Last year’s LitHop event on Saturday, April 29, 2017, was a great success with 140+ writers. Let’s do it again.
🌟= suitable for all audiences (self-reported)
Slaying the Beast
2:00 p.m. | The Brass Unicorn | feat. Teresa Chacon, Theo Flores, Thalea Gastelum, Loretta Kennedy
The past, present, and future of Fresno’s community of writers come together to slay. Their collective voice battles themes of creating, facing, and destroying those beasts that exist in dark corners of the mind. These writers offer three generations of readings from Millennials to GenX. Their works grapple with breaking the norm, pursing existence, and the divergence of solitude and togetherness. While they contend with the conflict, there is a shared desire to question, understand, revolt, and liberate, catapulting them to the forefront. One stage, one mic, one voice.
An Allegiance to Witness
2:00 p.m. | Spectrum Art Gallery | feat. Sara Borjas, Crystal Salas, Cynthia Guardado, David Campos
Observation is the greatest tool we’re given; the senses are limitless. These four poets test their powers with or against their allegiances to family, nation, whiteness, love, ghosts. Come and hear where they stand. Come and feel where they draw the line.
Fuel for Our Fires: Poets on Literary Ancestry, Heroes, and Inspiration
2:00 p.m. | Mia Cuppa Caffè | feat. Lee Herrick, Alana de Hinojosa, Joseph Rios, Dixie Salazar
Four poets will read from their work that explores literary ancestry and heroes: friends, artists and writers who came before them or left too soon, who inspired their work. Some whose lives will be discussed include Andre’s Montoya, Mia Barraza Martinez, Frida Kahlo, and Jon Veinberg. History, migration, diaspora, and immigration themes will also be explored in the readings.
Love & Heartbreak: The Teen Perspective on Navigating Relationships 🌟
2:00 p.m. | Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt | feat. Delmira Jimenez, Angelica Rodriguez, Trinity Serafina Najera-Bartlett, Esmeralda Gonzales
Four teens from Washington Union High School explore how to navigate the world of relationships, teen-romance, and the love between parents and children.
2:00 p.m. | Hart’s Haven | feat. Lizbeth Marquez, Liliana Trejo, Nicolas Mareshall, Renato Martinez
Así en español como nuestros corazones. Four valley poets pouring their grit into imagery, metaphors, love, and friendship. Poetry and poets come in all forms and shapes, join us as we dip into our geometrical hearts. Honoring friends, love, and mementos.
Modesto Poets Persist! 🌟
2:00 p.m. | Dianna’s Studio of Dance | feat. Gillian Wegener, Stella Beratlis, Dana Koster, Linda Scheller
Four Stanislaus County poets, three with brand new book and one brand new poet laureate, will read poetry created out of love for image, sound and word, from lives filled with children and families, careers, community action, and global sensibilities. Poetry persists for all of them as an essential force in their lives, a force that refuses (happily!) too be silenced.
Hybrid Geographies: Boundary Breaking Tales of Four Women 🌟
2:00 p.m. | Teazer World Tea Market | feat. Armen Bacon, Phyllis Brotherton, Sally Vogl, Jackie Williams
They connected at a CSU Summer Arts Workshop almost one decade ago, armed with a common writing passion, freshly sharpened pencils and composition notebooks. Since, they’ve become published authors, completed MFA programs, read at AWP, taught locally and abroad. At LitHop17, four daring women reunite, sharing stories of boundary crossing, both real and imagined, interactions, intersections, and the relation of the personal across time, space and memory. Utilizing writing as respite, they work towards fearless creative survival, continually revising their lives within new contexts, exploring hybrid identities, and relocating their womanhood and place in the world.
PerSISTERS, ReSISTERS: Fightin’ Words from California Women*
2:00 p.m. | Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen | feat. Angela M. Corbett, Jamie Asaye FitzGerald, Monique Quintana, Brandi M. Spaethe*(+21 and older only)
Since women are still underrepresented in many fields, even writing (as VIDA reminds us), we must continue to persist, resist, and support one another as we each practice our own fighting style. We fight by being sexual; by being nasty women!; by naming our oppressors or naming our achievements; by choosing and protecting our own love, work, art, and voice. In this multi-genre reading, the members of the Fresno Women’s Reading Series and Poets & Writers join forces in using words to do all of these things, and more.
Signs of the Apocalypse
2:00 p.m. | Shredworthy | feat. Paula Treick DeBoard, Dawn Trook, Belinda Kremer, Brigitte Bowers
Funny, serious, emotional, and clear-eyed, these pieces engage the apocalyptic signs all around us. In fiction, drama, poetry, and creative non-fiction, the authors respond to, read, resist & reform the signs of the apocalypse. Each reader will frame her text with a story of its inception — by reading or excerpting another text; by sharing an event, memory, story or other response to the world that figured in its making. Connective tissue among these four distinct writers, all associated with UC Merced, includes making as a response to destruction, and reflections on the act of making.
Ready to Hit Submit: Women Writers of Color Central Valley & Women Who Submit 🌟
3:00 p.m. | The Brass Unicorn | feat. Jamie Moore, Marisol Baca, Brenda Venezia, See Xiong
Women Writers of Color Central Valley and Women Who Submit collaborate to provide voice for underrepresented women writers, and encourage them to submit their work. These women meet monthly and have developed works in their genres that call for a greater visibility of the dynamic WOC voices in the Central Valley. Ready to Hit Submit will share newly completed works of short fiction and poetry from these women writers of color that are ready to be sent out into the literary world. These pieces will center on themes of finding voice, social justice and protest, womanhood, and intersectionality.
Exploring the Gothic: Four Women on What Haunts Us
3:00 p.m. | Spectrum Art Gallery | feat. Alysha Hoffa, Mary Pickett, Jennifer M. Dean, Jessica R. Santillan
The San Joaquin Literary Association presents “Exploring the Gothic: Four Women on What Haunts Us.” Drawing upon traditional gothic literature and the supernatural, these writers invoke female intuition, spirits, and personal obsessions in both fiction and nonfiction. Alysha Hoffa and Jennifer Dean will read essays about the lessons we learn from gothic romance, horror movies, and bayou ghost stories, while Mary Pickett and Jessica Santillan will read stories that focus on apparitions, entities, and the paranormal.
Ghost Songs & Border Crossings 🌟
3:00 p.m. | Mia Cuppa Caffè | feat. Tim Z. Hernandez, Mas Masumoto, Nikiko Masumoto, Kerry Klein
“Ghost Songs and Border Crossings” will lift up stories of the Central Valley from recently published works. Each of the themes of the title will be woven throughout three movements as the contributors present their work through interdisciplinary storytelling. Across different identities and places, the stories share in the spirit of longing for healing and the power of memory. The audience will be invited to experience the written word through sounds of memory, touch, and ritual.
Shattered: Teens Explore the Realities of Domestic Violence 🌟
3:00 p.m. | Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt | feat. Kevin Zamora, Lily Serna, Jaylyn Reddix, Frances Rundle
Four high school teens from Washington Union High School share poetry that explores the unresolved tensions that result from domestic violence.
Pintura Palabra: Packinghouse Review 🌟
3:00 p.m. | Hart’s Haven | feat. Javier O. Huerta, Maya Chinchilla, Nancy Aidé González, Maceo Montoya
Four writers included in the Packinghouse Review ekphrastic issue will read works they began in the Pintura:Palabra workshop led by the immortal Francisco X. Alarcon at the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento. Pintura:Palabra is an initiative by Letras Latinas, the literary initiative of Notre Dame’s Institute of Latino Studies. These ekphrastic poems engage and respond to the exhibit, “Our America: the Latino Presence in American Art,” a Smithsonian American Art Museum show that launched in 2013 and concludes its national tour in 2017.
Women Write the Body
3:00 p.m. | Dianna’s Studio of Dance | feat. Loretta Kennedy, Emily Tallman, Jasmine Marshall Armstrong, Christa Fraser
The body of a woman in the world is under constant surveillance and assessment by society. What she looks like, how she is valued, and what she is allowed to ask for and to have are often determined by predetermined gazes and voices not her own. Arguably, a woman’s body is constructed and reconstructed over a lifetime by these external forces. Our four writers push against those social, cultural, and historical forces by sharing work that constructs the female body with an agency centered within the voices and gazes of women.
Clovis Authors Across Genres
3:00 p.m. | Teazer World Tea Market | feat. Thomas Morton, Steven Hammond, Jon Latham, Anne Biggs
Four Clovis authors will read from their published work, including fantasy, memoir, and historical fiction. The wide-ranging subject matter includes a medic’s experiences in Vietnam, a Vietnam memoir, and experiences of abuse in an Irish baby home.
Queering Fresno: An LGBT Reading*
3:00 p.m. | Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen | feat. John Beynon, Arielle Jones, Randa Jarrar, Steven Sanchez*(+21 and older only)
History is usually taught in terms of lineage and ancestry, which often relegates Queer histories to the margins since Queer communities are often generational and not linked through a specific lineage or ancestry. Each reader, a member of the LGBT+ community from different generations, will share work grounded in their own experiences, creating a new kind of history based on archiving our experiences.
Locations, Dislocations, and Mutations 🌟
3:00 p.m. | Shredworthy | feat. Cecilia Martinez-Gil, Alison Mandaville, Kathleen Godfrey, Marina Santos
Migration and relocation. From Azerbaijan to Uruguay, Dinuba to Fresno, we read original poetry, prose, and poetic translations that move through and among languages and spaces, mapping and re-mapping dislocation and belonging in a mobile world. Cecilia Martinez-Gil explores dream spaces and linguistic mutations that emerge as she moves between her native Uruguay Spanish and California English. Blogger and essayist Kathleen Godfrey explores dislocation and home in movement – within the US and internationally. Marina Santos writes on her move from teaching high school in a small rural school district in Dinuba to the fourth largest school district in California – Fresno. Alison Mandaville translates Azerbaijani women’s poetry and writes poetry from a childhood lived in Turkey, Yemen, and Oregon. All four writers shape and shift language to consider and create a sense of place – and find voice for displacement.
Las Lunas Locas Presents: All She Wrote
4:00 p.m. | The Brass Unicorn | feat. Gloria Longin, Cynthia Guardado, Rosa Lisbeth Navarrete, Zury Chavez
Las Lunas Locas are a fierce community of womyn that gather Monday nights in El Sereno, CA to write, rite and right. Some of us are mothers, daughters, artists, activists, healers, students, teachers, and community members, and we come together from all walks of life to explore our relationship to words and writing. Join us, as four of our Lunas Locas share the power and magic of their words.
Writing the Rural: Creative Writing at Reedley College 🌟
4:00 p.m. | Spectrum Art Gallery | feat. David Dominguez, David Borofka, Eileen Apperson-Williams, Ryan LaSalle
Twenty-five miles away from Fresno and near the highway to Kings Canyon, the Creative Writing program at Reedley College offers courses in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting. The four instructor-writers (David Dominguez, David Borofka, Eileen Apperson-Williams, and Ryan LaSalle, respectively) will read from work that derives from the foothills of the Sierra and the agricultural heartland.
Latinidad Across the U.S.: Emerging Voices in Contemporary Poetry
4:00 p.m. | Mia Cuppa Caffè| feat. Marcelo Hernandez Castillo, Yosimar Reyes, Analicia Sotelo, Juan Luis Guzmán
Four distinguished Latino poets meet at the intersections of their work to read from themes that include place and migration, language, sexuality, and the politics of contemporary living.
Cooper Academy 7th Grade Drama and Communications Class 🌟
4:00 p.m. | Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt
Cooper Academy is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school, and feeds into Fresno High’s IB Diploma program. The students have completed a unit on the effects of plastic pollution on the ocean, identifying causese and effects, as well as trying to propose solutions. They were then given the challenge of composing poetry as a new means of communicating the issue to the public.
Evolution & Revolution of Identity
4:00 p.m. | Hart’s Haven | feat. Paula Treick DeBoard, Shanyn Avila, Nena Larieze, Yvonne A. De La Cruz Sánchez
How do we move forward when the world is moving backward? Four women (two fiction writers, an essayist, and a poet), who bonded over yoga and became unlikely activists, give voice to the ways we find identity in a fractured world. Through storytelling, and with healthy doses of chaos, tragedy, and laughter, we explore our numerous selves – saints, sinners, sisters – in a landscape vastly different from what we knew before.
Your Girls are Doing a Reading of Their Own
4:00 p.m. | Dianna’s Studio of Dance | feat. Amber Carpenter, Jennifer De La Cruz, Melanie Kachadoorian, Brenda Venezia
The women behind Fresno Women’s Reading Series celebrate the group’s first birthday by finally being the ones to step up to the mic. They explore everything from yardwork to consent as they try to get closer to the precarious meaning of ownership: of bodies, homes, voices, and futures.
In All But Paper
4:00 p.m. | Teazer World Tea Market | feat. Oscar Del Toro, Jonathan Vargas, Abril Lopez, Yari Herrera
All of the writers in this group have a deep relationship to paper and the binds that often come with certain documentation, or its lack thereof. From legal status to labels, they will explore the nature behind the forces that drive people to behave in ways they normally would not, and spurn them to make choices that end up defining their lives. Thematically, all these writers are tied by ideas of self-love and revolution, of finding worth beyond what a paper can label a person as, and of a power that has nothing to do with the most powerful paper we know(money) and everything to do with the hands that perform simple labor.
Spring Formal: Four Local Authors Read Formal Verse in Formal Attire*
4:00 p.m. | Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen | feat. Marisol Baca, Doug Cox, Michelle Patton, Joseph Voth*(+21 and older only)
In tuxedos and gowns, under crepe paper streamers and the influence of slow jams and (perhaps) that proverbial spiked punch bowl, four Fresno poets will read original work in received forms, as well as introduce the work of their formal “dates,” well-known writers who also strut their stuff in meter, rhyme, and other literary accessories, lyric corsages, and poetic boutonnieres.
This Calls for a Community Reading: Fresno Women Read
4:00 p.m. | Shredworthy | feat. Anoush Ekparian-Hadden, Breanna Johnson, Arielle Jones, Tricia Savelli
As the Fresno Women’s Reading Series has evolved over the last year, we have come to love our open-call, crowd-sourced community readings above all else. To honor this, we put out a call for women and nonbinary readers to join us at LitHop 2017. In so doing, we knew, we were sure to hear from writers who would embody the ideas the last year has taught us to hold dear: Be brave. Work hard. Collaborate. Take yourself seriously. Find a space for your voice to be heard and, should no space present itself, make one. Trust your community. Ask them to show up. We’ve come to expect a little additional magic when we put all of this together in the form of a community reading, and these four writers prove no exception, grappling with tough, important subjects like abortion, genocide, sexism, and sexuality.
The Moon Lives in the Lining of Your Skin: Poems of Identity and Illumination 🌟
5:00 p.m. | The Brass Unicorn | feat. Megan Bohigian, Kirk Stone, Angela Chaidez Vincent, Victor Trejo
Four Fresno poets, known to behave badly, explore the complexities of dark matter and not-dark matter in the natural world they inhabit, drawing on this landscape, mystical and mundane, for the energy and imagery that fuels their poems.
5:00 p.m. | Spectrum Art Gallery | feat. Sara Borjas, Luivette Resto, Juan Luis Guzmán, Tim Z. Hernandez
Poetic traditions are often considered a down-flowing force, spreading down through families and communities—but it does not always travel this way. Four poets join their mother, father, daughter, or son, to ask how the tradition of poetry can ascend, circle, boomerang to or through us, from any direction. It weaves us, sometimes without us even realizing. These poets will read their own work and each other’s to challenge the idea of influence and reveal the energy which poetry weaves across generations.
Maps, Craters, and Throats: Disrupting Colonial Memory
5:00 p.m. | Mia Cuppa Caffè | feat. Kazumi Chin, Michelle Lin, Kenji Liu, Vickie Vértiz
To maintain its power, the colonial order must continually justify its own existence, by remembering what it must, and forgetting what it must. It remembers: benevolence, charity, state aid. It forgets: genocide, displacement, exploitation. But resistance cannot simply remember what has been forgotten. This poetry reading of new works marks memory not as addendum, but interruption. Not perspective, but disruption. We will create not just alternative narratives, but also fracturings, through language, of colonial justification as it persists in the government, family, identity, body, and poetry.
OutWords: How the Truth Bubbles Forth 🌟
5:00 p.m. | Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt | feat. Zyanna Maynard, Linda Yang, Mayra Ramirez, Angelica Cazares
Four OutWords high school students from Fresno brave the stage to perform their most honest heart-wrenching and heart-warming poems. Confronting identity issues, the struggles of holding on to self-worth, the beautiful and sometimes unsuspecting places where they find love, and how they cultivate joy – these young poets find strength through vulnerability. Holding space for one another they have stepped into writing without pretense. Where they can see themselves in the eyes of another. Where the truth bubbles forth.
Cheers from the Wasteland: A Showcase of San Jose Writers 🌟
5:00 p.m. | Hart’s Haven | feat. Suzy de Jesus Huerta, Yaccaira Salvatierra, Leslie Patron, Erick Sáenz
Cheers from the Wasteland is a place-based online journal that features writers and artists who have ties to San José. Founder Leslie Patron, a San José native, created this space as a way of highlighting the voices that are underrepresented in traditional journals to proclaim the identities and communities that Silicon Valley hi-tech businesses hope to erase through its virtual economy. The name is both a declaration of the creative work that San José writers and artists are actively engaged with as well as a resistance to this attempted erasure of the people and communities who have roots in this historic city. Leslie Patron and her partner Erick Saenz will join poets Suzy de Jesus Huerta and Yaccaira Salvatierra in reading work that encompasses themes related to resisting erasure, honoring historical and familial connections, and recognizing the thriving beauty in what others may deem a wasteland for the arts.
Exposed: Raw, Unshackled Women
5:00 p.m. | Dianna’s Studio of Dance | feat. Megan Bronson, Emily Basiletti, Courtney Lizbeth Potts, Emily Beals
We are women; hear us roar. Four women come together to read from pieces that confront personal and social truths, laying bare the gritty details of life while giving voice to controversial topics, such as mental illness, rape, sex, and body image acceptance. Overlapping themes include depression and the frustrations of living with a disability; self-esteem and grappling with societal norms surrounding femininity and sexuality; and the ever complicated process of accepting the complete and unique self.
I Was Such a Happy Kid . . . What the Hell Happened? 🌟
5:00 p.m. | Shredworthy | feat. Erica Hughes, Hira Amin, Danielle Potter, James O’Bannon
Four writers who are all first-year students in Fresno State’s Creative Writing Masters of Fine Arts Program come together to read from their new works. All the works play with “traumatic” childhood experiences that seem to only be funny years later, and here take the forms of fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Transitioning from the set of unquestioned beliefs we tend to hold so close as kids to the limbo that is adulthood is an uncertain time that never seems to end, and is one everyone has endured. Whether it’s learning the fragility of life through the death in Disney movies, or the childlike wonder once held for the Easter Bunny that’s warped into something much darker one faithful year, everyone has their story.
SJLA Presents: Writing New Places, or Creative Non-Fiction Hits the Road
6:00 p.m. | The Brass Unicorn | feat. Eddie Gomez, Matthew Kenerly, Gillian Hensley, Arthur Morales
The American tradition of travel writing is unlike anything else in the world of literature, and it’s a genre that our four panelists, all of whom work predominantly in creative nonfiction, often utilize in their essays. Whether it’s for the sake of entertainment, food, nature or simply for finding oneself out in the wide world, our writers explore new places in unique ways – literary journalism, memoir, and more – and we want the opportunity to share those journeys at LitHop.
Damas, Sirenas, and the New Beats of El Corazón
6:00 p.m. | Spectrum Art Gallery | feat. Marissa Candy Raigoza, Nancy Aidé González, Olga García Echeverria, Yaccaira Salvatierra
The game of Lotería brings families and friends together. It has the power to unite just like poetry. Each Chicana poet will choose a few Lotería cards that speak to her and read poetry that relates to the theme of the card. It might be a traditional card, or a new Lotería card that will be born to represent the complex and ever-growing Chicana/Latina identity. Each poet will read work based on personal experiences and cultura, including the topics of indigenousness, gender, sexuality, and language–poetics without borders. Join us for an afternoon of poetry that will embrace tradition, challenge tradition, and touch your corazón.
Writing Through the Womb: A Reading by WOC Mothers 🌟
6:00 p.m. | Mia Cuppa Caffè| feat. Randa Jarrar, Carribean Fragoza, Sylvia Savala, Larissa Mercado-Lopez
This multi-genre reading will explore feminism through the intersections of writer, mother, woman of color, and teacher. As writing mothers and teachers, we make critical choices and sacrifices to make and share our art and scholarship. As women of color, our experiences are further complicated as we are challenged with societal and cultural expectations of motherhood and gender. Through this reading, we seek to bring recognition to these intersections of identity and honor the children of artists and teachers. Reading curated by Monique Quintana.
Puente Means Bridge 🌟
6:00 p.m. | Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt | feat. James Espinoza, Destina Hernandez, Martin Velasco-Ramos, Jamie Moore
The Puente Project at College of the Sequoias in Visalia is a transfer-readiness program for historically underrepresented college students. With writing instruction, counseling courses, and community mentoring at its core, two professors from the program will be reading alongside two student writers, a testament to why Puente means bridge.
Mama’s Boys 🌟
6:00 p.m. | Hart’s Haven | feat. Kenneth Chacón, David Dominguez, Bryan Medina, Michael Medrano
Four local poets read a selection of their work focusing on the women who have influenced their lives. Through grandmothers, mothers, wives, and daughters this reading will explore themes such as family, love, and tradition.
Milk and Bullets 🌟
6:00 p.m. | Dianna’s Studio of Dance | feat. Mary Coomes, Andrea Farber-De Zubiria, Juliana Harris, Richard Stone
The soothing and the fierce merge in this poetry, fiction, memoir and creative non-fiction reading . Four writing partners with wide-ranging professional lives in art, journalism, rehabilitation, and Women’s Studies read from old and new works. We’ll consider utopia, technology and the idea of home, a story of riches to rags, the challenged body and the wisdom of the body, anxious women on an ironic trip to Death Valley, indoor plumbing, forgiveness, and more.
6:00 p.m. | Shredworthy | feat. Patrick Fontes, PhD, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Aurelia Lorca, Maurisa Thompson
One Fresno poet, along with three poets from the San Francisco Bay Area will present on themes that presently burden us all. California citizens are experiencing anxiety-ridden times as we witness a demagogue steer our nation into an abyss stripped of rights so hard fought for over the last decades. We call for Californian minds to be set afire with the awareness and action so needed at this moment. Our poetry seeks to address both the bonfire of the humanities torched by this administration and the blaze within our minds to stand strong and resist the many ills in our society between those in power and those they seek to control and deprive.
HEADLINE FEATURE EVENT: GARY SOTO
7:00 p.m. | Fresno City College, Old Administration (OAB) Auditorium. Get directions.
See You at LitHop 2017!
LitHop is a Fresno Poet Laureate initiative, and donations are welcome to help sustain poetry programs from the Fresno Arts Council, a private 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to support and foster the arts in Fresno. Discover how you can support the arts by visiting online at:
featured photo: Alejandro De La Cruz (link)