Writer Bios

This year’s lineup features 150+ new faces & voices! Readings kick off at 1:00 p.m., and close with our afterparty at 8:30 p.m.

Full list of participating writers below. See all LitHop 2018 events listed here.

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View & print the LitHop 2018 event guide:  Map | Schedule


Debbie Soro Adair is a professional educator with the Stanislaus County Office of Education. She joined SCOE in 2016 after working for Modesto City Schools as a high school English teacher for 24 years. While at MCS she advised a multitude of clubs, served as department chair, was a member of site leadership council, and co-founded HARRT (Healthy and Responsible Relationships Troupe) with Holly Grace Currie at The Haven Women’s Center. Additionally she was one of ten recipients of the Stanislaus County Commission for Women, Woman of the Year award for 2016.  She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Epsilon Nu Chapter, is the Educational and Community Outreach Board Member for MoPride, and has been a guest director at The Gallo Center for the Arts, directing the drama The Sirens in May 2016 which raised nearly $8000.00 dollars for The Haven Women’s Center. She also directed a movie in 2017, Breaking the Silence, bringing awareness to the reality that men are also victims of abuse. She has an amazing 18 year-old son, who is a freshman at UC Santa Cruz. (3:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Linnea Alexander is a professor emerita of English. She taught 20th Century British Lit and creative nonfiction at Fresno State as well as teaching and directing the university’s London Program. This is her second year in the M.F.A. Creative Nonfiction Program. Her writing focuses on a three-year all-girls road trip in the sixties that spanned across the US, Canada and Mexico, resulting in her attempts to figure out who she is as well as her country. (5:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Paul Aloojian was born and raised in Fresno, studied modern dance at Fresno City College, and philosophy at UCLA. He earned a B.A. in English from Fresno State. Paul worked as a data transcriber, a census taker, and an emergency firefighter in the mountains. He served as a guest lecturer at Taft College. He also lectured at UC Santa Cruz extension, on “Poetry of Rock Lyrics.” Paul was a featured writer for Chatterbox, a UCLA newspaper. He’s a co-author of Armenian Town (Quill Driver Press, 2001). His poems have appeared in Backwash and In the Grove. (3:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Kirk Alvaro Lua is from Madera, the Heart of California. He attended Humboldt State where he earned a B.A. in English and a Spanish minor. He is currently attending Fresno State for a M.F.A. in Poetry. His poetry has been published in A Sharp Piece of Awesome, The Acentos Review, Toyon, and Pilgrimage Press. His first teachers of poetry were his parents. His mother taught him how to write and his father taught him how to say fuck it. (5:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Nicholas Anaya is a Senior at Washington Union High School in Easton, California. Poetry has helped him deal with feelings he’s never really felt comfortable sharing. He loves poetry and has found a safe place where he can share it and express himself with a very special group of people. (2:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Eileen Apperson-Williams received an M.A. in creative writing with an emphasis in nonfiction prose and an M.F.A. in poetry from Fresno State. She has published both creative nonfiction and poetry in journals such as the Platte Valley Review and Writing It Real. Her narratives focus on the landscape of the San Joaquin Valley, sense of place and ecological concerns. Her book, Patterns of the Land: The Search for Home in an Altered Landscape, was released in 2012. (5:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Angel Arellano is a 16-year-old sophomore at Washington Union High School. She is enrolled in the Wonderful Agriculture Career Prep Academy and a member of poetry club. She uses her writing to be heard and expresses her feelings to handle her problems. She believes that writing is a great weapon to express feelings. (4:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Noah Martin Arnao is a Senior at Washington Union in Easton, California. He started writing poetry during a low point in his life and learned to harness his emotions and frustrations into his work. He is planning to enter the medical field and pursue a career to a help people and hopefully join an organization that aids with natural disasters and other areas where help is needed. (2:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Shanyn Avila is a Spiritual Mother, Sauce-Maker, Finder of Lost Things, ShittyWife, Monster-Slayer, and the one who leaves with unbrushed hair and remembers to turn the lights off. In the homestretch on her first novel and finishing a Self-Styled M.F.A. (3:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Marcello Ayers was born and raised in Madera, California, where he continues to go to school and work. He is a Mechanical Engineering major expecting associate degrees in Mathematics, Physical Science, and Engineering in the Spring of 2018, with the desire to eventually earn a Masters degree in Engineering. Although he continual works on his craft he also has a love for everything non-engineering. His involvement in school consists of being the Associated Student Government President at the Madera Community College Center, as well as tutoring Political Science, Communication, and Calculus. Marcello’s ultimate dream is to be an entrepreneur in his local town of Madera, California and inspire a change in his community. (2:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)


Marisol Baca is the author of Tremor from Three Mile Harbor Press. Marisol’s work has been published in Narrative Northeast, Riverlit, Shadowed: An Anthology of Women Writers, The Acentos Review, among others. She received a Master of Fine Arts from Cornell University. While at Cornell, she won the Robert Chasen poetry award for her poem, “Revelato.” Currently, Marisol is an English professor at Fresno City College. She lives in Fresno with her husband in a house in the center of town. (3:00 p.m. at The Revue; 6:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Julia Baker has returned to the San Joaquin River Watershed after a few years of experiencing the richness in of other streams. As poet and visual artist, her creating grows out of study and work  in Internal Family Systems Therapy, Permaculture and Traditional Food Ways. Julia can often been found in the backyard with her friend Lydia, a Chinese Elm tree, under whose shade many poems are written. Julia is passionate about creating spaces for healing, beauty and re-connection. More of her work can be seen at www.gleaningbeauty.com (2:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Jamie J. Barker has been writing since the fourth grade, when she wrote, published, and distributed The Neighborhood News, which contained articles and personal essays that described–in detail–events, overheard conversations, house and garden aesthetics, and anything else she happened to observe on her street. These days she is a mother of four, an abuela of two, a Fresno State B.A. and M.F.A. graduate, a writer, and is teaching English at Reedley College. In recent years she has taught at the Fresno County Jail, in San Francisco at a private learning institution, and at a private high school in the SF Bay Area. She has publications in The San Joaquin Review, and Gravel magazine. She currently lives in Fresno with her husband Brad, and their dog, Hector F. Barker. (5:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Nicholas Belardes writes fiction, essays and poetry. His work has appeared in Southwestern American Literature (forthcoming), Carve Magazine, Pithead Chapel, the Acentos Review, the Island Review, Memoir Journal, 826 Seattle’s What to Read in the Rain, Barrelhouse, Mission at Tenth, the Nervous Breakdown, Latino Rebels, the Weeklings, and others. He illustrated the New York Times best-selling novel West of Here, and is the author of the first original twitterature, Small Places, which has been talked about in the U.K. Guardian, Telegraph, Reuters, Christian Science Monitor, Wired, The Bohemian, and more. He’s contributed to CNN and other news sites, and once talked about red-haired witches on Coast to Coast A.M. with George Noory. He’s also a ghostwriter for popular fiction. Nicholas currently lives in San Luis Obispo, California with his partner, writer Jane Hawley. Interviews and other requests: nickbelardes@gmail.com. He tweets from @nickbelardes (4:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, a first-generation Chicana, is the author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016). A former Steinbeck Fellow, Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grantee, she’s received residencies from Hedgebrook, Ragdale, National Parks Arts Foundation and Poetry Foundation. Her work is published in Acentos Review, CALYX, crazyhorse, and American Poetry Review among others. A dramatization of her poem “Our Lady of the Water Gallons,” directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño, can be viewed at latinopia.com. She is a cofounder of Women Who Submit and a member of Macondo Writers’ Workshop. (3:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Megan Anderson Bohigian is the author of the poetry collection Sightlines. Her poems are anthologized in the book Shadowed, Unheard Voices, and published in journals including The Comstock Review, Whiskey Island Magazine, and In the Grove. She has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fresno State, and has taught prose and poetry writing in the Fresno area, where lives and she organizes the writers who read for the annual Respite by the River series for the San Joaquin River Parkway Trust. (3:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn; 6:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Elizabeth Bolanos is a first year M.F.A. Creative Writing, Fiction student at Fresno State, with a Publishing & Editing emphasis. Her favorite genre is horror. Her inspirations include all types of art and observing people. (4:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Sara Borjas is a Chicana from Fresno, California. She holds fellowships from CantoMundo, the Postgraduate Writers’ Conference at Vermont College of Fine Arts, and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley. Borjas is the recipient of the 2014 Blue Mesa Poetry Prize and has been thrice-nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry can be found in The Offing, Entropy, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Cultural Weekly, and The Acentos Review, amongst others. She has been to college twice and adores tiny prints, astrophysics, oldies, and aromatics. She currently lives in Los Angeles, but stays rooted in Fresno. (1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. at The Revue).

David Borofka’s first collection of stories, Hints of His Mortality, was selected by Oscar Hijuelos as winner of the 1996 Iowa Award for short fiction; the stories in that collection appeared in such journals as The Southern Review, Greensboro Review, Carolina Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, Missouri Review, and Manoa, among others. His novel, The Island, was published by MacMurray & Beck, portions of which appeared in Gettysburg Review and Shenandoah. He is the winner of the Missouri Review Editors’ Prize, the Charles B. Wood Award from Carolina Quarterly, the Emerging Writers Network award, and his new collection of stories, My Life as a Mystic, was a finalist for the 2017 Flannery O’Connor Fiction prize. A full-time faculty member at Reedley College since 1986, he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing and periodically teaches fiction writing part-time for UCLA Extension and Fresno State. (5:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Brigitte Bowers holds an M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from Fresno State. She teaches creative writing, professional writing, and composition at UC Merced. She is also a columnist for the Merced Sun-Star; her bi-monthly column, “Against the Grain,” has appeared in the Merced Sun-Star for seven years and covers a wide range of topics, many of them autobiographical in content. Her essay, “Attempted Homicide,” was named a Best American Notable Essay in 2015. Her most recent essay, “The Boy in the Picture,” will appear in the spring 2018 edition of Fourteen Hills. (2:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Cindy Bradley obtained her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from Fresno State. Her work has appeared in 45th Parallel, Front Porch Journal, and Under the Sun, among others. She has a notable essay recognized in Best American Essays 2017. Cindy is currently working on a memoir titled Death, Driveways, and California Dreams – a collection of essays navigating through childhood to the present, exploring discontent, identity, loss and longing in Southern and Central California during the seventies, eighties and beyond. A southern California native who has spent more years in the Central Valley than she has anywhere else, she endlessly misses the beach. (5:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore; 6:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)


Rocio Carlos attends from the land of the chaparral. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she is widely acknowledged to have zero short-term memory but know the names of trees. Her poems have appeared in Chaparral, Angel City Review, The Spiral Orb, and Cultural Weekly. She was selected as a 2003 PEN Center “Emerging Voices” fellow. She collaborates as a partner at Wirecutter Collective, and is a teacher of the language arts. Her favorite trees are the olmo (elm) and aliso (sycamore). (1:00 p.m. at The Revue).

Kenneth Robert Chacón is a native of Fresno, California where he spent much of his youth and part of his adult life involved in gangs and drugs. By the grace of God, he was able to get educated. He received his M.F.A. from Fresno State in 2004. His work has appeared in San Joaquin Review, Cimmaron Review, Poetry Quarterly, BorderSenses among others. He lives with his wife, four children, and grandchild and teaches English and Chicano Studies at Fresno City College. He hopes that through his writing, he can reach the ones who need comfort, the hurt, the lost, the broken, and somehow, impossible as it once seemed, he can welcome light into a dark world. (4:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Teresa Chacon is a Chicanx writer living in Central California, where she writes, teaches English, pretends to be an artist and gardener, and enjoys road tripping with her daughter. She received her M.F.A at Fresno State, where she was the recipient of the Andrés Montoya Scholarship. Excerpts from her first collection of stories, To Be Good, have been published in Pachuco Children Hurl Stones, and Asymmetric Magazine. (3:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Ethan Chatagnier is the author of Miracle Fruit, a story collection forthcoming from Acre Books in fall 2018. His short stories have won a Pushcart Prize and been listed as notable by the Million Writers Award. His work has been published or is forthcoming in a variety of literary journals, including the New England Review, Glimmer Train, the Georgia Review, the Cincinnati Review, Five Points, and the Kenyon Review Online. He holds a B.A. in English from Fresno State, and an M.A. in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College. He lives in Fresno with his wife, son, and daughter. (2:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Judith Chibante is a third-generation native Californian and grew up in the San Joaquin Valley. In addition to Gillis Poets, she belongs to the Ina Coolbrith Circle of the Bay Area. Her poems have been published in Tule Review (Sacramento Poetry Center), Song of the San Joaquin (Chaparral Poets of California), and several biannual anthologies of the ICC. Her chapbook, Radio in the Night, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. (3:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Steven Church is the author of six books of nonfiction, including the forthcoming collection of essays, I’m Just Getting to the Disturbing Part: On Work, Fear and Fatherhood. He’s also the Editor of a new anthology, The Spirit of Disruption: Selections from The Normal School, due out in August 2018. He Coordinates the M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing at Fresno State. (5:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Erin Cook: Nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, Erin Lynn Cook’s fiction has appeared in numerous private and university literary journals across the nation.  Her other artistic endeavors include raising two awesome boys, singing in a band or two, and teaching teenagers and adults the craft of writing. (2:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Mary Coombs reads at 3:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven.



Jennifer Dean was once described as “cryptic” – as in mysterious and obscured – by a man who meant it as a compliment, and she has since had occasion to wonder if he was not entirely wrong, as she is indeed cryptic in the zoological sense of being adept at concealing her contempt for people who describe women as cryptic. She writes both poetry and essays, and her work has appeared in Crazyhorse, Midwestern Gothic, Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere. (5:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Alana de Hinojosa is a poet pursuing a dissertation in the César E. Chávez Department of Chicano/a Studies at UCLA. Her dissertation is concerned with histories of displacement, dispossession, diaspora, loss, return, and what these sometimes have to do with rivers, particularly the Rio Grande. Her poetry has been published in Huizache, Duende, The Acentos Review, Kweli Journal, and elsewhere. She is a Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, Las Dos Brujas, and Hampshire College alum. She was raised in Davis, Calilfornia. (1:00 p.m. at The Revue).

Paula Treick DeBoard holds an M.F.A. from the University of Southern Maine and divides her time between writing and teaching. Her novels include Here We Lie (2018) and The Drowning Girls (2016), among others. Her work has been translated into multiple languages. Since 2015, she has been a faculty member at Go Deep, a yoga and writing retreat in the Sierra Nevadas. She joined the Merritt Writing Program at UC Merced in 2015, and lives in Modesto with her husband Will and two small dogs with surprisingly vicious barks. More information is on her website: www.paulatreickdeboard.com. (2:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Galin Dent studied poetry at UC Berkeley and received his Masters in Composition from San Francisco State. His poems have been published in San Francisco City College’s What We Take With Us and his academic writing appeared in Enculturation. From protest to pastoral, San Francisco to the Sierras, cityscapes to alpine skies, Galin will be reading poems that span the last thirty years of his career.  Galin currently teaches composition and reading at the inimitable Clovis Community College. (6:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

David Dominguez holds a B.A. in comparative literature from the University of California at Irvine and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the University of Arizona. He is the author of the collections Work Done Right (University of Arizona Press) and The Ghost of César Chávez (C&R Press). His poems have appeared in numerous journals, such as Crab Orchard Review, Poet Lore, Miramar, and Southern Review. In addition, his work has been anthologized in How Much Earth: the Fresno Poets; The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry; Bear Flag Republic: Prose Poems and Poetics from California; and Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing among others. New work is forthcoming in the anthology Latino Poetics (University of New Mexico Press). Co-founder and poetry editor of the Packinghouse Review, Dominguez teaches writing full-time at Reedley College and part-time at Fresno State. (5:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Marcos Dorado studied drawing at The Art Students League of New York and The Grand Central Academy of Art, both in New York City. Now, Marcos is part of the movement that is bringing the figure back into the forefront of art.In his spare time, he is exploring flash fiction as an extension of his artwork and the world. (4:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Jorden Dungan is a native of the Central Valley whose love for writing bloomed just a few years ago, and now they use writing as a tool to build their own unique voice, forge new connections, and discover ways to improve the world. Jorden often competes in local poetry slams and is president of the Quill Creative Writing Club at College of the Sequoias. (4:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Ronald Dzerigian received his M.F.A. from California State University, Fresno. His poems have appeared in the Australian Book Review, Comstock Review, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, Salamander, and others. He was a two time recipient of the Academy of American Poets’ Ernesto Trejo Memorial Prize in 2014/2015. His first full-length collection, Rough Fire, is forthcoming late summer 2018. He resides in a small farming community with his wife and two daughters.(2:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)


Olga García Echeverría is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. She is the author of Falling Angeles: Cuentos y Poemas. She teaches literature to college students and creative writing to 5th graders. She lives, writes, and shape shifts in Los Angeles. (6:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Cynthia Elliott has a Masters in Creative Writing from Fresno State. Her short stories have appeared in American Short Fiction, The Cimarron Review, and on KVPR’s “Valley Writers Read.” She will read her poetry. Cynthia teaches composition and literature at Clovis Community College. (6:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Joshua Escobar, a.k.a. DJ Ashtrae, makes poetry into a kind of music. He mixes family drama with travelogues, interviews about the HIV epidemic with biographies of Mexican immigrants, the lyrical with the actual, English with Spanish. He is the author of the chapbooks Califorkya Voltage (No, Dear/Small Anchor Press) and XXOX FM (DoubleCross Press, 2019). He was the Dean’s Fellow in Writing at the MFA Program at Bard College. He also was a Merit Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. His work has been featured in The Recluse, Palimpsest, BOMB Magazine, The Felt, Anomaly, and Wendy’s Subway and more. He is a CantoMundo Fellow. He publishes the zine, Orange Mercury, and lives with lil’ piñata in San Bernardino, California. (5:00 p.m. at The Revue)


Carole Firstman’s book, Origins of the Universe and What It All Means: A Memoir, was a Paris Review Staff Pick and praised by The New York Times as “a strangely dazzling memoir.” She received the Dzanc Nonfiction Book Prize, and her work has been noted in the Pushcart Prize and Best American Essays. (2:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Patrick Fontes grew up in Fresno. The grit, grime and strength of the working class city laid the foundation of both his character of worldview. Fresno’s mean streets, the underclass, punk rock scene, and the city’s great cultural mixture with so many different races, foods, languages and smells appear throughout his poetry and prose. Patrick received his Ph.D. in American History from Stanford University. His research involves Mexican American history, American Immigration History, Mexico-USA transnational history, Latin American religion, and the Criminalization of Chicano culture. Patrick’s poetry has appeared in The Más Tequila Review, the Acentos Review, The James Franco Review, Suisun Valley Review, Silver Birch Press, as well the online poetry site La Bloga. Floricanto Press published Patrick’s first novel, Maria’s Purgatorio in January 2016. Patrick’s Facebook author page: www.facebook.com/Patrick-Fontes-883011615080869 (4:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Carribean Fragoza is a writer and artist from South El Monte, CA. She has published fiction and poetry in publications such as Palabra Literary Magazine, Emohippus, BOMB Magazine, and Huizache Magazine. Her arts/culture reviews and essays have been published in online national and international magazines such as Letras Libres, CultureStrike, Los Angeles Review of Books, and Tropics of Meta. She is a graduate of UCLA and CalArts’ M.F.A. Writing Program. She is founder and co-director of the South El Monte Art Posse (SEMAP), a multi-disciplinary arts collective. (4:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Christa Fraser grew up in the Central Valley. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she has taught online for the International Writing Program, the University of Iowa, and is currently a writing instructor at UC Merced. She has also been a fiction fellow at the MacDowell Colony and was both a first- and a second-year fiction fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Her work has been published in The Missouri Review and published online in ShankPainter 2015 and 2016. She is currently working on a novel. (2:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue; 4:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Erik K. Fritz studied Literature and Creative Writing at Fresno State and the University of Montana; the latter somehow awarded him an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry). Erik teaches Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing at Clovis Community College. (6:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)


Rose Galaviz is a student in Fresno State’s M.F.A. Creative Writing Program. She spends most days carving words into paper and lying awake at night with countless ideas teeming in her restless mind. In her spare time, Rose enjoys chatting with her dog Penny and determining the emotional state of trees. (2:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Sophia Garcia is a sophomore at Washington Union High School. She is a passionate writer who focuses on her own life trials and tribulations. Writing is a means of escape from the realities she faces in the “real world”.  She is involved in Washington Union’s Wonderful Ag Prep Academy and in her second year of Future Farmers of America and Poetry Club. She loves to listen to all different kinds of music. Sophia feels deeply connected to nature and has found that it allows her to connect more closely to her writing. (4:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of a memoir and six poetry collections, including Milk and Filth, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle award in poetry. She was awarded an American Book Award for her memoir Bring Down the Little Birds (University of Arizona Press, 2010) and the Juniper Prize for Poetry for her collection Goodbye, Flicker (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012). She also co-edited Angels of the Americlypse: New Latin@ Writing, an anthology of contemporary Latinx writing (Counterpath Press, 2014). She is chair of the planning committee for CantoMundo and is the publisher of Noemi Press. Her most recent collection is Cruel Futures (City Lights, 2018). Be Recorder (forthcoming from Graywolf Press, 2019). She is a Professor of English at Virginia Tech and, with Stephanie Burt, poetry editor of The Nation. (7:00 p.m. at Fresno City College Old Administration Building Auditorium)

Eddie P. Gomez has spent most of his life on the flatlands of California’s Central Valley, except for stints in far flung cities around the globe. He has spent a lifetime driving the infinite network of country roads, walking the quiet streets of sleepy towns, and tilling the soil in every imaginable corner of the valley from just north of Stockton all the way to Fresno. One of his favorite pastimes is dropping into a major city desiring to meet people and explore diverse food scenes. Another of his pastimes is writing about coming of age in Manteca during the 1980’s and how that place and time exists now only in memory. He currently teaches English composition at a local community college while dreaming of one day having his own food and travel show. (6:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Esmeralda Gonzales is a Junior at Washington Union High School in Easton, California. She has been writing for several years and finds writing to be a cure for her life’s heartaches. She believes in speaking the truth, even if it’s hard. Esmeralda is an active member of the WUHS Poetry Club as well as the school choir and sports. Esmeralda looks forward to exploring the poetry community in college. (2:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Norma Gonzalez is an 18-year-old Senior at Washington Union High school and will be graduating in June. She is pursuing a career in neurology. She will begin her college career at Fresno City College this Fall. Her mother’s epilepsy has led to Norma’s interest in neurology. She uses her experience with this to express her feelings in poetry. She is also interested in how people use poetry to cope with mental illness and the instability that stems from trauma. (2:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Nancy Aidé Gonzalez is a Chicana poet, educator, and activist. Her work has appeared in Huizache: the magazine of Latino literature, La Tolteca, Mujeres De Maiz Zine, DoveTales, Seeds of Resistance Flor y Canto: Tortilla Warrior, Hinchas de Poesía, and several other literary journals. Her work is featured in the Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, Sacramento Voices: Foam at the Mouth Anthology, and Lowriting: Shots Rides & Stories from the Chicano Soul. (6:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Kassandra “Kassie” Gonzalez was born and raised in the heart of California. She is currently studying to get her Masters degree in English Literature with hopes of becoming an English instructor. Kassie has been writing poetry since middle school, but never considered herself a poet until taking a creative writing class at Fresno City College, which is where she met this lovely group of people. Although she is the most soft spoken person among her small circle of friends, her poetry does not reflect it. Kassie enjoys writing, drinking only half of each cup of coffee, and helping others as much as possible. (2:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Angie Gonzalez-Barajas was born and raised in Fresno, and she is currently pursuing her B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Communications at California State University, Fresno. Angie’s passion for poetry began her junior year in Ms. Norton’s honors English class at McLane. After competing against her classmates, Angie won third place in the poetry slam in 2014. She went on to win second place at a poetry slam hosted by Fresno City College in the Spring of 2017. Angie’s poems advocate for the importance of mental health, self-respect, and healthy relationships. Angie also aspires to help eradicate the taboo of speaking about the degrading reality of sexual assault. Aside from poetry, Angie loves to dance (especially to Shakira), have actual face-to-face discourse about life, take photos, help guide and raise her siblings, set an example for high school students, and travel once a year as a tradition to honor herself. (3:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Aaliyah Green is a fiction writer, currently receiving her M.F.A. from Fresno State. She has her B.A. in English from Northern Kentucky University. Originally from Kentucky, she, her small dog, Coco, and cat, Raspberry, currently reside in Fresno. (5:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Juan Luis Guzmán is a poet, professor, and community organizer who is dedicated to the arts in its varying forms. A member of the Macondo Writers Workshop, his work has appeared in several literary journals including PANK, Huizache, Pilgrimage, and Assaracus, and he has conducted interviews for publications like Letras Latinas Blog and Poets Quarterly. He is a graduate fellow of CantoMundo and serves as a member of the organization’s planning committee. Guzmán teaches English at Fresno City College. He is vice-chairman of the Selma Arts Council and is a resident director of the Selma Arts Center. He serves as executive director of the LitHop literary festival. (2:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery; 5:00 p.m. at The Revue)


Corrinne Clegg Hales’ most recent book is, To Make it Right, winner of the Autumn House Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in many journals and anthologies, most recently Nimrod, Miramar, and Packinghouse Review.  Awards include two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Richard Snyder Memorial Publication Prize, the Devil’s Millhopper Chapbook Prize and the River Styx Poetry Prize.  She has taught poetry at Fresno State for many years. (6:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

John Hales is the author of Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West (University of Missouri Press), and his essays have appeared in the Georgia Review, Creative Nonfiction, Fourth Genre, Southern Review, Ascent, and Hudson Review.  Awards include the Missouri Review Editors Prize in Nonfiction, and a Pushcart Prize.   John has taught at Fresno State for a really long time, most recently in the M.F.A. program. (6:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

C. G. Hanzlicek was born in Owatonna, Minnesota, in 1942. He is the author of nine books of poetry: Living in It, Stars (winner of the 1977 Devins Award for Poetry), Calling the Dead, A Dozen for Leah, When There Are No Secrets, Mahler:  Poems and Etchings, Against Dreaming, The Cave: Selected and New Poems, and, most recently, The Lives of Birds. (6:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

HAUNTIE is an artist and poet whose work is centered on themes such as embodied memory, diaspora, migration histories, and Hmong-futurism. They were chosen by Evie Shockley for the 2016 Robert-Dana Anhinga Prize for Poetry, for their debut collection To Whitey & the Cracker Jack (Anhinga Press, 2017). Their work has also appeared in the Academy of American Poets. (2:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Bethany Hazen is a research scientist by training and a first-year Creative Nonfiction student in Fresno State’s M.F.A. program. Her writing interests explore the science of things, wine in particular, and follow the cascade of abstractions laid bare along the way. (2:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Nicole Henares (Aurelia Lorca) is a poet, storyteller, and high school English teacher. When she was five years old Nicole illustrated and wrote her her first book about Bigfoot- the Monterey Public Library’s lop-eared mascot.  Throughout her childhood she authored books about the empathetic fairies and elves who kicked it with the punk rockers in Carmel’s Devendorf park before they were all kicked out. In 1999 she cut her teeth in gonzo journalism as an intern and street talk reporter for The Coast Weekly. Her work has since appeared in The San Francisco Bay Guardian Newspaper, The People’s Tribune, The Acentos Review, Huizache, Luna Luna, Quailbell, Sparkle and Blink, Razorhouse Magazine, and Red Fez. Her manuscript Monterey Gothic won Honorable Mention in Leapfrog Press’s Fiction Contest. From 2004-2007 Nicole was the editor and publisher of Magenta Press, an outlaw poet’s press publishing chapbooks for Iris Berry, John Dorsey, Brian Morrissey, and Bambi Lake. In 2008 Nicole edited the Labor issue of The Monterey Poetry Review, and the 2010 issue in tribute to Ric Masten. She is interested in the immigration history of the Monterey Peninsula and how Lorca’s duende, the duende of Andalusia and flamenco, is a cross cultural spirit.  She has her B.A. in English from UC Davis, her M.F.A. in Writing and Consciousness from California Institute of Integral Studies, and is an alumna of the Voices of Our Nation Writing Workshops. (4:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Nou Her is a first year graduate student attending Fresno State, pursuing her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing focusing on the genre of fiction. Her parents came to America as refugees during the aftermath of the Vietnam War when she was one, and she has lived in the Fresno, California, since then. She is currently using writing to engage and navigate the various aspects of her Hmong culture and Hmong identity, something that she has largely left ignored and untouched due to her own feelings of disconnect and detachment. Through writing, she is hoping to create a connection and understanding of the Hmong legacy and heritage that was, and is, the foundation of her upbringing and her familial community. (2:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Nancy Hernandez received her M.F.A. in Creative writing for Poetry from Fresno State. She currently teaches composition Fresno City College and College of the Sequoias in Visalia, and spends most of her days with family, her little dog, and sewing. When she isn’t teaching or sewing, she is writing about family, food, and how these “fabrics” create her. (2:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery; 4:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Tim Z. Hernandez is an award-winning poet, novelist, and performance artist. He is the author of All They Will Call You, Manana Means Heaven, Breathing In Dust, and three collections of poems, Natural Takeover of Small Things, Culture of Flow, and Skin Tax, which won an American Book Award. He is an Assistant Professor in the University of Texas, El Paso Bilingual M.F.A. Program. (6:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Lee Herrick is author of two books, Gardening Secrets of the Dead and This Many Miles from Desire, and the forthcoming Scar and Flower (Word Poetry, 2019). His poems appear widely in literary magazines, textbooks, and anthologies, including Columbia Poetry Review, The Normal School, Visions Across the Americas, and Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, among others. He is on the Advisory Board of The Adoption Museum Project and is a Fresno Poet Laureate Emeritus. Born in Daejeon, Korea and adopted at ten months old, he lives in Fresno, California and teaches at Fresno City College and the M.F.A. Program at Sierra Nevada College. (6:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Lisa Lee Herrick is an award-winning writer, artist, community organizer, and media professional who helped produce the film, The Hmong and The Secret War, now available online at PBS.org. She is a former television executive and award-nominated news journalist, a founding member of the LitHop literary festival, the former vice president of Central California Asian Pacific Women (CCAPW), and currently serves in an advisory role for both The Better Blackstone Association and WEXL. In a past life, she was a beauty and talent judge for Miss Asia America and The San Francisco ’49ers Gold Rush, wrote for AsianWeek, and appeared very briefly in Wayne Wang’s film, The Princess of Nebraska. She is writing a family memoir about the inheritance and aftermath of trauma; a cookbook; and two graphic novels. Her writing is forthcoming from Shondaland and The Millions, and her essay, “The Abattoir,” is scheduled to premiere in The Rumpus on May 29, 2018. Her graphic narrative work will be exhibited at the Brooklyn Art Library in New York starting in June 2018. https://lisaleeherrick.com (6:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Dominique Heu is a student at University of Phoenix and wishes to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She is currently a Peer Support Specialist at Turning Point of Central California where she is able to openly share her experiences and challenges with having Bipolar Disorder. She encourages her clients to advocate for their needs and actively find support. Dominique found her passions with serving the mental health community from her own experience of attending support groups at Blue Sky, seeking therapy, and committing time for her hobbies. Self-care is her favorite pastime, as you can find her painting with vivid colors, sketching poster-size abstract paintings, reading in the park, and traveling hundreds of miles to Canada to have poutine and perogies. Dominique believes recovery is an ongoing journey, an everyday process. Dominique facilitates Well Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) training where she originally found her voice. She incorporated the key concepts of hope, personal responsibility, self-advocacy, education, and support into her everyday life. Dominique is a NAMI Ending the Silence presenter to youth, where she shares her story of mental health with acceptance of how she learned her diagnosis makes her unique and does not define her. (1:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Scott Hicks is an agricultural scientist who has lived in Fresno for almost forty years. As a poet, he has had work published in Poetry Quarterly, Three Line Poetry, Modern Haiku, Shot Glass, Liquid Imagination, and Down in the Dirt. (3:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Alysha Hoffa‘s personal essays, poems, and reviews have appeared in Phoebe, Southern Indiana Review, and Sliver of Stone, among others. She is a recent graduate of Fresno State’s M.F.A. program and is currently teaching at Clovis Community College. (5:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn; 6:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Jackie Huertaz received her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from Fresno State. She’s a member of the Chicano Writers and Artists Association CWAA. Her work has been featured in 45th Parallel, Flies, Cockroaches, and Poets, Memoir and Mixtapes, Razorhouse Magazine. Three essays are forthcoming as a feature series titled “Notes on Visalia” in Entropy Magazine. She teaches at Reedley College. She writes about family, the working class, and Mexican American identity. (6:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Courtney Hughes is a graduate of the M.F.A. program at Fresno State, Courtney Hughes has traveled far. . . to teach English at Fresno State. When taking writing time away from her main love, lesson plans, her creative work mostly looks at the relationships in her life. She’s recently started an Alumni Club for the Creative Writing graduates at Fresno State and helps run a monthly reading series, “Remix Readings.” Most times, though, you can find Courtney chasing her one-year-old daughter up the stairs or trying to keep her from being eaten by the cats. (5:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)



Mellissa Jessen-Hiser is a current student in Fresno State’s M.F.A. in creative writing program.  Since 2008, she has served as the Assistant Director of Fresno State’s Jan & Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning where she engages students in transformative service experiences.  Mellissa earned her B.A. in English from Fresno State in 2001 and her M.A. in International Human Rights from the University of Denver in 2007.  She resides in Fresno with her husband Darrin and son Samuel. (2:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)


Melanie Kachadoorian attempted to write her first book at the age of nine, but it was oddly morbid and not well-received. Since then, her work has appeared in Exposition Review, If and Only If, and Monkey Puzzle. Her essay “Merda di Scrittrice” was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, is Director of Events for Fresno Women Read, and teaches at Fresno State. (4:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Jacob Kelly is a poet from Texas with deep Fresno ties who earned his M.F.A. from Fresno State and his Ph.D. from Florida State University. He currently teaches at UC Merced and spends much of his time smoking meats and chasing his dogs around the house. (5:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Loretta Kennedy writes lies that tell the truth about families and relationships, revealing the complex territories that exist among them. She is a former Fresno State Graduate Equity Fellow and UCLA Extension Writers’ Program Fellow. She received an M.F.A. from Fresno State, teaches writing at UC Merced and is revising her first novel draft entitled, The Origin of Love. (3:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Lee Knight, Jr. is a beloved member of the Bay Area’s spoken word community, and has competed in slams throughout the world. For many years he was the coach of the Palo Alto Slam team, and currently coaches Lowell High School’s slam team with Nicole Henares whom he has known for all of her forty three years on this planet. (5:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurts and Desserts)

Dana Koster was raised in Ventura, California, and went on to earn degrees from UC Berkeley and Cornell University. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow and the recipient of a Dorothy Sargent Rosenburg Prize. Koster’s poems have appeared in EPOCH, Indiana Review, Southern Humanities Review, and other journals. Her first poetry collection, Binary Stars, was the winner of the Carolina Wren Poetry Prize and was published in 2017 by Carolina Wren Press. She lives in Modesto with her husband and two sons where she works as a wedding photographer. (4:00 p.m. at The Revue)


Ryan LaSalle and his writing has won and placed in several national screenwriting and manuscript competitions. His screenplay Kaleider was a recent quarterfinalist in the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship put on by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as a semifinalist in last year’s Screencraft competition. His novel, The Fall of Dreams, was created in a parallel process with a screenplay of the same name. The screenplay was a previous Screenwriting Expo genre winner, a Scriptapalooza finalist, and was recently named a quarterfinalist in this year’s PAGE Awards screenwriting competition. The novel was a first-round finalist in last year’s Tracking Board Launchpad manuscript competition sponsored by Ridley Scott’s company Scott Free Productions. He is a graduate of Fresno State and teaches English at Reedley College. (5:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Xai Lee is a M.F.A. Poetry student at Fresno State.  He was born in St. Paul Minnesota but has lived in Fresno for most of his life. His family came to America as Hmong refugees of the Vietnam War.  His poetry explores his family’s experience of living in Laos through the Vietnam War, and the evolution of cultural and spiritual experiences as they resettled to live in America. (5:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Christina Lynch is a New York Times bestselling novelist, television writer, and English professor. She is the author of The Italian Party, a new novel set in Siena in 1956, published by St. Martin’s Press. She is the co-author of City of Dark Magic and City of Lost Dreams, written under the pen name Magnus Flyte. She lives in Three Rivers and teaches at College of the Sequoias. (4:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)


Lena Mahmoud’s writing has been published in KNOT Magazine, Sukoon, and Fifth Wednesday, among others. Her work has also been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and shortlisted for the OWT Fiction Prize. Her first novel, The Distance Between Us, a finalist for the Louise Meriwether First Book Prize, will be published in Fall 2018 by the University Press of Kentucky. (4:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Ayran Mateo is one of many latino students in San Francisco, but one of the few that actually attend Lowell. Ayran is full of melanin, as much as joy and lust for exposing what is not just cultural and religious, but society ingrained hyper masculinity. Ayran washes his face when he wakes up and goes to sleep, not as harshly as he used to as a freshman attending a suburban elite school. He does not find basic hygiene any more gay than the color pink, and he knows how to rock his makeup on even the baddest of Mondays. (5:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurts and Desserts)

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco works as a librarian at UC Merced, and co-edits a small online poetry journal, One Sentence Poems. Her poetry has appeared in various publications, including Word Riot, Modern Haiku, The Heron’s Nest, and Gnarled Oak. Her chapbook, Various Lies, is available from Finishing Line Press. (4:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Marcella Medina is a 16-year-old Junior at Washington Union High School. She is a part of Washington Union High Poetry Club as well as Hiking Club. She enjoys going for long walks with her puppies and spending time outdoors. She likes spending time with her nephew, Quincy. In her freetime, she enjoys writing, reading, and listening to poetry. She believes poetry is an outlet that allows her mind, her heart, and soul to reach a level of peace and comfort and expression that can’t be shown through anything else. She strongly believes and write about the rights regarding racism, women, and the idea of being accepted in a unaccepting society. (4:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

S. Bryan Medina is the author of More Than Soil Less Than Sand and is Fresno County’s current Poet Laureate. He likes eating BBQ and collecting comic books. (3:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Michael Luis Medrano is the author of Born in the Cavity of Sunsets (Bilingual Press). His poems and short-fiction have appeared in The Cortland Review, North American Review, Rattle, Askew, The Packinghouse Review, and more.  He is the host of Pakatelas, an interview show on KFCF 88.1 FM, of and about poets, prose writers, y mas. You can also find Medrano’s sports related articles where he writes about the Oakland Raiders on Cover32.com and Yahoo! Sports. He is currently working on a novel, and teaches English at Fresno City College. He considers Fresno the center of the universe. (4:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Larissa M. Mercado-López received her Ph.D. in Literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio and is currently an associate professor of Women’s Studies at Fresno State. She is the co-editor of several volumes of critical essays on Latinx literature and Chicanx children’s literature and is a children’s book author. (6:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Jamie Moore is an English Professor at College of the Sequoias and the author of the novella, Our Small Faces. She is a graduate and social disrupter of Antioch University Los Angeles and a Kimbilio Fellow. She’s currently working on a novel, a preview of which was recently published in The Nervous Breakdown. (3:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Arthur Morales was born in El Paso, Texas, but found himself in Fresno when he was accepted into Fresno State M.F.A. program for Creative Nonfiction. Since then he has acted as an editor for The Normal School, a literary journal, and bookseller to the surrounding community. He has been awarded several different scholarships including the Philip Levine Scholarship in Poetry and the Andres Montoya Memorial Scholarship. He is currently working on his thesis, which is a memoir about loss, illness, monster movies and life in West Texas. (5:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Domingo Munoz is a veteran of the US Army and a student at College of the Sequoias. (4:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Dashiell Myers-Holmes is a Young Adult poet from the cultural mixing pot of the Fillmore/Lower Haight in inner San Francisco. Growing up in a one bedroom apartment in the heart of the city while going to public school he has grown up with a diverse group of friends from all backgrounds and all cultures. He plays basketball and has competed in plenty of poetry competitions throughout the years. (5:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurts and Desserts)



James O’Bannon is a second-year M.F.A. student at Fresno State with a focus in poetry. He earned his undergraduate degree in Creative Writing at Northern Kentucky University in Highland Heights, Kentucky. Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, James developed a love for poetry at an early age and set out to discover what all was possible through language and poetry. Recently James has been experimenting with voice and themes of relating to nature in his poetry, which has opened his eyes to new possibilities. James credits his success so far to his grandmother, who instilled a love of reading and language in him from a young age. (2:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Isabel Olivas is a seventeen-year-old ukulele player and songwriter. Even though she doesn’t remember most of her childhood, it was pretty great. She was raised in Ventura until six years old and then in New York until she was nine, but she currently lives in Fresno. Most people are weirded out when they hear that Isabel self-harmed from 5th-12th grade. Isabel still has scars on her wrists, thighs, ankles, and arms. But she has recently stopped, which at first seemed like an impossible task. Isabel was bullied for her scars and it was hard for her to hide them in classes like during the P.E. swimming unit. It was hard to handle but she believes that she is stronger now for it. She has no clue what she wants to do in the future, but as long as there’s some creativity involved, it should be golden. (1:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Ife-Chudeni A. Oputa is a writer and editor, and the author of Rummage, winner of the 2015 Little A Poetry Contest. She is a Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Lambda Literary fellow. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Some Call it Ballin, Gabby, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and elsewhere. She is a native of Fresno, CA. (6:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Joe Osejo is a Fresno Shutterbug and writer Joe Osejo makes his public poetry return in this year’s LitHop. (3:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)


Mary Pickett is in her third year of the M.F.A. Fiction program at Fresno State. She is the Vice President of the San Joaquin Literary Association and the Senior Associate Fiction Editor for The Normal School. When she’s not reading classic gothic literature or writing her own YA-esque supernatural novellas for her thesis, she enjoys binge-watching episodes of Ghost Adventures for “research.” (5:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Sasha Pimentel was born in the Philippines and raised in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, Sasha Pimentel is the author of For Want of Water: and other poems (Beacon Press, 2017), selected by Gregory Pardlo as a winner of the 2016 National Poetry Series, and longlisted for the 2018 PEN Open Book Award. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in The New York Times Magazine, PBS Newshour, The American Poetry Review, New England Review, Guernica, LitHub and poets.org. She’s also the author of Insides She Swallowed (West End Press, 2010), winner of the 2011 American Book Award. She’s an Associate Professor of poetry and creative nonfiction in a bilingual (Spanish-English) M.F.A. Program at the University of Texas at El Paso, on the border of Ciudad Juárez, México. (6:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Danielle Potter is a second year student in the M.F.A. Creative Writing Program at Fresno State. She’s been published in The San Joaquin Review and Meridian. Last fall she was an editor for the Philip Levine Prize for Poetry. When she’s not teaching or tutoring or writing, she’s at home gardening, spending time with family, and watching reruns of ’80s sitcoms. (2:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Courtney Lizbeth Potts (CPotts) received her B.S. in Biology from Sierra Nevada College in 2016. After threatening to switch majors for the entirety of her senior year, she finally did and is currently pursuing her M.F.A. in creative non-fiction at the low-residency program at Sierra Nevada College. She is an active volunteer at NAMI Fresno and (only 20 months since obtaining her degree) landed a job there. She answers warmline calls and is part of Ending the Silence presentations where she shares her journey with mental illness to local middle and high school students—who are not as scary as they seem. Courtney is a mental health advocate and runs a blog, Pens, Pages, & Antidepressants, to provide information and support to students with mental health conditions. Courtney is a professional worrier and lives in Madera, California with her 13-year-old dachshund, Peanut. Her favorite pastime is making loud noises to disrupt Peanut’s constant napping. That, and watching goat parkour videos, but she should really get back to her homework. (1:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Mercedes Preston is a junior at Hoover High School. She was born and raised in Fresno, but moved to the hellion state of Texas for four years before returning to California in 2016. As a child, she experienced the death of her mother at the age of eight, and the adoption of both her and her sister by two amazing people. However, her eyes are not “glistening with the ghosts of [the] past.” She had the opportunity to participate in the Hoover Poetry Slam this past January, and although she isn’t really one for performing, she is curious to see what else she can achieve as a writer. Her writing is largely based on her experiences in a variety of relationships, and she strives to find her voice within the well of her own self-doubt. She hopes her words will encourage others to find their own voice. (3:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Noah Prill is an English major at College of the Sequoias, and wants to teach high school English one day. (4:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)



Monique Quintana is a contributor at Clash Media and the Senior Beauty and Wellness editor for Luna Luna Magazine. She writes about Latinx literature at bloodmoonblog.com. (3:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.; 4:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)


Marissa Candy Raigoza grew up in Selma and currently lives and teaches in Fresno, California.  She’s a proud graduate of Fresno State and San Diego State University, where she received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in The San Joaquin Review, Flies Cockroaches and Poets, The Undercurrent, and Chachalaca Review. (6:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Martin Velasco Ramos is a former English Tutor at College of Sequoias and frequent flyer of both The Loud Mouth And Beat Down Poetry Slam this young writer looks forward to writing his best work yet. (3:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Jacques J. Rancourt is the author of Novena, winner of the Lena-Miles Wever Todd prize (Pleiades Press, February 2017), and the chapbook, In the Time of PrEP (Beloit Poetry Journal, 2018). He has held poetry fellowships from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. His poems have appeared in the Georgia Review, Kenyon Review, Missouri Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Best New Poets 2014, among others. He lives and teaches in the San Francisco Bay Area. (4:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Jaylyn Reddix is a Junior at Washington Union High School in Easton, California. She is an godmother of two. She writes and performs poetry to get her feelings out on paper. She finds that it is easier to share her thoughts with the person they are meant for when she writes it in a poem. Jaylyn says of poetry “it allows us to speak our truth and connect with our audience in important ways.” She believes that her life experiences, no matter how chaotic, do not define who she is. Jaylyn accepts people for who they are, and believes we are more powerful when we unite together. (6:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Joseph Rios is the author of Shadowboxing: Poems and Impersonations (Omnidawn, 2017). He is from Fresno’s San Joaquin Valley. He’s been a gardener, a janitor, a packinghouse supervisor, and a handyman. He is a recipient of scholarships from the Community of Writers Workshop at Squaw Valley and CantoMundo. He is a VONA alumnus and a Macondo Fellow. In 2016, his debut poetry collection was chosen by Claudia Rankine as a finalist for Omnidawn’s first book prize. He was named one of the notable Debut Poets by Poets & Writers magazine for 2017. He is a graduate of Fresno City College and the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Los Angeles. (1:00 p.m. at The Revue).

Erin Rodoni is the author of two poetry collections published in 2017: Body, in Good Light (Sixteen Rivers Press) and A Landscape for Loss (National Federation of State Poetry Societies Press). Her work has appeared in Colorado Review, Cimarron Review, Drunken Boat, and other journals. Her poems have been included in the Best New Poets anthology, featured on Verse Daily, nominated for Pushcart Prizes, and honored with the Montreal International Poetry Prize. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two young daughters. (4:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Chris Roup is the Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness Fresno (NAMI), and is just about to celebrate her four year anniversary with the organization. She came to work with NAMI from a background in the banking industry and holds an undergraduate degree in business administration. After a few major life changes, she slowly realized her own mental health challenges and the need for the work of NAMI to increase in our community. Chris actively works with our local school districts, law enforcement and criminal justice agencies and many of other mental health partners in the community. She serves on the boards for Central California Crisis Intervention Training Association, Central Valley Children’s Services Network, and NAMI California. Chris is also a certified trainer for Mental Health First Aid for both Adults and Youth and has completed the Memphis Model of Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) training. She is a mother of three and spends as much time supporting her children in their very active, fun and energy filled lives. For fun and her wellness, Chris will enjoy just about anything baseball related or being as close to the ocean as possible. (1:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Frances Adelia Rundle is a junior at Washington Union High School in Easton, California. She’s been writing poetry for several years. This is her second year on the WUHS Slam Poetry Team. She has experience as a theater performer, which has helped her when performing poetry. Frances has a wonderful way with words and craft poems that allow her audience to feel every word. She shows compassion for the topics she chooses and hopes to stir the world in a good way. (4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)


Brynn Saito is the author of two books of poetry, Power Made Us Swoon and The Palace of Contemplating Departure, finalist for the Northern California Book Award. She also co-authored, with Traci Brimhall, Bright Power, Dark Peace. She is the 2018 Visiting Writer at St. Mary’s College M.F.A. Program and an adjunct faculty member at the University of San Francisco. Along with Nikiko Masumoto, she co-directs the Yonsei Memory Project. (6:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Sallie Perez Saiz is a writer, an activist, and a nepantlera.  She received her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction and her M.A. in English Literature from Fresno State.  She is a Fellow of the National Endowment of the Humanities where she studied Mesoamerican codices in Mexico.  Excerpts from her manuscript Mi Vida de Chocolate have been published in Introduction to Mexican-American Studies and Pachuco Children Hurl Stones.  She teaches writing and English at Fresno City College. (3:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Yaccaira Salvatierra’s poems have appeared in Huizache, Diálogo, Puerto del Sol, and Rattle among others. She is a VONA alumna, the recipient of the Dorrit Sibley Award for achievement in poetry, and the 2015 winner of the Puerto del Sol Poetry Prize. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net. An educator and art instructor, she lives in San José, California with her two sons. (3:00 p.m. at The Revue; 6:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Steven Sanchez is the author of Phantom Tongue (Sundress Publications), selected by Mark Doty as the winner of the Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award. A recipient of fellowships from CantoMundo and the Lambda Literary Foundation, his poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Nimrod, Crab Creek Review, Muzzle, Glass: a journal of poetry, and other publications. (3:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Yvonne de la Cruz Sanchez has an M.A. in English & Literature from CSU, Stanislaus and is a current M.F.A. in Creative Writing student, with a focus in Fiction and Screenwriting, from Antioch University, Los Angeles. She has also had a number of her poems and short stories published in various anthologies and literary journals across the country. In addition to teaching English composition and literature courses at Modesto Junior College and working as Assistant Editor of Fiction for Lunch Ticket–the art and literary journal of Antioch University–Yvonne also enjoys singing, making her own handmade journals, acting out bedtime stories, and crocheting themed blankets for her children in what little spare time she has left. She currently resides in Turlock with her husband and two younger daughters (her oldest daughter lives in Sacramento and is a Theory/Composition major in the music program at CSU, Sacramento), and she enjoys evening cuddles with her sprightly little black terrier, Regulus Black (yes, that is a Harry Potter reference). (3:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Meredith Booey Sandrik is the supervising locksmith at Fresno State and has been in the skilled trades environment for the past nine years. She graduated in 2006 with a B.A. in philosophy and is currently working on an M.F.A. in the Fresno State Creative Writing Non-Fiction program. Meredith has lived in Fresno her entire life and takes great pride in the San Joaquin Valley and its underappreciated creativity. (2:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Jessica R. Santillan was born in Bakersfield, CA. She received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fresno State, where she worked as an assistant editor for The Normal School Magazine and was the fiction editor and arts curator for The Normal School Online. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has had her work published in The San Joaquin Review, Sirens Call, Drunk Monkeys, freeze frame fiction, Cactus Heart, and Hypertext Magazine. (2:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Sylvia Savala is a multi-disciplinary artist; she’s a visual artist, essayist, and poet.  Her art and writings have been published in the anthology, Entering the Picture, Judy Chicago, the Fresno Feminist Art Program, and the Collective Visions of Women Artists, and her nonfiction and poetry in Introduction to Mexican-American Studies and The San Joaquin Review.  She received her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction at Fresno State and teaches English at Fresno City College. (3:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Manivone Sayasone hails from the little, quiet town of Merced, Mani is a first-year student in Fresno State’s M.F.A program in Creative Writing, Fiction.  She acquired an Associates degree in Humanities at Merced Community College and a Bachelor’s in English with a minor in Art at UC Merced.  She has three short stories published in the 4th volume of the Merced River Literary Review. (4:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Liz Scheid is the author of The Shape of Blue, which won The Lit Pub‘s first annual prose contest and was published in 2013. Her essays and poems have been published in many literary magazines. She currently teaches at UC Merced and online at University of Texas, El Paso. She lives in Fresno with her husband, two kids, two dogs and one cat. (5:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Jim Schmidt busies himself with performing music, riding motorcycles and writing fiction – fiction being the most enjoyable and imaginative preoccupation he’s found so far. He was lucky enough to attend good schools and was awarded a full English scholarship to Berkeley, California, which he hastily squandered in favor of traveling all over the US and beyond. He builds flutes and saxophones from scratch and has designed his own fingering system for these instruments. He also manufactures musical instrument parts on a small scale. A jazz musician, he performs locally with friends at various venues on a regular basis. (2:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Rory Schmidt was born and raised in San Francisco. More specifically the Outer Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. He started poetry to get a girl, but found that he actually likes it. To Rory, poetry is a way to evaluate our situations and lives in a way that is not normally taken, and to come to peace with who we really are. (5:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurts and Desserts)

Liliana Serna is a senior at Washington Union High School and extremely involved in Poetry Club, Band, and Academic Decathlon. She has spent 3 of her 4 years of high school in Poetry Club and will be competing on the Slam Poetry team for the second year. Poetry has helped Lily grow as a writer and has introduced her to so many wonderful people. (6:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Denise Silva is a 17-year-old junior at Hoover High School, and from the outsiders point of view she has her life together. Before this year, Denise had never given writing much thought besides completing assignments for class. Then, this past January she competed in a poetry slam at Hoover High School and earned 1st place with her poem titled “Don’t Drop It” which expressed her disgust and discomfort regarding sexual harassment. After Denise won, she realized her words have weight and she can use them to start a war or become a watchdog for society. She wants to take this opportunity to share her writing with others, and hopes her words will inspire others to keep fighting for what they think is right. (3:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Kirk Stone grew up on the California coast near strawberry fields and the ocean. Except for a brief stint in Poland teaching English, he has lived in Fresno for the past two decades. He has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and is currently the Assistant Director of California State University, Fresno’s Writing Center, where he focuses on facilitating small writing groups. (3:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Marissa Swetnam is an 18-year-old fun and creative senior at Washington Union High School. She puts much of her passion into poetry, music, and art. She loves giving advice and being there for others by spreading positive vibes. She enjoys reading, writing, and learning new things. She writes about difficult topics to reach out to others and likes to think outside of the box. She plans to continue writing more in the future. (6:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)


Emily Tallman is a writer, mother, teacher, and makeup artist. She currently teaches at UC Merced for the Merritt Writing Program. She received her M.F.A. from Fresno State. Her written work has been published in New Millennium Writings, Pacific Review, Blood Orange Review, Gargoyle Magazine, Fictional Publications, and The San Joaquin Review. Her manuscript, Invitation to Elsewhere, was also a finalist for the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, 2009. (2:00 p.m. at Goldstein’s Mortuary & Delicatessen. Must be +21 and older to enter this venue.)

Samantha Tetangco‘s short stories, creative nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in The Sun, Gargoyle, Phoebe, Gertrude, Oklahoma Review, Stone Path Review, Vela, Tayo, and others. In 2011, she earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of New Mexico, where she also served as editor-in-chief for Blue Mesa Review. She currently teaches at the University of California, Merced, and is serving as communications officer for the AWP Conference’s LGBTQ caucus. (4:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Ying Thao is a self-identified Gay Hmong American, he feels that using creative writing as a platform his strength lies within telling the issues of the LGBTQIA Hmong Community, as well as the stories that the Fresno Hmong Community has to tell even though both subjects are at the opposite end of the spectrums in terms of political and social matters.  But hopefully through creative Non-Fiction he can unite the two subjects together as well as create dialogue and space within the writing community and Hmong community. He is one of the founding members of the Hmong American Writers Circle. His short story “The Art of Fishing” was published in How Do I Begin? A Hmong American Literary Anthology and hopes to further publish more stories in the coming future. (2:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Von Torres is a Filipino American poet and educator who teaches full-time in the English and Reading Department at Clovis Community College. His recent work focuses on writing letters to family, to community, to food, and to himself. Von received his B.A. and M.A. in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and he currently serves on the Advisory Board for Philippine American Writers and Artists (PAWA), Inc. His work can be found in TAYO Literary Magazine, VERSES TYPHOON YOLANDA: A Storm of Filipino Poets, and two chapbooks: HELLO my name is and “F” sounds. (6:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)

Victor Trejo was born in 1978 and raised in California’s Central Valley. He spent a moderately idyllic childhood growing up in Fresno, where he was exposed at an early age to music, theater, and the beauty of poetry. After winning several awards for his writing, and being voted most likely to join the circus, he left Fresno to continue his education. After receiving his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, he returned to the Central Valley. A lapsed writer, he works as a teacher and photographer of the events and people in his corner of the city. (3:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Dawn Trook teaches English composition and playwriting at UC Merced and Merced College. Trook is a writer, performance artist, actor, and director. She’s also known for her children’s character, Sweetie Pie, of Sweetie’s Yumhouse Kitchen. Her poetry has been published in San Diego Reader, Poetry Flash, Denver Quarterly, Brooklyn Review and other journals. Her plays and original performance pieces have been produced at various venues in California and far West Texas. (4:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)

Jessica Turney is in her second year of the M.F.A. program at Fresno State. She was born and raised in the Central Valley, but has lived abroad several times, as a student and as a teacher of ESL. Her poetry stems from her experiences locally and overseas, her childhood, and her discoveries of what it means to be a woman. (5:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

James Tyner was Fresno’s first Poet Laureate. James was born in Los Angeles. As a teen he came with his family to Fresno. Tyner is an Fresno State M.F.A. graduate. (3:00 p.m. at Spectrum Art Gallery)


Patricia Vazquez-Topete is the type of person usually rushing through life. She was born and raised in Tamaulipas, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 12 years old to pursue an education. Patricia attended McLane High School where she became involved with the after-school writing club led by Ms. Norton. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Philosophy from Fresno Pacific University. Patricia spent most of her high school and college years running away from the secrets of her family and her past sexual abuse. However, she has now discovered that in order to stop running, she has to slow down and rediscover her voice. She is no longer running away from her writing, but is instead learning to give herself permission to write about the things that she was taught should always be left unsaid. (3:00 p.m. at Cindy’s Frozen Yogurt and Desserts)

Brenda Venezia is the director of Fresno Women Read. She teaches at Fresno State and her work has been published in The Collagist, Puerto del Sol, Knee-Jerk Magazine, and elsewhere. (3:00 p.m. at Detention Billiards. Must be 21 and older to enter this venue.)

Vanessa Angélica Villareal was born in the Rio Grande Valley borderlands to formerly undocumented Mexican immigrants. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Buzzfeed Reader, Epiphany, Apogee, Sporklet, PBS Newshour, Poor Claudia, Waxwing, The Wanderer, DIAGRAM, The Feminist Wire, The Poetry Foundation Harriet Blog, and others. She has served as an editor for the Bettering American Poetry project and is a CantoMundo Fellow. She is the author of Beast Meridian (Noemi Press, Akrilica Series, 2017). She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, but her hometown is Houston, Texas. (3:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Angela Chaidez Vincent divides her time between writing, teaching computer science, and dance performance. She holds an M.F.A. from Fresno State, and her poetry has appeared in Bellevue Literary Review, Atlanta Review, 32 Poems, North American Review, and others. (3:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Sally Vogl, raised on a farm in Montana, moved to Fresno thirty years ago. She taught visually impaired children as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lesotho, Africa, later in South Dakota, Madera and Fresno. In 2013, Sally earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from Fresno State. She teaches poetry in the prisons and at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Her work has appeared in damselfly press, The Comstock Review, Hoot Review, Lunch Ticket, The Main Street Rag, Stone Voices, and other publications. (3:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)

Brianne Janae Vogt grew up in the Fruit Basket of the World and continues to reside in the beautiful Central Valley of California. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree and Teaching Credential from Fresno Pacific University. Brianne spent a few years teaching junior high and high school English, but found such endeavors left very few hours for anything else she loved. She then returned to Fresno Pacific University where she now works as Assistant to the Dean in the School of Education — A job that offers her those valuable spare hours she was looking for! While Brianne has written poetry since elementary school, she’s only more recently made space and time for honing her skill and sharing her words. Aside from writing poetry, Brianne enjoys filling her moments with acting in various local theatre companies, creating in multiple mediums, and spending time with loved-ones. (2:00 p.m. at Hi-Top Coffee)


Gillian Wegener is the author of a chapbook, Lifting One Foot, Lifting the Other from In the Grove Press (2001) and two full-length collections of poetry: The Opposite of Clairvoyance (2008) and This Sweet Haphazard (2017), both from Sixteen Rivers Press. A two-time recipient of the Dorothy Sargent Rosenburg Poetry Prize, Wegener is a former poet laureate of the City of Modesto, a founding member of the Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center, and a volunteer at juvenile hall where she teachers creative writing to girls in detention. She works in education and lives in Modesto with her husband and daughter. (4:00 p.m. at The Revue)

Christine Weidenbach was born and raised in Fresno. Christine studied English at Fresno State for her Bachelor’s Degree and is now pursuing an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, Fiction, focusing on the Valley and female voices.  When she isn’t writing or working, she is playing Dungeons & Dragons with her friends and being generally a really cool person. (2:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore; 4:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Tara Williams is an M.F.A. candidate in the Creative Writing program at Fresno State. Her short story “World Cry” recently appeared in the inaugural issue of Apparition Literary Magazine. Her interview of author Beth Nguyen ran in the online edition of Fresno State’s lauded literary journal, The Normal School. In previous authorial incarnations, Tara published three nonfiction books and numerous feature articles on alternative healing modalities and also placed second for the Diane Thomas screenwriting award through the UCLA Extension Writers Program. (2:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore; 4:00 p.m. at Brass Unicorn)

Jackie Williams received her M.F.A. in Creative Nonfiction from Fresno State. She has taught creative writing, literature, composition, and Web writing across the Central Valley and joined the faculty at Fresno City College in 2017. Her essays and flash pieces have appeared in publications by Jaded Ibis Press, Connotations Press, and Fiction Brigade. She writes about the joys and trials of womanhood, motherhood, and marriage in a blended, multiracial family. (4:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. at Hart’s Haven Used Bookstore)



Andre Yang is a founding member of the Hmong American Writers’ Circle (HAWC), where he actively conducts and participates in public writing workshops, and has coedited How Do I Begin: A Hmong American Literary Anthology (Heyday). He received his M.F.A. degree from Fresno State, and is a Kundiman Fellow. He has attended to the Tin House Summer Writers Workshop, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, and was a recipient of a UCross Foundation residency. His poetry has appeared in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Hyphen Magazine, and Kweli among other journals, as well as the anthology Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice (University of Arizona Press). (2:00 p.m. at The Revue)



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