Friday, June 25, 2010

Contributor Biographies

photo © Bar None Group 2010
First poetry reading of the Dharma Bums of Barra de Navidad in January, 2010.

Without the generosity and talent of the amazing writers that have allowed their work to be shared within our community there would be no Bar None Group. Our contributors are listed within one of two groups.

The first group — The Dharma Bums of Barra de Navidad — are those writers and artists with a connection to the Costalegre region of Mexico. The kindred spirits who have contributed to the Bar None anthologies.

Our Online Contributors are the beating heart of the Bar None Group. From the four corners of this little blue planet we have been fortunate to share the voices and creativity of this wonderful collective.

The Bar None Group is indebted to all of our contributors. Please read their work and visit their websites.

The Dharma Bums of Barra de Navidad

Rebecca Armitage is a child of the sea. Rebecca was first introduced to Barra by her parents as a young child and today, as a woman, she is now a bright light of winter life in Barra de Navidad.

Beth Berube — our very own Erma Bombeck — writes short, humorous stories about a big city gringa who relocates to a small town on the Pacific coast of Mexico. Her writing has also been featured in El Ojo del Mar.

Jody James Buckner's love of traveling and adventure brought him to Barra de Navidad in December of 2009 where he managed to convince a group of talented writers he was one of their peers! Jody reminds us always...'Life is not meant to be watched on TV...'

Mark Butkus wrote about the environment for more than 20 years. In Mexico, Mark exercises the left side of his brain. Caught between two worlds he now calls Chicago home…when not in Barra.

Denise Chatelain is a talented musician that sailed and performed in the Caribbean for many years before recently gracing the shores of Barra de Navidad. This world traveler is plotting her next adventure from British Columbia, Canada to points unknown.

Lover of life, language and smiles, traveler of roads that go on for miles. From the Rocky Mountain desert — Chynna Chilton (that's me!) has come to this village to live by the sea.

Jordan Crittenden (1937-2010) was an enthusiastic believer in the Bar None Group and contributed our first published short story. The Take Two edition of the Bar None Group anthology series is dedicated to Jordan. We miss you, brother. 

Jay Daniel has been a fulltime resident of Barra since 2009 and has yet to give himself a suitable "border promotion" to win friends and influence people. Please note: Two highly successful TV shows, Moonlighting and Rosanne were both produced by a Jay Daniel. Go ahead...Google it! How'm I doing so far?

Patricia Dolan is a permanent resident of Barra de Navidad and an avid traveler and explorer of Mexico. Patricia’s first appearance in the Bar None anthologies is in Last Call.

Hugo Becerra Dominguez is an electrifying guitarist who divides his time between his native Guadalajara and Barra de Navidad.

Louisiana resident Barbara Foote enjoys a good cigaro when not dreaming of dancing the nights away in the Costalegre.

Michelle (Mish) Munoz Gagne, is from Detroit, Michigan. She is very glad to share her poetry in one of her favorite little places in the world – Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico, where, “friends have become family and part of my heart forever.”

A student of the arts, Veronica Giraldo has also taught art in New Orleans schools. We are grateful that when she puts down her brush, she picks up a pen and creates poetry that is both raw and emotional but more importantly comes from within the soul of a true artist.

Jessica Godwin is an emerging talent. Hailing from Washington state Jessica first dipped her toes in Barra in 2009 and she has been in love ever since. Her contribution to this project extends beyond the written word.

From the Pacific Northwest, Curtis Graham is a musician who lives and works in Barra de Navidad. He currently fronts the rock band Bandidos.

A licensed acupuncturist of more than ten years, Doug Grootveld offers unconventional advice on health, wellness, and happiness on his Wellness Renegade blog. He and his wife Allison own the Bruja Cafe in Barra de Navidad.

A native of southern California, Linda Haffey now calls the bright lights of Las Vegas home. The Bar None Group is honored that Linda has shared her poetry with us...and now...with you!

Brenda Hawley was born in sunny Summerland, beautiful British Columbia. Left home at 17 to pursue a life of fun and continue to focus on the positive side of life. Enjoy winters in Barra and summers in Canada. Love my HUSBAND, FAMILY, FRIENDS, PETS and LIFE!

Billy Hawliday — Tall, dark and handsome. Lovin' life. "But it is supposed to be 50 words, huh?" "Ahh, bullshit." "Okay, then I will add something for you;" Tall, dark and handsome Viking.

Buster Jones is the re-invention of a life. The latest incarnation finds himself in and around Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico. If you happen by La Oficina in Villa Obregon on a Thursday night you may be able to coax him to sing a few bars.

We thank Colleen Juri for her contribution and invite you to friend her on Facebook and friend her in person on a little stretch of paradise in Mexico.

Lisa Marie Kline (aka Felix) is from Los Angeles, California and has been living in Mexico for 10 years. The 43-year-old has one son and four granddaughters. Felix has been writing poems and prose since the age of six.

Jill Koop has graced Barra de Navidad with her effervescent personality for many years. She has been known to play tambourine and maracas during live shows in Barra de Navidad, Mexico and the Okanagan.

Kathrin Lake is the Executive Director at the Vancouver School of Writing where she also teaches. Kathrin also hosts writing workshops when in Barra de Navidad.

The first and last name of live music in Barra goes by only one name – Lalo. Ned Neltner has more than a dozen albums under his guitar strap and when he is not living in Barra de Navidad he plays in Jr. Cadillac. The rock and roll band of the Pacific Northwest for more than 40 years.

With wit and irreverence Carol Anne Lesser asks us to lighten up. The California native makes her first appearance in the Bar None anthologies with Take Two.

Michael Linklater divides his time between Nanaimo B.C. and Barra de Navidad. He is the Administrator of the Melaque/Barra de Navidad Gringos Facebook Group. Michael believes that we get some of our greatest rewards through supporting our communities.

In Mexico, it’s Suzy Sol; in BC Canada, it’s Susan Lockhart or, Laser. Born in Vancouver I lived my formative youth there; went back to the land during the ‘Flower Power’ years and settled in the North Okanagan which is still home to this day. After three kids, several properties and a forest nursery tech career, life is still bright and the future full of endless possibilities.

Charles Longstreet (1947-2013) Father. Friend. Dharma Bum of Barra de Navidad. Chuck was not only a co-founder of the Bar None Group, it was his idea that led to the formation of the Bar None Group. If you bought a copy of a Bar None anthology you probably bought it from Chuck himself as he was the public face of the Bar None Group in Barra de Navidad.

Mya Longstreet is the granddaughter of our co-founder. She was able to express her feelings in poetry and her grandfather smiles from above.

Joe Lusk is the preeminent muralist in Barra. Technically brilliant, Joe is now documenting the minutiae of the Costalegre through stunning photos.

Zanne Mack is a talented musician from San Fransico. Along with her poems included here Zanne brings joy to us when she performs on stage, singing her own songs while evoking the ghosts of other talented souls.

Sharon McBride paints local scenes when in Mexico. North of the border she is an organic farmer with her husband Doug. Sharon's painting Barca graced the cover of the first Bar None Group anthology.

David E. McDonald was born in ’44 in Oregon. He went to Viet Nam in ’63 and moved to Alaska in 1966. Retiring to Mexico in 2008 David is loving life in Barra de Navidad.

Octavio González Navarro is a poet and entrepreneur from Barra de Navidad and is more familiarly known as Roctavio. We thank Octavio for sharing his poetry with us.

Stephanie Pap finds a release dancing barefoot in Barra de Navidad. Now living on the West Coast she studied at the Ontario College of Art and Design. As an artist Stephanie loves the vibrant colours of Mexico and being a portraitist, finds many interesting subjects to paint.

Liz Parkin is a mother and grandmother extraordinaire. She is also an artist, writer, activist/shit-disturber, peacemaker, community volunteer, friend, dancer, survivor of domestic assault, Amazon warrior and fearless with the help of her friends. Liz writes poetry and paints acrylics of and in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco as well as the Lower Mainland of British Columbia.

Singer/songwriter Marc Pettigrew sang me this tune that he had been working on as we drove to El Grullo to catch some mariachi music. The talented guitarist and noted tequila drinker resides part-time in Barra de Navidad.

Teresa Puente is a Professor of Journalism at Columbia College in Chicago. Ms. Puente also encourages Latina women to write and publish their stories in Latina Voices.

Walt Rondeau brings a touch of whimsy with folk tales that amuse and enlighten children of all ages.

Russell Rosander, who is not a poet, lives in Rancho de los Parotas, Jalisco, Mexico, which is not on any map.

Kevin Rudd was born in the summer of 1981 in Amarillo, Texas. Son of a rebellious Harley-riding Marine and a kind, southern nurse. Kevin Rudd currently lives in Barra de Navidad, Mexico. His next destination seems to be unknown, look in the foothills of the San Juan Mountains or the High Rockies if searching.

Pamela Mills Ruzic appears within our pages for the first time in Last Call as a co-writer of, And We Live Here! alongside Patti and Lalo.

Anna Schilke is hard at work on her next novel, Murder in Melaque. The novel draws on her current Mexican surroundings for plot, character and atmosphere. It is safe to say that some snowbirds will miss the return flight home. Anna is also the author of Murder in Montana.

Heather Tovar is one of the leading artists in Barra de Navidad. Heather’s art graces the walls of the finest residences and businesses in our seaside Eden.

Susan Watt lives in Cuastecomates, Jalisco with husband and noted musician Angel Orozco Jr. She studied art in her native Arizona.

Nora West is a writer who winters in Cuastecomates, Jalisco, Mexico. Nora is currently working on her memoirs of the equine world of competitive dressage.

Bar None Group Online 

Charles Bane, Jr. is the author of The Chapbook and Love Poems. His work was described in the Huffington Post as "not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them."  Creator of the Meaning of Poetry series for The Gutenberg Project, he is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida and working on a new collection, The Ends Of The Earth.

A graduate of Indiana University, Tom Banks is a poet living in Taos, New Mexico. Tom's 2013 collection of poetry, Jazz Music — Poems in the Rhythm of Life are, "those beats, those moods, that rhythm, rendered into language — Jazz language!"

Nicole Bataclan is a poet living in Zurich, Switzerland. She is also available for freelance writing work and the author of her own blog — The Writings of Nicole Bataclan.

Hicham Bensassi is a poet/songwriter and grew up in West London, Ladbroke Grove. He has been published in various magazines including 20x20 Magazine, The Delinquent magazine and Black Cat Poetry, recordings of his poems have been released by Universal Music, Artifact Records and Naked Lunch@50.

Radical poet Sebastian Blacque left his mark in the 1960s through a series of chapbooks. He made his mark speaking of inequality and injustice.

An exciting new voice, born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, writing helps David W. Bray IV escape the labyrinth in his mind.

Wanda Lea Brayton is the author of two books of poetry; The Echo of What Remains Collected Poems of Wanda Lea Brayton from 2011 and A Beautiful Rumor — Selected Poems published in 2012.

Peter Burzynski is a second-year PhD student in Creative Writing-Poetry at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He holds a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.F.A. in Poetry from The New School University, and a M.A. in Polish Literature from Columbia University. 

The Bypo Revolution "exists to support the propagation of street art and street poetry — the fusion of art and social justice — and to bring positive energy into the universe."

Liz Colado essayist and poet, resides in the United States. A poet since childhood, her poems reflect the images and premonitions of her subconscious dreams. The writing of poetry has been her escape to a world apart, a dimension of other, a reality considered.

Wyn Cooper has published four books of poems including his latest — Chaos is the New Calm (BOA Editions, 2010). In 1993, Fun, a poem from his first book; The Country of Here Below (Ahsahta Press, 1987), was turned into Sheryl Crow’s Grammy- winning song All I Wanna Do. For more information on Wyn's life and poetry please visit

The author of six books, Marc Creamore is a poet living in British Columbia. Recently, Marc has been recording various poems with musical accompaniment on Soundcloud,"to give the bones of the words a more fully fleshed out existence."

Cyril Dabydeen's When They Came evokes memories of the ongoing struggle in Tenacatita. The poem is included in the author's 1979 collection of poetry called This Planet Earth (Borealis Press).

Rick Dale is the author of The Beat Handbook: 100 Days of Kerouactions — that can help you find your inner Beat. A collection of poetry, Once in a Blue While Moon is also available.

For more than five years Jamie Dedes has been sharing her thoughts and poetry through her site THE POET BY DAY, the journey in poem.

New Wave Review called John Denny's second collection of poems The Heartlands as,"T.S. Eliot meets Joy Division." The Heartlands follows the author's acclaimed 2011 collection, Englandcollapsed. Born in London and brought up in the Midlands, Denny's poetry has also appeared in many anthologies and literary magazines.

The native of Bristol UK, MJ Duggan describes himself as an "imagist and a polemicist." MJ is also the author of three poetry books: The Modern Orpheus; Avalon and; Scenes from the Big Society.

A native of Cincinnati, Steve Elsaesser now calls Naples, Florida home. Steve writes, "what I think, feel, observe, live, and what I have learned." Not bound by rules and traditions, Steve Elsaesser's poetry can be found at The Fourth Dimension.

Javier Fabris es un poeta que vive en Puerto Vallarta. Su libro Taller de Ideas es una recopilación de poemas de su autoría donde refleja su sentir diario y la visión que tiene sobre el mundo.

Inspired by political upheavals and environmental concerns, Phil Gibson is a poet living in Devon, UK.

Olivia M. Grey prefers to live in the cobwebbed corners of her dark mind writing paranormal romance with a Steampunk twist. Her premiere novel, Avalon Revisited, is an Gothic Romance bestseller. A second novel, The Zombies of Mesmer, is available in Kindle. She also writes short stories, relationship articles, and angsty poetry within the pages of Caught in the Cogs.

Lynne Hayes describes herself as,“a word scribbler...nothing more...nothing less.” But Lynne is much more than that. She is the founder of Free Penny Press and the mother of “take-it-to-the-street-poetry,” (TITTSP).

Mandy Hutter is a Grassroots Environmental Educator soon headed to Guantanamo, Cuba to further her humanitarian aims.

Alan W. Jankowski is the author of a collection of poetry and prose — I Often Wonder. Alan is an award winning author. His stories have been published online, and in various journals including Oysters & Chocolate, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, eFiction Magazine, Zouch, The Rusty Nail, and a few others he can't remember at the moment.

Living in Spokane, Martin John has been writing songs since 2007. Also known as RvMj, Martin will periodically show up on YouTube with limited video runs of a particular work in progress or in an homage to John Lennon. He is currently experimenting with binaural beats.

Abby Jones is the author of two urban fantasy novels, When Skies are Gray and Inheritance. Abby also writes random prose and reviews at Words Before the Door 

An originator of the California sound, Stephen John Kalinich rose to fame as a young man when he began writing songs with Brian and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. Kalinich continues to write poetry for films and music from Los Angeles.Visit Stevie's website to learn more about this 'American Poet' and his fascinating life in words and music.

Katie Keys is a 30-something non-Indigenous Australian Brit currently living in London, UK. She Twitters a poem a day @tinylittlepoems.

Julie Laing is the author of the poetic chapbook, tracks. Julie's words can also be found in the just released Inspiration Speaks, a collaboration between writers and artists, that includes three of her poems. Online she can be read at The JulieBook.

Studying for her English Literature degree, Hannah J. Lees hosts Keep Calm and Bookworm. "This blog is filled to the brim with writing, poetry, books and inspirational people! Always read between the lines."

The poetry of Ann LeFlore can be explored online at the Gateless Passage.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Rebeca Lois Lucret is a poet who now resides in the Bronx. She is an active member of the New York City Latina Writer’s Group and former contributing writer for She has participated in Lit Crawl Brooklyn as well as performed/read in various NYC venues. Rebeca is currently writing a memoir, Dandelion Strands.

Jeremy Lum is a retired teacher who has also developed a unique poetic architecture.

A poet from Cleveland, Ohio — Renee Matthews-Jackson — is also a playwright and accomplished actor. Renee made her theater debut in 1987 in Joseph A. Walker's classic, The River Niger.

Jeanne McGee has been active in the Barra/Melaque art scene for 10 years beginning with the Dirty Dozen art group. Jeanne is the author of two books of poetry — Transitions and Of My World. She also hosts her own art shows at her home in Villa Obregon and at her Galeria Amiga at the Centro De Arte Y Cultura (CENAC) where she sells her photographs and crafts of Mexico. Books by local authors are available at Galeria Amiga from November-May.

Brian Miller is the author of Waystationone and co-creator of both One Stop Poetry and dVerse Poets Pub. He lives on the east coast of the United States with his wife and two boys.

Mike Miller is a writer, poet, and businessguy…that covers all the bases and leaves enough to the imagination. To learn more about Mike and to read more of his work visit his site, work and poetry, or follow the bread crumbs at:

Born and raised in New Orleans, Jillien Minera now calls North Carolina home. The creator of Life Through Words also sings in her church choir, having previously sung for the Baton Rouge Symphony Orchestra.

Anis Mojgani is a two time National Poetry Slam Champion and winner of the International World Cup Poetry Slam. Originally from New Orleans, Anis has two poetry collections, Over the Anvil We Stretch, and his latest The Feather Room, both from Write Bloody Publishing.

Buddah Moskowitz is the editor and creator of, a website where poets phone in their poetry to share with an international audience. Current writings are housed under lock and key at I Hate Poetry.

Paul Nebenzahl is a writer, musician, and painter who lives in Evanston, Illinois, and Sleepy Hollow, New York. He is the author of a 2014 collection of poems, Black Shroud with Rainbow Fringes: New Poems 2010-2013 (Silver Birch Press).

The Australian poet Rosemary Nissen-Wade is a poet who sometimes writes in other genres. Rosemary is also an editor and a facilitator of "creative writing" workshops. View her poetry at the Passionate Crone.

An educator, poet and vocalist, Lori D. Nolasco is also on the Board of Latinas Unidas and a member at the Rochester Hispanic Business Association.

Michael Osias lives with his wife, Diane, outside Vancouver, British Columbia. Michael's short stories have been published in e-zines such as Youth Imagination and Fabula Argenta. His work also appears in anthologies Pandora’s Box and the forthcoming Creepy Collection, both published by Inkception. His poetry can be found in These Human Shores Volume 2, published by the International Poetry Fellowship.

Jeff Parker is the Co-Founder and Director of the DisQuiet International Literary Program, and the author of the novel Ovenman and the short story collection The Taste of Penny. He has taught at the University of Toronto and Eastern Michigan University, and currently he is the Director of the Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Tampa.

Limbi Pax is a self-described; writer, poet and humorist. The researcher from New York City is the author of two novels whose publication are pending. To read more of Limbi's poetry please visit her at Poems From an Open Heart.

A native of New Orleans, Chuck Perkins has always had a poet's heart. The former Marine and Xavier University graduate honed his craft in the Chicago slam poetry scene in the 1990s. Upon returning to NOLA Chuck continues to perform, write and share his love, knowledge and respect for poetry within the community.
Tim Pilcher's Roberto Bolaño translations originally appeared on La Universidad Desconocida. Please visit the site to read the original Spanish version of Bolaño's works and to learn more about Roberto Bolaño.

Hailing from Karachi, Pakistan, Sarah Rahman is, "an aspiring writer, a solitary and endeavoring soul striving to discover the purpose of my being in the macrocosm. An explorer, on her way, to deciphering the untapped, seraphic and the bitter realities of life," Sarah can be discovered on Essaar's Virtual Voyage.

Along with being a traveler and poet, the California born and raised Craig Rusert is a film student at NYU. He will be familiar to our readers in Barra de Navidad, Mexico as a founding member of Bearslap — a band that kept us on the dance floor before his studies took him to new adventures.

 An artist by profession, Pamela Sayers poetry is in part inspired by Mexico. Now living in Puebla, the former New Yorker teaches English while absorbing the local culture. To read more of Pamela's poetry lease visit wordsandthoughtspjs.

A friend to all poets, Claudia Schoenfeld is the co-founder of dVerse Poets Pub as well as being an amazing poet herself. When she is not tending to the pub Claudia illuminates the world  and beyond by jaywalking the moon.

Blanca Segura is a founding memeber of the Grupo Parasomnia — a collective of poets from Lima, Peru. Her first volume of poetry, La Brutalidad de Los hechos was published in 2011. Her poems also appear in the Grupo Parasomnia's 2013 anthology, Al otro lado del verso. Blanca is also the creator of an online multimedia poetry experience called Mis hombres y yo.

You may be familiar with Victoria C. Slotto from her poetry and fiction at liv2write2day. Victoria is also the author of Winter is Past, her second novel, published by Lucky Bat Books. 

Dani Thornton-Stock writes about the beauty of love through poetry at Cashmereheart. Dani is the author of Love Letters Amidst Satin.

Born and raised in Windhoek, Namibia, Nikolai Tjongarero has been selected as one of the contributors to The Ground's Ear Contemporary Verse from Southern Africa poetry anthology. Nikolai is also a regular contributor to the CPT Street Mag — an online zine from Cape Town, South Africa.

A writer, skillfully disguised as a Professional Counselor, Kim van Breda is passionate about counseling children and adolescents through play therapy specializing in Trauma Therapy and Trauma Debriefing. Hailing from South Africa, Kim enjoys the freedom to express her creative side by using writing as a therapeutic escape from an otherwise hectic lifestyle

New York-born Paz Villaronga recites his poetry while accompanying himself on congas, creating a fusion of poetry, percussion, and music that take his verse to a new level. Paz Villaronga has received the Golden and Silver Poet Award in California and has placed third in La Cancion Bilingue — The Bilingual Song Competition in Washington D.C.

The poems of James H. Webb can be found at Hello Poetry.

David Williams is a retired driving instructor and a part-time poet living in the North West of England. Active in his local poetry group, David's poetry also appears on various sites including Poetry Soup.

An ink weaver, a craftsman, a wordsmith. Beth Winter writes poetry, prose and any thought that enters her mind at Eclipsing Winter.

Barbara Young is a writer who makes her life, home and art in and around Nashville, Tennessee. Barbara also creates and shapes the pages of the Briarcat.

Ayala Zarfjian is an engaging poet from Florida who believes in living each day the best way possible — to Ayala, the glass is always half full. She is also a mother, wife, entrepreneur, blogger and, dreamer who shares her thoughts on her poetic website, a sun kissed life.

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