Joanna Eleftheriou started her first book project at the age of six, but was stymied when her attempt to begin with the cover led to a frustrating encounter with glitter glue. After that, she learned to skip straight to the words, and managed to complete a dozen or so poems during high school. Having just moved from New York to Cyprus, she composed these verses half in English and half in the Greek that she was swiftly learning, and learning to love. Her love affair with poetry remained a secret until her second semester at Cornell, when she abandoned an unwisely chosen façade (being a physics major in college is much harder than acing high school science tests). Coming out as a wannabe writer led her to Lydia Fakundiny’s “The Art of the Essay,” the course that eventually led to an MFA in nonfiction, essays in Chautauqua and Crab Orchard Review and an appetite for more critical and creative work. She’s now pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Missouri. She’s interested in the literature of witness, and questions of social justice in literature. Her current deepest fascination is the lyric essay, analyzing it as a genre and writing it — getting paragraphs to work like stanzas and sentences like verse.