About the Authors

Alexis Spencer-Byers (Another’s Treasure, Urban Verses, Bending Toward the Light)  was raised in San Francisco; completed a degree in English at Amherst College in Massachusetts; engaged in various types of community development work in Jackson, Mississippi; and currently lives in Los Angeles, where she works as a church administrator and freelance copy-editor. While in Jackson, she co-founded Koinonia Coffee House, an inner-city café and community gathering place.

Lowell Noble (From Oppression To Jubilee Justice) was professor of sociology and anthropology at Spring Arbor University for 25 years. Since 1994, he has been serving as a volunteer at the John Perkins Foundation (www.jmpf.org) in Jackson, Mississippi. His passion in retirement is to create a theology of society to undergird Christian Community Development.

Jim Booth (Bending Toward the Light) is a native of Red House, MS, the garden spot of Jefferson Davis County. Having lived the adventurous life of astronaut, cowboy, frontiersman and pirate, among other things, eventually he had to grow up. Since then he has had careers as a teacher, counselor, pastor to deaf churches, a writer and publisher. He has lived in a variety of places from New Orleans and Cajun southwest Louisiana to the Pacifi c Northwest state of Oregon. Presently he resides in Northwest Rankin County near Brandon, Mississippi, with his wife, Edith. They have two daughters, Suzanne, who lives in France and DeeAnne, who lives in California. At present, he is gainfully unemployed and is enjoying retirement.

A native Mississippian, Annis Breland (Bending Toward the Light) was reared in Greenville. She received her B.A. from Millsaps College in 1960, married, later divorced, and continued to live in Jackson with her two sons. Following retirement in 2003, she revived an interest in poetry, dormant since college, and began exploring in free verse several areas of interest, especially cultural issues of our time, nostalgia, and the inner self.

During the 1940s and 1950s, Barbara A. Edwards (Bending Toward the Light) grew up in the Piedmont region of South Carolina - Anderson and Greenville - nurtured in a rich cultural climate of performing arts in the community - musical and oratory. She received a degree in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois, married in New York City, later divorcing, and worked primarily in adult rehabilitation and clinical education in the states of Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Mississippi. Her passions have been music, art and drama. Poetry has emerged as catharsis and diversion. She has more interest in reading poems and prose aloud, or singing expressive art songs, than in writing, but delights in “playing around” with elements of meter and alliteration. Retired from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, (UMC) with part-time employment, she sings in several choral groups, and dabbles in writing haiku, senryu, and etheree. She has written several for her son, Ray.

Jennifer Hartline (Bending Toward the Light) is a poet just dipping her toes into the literary waters. From a very young age she has been in love with the written word, especially poetry; as such an insatiable bookworm, the transition from reading poetry to writing it was inevitable. Though young, (not having finished high-school yet), she has acquired diverse tastes in the world of literature, as well as music. Her musical studies are very important to her, and she spends hours at the piano or with her violin, following where the music leads. Finding inspiration in both her music and her writing, Jennifer’s passion is to share her inspiration with others and in doing so lead them closer to God, the true inspiration for life.

Doris Jones (Bending Toward the Light), a Memphis native, graduated from Belhaven College with a degree in biology and has worked as a chemist, med tech, and librarian. She currently travels around the state as a storyteller, promoting literacy as she entertains young audiences in schools, libraries, and museums. Poetry is a fairly new creative venture for her, off ering a quiet, reflective way to examine nature, life’s struggles and triumphs, and faith. Doris and her husband and kayaking-buddy, Ransom, reside in Madison with their college-age children, Cary and Trisha.

Jay Jordan (Bending Toward the Light) lives in Pearl, Mississippi with his wife, two children and three cats. While his interests are in art, poetry and writing, his profession is something arcane and vague involving computers. AT&T pays him regularly but he is still not certain exactly why. He enjoys exchanging poetry with the PA group and has shared both verse and art work in their publications since 2006.

With a degree in music theory and composition from The University of Southern Mississippi, Pat Jordan (Bending Toward the Light) taught piano for forty years before folding that tent and focusing her creative energy on writing, primarily poetry. As a charter member of Poets Anonymous at Flowood Library she has contributed to each of the group’s six collections. Pat loves to do readings, either solo or in concert with PA, especially for people who think they don’t like poetry. Pat’s work has received multiple awards from the MS Poetry Society, and in 2008 second place recognition from the National Foundation of State Poetry Societies. She enjoys investigating and experimenting with archaic as well as contemporary poetic forms.

Debbie Little (Bending Toward the Light) grew up a military brat with an adventurous childhood. Her love for writing short stories surfaced in the seventh grade. She settled temporarily in New Orleans, Louisiana, and earned a B.S. in fashion merchandising at LSU. A career as a retail buyer appealed to her creativity. Finally at 39, she divorced her job to marry Tommy (a real poet). He rekindled her interest in writing via poetry. She became a “poohette.” Now she enjoys writing, reading, cooking, studying the Bible, and teaching children. She resides in Pearl, Mississippi, with her artistic husband, Tommy, and two four-pawed children (cats, Maxcita Bonita and Max Baxter).

Tommy Little (Bending Toward the Light) grew up on the small town of New Hebron, Mississippi. He returned to Mississippi after living in Metairie, Louisiana, for eighteen years, where he was a member of the Louisiana State Poetry Society for the past eleven years. His love for poetry surfaced in the mid 1980’s when reading and writing poetry became his desired avocation. He believes that thoughts and feelings, along with spiritual insight, are expressed best through the language of poetry. He considers good poetry to be the highest form of written or verbal expression. It elicits an emotional response from the reader or listener on a deep level. He desires to write poems that will last in the minds of the reader—something worthy of remembrance.

Jessica Manzo (Bending Toward the Light) is an Oklahoma transplant via New Orleans. She recalls that her first attempt at poetry was in kindergarten, after her mother played a rhyming game with her on the way to the grocery store. She holds a BS in English, with a writing emphasis, from Loyola New Orleans. She loves to capture on paper the little things that may otherwise go unnoticed. Miss Manzo also finds inspiration through her fellow poet friends, whose talent keeps her challenged and craving for fresh work. Since her hobby can’t pay the bills, Miss Manzo works for Belhaven College, where poets have always been welcomed and reading circles hosted on campus. She currently serves as President for Mississippi Poetry Society’s Central Branch. When she’s not writing or working, Miss Manzo can be found playing the piano or singing. She resides in Belhaven.

Mildred McVicker (Bending Toward the Light) is native born of Ohio. A retired children’s librarian, she graduated from Spencer High School, and attended Elyria Business College and Norwalk Bible Institute. Mildred started writing poems as a young girl, and has been writing ever since. She resides in Brandon, Mississippi, with husband, Orman, son, Jonathan, his wife, Connie, their daughter, Allyssa, and a cat, Gunner.

DeSha Dye Montgomery (Bending Toward the Light), a country girl at heart, has lived in towns and cities in Mississippi and Alabama. A Clarksdale native and graduate of Millsaps College with a degree in Biology, she worked as a microbiology research assistant at UMC. Currently she is “non-gainfully employed” at home in Madison, in the Madison Library, in church callings, and community involvements. A love of nature and faith in God off er her poetry a bridgeway between the natural and spiritual realms, ranging from the serious to the occasionally silly. She and her husband, Sam, are parents to two out-of-the-nest-age sons, Kevin and Eric.

Jennifer Parker (Bending Toward the Light) is a writer from West Point, Mississippi, who studied for a bachelor of arts in English and American literature and language at Harvard University and a master of fi ne arts in creative writing at Seattle Pacific University. Her prose and poetry have appeared in several publications, including Prism, Christianity Today, Catapult, Re:Generation Quarterly, Ruminate, The Banner, Moody Magazine, Christian History, and Sojourners magazine. Jennifer works in the areas of education and literacy advocacy while continuing to write creatively. Her work has won a number of awards, including the David McCord Book Prize at Harvard University, an Evangelical Press Association award for journalism, and prizes from The Greater Greenwood Foundation for the Arts in fiction and poetry.

Bill Patrick (Bending Toward the Light) is a native Jacksonian who has jam-packed the lifetimes of a double decagenerian into his six-plus decade pilgrimage on this terrestrial-carbon ball. He joined the US Army, serving in Korea, Taiwan, the Ryukuu Islands and Vietnam. After retirement from the US Army, he completed his postgraduate work in California before returning to Jackson where he pastored, taught, performed drama, wrote a newspaper column and served as Drum Major of the Father of Waters Pipes and Drums. He is now retired in order to devote himself full-time to writing.

Dierdre Payne (Bending Toward the Light), a Vicksburg native, is a retired marketer. Her parents knew that she would love words and writing and would be introspective, and so they named her Dierdre. The name is Celtic (seven letters, no A’s, I before E), and the legend is universal. She has kept a journal for over forty years and now spends the Third Age of her life as a promising poet. Dierdre lives in Ridgeland, Mississippi.

Rosann Robinson (Bending Toward the Light) was born in Pennsylvania and transplanted into Mississippi in elementary school. She is a graduate of USM with a degree in psychology. She worked as a costumer at USM and at Mercer University in Macon, GA. She received her Master’s degree in communications from Mississippi College. She now teaches at Wingfield High School. She wrote her first novel on a dare. The second story needed telling. When she becomes brave, she may try to get them published. It is difficult to send red headed step children out into the world.

Virginia E. Youngblood (Bending Toward the Light), a native Mississippian, was born in Oxford, Ms and moved around a lot, living most of her life in Mobile, Alabama. At the age of 13, she felt an inspiration to write poetry and has been writing ever since. Wherever God leads or uses her, she wants to be an instrument of His guiding Hand. After graduating high school in 1991, she moved to Mississippi to be with family and attended a Bible college for 3 years, where she met her husband, Mark. She now resides in Brandon, Mississippi and has been married for
ten years.