J.T. Knoll, a native of the Republic of Frontenac, Kansas, is a poet, singer-songwriter, celebrant, counselor, eulogist, and award-winning columnist for The Morning Sun in Pittsburg where he operates Knoll Training & Consulting. He received his Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Pittsburg State University where he worked for 25 years as an addiction specialist and Coordinator of Prevention and Wellness.
His poems and essays have appeared in print and online, newspapers, journals and magazines across the country, including Another Chicago Magazine, Tortilla, Chameleon, The Little Balkans Review, The Midwest Quarterly, Wind, Man!, Chorus Line, Moravagine 3, Nashville’s Poetry Magazine, Chiron Review, Coal City Review, PoetryBay, Poets to Come, Kansas Time & Place, Bards Against Hunger, 150 Kansas Poems, The Front Porch Review, Heartland, Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems, and To the Stars through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices, a Kansas Notable Book Award winner.
He is former co-owner of White Buffalo Café’ & Emporium and is a founding member of the music, poetry and storytelling group, White Buffalo. He is also the originator and host of the Walt Whitman Birthday Bash, which is held yearly at the Pittsburg Public Library.
Kiesa Kay, a fifth generation Kansan, grew up on Lake Road 14 in Gardner, Kansas, and graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in journalism and an M.A. with honors in English. Inspired by time at Hedgebrook Retreat for Women Writers, Kiesa founded Oleander Cottage, a writing retreat in Montgaillard, France, where several writers found haven from 2004 to 2014. Kiesa wrote the first draft of her memoir, Tornado Alley, at Oleander Cottage. Kiesa also spent her time in France researching a play about Camille Claudel, the sculptor. Kiesa's plays include Love Makes a Home: The Life of Rebecca Boone, which has been presented in fifteen venues in three states, including Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, the Thomas Wolfe Center for Narrative at Lenoir Rhyne University, White Horse Black Mountain, and as a convocation for Berea College and the Loyal Jones Appalachian Center in Kentucky. Her first public play, Thunder is the Mountain's Voice, has been presented at Rocky Mountain National Park and Park Village Playhouse. The play also received a grant from the Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies. Kiesa's work as a nationally certified child forensic interviewer led her to create What Every Grandparent Needs to Know About Childhood Sexual Abuse, and she is a Darkness to Light Stewards of Children facilitator. Her first educational anthology, Uniquely Gifted: Identifying and Meeting the Needs of the Twice Exceptional Student, united experts nationwide in the study of twice exceptionality. Her second, High IQ Kids, received the Legacy Award as the Best Book for Parents and Educators in its publication year. Adventures at three intentional communities led to her novel, The Cicada Year. Kiesa's writing celebrates survival and reinforces resilience. Kiesa, formerly a GTA at the University of Kansas, leads writing workshops on Writing Your Life and the Healing Art of Writing, and she provides mentorship to others who want to share their stories. For example, one of her poetry students came to class with poems written over thirty years on torn envelopes, the backs of bills, and scraps of paper, and Kiesa worked with her to create a book to share with family and friends. She also led a writing workshop for secondary trauma survivors at the Violence Intervention and Prevention Summit. She also worked with the Forest Children to complete her friend Robin Carrington's children's book, after Robin passed away. Now that Kiesa's own children have grown up, she has time to play old time fiddle and psaltery, and she's directing two plays at the Orchard at Altapass on the Blue Ridge Parkway this summer.
Troy James Weaver was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. His work has appeared widely online and in print.