Eric Rasmussen, Editor
Eric Rasmussen moved to Eau Claire before fourth grade, and he hasn't left since. He attended the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire (UWEC), then got a job as an English teacher at Memorial High School. He even bought the house he grew up in from his parents. He is pursuing an MFA from Augsburg College in Minneapolis, and his work has appeared in various publications, including Fugue, Sundog Lit, Gulf Stream, Pithead Chapel, and extensively in Volume One. Visit theotherericrasmussen.com for more.
Kate Hinnant, Poetry Editor
Kate Hinnant’s first year in Eau Claire was the worst of her life. She had pneumonia three times, fractured her vertebra, and even died for a minute. But she doesn’t blame the city. Since 2002, she has taught in the English department at UWEC and now serves as a professor of research and instruction in McIntyre Library. She studied anthropology at Cornell University, and then got an MFA at Purdue and a master’s in library science at the University of Illinois. While at Purdue, she served as poetry editor of Sycamore Review. She has poems published in New England Review, Cimarron Review, and decomP magazinE. Her life is made possible by her twin tweens, Sally and Leo, and her husband who teaches film and theory at the university.
Charlotte Kupsh, Prose Editor
Charlotte is a graduate student in English-Writing at UWEC. She's also a graduate assistant director in the university's Center for Writing Excellence, where writers from all backgrounds continually challenge her to think about writing in new ways. Her BA in writing and political science is also from Eau Claire, a city that she's been living in and writing about for over five years. Her historical fiction about the lumber industry in Eau Claire can be found in The Madison Review. Previously, she was editor-in-chief of NOTA, a literary and fine arts magazine, and also briefly worked as a technical writer in Madison, Wisconsin.
Jodie Arnold, Poetry Reader
Jodie Arnold is a first-year creative writing graduate student at UWEC. She writes poetry and essays about how much motherhood can stink (for example). She’s been published in Volume One, Nourrir Magazine, and has blogged for BabyFirstTV. While living in Thailand, she maintained a well-visited travel blog that served as an escape from her crazy life as a pregnant woman navigating a foreign country. She managed a local congressional campaign in 2016 and previously served as the Western Wisconsin media coordinator for Howard Dean. Jodie is originally from Stanley and currently resides in Eau Claire. Her neighborhood is of the twentieth-century drab variety and most of her neighbors specialize in lawn maintenance. She’s an accidental mother of five-year-old red-headed IDENTICAL TWIN BOYS. When she’s not busy with her various lives, she likes to run because she also likes to drink beer at the The Joynt and eat dinner at Draganetti’s. Jodie’s current blog work can be found at www.jodiearnold.com.
Jessi Peterson, Poetry Reader
Jessi Peterson moved to the Chippewa Valley the summer before 3rd grade, arriving just in time to miss the famous 1980 storm. She is a children’s librarian in Chippewa Falls and her favorite days of the week are storytime days (Tuesdays and Fridays, 10:30 and 11, join us!). She loves reading and singing and acting silly, all in the service of growing the next generation of readers. She also loves to be out in the woods or on the river in a kayak, which is why her (fabulous) husband is building a treehouse where she can write in the woods and look out over the river. For several years she has served as co-leader of one of the Young Writers Workshops during the Chippewa Valley Book Festival and is a member of the Poets of the Oak Lair, a local poetry workshop group. Her work has appeared in Wisconsin People and Ideas, Sky Island Journal , the Local Lit column of Volume One and the inaugural issue of Barstow and Grand.
Ashly Curtis, Poetry Reader
Ashly Curtis was born and raised in the Chippewa Valley. She graduated with a degree in English-Creative Writing from UW-Eau Claire in 2013 and has been desperately trying to figure out what to do with that degree ever since. She’s currently the textbook manager at the UW-Eau Claire campus bookstore. Having finally embraced the fact that she might actually be a poet, Ashly has joined local poetry group Poets of the Oak Lair and published pieces in twig and Barstow & Grand under pen name Ash Lee. If she’s not writing, you can find her attending Chippewa Valley Writer’s Guild events, reading for one of three book clubs she’s in, or playing with her dog Clementine.
Thain Irwin, Prose Reader
Thain Irwin attended UWEC where he was an English major and part of the selection committee for NOTA magazine, as well as a contributing writer. After leaving the area and teaching English for a while, he switched careers, became a nurse, and made his way back to the Chippewa Valley, and has been wondering why he ever left. Since then, as a writer as well, he splits his time between work, Chippewa Valley Writers Guild activities, and staring at a blank word processing document while shaking his fist at the fickle muses.
Karen Olson, Prose Reader
Karen J. Olson is a writer, speaker and editor whose work has been published locally, nationally and internationally in fiction, creative nonfiction and inspirational genres. Column writing is her first love and she wrote local columns called “Life on the Exceptional Side” for Family Times, and “Just a Thought …“ for Quality of Life Times. She is a frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul™ books which pretty much feels like an extension of her column writing. She fell in love with Eau Claire when she attended UWEC (despite the frigid footbridge on campus) and never left. She helped build the adaptive garden beds in Eau Claire and drove a bus full of ninety-year-olds to the site each week one summer to revisit their roots in gardening. She spends her free time reading, rubber stamping, and rescuing her characters from certain death.
Ryan Purdy, Prose Reader
Ryan L. Purdy is a high school English teacher and biscuit enthusiast residing in central Minnesota with his wife, their two daughters, and a couple of dogs. He graduated from San Francisco State University, and is in the process of earning an MFA in Creative Writing from Augsburg University in Minneapolis. Though he lives on the other side of the St. Croix, he frequently visits Wisconsin with his family, often passing through the Chippewa Valley. After attending one of Cirenaica’s legendary fiction residencies, he feels an even stronger connection to the Chippewa Valley, and its community. His fiction has appeared in Talking Soup, Barstow and Grand, and Volume One. You can read more at ofbiscuitsandkings.com
BJ Hollars, Consulting Editor
B.J. Hollars is the author of several books, most recently Flock Together: A Love Affair With Extinct Birds. Hollars serves as a mentor for Creative Nonfiction, a contributing blogger for Brain,Child and the founder and executive director of the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild. An associate professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, he lives a simple existence with his wife, their children, and their dog. For more, visit bjhollars.com
Alex Zitzner, Intern
Alexander Zitzner is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he serves as the Editor-In-Chief to their award-winning biannual undergraduate fine arts, literature, and music publication, NOTA. His poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Zaum Magazine, Barstow & Grand, Sky Island Journal, twig, among others. He is proud to be a part of the Chippewa Valley literary scene.
Staff Alumni: Yia Lor (Prose Reader, Issue #1), Katie Venit (Prose Reader, Issue #1), Jan Carroll (Poetry Reader, Issue #1)