Reading series features Levine Prize winner, new podcast interviews

~ By Jefferson Beavers, Communication Specialist, Department of English | Photo: Steven Kleinman

The university’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing will feature a virtual reading from the 2019 Philip Levine Prize for poetry winner and a half-dozen new podcast interviews with Fresno writers for its 2020-21 Fresno Poets’ Association reading series.

The series is hosted by poet Brynn Saito, an assistant professor in the English department. Admission is free to the virtual reading and access is free to the podcasts. The series is sponsored by Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities and by gifts from the community.

Wednesday, Feb. 17 — Steven Kleinman

Steven Kleinman’s debut book, “Life Cycle of a Bear,” won the 2019 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. His poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, the Gettysburg Review, the Iowa Review, Oversound, Beloit Poetry Journal, American Literary Review, Tikkun, and elsewhere.

Kleinman is a contributing editor at the American Poetry Review, where he co-hosts the American Poetry Review Podcast. He serves as the director of Creative Writing at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and the faculty coordinator of the Art Alliance Writers’ Workshop. He earned his MFA from the University of Maryland, and he has received support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

The free virtual reading will be held at 6 p.m. on Zoom. Pre-registration is required. The book can be purchased online from Anhinga Press.

Larry Levis (UL), Juan Felipe Herrera (UR), Sherley Anne Williams (BL) and Dixie Salazar (BR)
Larry Levis (UL), Juan Felipe Herrera (UR), Sherley Anne Williams (BL) and Dixie Salazar (BR)

Fresno Poets Podcast interviews

In celebration of this year’s 25th anniversary of the Master of Fine Arts program, this season’s Fresno Poets’ Association reading series also remembers the Fresno writing community’s history, celebrates the present, and imagines the future, Saito said.

The series is diving back into its formidable archives to curate a virtual selection of recorded readings and talks by Larry Levis, Philip Levine, Dixie Salazar, Luis Omar Salinas, Liza Wieland, Corrinne Clegg Hales, Juan Felipe Herrera, Margarita Luna Robles, Sherley Anne Williams, and more.

Each recording will be introduced with a short new podcast conversation between Saito and a Fresno writer. Featured interviews include podcasts with Salazar, Hales, Steven Church, Anthony Cody, Samina Najmi, and more.

“These archival recordings and warm conversations have sustained me during a difficult season, as we’ve been unable to gather in person,” Saito said. “They’ve kept me connected to the power of poetry as it lives in our Central Valley.”

The free video recordings are available anytime on the Fresno State MFA YouTube channel, and the free podcast interviews are available anytime on the Fresno State SoundCloud channel.

Graduate assistant Sydney Hinton contributed to this report.

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