Novus Spring 2023 Contributors


Kate Bonnett

Kate Bonnett is an Australian writer, actor, and recovering navel-gazer. She currently lives in Moorhead, Minnesota, where she spends her time making coffee and covering things in glitter. You can find more of her writing at @katemarigoldpoetry.

Rohan Buettel

Rohan Buettel lives in Canberra, Australia. His haiku have appeared in various Australian and international journals (including Frogpond, Cattails and The Heron’s Nest). His longer poetry recently appears in The Goodlife Review, Rappahannock Review, Penumbra Literary and Art Journal, Mortal Magazine, Passengers Journal, Reed Magazine, Meniscus and Quadrant.

Joseph Byrd

Joseph Byrd’s work has appeared in Fatal Flaw, South Florida Poetry Journal, DIAGRAM, and forthcoming work in WAXING & WANING. He’s a 2023 Pushcart Prize nominee, and was in the 2021 StoryBoard Chicago cohort with Kaveh Akbar. An Associate Artist in Poetry under Joy Harjo at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, he is on the Reading Board for The Plentitudes.


Conrad Mooney

Conrad Mooney is a writer and educator from Texas. He teaches high school English composition at a school for underserved communities. He holds degrees from Loyola University Chicago. Currently, he lives in Dallas with his wife and dog.


German Dario

German Dario (he/him) resides in Tempe, Arizona with his wife, two sons, three dogs, a guinea pig, many plants, and sometimes a fish. Recently published work in Novus Literary Arts Journal, Opossum, Gargoyle Magazine, Gyroscope Review, and San Pedro River Review. His poem “sanctuary” was short listed in 2021 for the Five South Poetry Prize.

Thad DeVassie

Thad DeVassie is a multi-genre writer and fine art painter who creates from the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. His collection, SPLENDID IRRATIONALITIES, was awarded the James Tate Poetry Prize in 2020 from SurVision Books. You can find more of his written and painted works at


Jacob Harzbecker

Jake Harzbecker is a sophomore at Cumberland University where he is double majoring in English and Creative Writing. He is also a member of the Nu chapter of Sigma Chi. He originally started writing poetry as an alternative to journaling and now finds it to be his favorite pastime


Vyacheslav Konoval

Vyacheslav Konoval is a Ukrainian poet whose work is devoted to the most pressing social problems of our time, such as poverty, ecology, relations between the people and the government, and war. His poems have appeared in many magazines, including Anarchy Anthology Archive, International Poetry Anthology, Literary Waves Publishing, Sparks of Kaliopa, Reach of the Song 2022, Diogenes for Culture Journal, and many more. “Scars of my heart from the war:Poetry for Ukraine,” and many more. Vyacheslav’s poems were translated into Spanish, French, Scottish, and Polish languages. His poems also have been read at meetings of various poetry groups, including Newman Poetry Group, Never Talk Innocence, Voicing Art Poetry Reading for Ukraine, Worcester County Poetry, Brussels Writer’s Circle, and many more. He is a member of the Geer Poetry Group (Wales) and a member of the Federation of Scottish Writers.


Kaylee Lowe

Kaylee Lowe is an undergraduate student at Cumberland University. She has an Associates of Arts degree and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. She has been writing since she was 14 and this is her third appearance in Novus.


Joshua Nance

Joshua Nance is a human from the middle of the United States, currently based out of Portland, OR. Athlete turned poet, Joshua spends much of his time observing the world around him, attempting to capture beauty in small, everyday moments.


Kendal Plumlee

Kendal Plumlee is an undergraduate student majoring in Creative Writing at Cumberland University. She was born and raised in Lebanon, Tennessee and has had a passion for writing since she was old enough to put pen to paper.


Cynthia Reeves

Cynthia Reeves “Badlands” (MU Press 2008), was awarded Miami University Press’s Novella Prize, and the novel, The Last Whaler, is forthcoming in 2024. The novel and this story illustrate my passion for all things Arctic. I’ve made many trips to all the Scandinavian countries and to Iceland as well as participated in residencies on Svalbard, including the 2017 Arctic Circle Summer Solstice Expedition and Galleri Svalbard. Reeves’ fiction, essays, and poetry have appeared widely and she’s won awards and honors, including prizes in Columbia’s Fiction Contest, the DeMott Short Prose Contest (Quarter After Eight), New Millennium’s Short Short Fiction Contest, and Potomac Review’s Fiction Contest; nominations for the Pushcart Prize; and residencies at Hawthornden Castle and Vermont Studio Center. A graduate of Warren Wilson College’s M.F.A. program, she has taught in Bryn Mawr College’s Creative Writing Program and Rosemont College’s M.F.A. program.

Mary Shelley Reid

Originally from upstate South Carolina, Mary Shelley Reid is a queer writer and seminarian currently residing in Princeton, New Jersey, where she is pursuing a Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary. Reid also hold a B.A. from Furman University in Creative Writing and Religion. She is particularly interested in the intersection of poetry, spirituality, and identity, which is reflected in the pieces I’ve chosen to submit to Novus.


Matthew Carey Salyer

Matthew Carey Salyer is the author of a chapbook, Lambkin, and two collections, Ravage & Snare (2019) and Probation (forthcoming). His worked appears in journals such as Narrative, The Scores, Poetry Northwest, Southword, Beloit, The Common, Hunger Mountain, and others. He has twice been a finalist for the Iowa Review Prize in Poetry, a semifinalist for the Brittingham and Pollak Prizes in Poetry, and the Pushcart Prize. He works as an associate professor of literature at West Point and a bouncer in the Bronx.

Molly Smith

Molly Smith, Student Editor, is currently a student at Cumberland University, working towards her BA in English and Creative and Imaginative Writing. Born in Northern Illinois, she moved to middle Tennessee in high school and enjoys being a barista, watching movies, and roller skating.

Emma Sullivan

Emma Jane Sullivan is a writer and artist living in Springfield, Missouri. She is currently teaching and studying in the Department of English at Missouri State University. She is currently working on a novel. This is her first publication.


Travis Thomas

Travis is a writer of short fiction and poetry. He lives in Lebanon, Tn. and works at the Lebanon-Wilson County Public Library. He enjoys crochet and being outdoors. He can be reached at


Christian Umbach

Christian Umbach currently lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA, where he works as a city planner, specializing in neighborhood engagement. Christian has always enjoyed writing both personally and professionally. His passion culminated in completing a Creative Writing Minor at Allegheny College, in Meadville, PA. Christian’s poems are highly influenced by sense of place. As a diligent observer of all things both remarkable and mundane, Christian enjoys discovering the poetic images hidden within historic city maps, building facades, and astronomy textbooks.


Lexi Vanatta

Lexi Vanatta is a sophomore at Cumberland University majoring in Creative Writing.


Gabriel Welsch

Gabriel Welsch writes fiction and poetry, and is the author of four collections of poems, the most recent of which is The Four Horsepersons of a Disappointing Apocalypse. His first collection of short stories, Groundscratchers, was published in fall 2021. He lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with his family, and works as vice president of marketing and communications at Duquesne University.

Jerry Wemple

Jerry Wemple published three poetry collections and has a new collection forthcoming. He is currently at work on a nonfiction book about his ancestors who include a “free mulatto” born in the mountains of the western Carolinas in the 1700’s, as well as many German, Swiss, Irish, and Scots immigrants. His poems and nonfiction work appear in numerous journals and anthologies. He teaches in the Creative Writing program at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Evan Morgan Williams

Evan Morgan Williams has published over fifty short stories in literary magazines famous and obscure, including Kenyon Review, ZYZZYVA, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Antioch Review. He has published three collections of short stories: “Thorn,” winner of Chandra Prize at BkMk Press in 2014, “Canyons: Older Stories” self-published in 2018, and “Stories of the New West,” published by Main Street Rag Press in 2021. He holds an MFA, tattered and faded, from the University of Montana in 1991. Williams has retired after 29 years as a Language Arts teacher in Oregon’s toughest middle school.

Grace Willis

Grace Willis is a student and poet from the Midwest, where she is pursuing a Master’s degree in English Literature. Willis has poetry published in Novus Literary Arts Journal as well as Roadrunner review.

Nicole Bethune Winters

Nicole Bethune Winters is a poet, writer and multi-faceted artist. Her first collection, brackish, was published by Finishing Line Press, and her work has appeared in Backlash Journal, Wild Roof Journal, and Seaborne Magazine. When she isn’t writing or wheel-throwing, Nicole is likely at the beach, on a trail, climbing, or exploring new landscapes with her dog. She currently resides in Southern California, where she works as a full-time artist from her home studio.

Art Contributors

Sarah Pierce

Sarah Pierce is a chemist who has fallen in love with art. She enjoys exploring new watercolor and gouache techniques.

David Michael Jackson

David Michael Jackson is a retired Whirlpool product engineer, a mechanical engineer, artist, musician, songwriter, poet, and web publisher who has shown his work at his site,, since 1998 when he and the internet were young. David’s songs are in Spotify and all platforms under the Orchard label. He is originally from Utah and lives in the Nashville area.

Aaron Lelito

Aaron Lelito is a visual artist from Buffalo, NY. In his photographic work, he is primarily drawn to the patterns and imagery of nature. His images have been published as cover art in Red Rock Review, Peatsmoke Journal, and The Scriblerus. His work has also appeared in LandLocked Magazine, EcoTheo Review, About Place Journal, and Alluvian. He is editor in chief of the art & literature website Wild Roof Journal. See more of his work on Instagram @runic_ruminations.

Cora Green

Cora Green is an artist living in Nolensville, Tennessee near the city of Nashville. Her art was also featured in the Spring 2021 Digital Edition of Novus and the Fall 2021 Commemorative Print Edition.

Hamilton Matthew Masters

Hamilton Matthew Masters is a photographer and writer in Middle Tennessee. His visual and written work has been seen in journalistic publications around the world and in fine art galleries throughout the United States.

Melissa Wang

Melissa Wang has exhibited across the U.S., notably at Torrance Art Museum and the de Young Museum in California, with works collected by Brown University and Facebook. She has published in Columbia Journal, The Brooklyn Review, Oyster River Pages and Touchstone Magazine. In 2021, she received an Emerging Artist Award from the California Arts Council. She currently lives and works on Bay Miwok land.

Seth Tummins

The premise of this work is to serve as an introduction to one another, to our lands, and to our special existence. It is also intended to foster the collecting of imagery as pieces of heritage worthy of passing on to posterity. Homes will change, fields will change, towns will change, and these facts give cause to pass on something tangible so that others, future families and various interested parties, may know more fully that we lived and thought of them enough to leave something of worth. May you find that it is more than a record, though it is at least that. May you find that it is, in fact, the expression of a deeply resonating chord that wishes for others to awaken to its resonance and join in the kind of life that can only grow from gratitude.

Aurora Merren

Aurora Merren is a freshman at Cumberland University as well as an artist and budding poet. She grew up with an older sister who inspired her to create in every way she could teach herself, from painting to sculptures, to crochet. Now that she has found her own unique style, she loves when others can interpret her artwork to find meaning in their own lives and use them as inspiration for their own creations.

Shelby Summar

Shelby Summar was born in Murfreesboro, TN in 2001. She received her BFA in Studio Art from Cumberland University in 2023. Her work focuses on strengthening the archival relationship between art and literature. Her debut solo show, Anthology, was held at the Adams Gallery at the June and Bill Heydel Fine Arts Center in Lebanon, TN. She currently lives and works in Nashville, TN.

Gabriel Brune

Gabriel Christian Brune, or G.C. Brune for short. Was born in Macon, Georgia and raised in Carthage, Tennessee. He currently studies English at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee. He dabbles in many creative hobbies such as Poetry, Photography, Film Making, Stage Acting, and Painting. His photography has also been published in Cumberland University’s Lyre of the Phoenix Magazine.

NOVUS Literary and
Arts Journal
Lebanon, TN