Pulitzer Prize finalist Patricia Smith featured at Spring Reading Series

Spring Reading Series. Patricia Smith, Mai Der Vang, Tina Mozelle Braziel, and Brynn Saito.

By Jefferson Beavers, Communication Specialist for the Creative Writing Program

The Fresno State Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing will feature a Pulitzer Prize finalist, the 2017 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry winner, and two of its accomplished new faculty authors in its Spring 2019 Fresno Poets’ Association reading series.

Admission to all the readings is free, with book signings to follow.


Pulitzer Prize finalist Patricia Smith

Tuesday, March 5 – Patricia Smith

Poet, educator, and artist, Smith’s eighth book is “Incendiary Art” from Northwestern University Press. The book won the 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the 2018 NAACP Image Award, a 2017 Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize. A Guggenheim fellow, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, and a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize, Smith teaches at the College of Staten Island and at Sierra Nevada College.

The reading will be held at 7 p.m. in the Alice Peters Auditorium (Peters Business Building, Room 191) inside the University Business Center at Fresno State. Parking costs $4 in suggested lot P6.

Saturday, April 27 – Brynn Saito and Mai Der Vang

Author and Fresno State Department of English faculty Brynn Saito

Born and raised in Fresno, Saito’s second poetry collection is “Power Made Us Swoon,” from Red Hen Press. Her debut collection, “The Palace of Contemplating Departure,” won the Benjamin Saltman Award and was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award. She co-founded the Yonsei Memory Project, using the arts to inquire and connect the history of Japanese American incarceration to their current struggles for justice. She earned her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and she teaches creative writing at Fresno State.

Fresno State English Department Faculty Mai Der Vang

Also, a native of Fresno, Vang’s debut poetry collection is “Afterland,” from Graywolf Press. The book won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, was shortlisted for a National Book Award in Poetry, and was a finalist for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. Also an editorial board member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle, she co-edited “How Do I Begin: A Hmong American Literary Anthology.” She earned her MFA from Columbia University, and she will teach creative writing at Fresno State beginning this fall.

The reading will be held at 2:30 p.m. inside the Woodward Park Regional Library, 944 E. Perrin Ave. Parking is free.


Tina Mozelle Braziel

The winner of the 2017 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry book contest, Braziel’s debut poetry collection is “Known By Salt” from Anhinga Press. Her poems have appeared in journals including The Cincinnati Review, the Southern Humanities Review, the Tampa Review and Appalachian Heritage, and her debut chapbook is “Rooted By Thirst,” from Porkbelly Press. An Alabama native, she teaches at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Friday, Feb. 15 – Tina Mozelle Braziel

Creative Writing Program graduate assistant Nou Her contributed to this report.

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The College of Arts and Humanities provides a diverse student population with the communication skills, humanistic values and cultural awareness that form the foundation of scholarship. The college offers intellectual and artistic programs that engage students and faculty and the community in collaboration, dialog and discovery. These programs help preserve, illuminate and nourish the arts and humanities for the campus and for the wider community.

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