Kudos to Fresno Writers – April/May 2020

Kudos to #FresnoWriters - Creative Writing Program and Department of English.

Compiled by Jefferson Beavers – 6/08/2020

Kudos to #FresnoWriters is a regular series on the Fresno State MFA blog, celebrating the professional accomplishments of students, alumni, and faculty in the Creative Writing Program and the Department of English at Fresno State.

Neama Alamri (BA English alum) – Accepted an offer to join the Princeton Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts as the Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in Race and Ethnicity Studies for 2020-23. Also defended their dissertation, “Long Live the Arab Worker: A Transnational History of Labor and Empire in the Yemeni Diaspora,” from the Ph.D. program in interdisciplinary humanities at UC Merced.

Brock Allen (Creative Writing grad student) – Interviewed author Chelsea Biondolillo about her essay collection “The Skinned Bird” for The Normal School magazine.

J.J. Anselmi (MFA Creative Writing alum) – His latest book, “Doomed to Fail: The Incredibly Loud History of Doom, Sludge, and Post-Metal” was featured in the Ghost Cult Magazine news program, The Weekly Ritual. It was also featured on the “20 Books About Music to Read Until We Can All Go To Shows Again” list on The Hard Noise blog, from The Hard Times magazine and Pure Noise Records. Interviewed by Paul Kwiatkowski for the Wake Island podcast. Also interviewed by Jack Chutter for the Attn:Magazine podcast, Crucial Listening.

William Arcé (English faculty) – Was elected the Treasurer for the executive board of Fresno State’s California Faculty Association chapter.

Rodolfo Avelar (English undergrad student) – Accepted an offer to enroll in the MFA program in creative writing at UC Riverside in the fall. Featured by Fresno State News in a graduation success story.

Marisol Baca (BA English alum) – Performed the William Saroyan story “The Hummingbird that Lived Through Winter” for the Valley Public Radio program “The Time of Our Life.”

Stacey Balkun (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Announced the publication of her third poetry collection, “Sweetbitter,” forthcoming in 2021 from Sundress Publications. Also, served as co-editor with Catherine Moore on the new book “Fiolet & Wing: An Anthology of Domestic Fabulist Poetry,” published by Liminal Books. And in collaboration with Poetry Barn in New York’s Hudson Valley, announced she will teach Distilling Wonder: The Poetry Chapbook, a summer workshop course.

Jamie Barker (English grad student, MFA Creative Writing alum) – Published the essay “Coronavirus: A Grad Student’s Lament” on Fresno State’s Graduate Writing Studio blog.

Averie Basch (English undergrad student) – Accepted an offer to enroll in the MA program in medieval studies at the University of New Mexico in the fall. Also, presented the project “Female Agency in the Lais of Marie de France: How ‘Guigemar’ Opens a World of Female Empowerment in Medieval Romance,” as part of the annual College of Arts and Humanities Honors Symposium. Their mentor was faculty Lisa Weston.

John Beynon (English faculty) – Was elected the President for the executive board of Fresno State’s California Faculty Association chapter.

Venita Blackburn (English faculty) – Announced the signing of a new two-book deal with MCD Books, an imprint of Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux. The first, a story collection entitled “How to Wrestle a Girl,” is forthcoming fall 2021. Also, in collaboration with the Henry Madden Library, received a “Lift Every Voice: Why African American Poetry Matters” grant with librarian Ginny Barnes, to produce public events at the library exploring the African American experience through poetry in 2021.

Mariah Bosch (Creative Writing grad student) – Won the Ernesto Trejo Poetry Prize contest for the poems “Memory #8,” “Double Sonnet, Suspended,” and “Sólo en sueños,” as selected by author Mark Irwin. Published the poems “Unabstracting Light,” “waterlight,” and “How much pressure needs to be exerted?” in Entropy Magazine. Also published the poem “Housepoem” in the Empty House Press journal.

Cindy Bradley (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Published the essay “July, Exhaling” in the magazine Under the Sun.

Megan Bronson (English grad student) – Accepted an offer to enroll in the Ph.D. program in rhetoric and writing at Virginia Tech University in the fall.

Phyllis Brotherton (MFA Creative Writing and MA English alum) – Published the essay “The Year of Assassination” in the magazine Under the Sun. With co-author Armen Bacon, published the essay “The Words Between Us: A Covid-19 Diary,” on Brevity. Also published an essay as part of the How We Are project, which checks in on artists during Covid-19.

Caleigh Camara (English undergrad student) – Named runner-up in the Larry Levis Poetry Prize contest, as selected by author Mark Irwin. Presented the project “Handling Society’s Expectations: 4 Short Stories,” as part of the annual College of Arts and Humanities Honors Symposium. Their mentor was faculty Venita Blackburn.

Noel Castillon (English Education undergrad student) – Presented the project “Illustrating Experience: Combining Classrooms, Comics, and the Corporeal,” as part of the annual College of Arts and Humanities Honors Symposium. Their mentor was faculty Melanie Hernandez.

Daniel Chacón (BA English alum) – Interviewed by Ire’ne Lara Silva for The Rumpus about his new fiction collection, “Kafka in a Skirt: Stories from the Wall.”

Kenneth R. Chacón (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Published the poems “Christ in a Cholo Stance,” and “Letter to the Neighbor after We Moved to the Good Part of Town” in the journal Blackbird. Also, will publish the poem “Duende Night” in a forthcoming issue of Spillway magazine.

Sarah A. Chávez (BA English alum) – Published the essay “On Gloria Anzaldúa” for The Operating System collective’s National Poetry Month features on Medium.com.

Marcus Chinn (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Published the poems “The Inheritance” and “A Call to Mummery” in the Rat’s Ass Review.

Steven Church (English faculty) – Published the essay “Understanding the Fox” for the Yonsei Memory Project, and performed an excerpt of the piece on the Valley Public Radio segment Valley Writers Respond: Essays on Living in the Time of Covid-19.

Anthony Cody (Creative Writing grad student) – Celebrated the official publication day of his debut poetry collection, “Borderland Apocrypha,” from Omnidawn Publishing. The book was reviewed by Stephanie Burt for the Academy of American Poets. Graphically designed the published Juan Felipe Herrera poem “Social Distancing” as part of Academy of American Poets #ShelterInPoems project. Also, published the poem “Artifacts on a Hanging Tree, Goliad, Texas (a series of Mexican Lynchings, 1857)” on Poets.org, and the poem “Dustlore, No. 13” in the journal Anomaly. Interviewed by Donald Munro for the Munro Review on being named the College of Arts and Humanities Graduate Dean’s Medalist.

Brian Dunlap (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Published the poem “Me. Us. Our.” in the Pacific Review. Also, reviewed the Bridgette Bianca poetry collection “be/trouble” for The Lit Pub.

Ronald Dzerigian (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Shared a video reading of the poem “Of a Fixed Nature” on YouTube, inspired by the Academy of American Poets #ShelterInPoems project.

Lillian Faderman (English faculty emerita) – Recognized as part of the “Woman of the Year: 28 Stories that are Changing the World” awards from The Advocate magazine, alongside Janelle Monáe, Zaya Wade, Lizzo, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and more.

Will Freeney (Creative Writing grad student) – Published the essay “Breathing” for the Yonsei Memory Project, and performed an excerpt of the piece on the Valley Public Radio segment Valley Writers Respond: Essays on Living in the Time of Covid-19.

Angel Garduño (MA English alum) – Accepted an offer to enroll in the Ph.D. program in English language and literature at the University of Washington in the fall.

Missy González-Garduño (MA English alum) – Accepted an offer to enroll in the Ph.D. program in English language and literature at the University of Washington in the fall.

Luis Granados (English undergrad student) – Named runner-up in the Mireyda Barraza Martinez Prize for Social Justice Writing contest, as selected by author Michelle Brittan Rosado.

Cynthia Guardado (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Published the poem “In Exchange for My Absence” in Poetry Magazine, from the Poetry Foundation. Also earned tenure as an instructor at Fullerton College.

Celeste Christine Guirola (English undergrad student) – Presented the project “The Terror of Youth: Representation of Children in American Horror Film,” as part of the annual College of Arts and Humanities Honors Symposium. Their mentor was faculty Brynn Saito.

Juan Luis Guzmán (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Began hosting the virtual literary arts show “Wáchale! En Vivo” on their Instagram Live and on YouTube.

Jessica Hallstrom (BA English Education alum) – Featured by Fresno State News in a graduation success story.

Chris Henson (English faculty) – Announced her retirement from the English Department after 36 years of teaching service. The Department granted her “professor emerita” status.

Ceci Hernandez Monjaras (English undergrad student) – Won the Mireyda Barraza Martinez Prize for Social Justice Writing contest for the poem “i’ve always (been) / hermelinda Hernandez / illegal (immigrant),” as selected by author Michelle Brittan Rosado.

J.J. Hernandez (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Published the three-part poem “Katabasis” in the McNeese Review.

Bekah Izard (English undergrad student) – Accepted an offer to enroll in the MFA program in creative writing at Chapman University in Orange County in the fall. Won the Fresno Fiction Prize contest for the story “Good Bad Effort,” as selected by author Ethan Chatagnier. Presented the project “The Dialectic between Irish Self and the Sidhe,” as part of the annual College of Arts and Humanities Honors Symposium. Their mentor was faculty Steve Adisasmito-Smith. Also, featured by Fresno State News in a graduation success story.

Melanie Kachadoorian (MFA Creative Writing alum, English lecturer) – Was elected the Lecturer Representative for the executive board of Fresno State’s California Faculty Association chapter.

Primavera Leal Martinez (BA English alum) – Won the Outstanding Graduate Student Coach award from the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) for her work with Fresno State’s Barking Bulldogs Debate Team.

Yia Lee (Creative Writing grad student) – Won the Soul Vang Prize for Poetry contest for the poem “Grandmother’s Cross,” as selected by author Mai Neng Moua. Also, named runner-up in the Mireyda Barraza Martinez Prize for Social Justice Writing contest, as selected by author Michelle Brittan Rosado.

Suzanne Lummis (MA English alum) – Began a second season as host of the Poetry.LA YouTube series “They Write by Night.” Interviewed by Linda J. Albertano for Poetry Flash on “Truth Against Lies: [Speaking] Poetry to Power at Beyond Baroque.” Published the poems “It’s 3 A.M., Winter” and “Nine Miles from Truckee,” in Plume Poetry journal. Featured as one of 10 poets for The West Hollywood Gateway billboard project, in honor of National Poetry Month.

Jade Martinez (BA English Education alum) – Featured by Fresno State News in a graduation success story.

Carolina Mata (Creative Writing grad student) – Won the Fresno Fiction Prize contest for the story “The Great Storyteller,” as selected by author Ethan Chatagnier.

Marisa Mata (BA English alum) – Published an essay as part of the How We Are project, which checks in on artists during Covid-19.

Samina Najmi (English faculty) – Published the essay “Of Umbrellas and Arrivals” as part of a series of 20 literary addresses commissioned by the Smithsonian Institute Asian Pacific American Center on the state and future of AAPI literature. Also published the essay “Distance Learning” for the Yonsei Memory Project, and performed an excerpt of the piece on the Valley Public Radio segment Valley Writers Respond: Essays on Living in the Time of Covid-19.

Tanya Nichols (MFA Creative Writing alum, English lecturer) – Performed the William Saroyan story “The Pomegranate Trees” for the Valley Public Radio program “The Time of Our Life.”

Delaney R. Whitebird Olmo (Creative Writing grad student) – Won the Mireyda Barraza Martinez Prize for Social Justice Writing contest for the poem “IV,” as selected by author Michelle Brittan Rosado. Also named runner-up in the Ernesto Trejo Poetry Prize contest, as selected by author Mark Irwin. Will publish the poems “They took my grandmother away,” and “Together in Ceremony” in a forthcoming issue of the Yellow Medicine Review.

Mary Paul (MA English alum, English lecturer) – Joined by Dr. Trang Phan, faculty in the Kremen School of Education & Human Development, began and expanded a partnership with educators at Vietnam’s National Academy of Education Management. Volunteering with the academy’s Center of Excellence for Leadership and Management (CLEM), they are presenting online workshops for educators learning more about online pedagogy and teaching online.

Liliana Perez Rodriguez (English undergrad student) – Accepted an offer to enroll in the Ph.D. program in rhetoric and writing at Ohio State University in the fall.

Payton Polanco (English undergrad student) – With debate partner Christen Cogdell, won five out of six rounds and placed third at the National Debate Tournament as part of the Barking Bulldogs Debate Team. Was also selected as Fresno State’s Novice Debater of the Year.

Monique Quintana (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Awarded a monthlong artist residency to the Yaddo retreat in Saratoga Springs, New York, to work on her next story collection. Interviewed the author Hillary Leftwich on the book “ghosts are just strangers who know how to knock,” for Luna Luna Magazine. Published the story “Black Licorice” in YesPoetry magazine. Also published the essay “here are some writing prompts inspired by botanical gardens” for Luna Luna magazine. Will publish the story “Manual for Manuel” in a forthcoming issue of the journal Dryland LA.

Lupe Remigio Ortega (MA English alum) – Published the essay “The Environmental Injustices of Forced Migration” for the magazine Edge Effects.

Ernesto Reyes (Creative Writing grad student) – Published the story “The Screenplay” in the magazine Neon Garden.

Brynn Saito (English faculty) – With co-author Dave Lehl, published the essay with photos “Acts of Grace: Memory Journeys through the San Joaquin Valley” for the magazine BOOM California. Also published the poem “I Believe I Would Praise You” as part of the Brandon Shimoda essay “The Afterlife: How We Take Turns Saying How We Are” for the Futurefeed blog, an extension of Futurepoem. And, performed the William Saroyan story “The Journey to Hanford” for the Valley Public Radio program “The Time of Our Life.”

Nohemi Samudio Gamis (English undergrad student) – Accepted an offer to enroll in the MFA program in creative writing at Boston University in the fall. Won the Larry Levis Poetry Prize contest for the poem “Afterlife,” as selected by author Mark Irwin. Also won the Fresno Creative Nonfiction Prize contest for the essay “Skipping Stones,” as selected by author Donovan Hohn. Presented the project “Thesis Humanity: Creative Expressions of the Immigrant Experience in America,” as part of the annual College of Arts and Humanities Honors Symposium. Their mentor was faculty Brynn Saito.

Paul Sanchez (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Published the poem “Sometimes the Audience Finds You” in the journal Vagabonds, from Weasel Press.

Steven Sanchez (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Published the poem “Ode to Syphilis” in the journal AGNI.

Reva Sias (English faculty) – Published the article “African American Women and the Rhetoric of ‘Dignified Agitation’” in Peitho journal, from the Coalition of Feminist Scholars in the History of Rhetoric & Composition (CFSHRC).

Graciela Sierra-Moreno (English undergrad student) – Featured by Fresno State News in a graduation success story.

Tim Skeen (English faculty) – Shared video readings of the poems “Strabismus,” “Retina,” and “Cataracts” on the Fresno State MFA YouTube channel, as part of a forthcoming 14-sonnet sequence.

Brandi Spaethe (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Interviewed by The Expat Cast on “When Expat Life Doesn’t Work Out,” discussing her travels while living in Europe.

Jenny Toste (MA English alum) – Published the first installment of a new Valley Voices column for The Fresno Bee under the theme “Valley’s Common Ground, Common Solutions.”

Lejla Tricic (MFA Creative Writing and MA English alum, English lecturer) – In collaboration with Fresno State’s Division of Continuing & Global Education, announced she will teach the course, “Teaching Online: From Surviving to Thriving” as part of the Courses for Causes program, which offers free online courses to essential workers in the community. Also, will facilitate this summer’s faculty support program for virtual delivery of instruction for Fresno State’s Center for Faculty Excellence.

Brian Turner (BA English alum) – Published the essay “The Wandering Glider (Pantela flavescens)” for the journal Terrain.

Mai Der Vang (English faculty) – Published the poem “That All, Everyone, Each in Being” for the Academy of American Poets. Interviewed by Tricia Park for the Is It Recess Yet? podcast, on the theme “I have to be twice as good to be given access, to be heard.”

Lisa Weston (English faculty) – Published the article “Honeyed Words and Waxen Tablets: The Materiality of Anglo-Saxon Literacy” in the journal Medievalia, from the Institute of Medieval Studies. Also presented two black-and-white photographs, “Taking Flight” and “Vineyard Shadows,” as part of the online exhibit “Multiverse: Creating Beyond Our Scope,” for this year’s Fresno State faculty and staff art show. And was elected as an At Large Officer for the executive board of Fresno State’s California Faculty Association chapter.

Tara Williams (MFA Creative Writing alum) – Will publish the fairy tale “The Ice Child” in the forthcoming anthology of climate-change related fiction from Black Lawrence Press, “Fire & Water: Tales of the Anthropocene,” edited by Mary Fitfield and Kristin Thiel.

Jer Xiong (Creative Writing grad student) – Won the Fresno Creative Nonfiction Prize contest for the essay “Calling,” as selected by author Donovan Hohn. Published the essay “Sitting Across from My Father” in the Celebrate Hmong Art & Media Festival 2019 conference journal.

Gaoyong Yang-Vang (English Education undergrad student) – Featured by Fresno State News in a graduation success story.

Did we miss your accomplishment? Submit this short form or contact staff Jefferson Beavers by email or at 559.278.1569.

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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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