Thomas Sayers Ellis liked to open used Magic Cubes when he was a boy in Washington, D.C. In 1979 he met filmmaker Hal Ashby and actor Peter Sellers on 7th and 0 Streets, NW outside the John F. Kennedy Adventure Playground and was asked to dribble a basketball in a scene from Being There. In those days he owned three cameras: a Polaroid and two Kodak Instamatics. Alfred Veney pretended he was Roberto Duran and Sayers pretended he was Sugar Ray Leonard and they took their shirts off and posed like weigh-in enemies. He loved his cameras and they loved his friends but he knew they were cheap and that he would have to go to school and publish poems in order to buy a Leica and a Mamiya. He took his camera everywhere, to Karate School, to Dunbar High School Swimming meets, to the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Old Key Theater and to Go-Go's. A good friend sold him a stolen 35mm camera (in DC) at the same time he moved into a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts with a dark room in it. He was taking pictures before he was writing poems. His photography is mad at poetry for interrupting its breathing.
Rickey Laurentiis was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. His manuscript, One Country, received an honorable mention for the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award, judged by Claudia Rankine, while his other honors include a 2010 Pushcart Prize Nomination, and first- and third-runner up in the 2009 International Reginald Shepherd Memorial Poetry Prize, selected by Carl Phillips. The recipient of fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and the Atlantic Center for the Arts, his poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in several literary journals, including Indiana Review, jubilat, Knockout Literary Magazine and Vinyl. READ HIS INTERVIEW