Meet Prominent Members of Women Who Submit

Cody Sisco first heard about Women Who Submit from Sakae Manning, a brilliant writer and friend who he met through the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. When he started BookSwell, he asked Sakae to join the advisory group to guide our efforts to lift up the voices of marginalized writers. That led to organizing our first event at Lambda Literary LitFest 2019 “Intentional Intersectionality: Amplifying Queer Voices of Color,” which included a discussion about advocacy and community featuring Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, a co-founder of Women Who Submit.

When Cody was developing the proposal for the Road to Joy for the City of West Hollywood Arts Department, he met Xochitl over drinks at Frogtown Brewery to brainstorm the event–the first time they had met in person since the AWP Conference in March 2020 before the full brunt of the coronavirus pandemic hit and when WWS launched their first anthology, ACCOLADES. Now it’s time to celebrate their second anthology, GATHERING.

Women Who Submit seeks to empower women and nonbinary writers by creating physical and virtual spaces for sharing information, supporting and encouraging submissions to literary journals, and clarifying the submission and publication process. Meet some of the influential members who will be participating in the event on March 16 WeHo Reads: How We Gather | A Celebration of Women Who Submit’s New Anthology Gathering.

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016). A former Steinbeck Fellow, Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner, and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grantee, she’s received residencies from Hedgebrook, Ragdale, National Parks Arts Foundation, and Poetry Foundation. She has work published in Acentos Review, CALYX, crazyhorse, and [PANK]. Most recently her poem, “Battlegrounds,” was featured at The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day and at On Being’s Poetry Unbound. She is director of Women Who Submit.

Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera

Chicana Feminist and former Rodeo Queen, Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera (she/her) writes so the desert landscape of her childhood can be heard as loudly as the urban chaos of her adulthood. She is obsessed with food. A former high school teacher, she earned an MFA at Antioch University Los Angeles and is a PhD candidate at University of Southern California where she is an Annenberg Fellow. She also works for literary equity through Women Who Submit, an organization that empowers women and nonbinary writers to send their work out for publication. You can read her published stories and essays at http://tishareichle.com/

Thea Pueschel

Thea Pueschel is a nonbinary writer, artist, hypnotherapist, and yoga/meditation teacher that enjoys exploring the psychosocial aspect of being human and the neuroscience of storytelling. Xer multidisciplinary work focuses on the power of story, whether it is visual, subconscious, written or movement based. Thea is a member of Women Who Submit, a facilitator for Shut Up & Write, a Happy Writing Munich workshop leader, a reader for Fracture Lit, and a 2021 Dorland Arts Colony Resident with work published in Short Édition, and Perhappened, among others. Thea’s website is here: https://www.theapueschel.com/

Noriko Nakada

Noriko Nakada is a multi-racial Asian American who creates fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art to capture the hidden stories she has been told not to talk about. She advocates for young people, teachers, women and non-binary writers to create a more just and equitable world. She is the author of the Through Eyes Like Mine memoir series. Excerpts, essays, and poetry have been published in Hippocampus, Catapult, Linden Ave, and elsewhere. She serves on the leadership team and as blog manager for Women Who Submit: empowering women and nonbinary writers to submit their work for publication.

Hazel Kight Witham

Hazel Kight Witham is a mother, teacher, slam poetry coach, and writer who has published work in The Sun, Bellevue Literary Review, Integrated Schools, Mutha Magazine, Cultural Weekly, Rising Phoenix Review and Women who Submit anthologies. She is a proud public school teacher in LAUSD and was a 2020 finalist for California Teacher of the Year. Women Who Submit was her pandemic lifeline, nurturing a community of care and creativity that helped her write her way through troubled waters.

Flint

Flint is a queer writer with an abiding interest in hybridity, generative genre tampering and upsetting the applecart of heteronormative discourse about sex/uality. She earned an MFA in Writing from the School of Critical Studies at CalArts, and her work appears or is forthcoming in The Good Bits, Gathering: A Women Who Submit Anthology, CutBank, Erotic Review, Arts & Letters, NAILED Magazine, and Staging Social Justice, among other publications and anthologies. Jaded Ibis Press will be releasing her memoir, Blood, in 2022.

WWS HISTORY
Women Who Submit began with the idea of a submission party—the brainchild of founding member Alyss Dixson—as a response to the VIDA count. Other founding members, Ashaki Jackson and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, were brought in to help plan the first ever submission party held in Xochitl-Julisa’s mom’s kitchen (thanks, mom!) in July 2011. On that day six women ate quiche, created a sharing library of lit journals, set goals, asked for feedback on cover letters, and sent off submissions.

GATHERING is a collection of poems, essays, stories, and plays by Women Who Submit (WWS) members from New York, New Jersey, Chicago, San Antonio, Bay Area, Long Beach, Westside, and Los Angeles chapters. It is a way for members in our literary community to acknowledge the traumas of the past year and offer hope in the face of unprecedented challenges. In spite of all that has plagued the world in 2020-2021, WWS members continued to gather across the country, share resources, encourage literary submissions, and support each other with claps and cheers. This gathering of literary voices celebrates WWS’s commitment to empowering women and nonbinary writers over the last 10 years.

BookSwell is producing the WeHo Reads 2022 literary season!

Great news! BookSwell has been selected by the City of West Hollywood’s Arts Division to produce the 2022 WeHo Reads season. BookSwell founder and managing editor Cody Sisco proposed a series of eight online events on the theme of creating joy in the midst of sorrow that will take the audience on a memorable journey throughout 2022.

Literary communities have continued to struggle through difficult times and yet many writers are not only confronting sources of pain and injustice but also creating paths toward healing, lightness, and joy. We aim to recognize the contribution of writers and lift up their voices.

Stay tuned for more info!


You can sign up to receive email updates here:

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If you missed our events in 2020 and 2021, catch up on our YouTube channel or check out the highlights below:

  • WeHo Reads: Explorations Beyond Borders


  • WeHo Reads: Trans | Future | Poetics


  • Meet Prominent Members of Women Who Submit

    Cody Sisco first heard about Women Who Submit from Sakae Manning, a brilliant writer and friend who he met through the Los Angeles Writers Critique Group. When he started BookSwell, he asked Sakae to join the advisory group to guide our efforts to lift up the voices of marginalized writers. That led to organizing our first event at Lambda Literary LitFest 2019 “Intentional Intersectionality: Amplifying Queer Voices of Color,” which included a discussion about advocacy and community featuring Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, a co-founder of Women Who Submit. When Cody was developing the proposal for the Road to Joy for the City of West Hollywood Arts Department, he met Xochitl over drinks at Frogtown Brewery to brainstorm the event–the first time they had met in person since the AWP Conference in March 2020 before the full brunt of the coronavirus pandemic hit and when WWS launched their first anthology, ACCOLADES. Now it’s time to celebrate their second anthology, GATHERING. Women Who Submit seeks to empower women and nonbinary writers by creating physical and virtual spaces for sharing information, supporting and encouraging submissions to literary journals, and clarifying the submission and publication process. Meet some of the influential members who will be participating in Read More …


  • Spectrum 1 News SoCal Covers WeHo Reads Event with Women Who Submit

    Amy Paffrath from Spectrum 1 News SoCal spoke with Women Who Submit member and author Thea Pueschel about navigating creativity and healing during times of sorrow and the WeHo Reads event on March 16. Check it out!


  • WeHo Reads: How We Gather | A Celebration of Women Who Submit’s New Anthology Gathering


  • Continue the Road to Joy with WeHo Reads: Justice and Resilience: A Journey in Poetry


  • The Road to Joy starts with WeHo Reads: Songs and Signs of Hope and Healing

    Contributors Shonda Buchanan A Pushcart Prize nominee, a USC Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities Fellow and a Department of Cultural Affairs City of Los Angeles (COLA) Master Artist Fellow, Shonda Buchanan is the author of five books, including the award-winning memoir, Black Indian. An award-winning poet, fiction, nonfiction writer and educator, Shonda has been a journalist for 25+ years, publishing in the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Indian Country Today, and The International Review of African American Art. VP of Beyond Baroque Literary Art Center’s Board of Trustees, Shonda is also a Sundance Institute Writing Arts fellow, a PEN Center Emerging Voices fellow and a Jentel Artist Residency fellow. Finalist for the 2021 Mississippi Review poetry contest, Shonda’s memoir, Black Indian, won the 2020 Indie New Generation Book Award and was chosen by PBS NewsHour as a “top 20 books to read” to learn about institutional racism. Her memoir begins the saga of her family’s migration stories of Free People of Color communities exploring identity, ethnicity, landscape and loss. Her first collection of poetry, Who’s Afraid of Black Indians? was nominated for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Read More …


  • RISING UP: Poets Take A Stand

    This reading featured four poets from different backgrounds who are concerned with issues of social justice. Lisbeth Coiman, Deborah J. Hunter, Teresa Mei Chuc, and Leonora Simonovis will share their poems of resistance to stand up to racism, dictators, and the machinery of war itself. This online event, produced by Lisbeth Coiman in collaboration with Bookswell, was free to attend via Zoom and YouTube. All proceeds from pay-what-you-will ticketed donations went to Stop AAPI Hate.


Queer Slam Fundraiser for AIDS Walk LA 2021


Monday, August 23 at 7 pm via Zoom

Queer Slam is a monthly podcast featuring stories, spoken word, and poetry from LA’s queer community.

Join us to hear headlining and open mic poets and storytellers in celebration of queerness.

Before COVID-19, there was “the other pandemic” of HIV/AIDS, which took an immeasurable toll on the LGBTQ+ community and many other marginalized communities. AIDS Project Los Angeles, and later APLA Heath & Wellness, responded early and swiftly to provide care and resources to those who were affected. Today, they provide comprehensive healthcare, dental, and behavioral health services to people with and without private insurance, on Medicaid—anyone who needs care can access it there. The quest to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic continues with treatment and prevention services and advocacy.

This online event, produced by Cody Sisco and Colby Cameron Holt and hosted by Tony Soto, is free to attend via Zoom. All proceeds from pay-what-you-will ticketed donations will go to APLA Health and Wellness for AIDS Walk LA 2021.

This event raised $120 for AIDS Walk LA 2021.

About the Headlining Poets

Gordon Blitz

After spending forty years as an accountant, Gordon retired in 2017 and became a writing machine. During 2020, Gordon had published work in Wingless Dreamer, Two Hawks Quarterly, The Doctor T.J.Eckleburg Review, Issue #22 of Really Systems, Gay Wicked Ways and Emeritus Chronicles. On January 1st 2021, his novella Shipped Off was published as part of the Running Wild Press Novella Anthology Volume four, book one. He’s a standup comic who has performed at Canter’s and The Blackbox Theater at the GLBT Village in Hollywood. He was also a contestant on “Hear My Story” that was featured on

IMRU. You can listen to his very own special episode of Queer Slam called “Just Gordon”. We love him very much here at Queer Slam!

His blog URL is: https://culturecritique.blog/

C.R.U.S.H. (Creating.Realities.Using.Spiritual.Hands)

C.R.U.S.H. is a literary and spoken word artist who has performed internationally and is a nationally ranked slam poet. They are the15th ranked female poet in the nation (Women of the World Poetry Slam 2020) and the 30th ranked poet in the world (iWPS). They are a member of the Dallas Poetry Slam Team where they took 1st place at Southwest Shootout 2019 Team Competition and 2nd Place at SoFried 2019 and IPS 2021 Regional Poetry Team Competition Their purpose is merging poetry, art, and positive energy to help others find healing and inner power to create their desired realities.

Their website is: https://crush-crave.square.site/