Kudos to Fresno Writers – October/November 2020

By Jefferson Beavers
Republished from We Grow Writers


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.

Breanna Aivazian (Credential alum) – Featured in the Fresno State News story “Teaching Credential Provides Direct Path to Area Classrooms.”

Marisol Baca (BA alum) – Interviewed by Chivas Sandage for Ms. Magazine, on writing the stories that raised her, surviving 2020, and feminism. Their previously published poem “Sarcophagi in Glass Houses” was reviewed by Monique Quintana for Luna Luna Magazine.

Stacey Balkun (MFA alum) – Published the poem “Lure” in the Bear Review; the poem won second place in the 2020 Michelle Boisseau Prize contest and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Published the erasure poem “First Manifesto of Surrealism” in the new book “Erase the Patriarchy: An Anthology of Erasure Poetry,” from University of Hell Press.

Jefferson Beavers (MFA alum) –Interviewed by the poet Brynn Saito for the Fresno Poets Podcast.

Venita Blackburn (English faculty) – Published the story “Trial of Ghosts” in McSweeney’s queer fiction issue. Interviewed by Shasta Grant in the SmokeLong Quaterly, where they served as fall guest editor.

Sara Borjas (BA alum) – Wrote 15 poems in 15 days for The Fresno 15 Creative Writing Marathon, benefiting the Creative Writing Alumni Chapter’s Larry Levis scholarship. Featured in the Sundress Publications blog Lyric Essentials, as read by the poet Amanda Galvan Huynh. Their debut poetry book, “Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff” was reviewed by José Angel Araguz for The Bind.

David Borofka (retired English faculty) – Their story “Christmas in Jonestown” won the 2020 Nancy D. Hargrove Editors’ Prize from the Jabberwock Review. Announced the publication of a new story collection, “A Longing for Impossible Things,” forthcoming November 2021 from the Johns Hopkins Poetry and Fiction Series.

Mariah Bosch (Creative Writing grad student) – Their chapbook “Proximal” was named a finalist in the Gold Line Press chapbook contest. Published the poems “Algo,” “[ ]th Birthday,” and “REDLINED” in the journal Hobart. Published the visual poem “one fresh one salt” in ctrl + v journal.

Cindy Bradley (MFA alum) – Joined Split/Lip Press as a reader for essay, memoir, and nonfiction hybrid submissions.

Phyllis Brotherton (MFA alum) – Their essay “The Year of Assassination,” previously published in the journal Under the Sun, was nominated for Best of the Net.

Daniel Buttle (BA alum) – Self-published the novel “Devastator” on Amazon.

David Campos (BA alum) – Opened pre-orders for their second book, “American Quasar,” co-authored with Maceo Montoya, from Red Hen Press.

Mialise Carney (Creative Writing grad student) – Published the story “Mother Charges Me Per Minute” in the journal Your Impossible Voice; performed a full version of the story for Your Impossible Voice, and an excerpt of the story on the Fresno State MFA YouTube channel as part of the #FresnoWriters at Home video series.

Noel Castillon (Credential grad student) – Was awarded the California State University’s Aspiring Teacher Scholarship, which goes to teaching credential students with “excellent academic performance, significant personal achievements, and community service.” The award is $10,000.

Kenneth R. Chacón (MFA alum) – Their previously published poem “Christ in a Cholo Stance,” from the journal Blackbird, was nominated for Best of the Net.

Sarah A. Chavez (BA alum) – Wrote 15 poems in 15 days for The Fresno 15 Creative Writing Marathon, benefiting the Creative Writing Alumni Chapter’s Larry Levis scholarship.

Anthony Cody (MFA alum) – Their debut poetry book, “Borderland Apocrypha,” finished as a finalist for the National Book Award for Poetry. The book was featured on Remezcla’s list of “7 Must-Read Texts by Latinos.” Also, National Book Award interviews with: the Munro Review (first time, and a second time), the Collegian, and Valley Public Radio. Published the poem “Eating Migas” on Lit Hub.

Ronald Dzerigian (MFA alum) – Published the poem “Smoke & Branch” in the Swamp Ape Review.

Kathy Fagan (BA alum) – Published the poem “Window” in Waxwing Literary Journal. Their poem “Dedicated,” previously published in the journal Pleiades, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Juan Luis Guzmán (MFA alum) – Wrote 15 pieces in 15 days for The Fresno 15 Creative Writing Marathon, benefiting the Creative Writing Alumni Chapter’s Larry Levis scholarship.

Nou Her (MFA alum) – Performed the poem “Sun Candle” on the Fresno State MFA YouTube channel as part of the #FresnoWriters at Home video series. Founded the website Her Moonlings, an online store featuring art prints, greeting cards, and zines.

J.J. Hernandez (MFA alum) – Published the poem “Exposure Therapy” in the Missouri Review. Was named a finalist for the 2020 Palette Poetry Prize.

Melanie Hernandez (English faculty) – Presented a lecture on “How Mexicans Became Brown: The Flipside of U.S. Whiteness Studies” for Fresno State’s Provost Awards Lecture Series.

Ceci Hernandez Monjaras (Creative Writing undergrad student) – Featured in a promotional video as part of Fresno State’s 2020 Day of Giving campaign.

Kimberly Horg (MFA alum) – Published the essay “Three Days Underwater and Inside the Witch’s Belly” in the Iris Literary Journal, and the essay “Protect Me from Evil” in the Abstract Elephant Magazine. Performed an excerpt of the story “Chasing Janet” on the Fresno State MFA YouTube channel as part of the #FresnoWriters at Home video series.

Randa Jarrar (English faculty) – Will reprise her role as Hosna in the third season of Ramy Youssef’s television show “Ramy” on Hulu.

Wenmimareba Klobah Collins (Creative Writing grad student) – Published the poem and translation “[ My Favorite Tree as a Child was Mangrove ]” in the magazine Samovar. Interviewed speculative fiction author Martha Wells and presented on two panels at the 2020 Confluence conference on science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing.

Byanca Leyva (BA alum) – Featured in the Fresno State News story “Teaching Credential Provides Direct Path to Area Classrooms.”

Suzanne Lummis (MA alum) – Published the latest episode of her web series “They Write by Night,” delving into the theme of invisibility, for the Poetry.LA YouTube channel.

Alison Mandaville (English faculty) – Published the poem “Happy Hour on Summerlake” in the Playa Summerlake 2019 anthology.

Sarah Fawn Montgomery (MFA alum) – Published the essay “In Flame” in the Southeast Review; the essay was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Also published the essay “Weather Report” in the journal Sweet Literary. Their previously published essay “In Praise of the Plains,” from the journal Zone 3, was listed as notable in the Best American Essays 2020 anthology.

James O’Bannon (MFA alum) – Published the poem “Microsoft Word keeps underlining the names of people I love in red” in the Nomadic Ground series.

Delaney R. Whitebird Olmo (Creative Writing grad student) – Pushed the poem “MMIW” in Foothill Poetry Journal, and the poem “Strawberry Festival Wedding” in the Rockvale Review.

Monique Quintana (MFA alum) – Interviewed the poet Joshua Escobar and the poet Sara Borjas for Luna Luna Magazine. Published the prose poem “birthday wells” in the journal Wildness. Published the essay “I gave the snake a rosebud mouth” in Mookychick magazine’s anthology, The Medusa Project. Published the poem “Tree Sonnet” in the Haunted Dollhouse series from the journal Pink Plastic House; the poem was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Reviewed the Marisol Baca poem “Sarcophagi in Glass Houses” for Luna Luna Magazine.

Charles L. Radke (MA alum) – Published the essay “The Disappearance of Daughter X” in the journal Montana Mouthful.

Brynn Saito (English faculty) – Published the poems “How to Prepare the Mind for Lightning,” “Afterlife,” “Reincarnation,” and “Shadow and Release” in the anthology “The World I Leave You: Asian American Poets on Faith and Spirit,” edited by Leah Silvieus and Lee Herrick, published by Orison Books.

Dixie Salazar (BA alum) – Interviewed by the poet Brynn Saito for the Fresno Poets Podcast.

Emily Jo Scalzo (MFA alum) – Published the poem “2020 Election” in the journal Indolent Books.

Rachel Starnes (MFA alum) – Interviewed by Todd Nienkirk for The Future of Content podcast.

Jenny Toste (MA alum) – Debuted their short film “BEEware” as part of the Central Valley Community Foundation’s annual local filmmaker showcase, The Big Tell.

James Tyner (MFA alum) – Selected to serve on the American Library Association’s new Booklist Publications Advisory Board, which highlights books from underrepresented authors in public libraries.

Burlee Vang (MFA alum) – Selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to co-direct the 2020 Nicholl Fellowships Award show, with filmmaker brother Abel Vang.

Mai Der Vang (English faculty) – Their poem “Allied with the Bees,” previously published in the journal The Scores, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Ashley Wells (MFA alum) – Celebrated the Oct. 13 release of their debut nonfiction book, “The Cowgirl and the Racehorse: A Recovery,” from Lantern Publishing & Media. Performed an excerpt from the book on the Fresno State MFA YouTube channel as part of the #FresnoWriters at Home video series.

Erik J. Wilbur (MFA alum) – Celebrated the Oct. 8 release of their debut poetry chapbook, “What I Can Do,” from Chestnut Review Press.

M.L. Williams (MA alum) – Published the poems “Winter Morning” and “Ceci n’est pas un pot” in the journal Plume Poetry. Published the poem “Late Again” in the magazine Live Encounters.

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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