This page is dedicated in honor of our Inaugural Board Members, without their tireless mentorship, constant support, and personal investments Defunkt would not be what it is today.
Miranda Ramírez is a multidisciplinary artist and writer residing in Houston, Texas. You may find her work in Ripples in Space, Coffin Bell, Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century, Cowboy Jamboree. She is the founding editor of Defunkt Magazine, the Assistant Editor for the Texas Review, and the Marketing Fellow for the Texas Review Press. She is currently drafting her first novel as an MFA candidate at Sam Houston State University.
Originally from Galveston, TX, Lupe Mendez (Writer//Educator//Activist) is the author WHY I AM LIKE TEQUILA (Willow Books, 2019), winner of the 2019 John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters. He is the founder of Tintero Projects which works with emerging Latinx writers and other writers of color within the Texas Gulf Coast Region, with Houston as its hub. Lupe earned his MFA from the University of Texas @ El Paso and has received fellowships from CantoMundo, Macondo and the Crescendo Literary/Poetry Foundation’s Emerging Poet Incubator. Mendez’s work can been seen in print and online formats which include the Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast Journal, the Texas Review, Split This Rock, Poetry Magazine and Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets. Mendez is the 2022 Texas Poet Laureate.
Dr. Amanda Ellis
Amanda Ellis is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Houston who specializes in Mexican American literary and cultural studies. Author of Letras y Limpias: Decolonial Medicine and Holistic Healing in Mexican American Literature (Arizona Press, 2021), her essays have appeared in journals such as: Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies, Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures, Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social.
Greg Flakus has been a teacher, a journalist and a filmmaker. He is a prolific reader and a fan of poetry and good writing of any kind.
His first job out of college was teaching Social Studies and English grammar in a Middle School in the small town of Beresford, South Dakota. He later joined the Peace Corps and spent two years teaching in The Philippines. A couple of years after returning, he helped organize a national alumni association of former Peace Corps volunteers and served as its first president. President Jimmy Carter appointed him to a national Peace Corps advisory council.
In 1980, Flakus went to Washington, D.C. to begin a career at The Voice of America, the international broadcast agency of the US government. After operating bureaus in Latin America, he established a VOA bureau in Houston in 2003. From Houston he reported on regional politics, the energy industry, disasters, including hurricanes, floods and tornadoes, the US/Mexico border, Science and Medicine and a broad range of cultural stories. In 2015 he produced a documentary about some blues musicians recording in Houston called “Legends of the Blues.”
Since he retired in 2017, Flakus has made a number of short films, including two that have been screened at film festivals around the United States and in a number of other countries. He has also helped in productions of other local filmmakers.
A native of Mississippi, Fields is an artist whose work cross-pollinates traditional printmaking with contemporary processes, such as photography, digital media, and installation. Her material and process choices are led by her concept, seeking empirical communication with the use of historical images and literary devices, such as metaphysical conceits and puns, within the visual realm. These devices act as the cohesive element to her image selections, installation preferences, and material choices within her work. She also collaborates with scholars to develop ESL curriculums focusing on language acquisition using visual arts pedagogical methodologies.
As Division Chair of Visual Arts at Houston Community College, Fields lives and works in Houston, Texas. As an extension of her teaching, Fields led international printmaking workshops at the University of Arts, Faculty of Fine Arts, Belgrade, Serbia, and Universidad de Veracruzana, Facultad de Artes Plasticas, Xalapa, Mexico. She was also the selected artist from the United States at the 40TH Annual Artists’ Colony at Studenica Serbia and the graphic artist representative from the United States at the International Artist Colony at Visegrad, Republic Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Fields will be the printmaking artist in residence at the SkopArt Foundation, Skopelos, Greece in the summer of 2022.
Fields is represented by Singulart Gallery, Paris, France. Her handmade books with prints are featured in two publications, 500 Handmade Books: Inspiring Interpretations of a Timeless Form and The Lark Studio Series: Handmade Books. Her co-authored article with Dr. Tamara Warhol, “When Art and English Language Instructors Collaborate”, will be featured in Curriculum Design and Praxis in Language Teaching: A Globally Informed Approach edited by Mihyon Jeon, et al in 2022. Fields' artwork can be found in the permanent collections of the Mississippi Museum of Art, Museum of Tetovo Region (Muzej Na Tetovskiot Kraj), Tetovo Macedonia, and the Bernard A. Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw, Georgia as well as other international and national permanent collections. In addition to her fine art practice, Fields created commissioned broadside prints for the author Ace Atkins as well as Jeffrey Eugenides and Adam Johnson respectively on the occasion of visiting Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi.
Other Members Include:
Kelly B. Solomon