Bonnie St. Martin is a Western Massachusetts native who has called Nashville home for the past decade. Her passion for creative writing, storytelling, and advocacy has guided her both personally and professionally her entire life. She comes to The Porch from Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee, where as the Marketing & Grants Manager she administered over 2 million in grants annually, while implementing a communication strategy to highlight how development directly impacts our community. Prior to Boys & Girls Clubs, Bonnie ran her own freelance communications agency where she helped craft and convey the stories of small businesses and artists across Middle Tennessee and beyond. When she’s not grant writing or advocating for the arts, Bonnie spends her free time collecting vintage coats, wrangling her son Otis, hiking with her dog Buster, and searching for the best cup of coffee in town.
Yurina Yoshikawa holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and has taught fiction and non-fiction writing at The Porch since 2018. She has lived in Tokyo, Palo Alto, and New York before settling down in East Nashville, where she lives with her husband and two sons. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, NPR, Lit Hub, The Japan Times, Litro, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and elsewhere. She was the 2020 Tennessee True Stories Contest Winner, a 2019-20 OZ Art Wire Fellow, and a 2021 recipient of the Tennessee Arts Commission. She serves on the boards of two local nonprofits, the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra and API Middle Tennessee. She hosts and curates the virtual book club for the Japan-America Society of Tennessee that focuses on contemporary Japanese novels translated into English. She is also an associate of the U.S.-Japan Council where she is a co-organizer of their Artists & Creatives group.
Her proudest accomplishments at The Porch include launching the Words & Music classes in collaboration with the Nashville Philharmonic, organizing the Nashville AAPI Writers Group, and MCing their inaugural showcase in May 2023 which brought 70 attendees to The Forge. Her favorite authors include James Baldwin, Valeria Luiselli, Yoko Tawada, Elena Ferrante, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Tove Jansson (both her Moomin series and serious novels). In her spare time, she enjoys playing the viola, learning the electric bass, flying kites, and improvising recipes in the kitchen. To learn more about her writing and professional life, visit www.yurinayoshikawa.com.
Eliana Ramage is a Cherokee Nation citizen born and raised in Nashville. She received her MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 2018, and holds an MA in creative writing from Bar-Ilan University and a BA in English literature from Dartmouth College. Her stories and essays have appeared in Beloit Fiction Journal, CRAFT, The Baltimore Review, and The Masters' Review Anthology. She is at work on her first novel.
Grant Emerson is a musician and web developer from North Carolina. Grant studied music at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and full-stack web development at Vanderbilt University. His band, Delta Rae, has toured the world, played late night television shows, released 6 full-length records, and released several music videos with millions of views. Humangoodkinddesigns is where Grant continues to flex his creativity helping companies and business owners craft a digital presence that they love.
L[oren] Ileana Sotolongo is a Queer, Trans, Cuban American poet originally from Southern California, where they received their BA in English Writing. After living in a handful of US cities (namely Washington DC, Tucson, and Louisville), they eventually made their way to Nashville to attend Vanderbilt Divinity School. You can find L’s poems in forgotten college collections and community zines, or shared amidst late-night dinners with their friends. Practically, you can watch a panel they hosted through Vanderbilt on Cuban Memory and Identity ("Healing Memorias") in January 2023, or find their work via Instagram, a small and local publishing house (@loren.sotolongo). They are currently reading Chen Chen’s Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced An Emergency, along with too many academic articles to name or count.