship Award. He is a 2014 recipient of the Bloomington, Illinois Human Relations Commission's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “I Have a Dream” Award, given to those who put effort towards, peace, civil rights/justice, and social activism in their community. de la Cruz is a member of the 9th cohort in the First Wave Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

MALCOLM HALSEY-MILHAUPT is a senior at UW Madison, graduating with degrees in English Literature and Theatre & Drama. As a First Wave scholar on UW's campus, he began to develop greater understanding of poetry beyond the spoken-word forms that so stirred him when he was cutting his teeth as a writer during his high school years. Lately--and in his chapbook 
THE CATCH OF TRAGIC ORBITS in particular--he has been focused on the specificity of language within his art, hoping to find and channel an elemental sound. Moving forward, Malcolm hopes to use his education to afford him opportunities for travel, before settling into an MFA program somewhere far far away.