By Jefferson Beavers, Communication Specialist, MFA Program in Creative Writing
Republished via FresnoStateNews.com
Fresno State Department of English alumna Marisol Baca is the City of Fresno’s fourth Poet Laureate. She will be the first woman to serve as the city’s literary ambassador.
Mayor Lee Brand will swear-in Baca at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 2 at a Fresno City Hall ceremony. The Fresno Arts Council will celebrate Baca’s inauguration at 5 p.m. with an Art Hop reception at its downtown headquarters, 1245 Van Ness Ave.
Baca, an English instructor at Fresno City College and co-founder of the Women Writers of Color-Central Valley collective, will serve a two-year term beginning immediately.
Baca earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Fresno State in 2003, and she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from Cornell University in 2007. She won the Three Mile Harbor Press First Book Prize for her debut poetry collection, “Tremor,” which was published in March 2018.
Since returning to Fresno, Baca has published dozens of poems in literary journals and anthologies, and she was nominated for a 2017 Pushcart Prize for her poem “Spiral” in the magazine Narrative Northeast. In 2018 she toured the Southwest as a member of Las Peregrinas, four California women authors who took their poetry on the road for readings and workshops. With fellow Fresno poet Devoya Mayo, Baca co-founded the Women Writers of Color-Central Valley collective to celebrate women writers and their work, to build community, and to make a space to encourage women to submit their works for publication.
Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, the dean of Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities, praised Baca’s poetry as well as her commitment to the University through her work as a member of the Arts and Humanities Advisory Board.
“Marisol’s poetry is steeped in philosophical wonder of the world and discovery of self,” Jiménez-Sandoval said. “Her poetry harks back to images of New Mexico and New York, while bridging and stitching together a life in Fresno. We are so proud that she is Fresno’s new Poet Laureate because she represents the deep creative artistry of our College and the University.”