James Jay has worked as a bartender, a wildland firefighter, book seller, surveyor, and furniture mover. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he has taught poetry at the jail, the public schools, and Northern Arizona University. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. He received an MFA from the University of Montana and a MA in Literature from NAU.
He owns a bar, Uptown Pubhouse, with his wife, musician Alyson Jay, and they have two sons and three dogs of varying mutt types (pit mix, boxer mix, a coyote mix from parts unknown), who all think they’re very fast.
In 2010 he received the Arizona Daily Sun’s People’s Choice Award for Best Author. In 2011 he received the Viola Award in Literature. His latest collection of poems, The Journeymen, was nominated for a PEN Western States Award, a Before Columbus Foundation Award, and poems from the book have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Jay’s poetry has appeared in Strange Machine, Alligator Juniper, Crab Creek Review, Cutbank, and numerous other journals and magazines. His short stories and essays have been featured in Carbon 14, The View from Here, and his interviews of award-winning writers such as Mark Gibbons, Dennis Greig and Ron Chernow have appeared in various newspapers. His poetry was selected for the New Poets of the American West anthology.
From 2006 to 2010 he served as the Executive Director of the Northern Arizona Book Festival. Currently, he is the NAZBF President.
Jesse Sensibar has worked in a window shade factory and as a shade tree mechanic, as a heavy equipment operator, strip club bouncer, private investigator, repossession agent, and as a truck driver. He lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, where he opened the town’s first tattoo shop, drove tow trucks for 20 years in the tall pines, and most recently taught English in the University Writing Program at Northern Arizona University where he was also the editor-in-chief for Thin Air Magazine. His poems and prose have recently begun to see the light of day in various publications, both in print and online. He was the co-editor of The Narrow Chimney Reader: Volume I published by Uptown Press in 2014. He received an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in English from NAU. Currently he is the judge for the 10th annual Jim Simmerman Poetry Prize and the co-host of the Narrow Chimney Reading Series.
In 2013 his 10-minute play, Dead Man’s Lunch, was a winner at the Northern Arizona Playwriting Showcase. In 2015 he and co-founder James Jay won the Viola Award in Storytelling for the Narrow Chimney Reading Series. Presently he is working on his own writing and also finds the time to serve as Executive Director of the 2017 Northern Arizona Book Festival.