Editorial Team Release

VoiceCatcher is thrilled to announce the dates for the next open submission period. Send us your wild and wonderful work from February 20th through March 31st, 2017. Our team of creative and passionate editors is ready to see your words and artistic visions. Let us introduce you to our editorial staff for the Spring issue:


Managing Editor

Jennifer Kemnitz is an herbalist and a great defender of plant life; she can be roused at any moment to an impassioned discussion of its innate intelligence. Her work has most recently appeared in Cirque, Rain, and the Kerf, and has been anthologized by Poetry on the Lake, among others. Jennifer’s poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and translated into German.



Assistant Managing Editor

Desiree Wright started writing for survival at age six – handmade books of horse names, rhyming poetry, and short stories. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

She grew up in So Cal and has lived in West Virginia, Indiana, and the Kingdom of Tonga. Fifteen years ago she found her way to the Pacific Northwest. She is ever grateful for a place to call home on indigenous lands.

Desiree takes a seat at the Pinewood Table each week to bleed, sweat, and laugh her stories into existence. Afraid of becoming the woman who dies and leaves all of her writing in cardboard boxes underneath a dusty desk, she has started to send her work into the world. Her first published piece was in the Winter 2016 edition of VoiceCatcher. Her poetry currently moves through the Vancouver area on a C-trans bus, thanks to the Poetry Moves project.

Desiree almost finished a double Master’s degree in Cultural Survival and Cultural Anthropology. She is a non-biological mother. She says “I am a writer” without explanation. She is finally able to live her life, no regret-style.

Poetry Editors

Suzanne Sigafoos is the author of Held In The Weave (Finishing Line). Her work has appeared in The Oregonian, VoiceCatcher, Bellingham Review, and Windfall: A Journal of Poetry of Place. Most recently, her poem, Thanksgiving, 2016 – A Monochord appears at Indolent Books’ Transition:  Poems in the Aftermath, an online series created in response to the election.


Juleen Johnson is a co-founder of Soundings: An Evening of Word and Sound. Johnson has been invited to read at: BuzzPoems, Ink Noise Review, Open Door Enjambment, Penduline Poetry Series and Word Warriors in Portland, OR. She won first place in the Voices Poetics Poetry Contest. Her poems have been published in publications, including Cirque: A Literary Journal, Nervous Breakdown, Rust and Moth, The Round, and other journals. Johnson currently writes and creates art in Portland, OR.


Mercedes Munoz is a licensed Special Education teacher for Portland Public Schools. As an avid performance poet with an emphasis on social justice, Munoz has garnered attention as an invited slam guest for the Oregon Senate, The Skanner ́s Annual MLK Breakfast, and Imago Dei ́s ̈Saving Justice ̈ artist event and panel. Locally, Mercedes has facilitated student writing workshops in classrooms throughout the Portland Metro Area. She holds a BA in English and Masters in Special Education from Portland State University. Outside of education and writing, Munoz ́s passions include cooking, mentoring youth and women, as well as devouring books.


Prose Editors

Michele Ford is a current graduate student in the Book Publishing program at Portland State University. As an undergraduate at Pacific University, she worked as Managing Editor for The Silk Road Review and freelanced for Forest Avenue Press. She currently lives in Portland and posts embarrassing pictures of her cat on Twitter.



Nikki Schulak writes and performs comedy about bodies and relationships. Her work has been published in numerous journals and websites, most recently at Full Grown People and forthcoming in Creative Nonfiction this spring. Her essay “On Not Seeing Whales” (Bellevue Literary Review) was chosen as a Notable Selection in Best American Essays 2013. Nikki’s latest tattoo is an ampersand because she wants to have her cake and eat it, too.



Michelle Fredette is the co-host of the Plonk reading series and the book podcast, “Go Away, I’m Reading.” She’s currently working on a novel set in the world of roller derby.


Art Editor

Sarah Fagan received a BA from Stonehill College in North Easton, MA in 2007, relocating to Portland, OR shortly thereafter. She became imbued in the Northwest art scene as an artist and teacher, eventually receiving a post-baccalaureate certificate in painting and printmaking from the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Sarah spent the last year back in New England on a twelve-month artist residency in Concord, MA, and currently splits her time between Portland and the east coast. She is represented by galleries across the U.S. More at www.sarahfagan.com.


Young Voices

Suzy Harris was born and raised in Indiana and has lived her adult life in Portland as a teacher, parent, lawyer, spouse, friend, and writer of poems. She has studied with Claudia Savage and has been published in VoiceCatcher.





Kate Ristau is the author of the middle grade series, Clockbreakers, and the young adult series, Shadow Girl. In her ideal world, magic and myth combine to create memorable stories with unforgettable characters. Until she finds that world, she’ll live in a house in Oregon, where they found a sword behind the water heater and fairies in the backyard. You can find her online at Kateristau.com.

First Blog Post – Jessica Mehta

Ladies, I’m so excited to join you as the president of the board for VoiceCatcher! Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll post a couple of “mini-blogs” to introduce myself. For this first post, I’ll share four things about myself, and if you’re comfortable I’d love anyone who’s up for it to do the same. However, first a disclaimer: I’m a poet. A narrative poet. A confessional, narrative poet. In other words, in writing at least, I tend to be very transparent and forthcoming. In a post like this, I consider that a good thing! After all, who wants to know what my favorite book is when you can read about the time a bullet ant attacked me in a jungle five minutes before 108 sun salutations at sunrise?

(Btw, my favorite book is I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Just saying.)

  1. I once had a picnic with a dead man, and yes, it was as lovely as it sounds. Okay, that’s a few lines of one of my poems, but it’s true. I’ve lived in numerous countries (the UK, Costa Rica and South Korea) and traveled to many more, but my favorite (so far) was Prague in the Czech Republic. I think it’s because it was the first place overseas I traveled alone, and because the city looks like a fairy tale. Like any good writer/book nerd, I took a bus to the O Cemetery, picked up picnic supplies at a farmer’s market on the way, and had a picnic with Kafka. It remains one of my best memories of Europe. Oh, and my favorite Kafka like is the final sentence from The Trial: “Like a dog.” You can find out more about my books, publishing, etc. at jessicatynermehta.com.
  2. I love to karaoke. I mean, I really, really love to karaoke. But I can’t sing, so I rap. My favorites are Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, and Kanye West. I will say yes to karaoke anytime, anywhere, but I prefer big crowds. I’m in constant mourning for Boiler Room in downtown, which was my favorite karaoke joint for well over a decade. In fact, it was the first place I ever karaoked.
  3. I married the other kind of Indian. I’m half Cherokee and half white, and my husband is from Mumbai. My relationship with him is the foundation for my novel, The Wrong Kind of Indian, which I had to publish as fiction (uhm, it’s 100% true) and under a pen name. Although his family has accepted me, he’s Jain (the most conservative sect of Hinduism) and the first in his family to not have an arranged marriage. To make things even more interesting, he’s the eldest of his generation which comes with a slew of responsibilities—for both him and me. But who wants the easy stuff? I’ve included one of the photos from our wedding just for fun, and because it’s nearly our one-year anniversary.
  4.  I never thought I’d be one of those people. I spent a year living in Costa Rica, and spent some of that time getting my yoga teaching certification. When I got back to the US, I founded the Get it Ohm! karmic yoga movement, offering free classes to those who don’t have access to traditional yoga studios and/or don’t feel comfortable in such environments. You can check out more at my yoga site, getitohm.com, where I also maintain a wellness blog. I’m also a former marathon runner, and now I’m working on hypertrophy via an intense weight training schedule, and I’m getting into outdoor cycling while gearing up for spring races. As a child, I couldn’t tell you what a calorie was and I put on 100 pounds in college. My interest in well-being and fitness was seriously delayed, but I’m making up for lost time.

That’s my four things. What are yours?

Jessica Mehta on 2016

I’ve heard a lot of comments and seen a lot of memes on the terrible-ness of 2016. (And, yes, of course in many ways I agree … but then again, horrible things happen every year). That’s not what this post is about.


For me, personally and professionally, a wealth of great things happened in 2016. Actually, it was the best year of my life (so far). As we veer into the New Year, and many of us desperate to leave 2016 behind us, I’d like to share a few favorite moments of the past year.


2016 was the year …


… I got married. It was that kind of insane love we’re all looking for. Along with the good stuff, marriage, there was the fun stuff like an elaborate Indian wedding in Mumbai and a sweet courthouse wedding in Portland complete with a pedicab ride and a secret extra ceremony at Voodoo Doughnut.


… We built and bought a house. A little parceled off piece of old dairy farm land became ours, and six months later a custom home appeared. Working with an architect to draft a unique home, an incredible builder, and getting to know the city officials very well was a big part of 2016 for us. My husband’s surprise homecoming gift to me was radiant floor heating in the master bath, which I fell in love with years ago when I lived in South Korea.


… My first novel was picked up and published. I already had two books of poetry and one non-fiction book under my belt, but having a novel (okay, a memoir) published is scary in a brand new way.


… My third book of poetry was published. Orygun is a slim collection with a gorgeous cover. I’m so grateful for having such a thoughtful, artistic poetry publisher.


… I got my first (three!) writing residencies. I was accepted as the writer-in-residence at three locations including the Hosking Houses Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust also in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and the WISC residency in Santa Fe, NM. Already, 2017 is gearing up to be a travel-filled year!


… My in-laws came to visit for the first time. They spent five weeks with us, and for both of them it was their first time out of India. I’ve never made so much chai in my life, and now I’m told I can do it better than my husband.


… I did my first bookstore reading. You’d think after three books I’d have done this before! However, my first reading was at Berl’s Poetry Bookshop in Brooklyn. I got a glam Brooklyn had to commemorate it.


… I saw Niagara Falls. I’ve lived in a lot of countries and traveled to many more, but the boat ride to Niagara Falls was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had.


… I got my first working artist grant. I know I’m a working artist, and that I’m very lucky to make a living solely from my craft. However, actually getting that career grant for artists from the Oregon Arts Commission was a sweet dose of validation.


Those are just a few of my 2016 highlights. What are yours?


(Oh, and as a bonus? January 20th, also known as Inauguration Day and what will surely be the day of mass protests, is also our first wedding anniversary. We’ll be doing what we can to instill celebration into that date.)

Introducing VoiceCatcher’s web team for 2017

As an online community and journal, VoiceCatcher depends on the tremendous artistic and technical skills of our volunteers. Meet the two newest members of VoiceCatcher’s journal and community site team!  


Journal Designer Edee Lemonier 

Edee’s work has appeared in Nailed Magazine and VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions, and she has a piece in the forthcoming 2017 winter edition of Gobshite Quarterly. A transplanted southerner, she has called Vancouver, Wash. home for 20 years. She can usually be found writing with a MacBook in her lap, her Yorkie at her hip and a whisky on the table. She considers herself lucky if her web-footed, polydactyl cat doesn’t walk across her keyboard and obliterate it all. 


Community Site Manager/Assistant Journal Designer Amy Provost 

Amy Provost is an undergrad student at Union College in Schenectady, NY.  She is majoring in Visual Arts, and focuses on block-print/lithography printmaking and digital media. She is currently working on her senior thesis, about feminism in Grimm fairytales. Born and raised in Vancouver Wash., she has a passion for hiking and exploring the Pacific Northwest. As the Community Site Manager/Assistant Journal Designer, Amy looks forward to modernizing and enhancing the VoiceCatcher’s web presence. 


Open call for community site submissions 

VoiceCatcher is seeking blog posts for our community site. Submissions are open for book reviews, publication announcements from our past contributors, interviews and essays on craft and creativity. Have an idea you’d like to pitch to us? Contact editors@voicecatcher.org. 

Start the New Year Right: Submit Your Work

VoiceCatcher will open for submissions in early 2017, but until then, we encourage you to submit your work to these other journals who support the work of female writers and artists 

Bone Bouquet


Cordella Magazine

Damselfly Press

Dying Dahlia Review

Moonsick Magazine

Persimmon Tree

Quaint Magazine

Roar Magazine

Room Magazine

Yew Journal

Did we miss a publication, or have you been published in these journals? Leave a comment and a link below! 

Introducing VoiceCatcher’s incoming president, Jessica Mehta!

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta, born and raised in Oregon and a member of the Cherokee Nation, is the author of the forthcoming novel The Wrong Kind of Indian by Wyatt-MacKenzie Press. She’s also the author of three collections of poetry by Tayen Lane Publishing including Orygun, What Makes an Always (an Eric Hoffer Book Award honorable mention), and The Last Exotic Petting Zoo as well as the business book 100 Ways to Make 100k with Your English Degree, which has been featured on numerous podcasts including JenningsWire and World Outsourcing Solutions.


Jessica founded MehtaFor (www.mehtafor.com), a writing services company, in 2012 which serves a variety of clients including Fortune 500 enterprises and major media outlets. MehtaFor received two national bronze awards for Startup of the Year in 2015. Jessica offers complimentary writing services to Native American students and non-profits based in the Pacific Northwest and/or serving Native communities. She also offers the MehtaFor Trainee program which teaches new writers how to pursue a lucrative writing career.


She received her master’s degree in writing from Portland State University in 2007, and established The Jessica Tyner Scholarship Fund in 2013. It’s the only scholarship exclusively for Native Americans pursuing an advanced degree in writing or a related field. Jessica was awarded a Writers in the Schools (WITS) residency from the Oregon Literary Arts Council in 2015-16.


An in-demand speaker, she has been featured at the Mt. Hood Cherokees summit, was the keynote speaker for Metro (Portland’s regional government organization) at the “Lunch & Lean with Jessica Mehta: Native American Heritage Month” event, has read at Wordstock, and taught workshops at the Oregon Writing Festival and International Guild of Women Writers summer conference series. She hosts Sauvignon Tongued Devils, a spoken word night at Devil’s Den Wine Bar in the Alberta Arts District. She’s served as the writer-in-residence for the Hosking Houses Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK and the poet-in-residence for the Stratford Poetry Festival. 


Jessica is also a registered yoga instructor and teaches power vinyasa and weight lifting at Balance 365 Fitness in Hillsboro, Oregon. She founded the Get it Ohm! karmic yoga and strength movement (www.getitohm.com), which offers free classes to groups that don’t have access to traditional yoga studios and/or don’t feel comfortable in such environments. 


We look forward to having Jessica’s leadership and passion for our local writing community on the VoiceCatcher board. Stay tuned for more announcement about our 2017 leadership and editorial team. We hope to meet you at a VoiceCatcher event in 2017! 

Congratulations to VoiceCatcher’s Pushcart nominees

VoiceCatcher is proud to have nominated the following work, published in the Winter and Summer 2016 issues of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices and visions, for the 2017 Pushcart Prize.

From the Winter 2016 issue:

From the Summer 2016 issue:

Congratulations to these local voices!

Kris Demien

Kris Demien

Burky Achilles

Burky Achilles





Joanna Rose

Joanna Rose

Suzanne Sigafoos

Suzanne Sigafoos

PLONK Reading Series f. VoiceCatcher, Wednesday October 5

All are invited to hear these contributors to VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. 

Plonk Reading Series

PLONK Reading Series

Wednesday October 5, 2016

Cork Screw Wine Bar
1665 SE Bybee Blvd.
Portland, OR 97202


Alex Behr, of Portland, OR, has taught creative writing to teens through Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools program. Her work has appeared in Nailed Magazine, Salon, Bitch, Tin House, Propeller, Lumina, Watershed Review, and elsewhere. Two of her stories were performed in July 2016 as part of the 5th Annual Northern Writes series in Los Angeles.

Cathy Cain‘s honors include the Kay Snow Paulann Petersen Poetry Award from Willamette Writers; the Edwin Markham Prize for Poetry from Reed Magazine; and awards from the Oregon Poetry Association. Her work has appeared in VoiceCatcher, The Poeming Pigeon, and is forthcoming in Verseweavers. Cathy has previously served as poetry co-editor at VoiceCatcher. She is a two-year Poet’s Studio alumna and a 2014-2015 Atheneum Fellow, both at the Attic Institute. Additionally, she has studied with Portland’s Mountain Writers.

Deborah Dombrowski is a writer and photographer who discovered Portland at the age of 22 and stayed. Deborah loves every form of water (except the endless winter rain) and can often be found next to a river, or at the foot of Neakhanie mountain. Her website brings words and images together to consider the passage of time, the surprising strength of our affections, and every kind of blossoming. (www.lightswim.blogspot.com)

Leanne Grabel, M.Ed., is a poet, memoirist, illustrator and semi-retired special ed and language arts teacher. Her books include Brontosaurus: A Memoir; Lonesome & Very Quarrelsome Heroes; Short Poems by a Short Poet; Badgirls, and most recently Assisted Living, a chapbook of graphic rectangular prose poems. Grabel is currently finishing an anthology of 30 years of graphic flash writing called The Circus of Anguish & Mirth.

As seen adjusting her undergarments in public, writer,humorist, nut-job, Carisa Miller, lives in SW Portland with her exceptionally patient husband, two fireball daughters, an ill-tempered cat, a dog she’s allergic to, and horrendous PMS. Her published essays, one-liners, blog, and social media gobbledygook can be found at CarisaMiller.com.

Elizabeth Scott is a writer and clinical psychologist who has lived in Portland for nearly 30 years. She studied with Tom Spanbauer for many years as well as with other accomplished local and national writers. She has had numerous stories published in literary journals and recently received honorable mention in a Glimmer Train contest. She served two terms on the board of Oregon Literary Arts.

Suzanne Sigafoos is author of Held in the Weave, a collection of poems published by Finishing Line Press. Her poems have appeared in The Oregonian, in Windfall: a Journal of Poetry of Place, and the anthology The Knotted Bond: Oregon Poets Speak of Their Sisters. Her lyric essay, “Green,” published in Bellingham Review’s Issue 71, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Sigafoos is co-founder of River Rock, a poetry critique group in Portland, Oregon, her home since 1999.

VoiceCatcher thanks PLONK Reading Series and Cork Screw Wine Bar for hosting this event.

It’s Here! Check out our Summer 2016 Journal

We are pleased to announce the release of the Summer 2016 issue of VoiceCatcher: a journal of women’s voices & visions. In this, our ninth issue of our online journal, you’ll discover:

  • A sampling of poetry from the powerful female creative force thriving in our region.
  • Fiction and nonfiction from six women who dazzle us with both their honesty and humor.
  • Stunning imagery from four artists who use layering and process as metaphors for life beyond art.
Featured Artwork "Beyond Sea' by Jeni Lee

Featured Artwork “Beyond Sea’ by Jeni Lee

Many thanks to our hard-working editorial team: Managing editors Michelle Fredette and Jennifer Kemnitz, art editor Sarah Fagan; prose editors Desiree Wright, Nikki Schulak and Tanya Jarvik; poetry editors Juleen Johnson, Sarah Brenner and Emily Ransdell; and journal designer Shawn Aveningo.

We are excited about the authors and artists represented in these pages and hope you will come out to meet them in person by attending a VoiceCatcher event in the future.

Happy reading!



We’re Extending the Submission Deadline!

Let’s face it!  As women, we lead busy lives.  And sometimes that means we put other’s needs before our own desires — like sitting down to focus on our own writing.  We get it! We’ve all been there.  That’s why we decided to extend the deadline for submissions to our upcoming Summer issue of VoiceCatcher:  a journal of women’s voices and visions.

Ladies, you have until Sunday, May 22 to submit up to three poems, one prose piece or artwork for consideration.  You can click HERE for all the details.

Happy writing!  We can’t wait to read your work.