Marianne Chan is the author of All Heathens. She grew up in Stuttgart, Germany, and Lansing, Michigan. Her poems have appeared in West Branch, The Journal, Poetry Northwest, Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, Carve Magazine, and elsewhere. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She serves as poetry editor at Split Lip Magazine.
New York Times–bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly was awarded the Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe. Her debut novel, Blackbird Fly, was a Kirkus Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and an Asian/Pacific American Literature Honor Book. She is also the author of The Land of Forgotten Girls, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and You Go First, a New York Times bestseller, Spring 2018 Indie Next Pick, Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and School Library Journal Best Book. Her book, Lalani and the Distant Sea, was released in September 2019. She grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and now lives in Delaware. http://www.erinentradakelly.com
Sara Borjas is a Chicanx pocha and a Fresno poet. Her debut collection of poetry, Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff, was published by Noemi Press in March 2019 as part of the Akrilica series.
Sara earned a B.A. in English Literature from Fresno State and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and Writing for Performative Arts from University of California, Riverside. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside. Her poetry can be found in The Rumpus, The Academy of American Poets Poem a Day Series, TinderBox, The Offing, Entropy, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Cultural Weekly, The Acentos Review, and Luna Luna, amongst others. She co-hosts and produces The Lovesick Poetry Podcast — a west coast poetry podcast launching in 2019, alongside IRL cousin and award-winning poet, Joseph Rios.
She is a 2017 CantoMundo Fellow, a 2016 Postgraduate Writers Conference Fellow at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and a 2013 Community of Writers Workshop at Squaw Valley Fellow. She is the recipient of the 2014 Blue Mesa Poetry Prize. She lives in Los Angeles but stays rooted in Fresno.
She digs oldiez, astrophysics, aromatics, and tiny prints is about decentering whiteness.
MT Vallarta is a poet and Ph.D. candidate in Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside, where they study feminist theory, queer theory, and Filipinx poetics. Their work is published in Nat. Brut, Rabbit Catastrophe Press, Broadly, Apogee Journal, Weird Sister, TAYO Literary Magazine, and others. They were raised and live in Los Angeles, CA.
Victor LaValle is the author of the short story collection Slapboxing with Jesus, four novels, The Ecstatic, Big Machine, The Devil in Silver, and The Changeling and two novellas, Lucretia and the Kroons and The Ballad of Black Tom. He is also the creator and writer of a comic book Victor LaValle’s DESTROYER.
He has been the recipient of numerous awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award, a United States Artists Ford Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shirley Jackson Award, an American Book Award, and the key to Southeast Queens.
He was raised in Queens, New York. He now lives in Washington Heights with his wife and kids. He teaches at Columbia University.
He can be kind of hard to reach, but he still loves you.
Thank you to our sponsor, Libro.FM! Support your favorite independent bookstore and purchase your audiobooks from Libro.FM. If you use the code WRITINGHOUR, you’ll get three audiobooks for the price of a one-month, $14.99 membership.
We’re kicking off National Poetry Month a few days early with an episode with Erika Ayón! Rachelle and Erika talk about Los Angeles, the color and fruit orange, and migration. Tune in!
Erika Ayón emigrated from Mexico when she was five years old and grew up in South Central, Los Angeles. She attended UCLA and graduated with a B.A. in English. In 2009 she was selected as a PEN Emerging Voices Fellow. In 2014 her poem “Hibiscus Skies,” was selected as a top ten poem from the Poetry in the Windows VI project sponsored by the Arroyo Arts Collective. Erika has taught poetry to middle and high school students across Los Angeles. She was a 2016-2017 Community Literature Initiative Scholar. Her debut collection of poetry Orange Lady was published by World Stage Press in March 2018. Available at http://www.worldstagepress.org/product/orange-lady. Erika currently resides in the San Fernando Valley where she lives with her husband and two cats.
Las Peregrinas was an idea first birthed by Yaccaira Salvatierra and co-organized with Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo. They wanted California women’s voices to be in conversation with other border states and communities as a way to share and heal. Each of the four peregrinas honors her antepasados and the border in her poetry and together they share a reverence for those who have gone before them.
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, a first-generation Chicana, is the author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016). A former Steinbeck Fellow, Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grantee, she’s received residencies from Hedgebrook, Ragdale, National Parks Arts Foundation and Poetry Foundation. Her work is published in Acentos Review, CALYX, crazyhorse, and American Poetry Review among others. A dramatization of her poem “Our Lady of the Water Gallons,” directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño, can be viewed at latinopia.com. She is a cofounder of Women Who Submit and a member of Macondo Writers’ Workshop.
Marisol Baca is the author of Tremor (Three Mile Harbor Press). She has been published in Narrative Northeast, Riverlit, Shadowed: An Anthology of Women Writers, Acentos Review, among other publications. Marisol won the Andres Montoya poetry scholarship prize. She received her Master of Fine Arts from Cornell University where she won the Robert Chasen poetry award for her poem, Revelato. Currently, Marisol is an English professor at Fresno City College.
Yaccaira Salvatierra’s poems have appeared in Huizache, Diálogo, Puerto del Sol, and Rattleamong others. She is a VONA alumna, the recipient of the Dorrit Sibley Award for achievement in poetry, and the 2015 winner of the Puerto del Sol Poetry Prize. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net. An educator and art instructor, she lives in San José, California with her two sons.
Vanessa Angélica Villarreal was born in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands to formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants. Her work has recently appeared in the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day feature, Buzzfeed Reader, Pinwheel, Epiphany, Southern Indiana Review, Apogee, Poor Claudia, PBS Newshour and elsewhere. She is the author of the collection Beast Meridian (Noemi Press, Akrilica Series, 2017) and is currently pursuing her doctorate in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she is raising her son with the help of a loyal dog.