Southern California Poetry Festival
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Kaveh Akbar is the founding editor of Divedapper. His poems appear in The New Yorker, Poetry, APR, Ploughshares, PBS NewsHour, and elsewhere. His debut full-length collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, will be published by Alice James Books in September 2017; he is also the author of the chapbook Portrait of the Alcoholic. A recipient of the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, Kaveh was born in Tehran, Iran, and is a Visiting Professor of Poetry in the Purdue University MFA program.

Samantha Alsina recently graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz where she received her BA in Literature, concentrating in poetry. Her most recent work can be found in Rise Up Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Matchbox Magazine. She intends to pursue her MFA in the upcoming year.

bridgette bianca is a professor and poet from South Central Los Angeles. Her poetry serves as witness to moments most forget or ignore. Her poems do not look away, no matter how much it hurts.

Michelle Bitting's first collection, Good Friday Kiss (2008, C&R Press) was chosen by Thomas Lux as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award. Her second collection, Notes to the Beloved (2012, SPC Press) won the Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award and received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. A third collection, The Couple Who Fell to Earth (2016, C&R Press) also received another glowing and starred review from Kirkus. She has won the Beyond Baroque Foundation, Virginia Brendemuehl, and Glimmer Train poetry contests and been a finalist for the Poets & Writers Magazine California Exchange, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, the Julia Peterkin, among others.

John Brantingham's work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac and The Best Small Fictions 2016. He has seven books of poetry and fiction and is currently working on a collection of flash fiction pieces with Grant Hier that covers the entire history of California. He teaches poetry and fiction at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park and Mt. San Antonio College.

Rocío Carlos was born and raised in the South/East areas of Los Angeles. Rocío has been reading her work all over L.A. since 1993. In 2003 she was chosen as a recipient of PEN USA’s Emerging Voices/Rosenthal fellowship. She is a graduate of the Creative Writing MFA program at Otis of College of Art and Design and continues to live and teach in Los Angeles.

Kathline Carr is a writer and visual artist, and she is the author of Miraculum Monstrum (forthcoming from Red Hen Press, 2017), winner of the 2015 Clarissa Dalloway Book Prize. Carr’s writing and art have appeared in Alexandria Quarterly, Calyx, Connecticut Review, Hawaii Review, Earth’s Daughters, and elsewhere; she has exhibited in the Berkshires, New York City, Boston, Toronto, and at artSTRAND Gallery in Provincetown. Carr received her BFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, VT and holds an MFA in Visual Arts from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. She lives in North Adams, Massachusetts with her husband and sometimes-collaborator, figurative painter Jim Peters, and her youngest daughter, Mercedes.

Victoria Chang's fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press this fall.  The Boss (McSweeney's) won the PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle. Her poems have appeared in many places such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, New Republic, The Nation, and Best American Poetry. She has published a picture book, Is Mommy? (Simon & Schuster), illustrated by Marla Frazee, which was named a New York Times Notable Book. She was also awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017. She teaches at Chapman University and Orange County School of the Arts. You can find her here:

Micah Chatterton writes, edits, teaches and tends library at various locations in the Inland Empire, where he grew up. His first book, Go to the Living, was published by Inlandia in the spring of 2017, and he is also featured in Best New Poets 2013, The Cancer Poetry Project 2 and The Burden of Light: Poems on Illness and Loss. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including B O D Y, Sixfold, Ruminate, Tupelo Quarterly, LETTERS, and Slice. More at

Jeanette Clough’s poetry collection, Flourish, was a finalist in the Otis College of Art and Design and Eastern Washington University book competitions. Awards include Pushcart nominations and a Commendation in the Aesthetica Creative Works competition (UK). She has edited for Solo, A Journal of Poetry, and reviewed for Poetry International. Journal credits include Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, The Laurel Review, and Levure Litteraire. A native of Paterson, N.J., she earned an M.A. from the University of Chicago. Clough co-directed the Los Angeles Barnes & Noble and Rose Café poetry series, and was artist-in-residence at Joshua Tree National Park.

Brendan Constantine's work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, FIELD, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly, and Ninth Letter, among other journals. His most recent collection is Dementia, My Darling (2016 Red Hen Press). He has received grants and commissions from the Getty Museum, James Irvine Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently teaches poetry at the Windward School and regularly offers classes to hospitals, foster homes, veterans, and the elderly.

Barbara Crooker is the author of eight books of poetry, including Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017) and The Book of Kells (Cascade Books, 2019). Radiance, her first book, won the 2005 Word Press First Book Award and was finalist for the 2006 Paterson Poetry Prize; Line Dance, her second book, won the 2009 Paterson Award for Excellence in Literature. Her writing has received a number of awards, including the 2004 WB Yeats Society of New York Award, the 2003 Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Award, and three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Creative Writing Fellowships. Garrison Keillor has read her poems on The Writer’s Almanac, and she has read her poetry all over the country, including The Calvin Festival of Faith and Writing, The Austin International Poetry Festival, Poetry at Round top, The Geraldine R.Dodge Poetry Festival, Glory Days: A Bruce Springsteen Symposium, and the Library of Congress.

​Born in Virginia, Bill Cushing lived in several states as well as the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico before moving to California. Earning an MFA in writing from Goddard College in Vermont, he now teaches at East Los Angeles and Mt. San Antonio colleges and lives in Glendale with this wife and their son. Bill was honored as one of the “Top Ten L. A. Poets of 2017” and has been published in Another Chicago Magazine, Brownstone Review, GloMag, Mayo Review, Metaphor, Newtown Literary Journal, Sediments, and West Trade Review.
His chapbook, Notes and Letters, is an outgrowth of a collaboration of the same name he formed with an area musician. Their work is featured on both Facebook and youtube.

​Nicelle Davis is a California poet, collaborator, and performance artist who walks the desert with her son J.J. in search of owl pellets and rattlesnake skins. Her poetry collections include The Walled Wife (Red Hen Press, 2016), In the Circus of You (Rose Metal Press, 2015), Becoming Judas (Red Hen Press, 2013), and Circe (Lowbrow Press, 2011). Her poetry film collaborations with Cheryl Gross have been shown across the world. She has taught poetry at Youth for Positive Change, an organization that promotes success for youth in secondary schools, MHA, Volunteers of America in their Homeless Youth Center, and with Red Hen’s WITS program. She is the creator of The Poetry Circus and collaborator on the Nevermore Poetry Festival. She currently teaches at Paraclete High School.​

Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). She is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Rattle, Slipstream, Hobart, Cleaver, Public Pool, H_NGM_N, The MacGuffin, and elsewhere. Her photographs are published worldwide. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, where she also publishes a monthly photo essay, “The Poet’s Eye,” about her on-going love affair with Los Angeles.

Amy Gerstler is a writer of poetry, nonfiction and journalism. Scattered at Sea, a book of her poems, published by Penguin in June, 2015, was longlisted for the National Book Award, shortlisted for the Kingsley Tufts Award, and was a finalist in poetry for the PEN USA literary award. Her book Dearest Creature (Penguin 2009) was named a New York Times Book Review Notable Book, and was short listed for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Poetry. Her previous twelve books include Ghost Girl, Medicine, Crown of Weeds, which won a California Book Award, Nerve Storm, and Bitter Angel, which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. She was the 2010 guest editor of the yearly anthology Best American Poetry. She has taught writing and/or visual art at the California Institute of the Arts, Cal Tech, Art Center College of Design, the University of Utah, Pitzer College, and elsewhere. She currently teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the University of California at Irvine.

A native of Gainesville, Florida, Natalie Graham earned her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Florida and completed her Ph.D. in American Studies at Michigan State University as a University Distinguished Fellow. Her poems have appeared in Callaloo, New England Review, Valley Voices: A Literary Review, and Southern Humanities Review; and her articles have appeared in The Journal of Popular Culture and Transition. She is a Cave Canem fellow and associate professor of African American Studies at California State University, Fullerton. Begin with a Failed Body, her first full-length collection of poems, won the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from University of Georgia Press, September 2017.

torrin a. greathouse is a genderqueer, schizophrenic, cripple-punk from Southern California. They are the Editor and Co-Founder of Black Napkin Press. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in Assaracus, Crab Fat Magazine, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Polychrome Ink, Rabbit Catastrophe Review, Calamus Journal, Emerge Literary Journal, & The Feminist Wire. torrin’s work was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Rust + Moth. When they are not writing or editing poetry, they are trying to survive in america long enough to earn a degree. 

David Hernandez's most recent collection of poetry is Dear, Sincerely (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). His other books include Hoodwinked (Sarabande Books, 2011), winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, Always Danger (SIU Press, 2006), winner of the Crab Orchard Series, and A House Waiting for Music (Tupelo Press, 2003). David has been awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes. His poems have appeared in Field, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Southern Review, and The Best American Poetry. He is also the author of two YA novels, No More Us for You and Suckerpunch, both published by HarperCollins. David teaches creative writing at California State University, Long Beach and is married to writer Lisa Glatt.

Mark Hausmann earned his MA in English from Chapman University, where he is a graduate instructor. He is now completing his MFA in Creative Writing. He won the John Fowles Center for Creative Writing Award for Poetry last spring. He writes both fiction and poetry. His poetry has been published twice in Chapman’s literary journal, Calliope. He has lived virtually his whole life in Southern California.

​Armine Iknadossian fled Beirut, Lebanon for Pasadena, California with her family in 1978 to escape the civil war. She earned her MFA in Poetry from Antioch University, Los Angeles during which time her mentor Richard Garcia nominated Armine for a writing fellowship at Summer Poetry in Idyllwild. In 2015, Armine retired from teaching in order to support the literary arts and focus on her two manuscripts god(l)ess: The L Is Silent and Resident Alien. She is currently one of the bookstore managers at Beyond Baroque Bookstore aka The Scott Wannberg Poetry Lounge where you can purchase her newly released chapbook United States of Love & Other Poems. She looks forward to serving as a Writer in the Schools (WITS) for Red Hen Press this fall.

Elijah Imlay’s first book of poems, Monsoon Blues, was published in 2011. Recently, he completed the libretto for the first opera based upon the American War in Vietnam. He is collaborating with composer, Bevan Manson. He has conducted writing workshops for veterans of war through Poets & Writers, Inc. and PEN Center USA. He is the recipient of three Artist Fellowship Awards from the City of Ventura, California, has won honorable mentions for the 2006 Ruskin Art Club/Red Hen Press Award, the 2004 Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize, and the 2002 Ann Stanford Poetry Prize. As a social worker, he gives professional workshops on the treatment of anxiety and trauma. Imlay teaches web courses on meditation for the Institute of Applied Meditation and guides individual and group retreats. He lives in Ventura, California. 

Mark Irwin is the author of nine collections of poetry, which include A Passion According to Green (2017), American Urn: Selected Poems (1987-2014), Large White House Speaking (2013), Tall If (2008), Bright Hunger (2004), White City (2000), Quick, Now, Always (1996), and Against the Meanwhile: Three Elegies (1988). His collection of essays, Monster: Distortion, Abstraction, and Originality in Contemporary American Poetry, is forthcoming in 2017. His poetry and essays have appeared in many literary magazines including American Poetry Review, Agni Review, the Atlantic Monthly, Georgia Review, the Kenyon Review, Paris Review, Poetry magazine, the Nation, New England Reviewthe New Republic, and the Southern Review. He is an associate professor in the PhD in Creative Writing & Literature Program at the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles and Colorado.

Marcus James attended El Rancho High School and now attends the University of California, Santa Barbara, majoring in film and media studies. At El Rancho High School, he served as captain of her high school’s Academic Decathlon team, and copy editor and reporter for the school’s newspaper, El Rodeo. His work has been published the Los Angeles Times, and he is an active advocate for the LGBT community.

Gabriel Jesiolowski is a queer, feminist counterdisciplinary writer, artist, curator & designer. They work in a research-based practice using installation, interventionist strategies, painting, performance, printed matter, & text to scuffle within the spaces of art, social processes & healing. They are the 2015 winner of the Benjamin Saltman award, chosen by Carl Phillips. Their debut collection of poetry, As Burning Leaves, was released by Red Hen Press in April 2017. They were a spring 2016 writer-in-residence at the Alice Gallery in Seattle, and a Fall 2016 writing fellow at the MacDowell Colony. They collaborate with the NYC based design laboratory + architecture firm, Atelier DNA and are currently at work on developing programming for a queer residency + community resource center.

Rachel McLeod Kaminer is a writer, editor, and educator. Her book As in the dark, descend was published by Writ Large Press in 2016. Excerpts from her documentary collaboration with Rocío Carlos, Attendance, are available at Cultural Weekly. She is also a co-founder of Wirecutter Collective. Rachel grew up in the Appalachian Mountains; she lives and works in Los Angeles.

Judy Kronenfeld is the author of four full-length collections of poetry: Bird Flying through the Banquet (FutureCycle Press, 2017), Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012), Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Award, now available in a second edition (Antrim House Books, 2012), and Shadow of Wings (Bellflower, 1991). She has also published two chapbooks, Disappeared Down Dark Wells and Still Falling (Inevitable Press, 2000), and Ghost Nurseries (Finishing Line, 2005). She has taught English literature at the University of California, Irvine, the University of California, Riverside, and Purdue University. After her midlife turn back to her childhood love of writing poetry, Judy began to teach in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside, where she is now Lecturer Emerita, having retired after 25 years. She now serves as an Associate Editor of the online journal, Poemeleon.

Danusha Laméris’s work has been published, or is forthcoming in: The Best American Poetry, The New York Times, The American Poetry Review, The Gettysburg Review, Tin House, and New Ohio Review, as well as in a variety of other journals and anthologies. Her first book, The Moons of August (2014), was chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye as the winner of the Autumn House Press poetry prize. She lives in Santa Cruz, California and teaches private writing workshops.

TK Lê is an LA-based introvert and disorganized organizer. Her writing is often focused on her family, war trauma, and memory. She has two chapbooks, A Roof & Some Refuge and The Labor of Longing, and her latest project is a story about a Vietnamese grandma who gets stuck in a teleportation device. She turns to cats, crafting, and Steven Universe for therapy.

Julayne Lee is a 1.X generation adopted Asian-American. She is a Community Literature Initiative Scholar and was accepted to Las Dos Brujas Writers’ Workshop. She has been published by the Los Angeles’ Department of Cultural Affairs, Cultural Weekly and Korean Quarterly. A co-founder and steering committee member of Adoptee Solidarity Korea - Los Angeles (ASK-LA), she has spoken on adoption at symposiums and universities in Korea and the U.S. Julayne has a B.S. in Mathematics Education, an M.A.Ed. and is a Sr. Data Analyst. Her first collection of poetry Not My White Savior will be published spring 2018.

Alex Luu is a spoken word poet and animator, having performed at college campuses and venues all over the U.S., from the Kennedy Center in DC to the Grammy Museum in LA. He's been featured on Write About Now, All Def Poetry, Get Lit Now, the Huffington Post, and other media platforms. He is also the winner of Kollaboration Los Angeles 2017. Much of his work tackles issues such as mental health, sexuality, social justice, and self-love. He hopes to be an inspiration for other Asian creatives; an exclamation that yellow kids can have a voice and take up space too.

Teddy Macker is the author of the collection of poetry, This World (White Cloud Press, 2015; foreword by Brother David Steindl-Rast). His work appears in the Antioch Review, Columbia, New Letters, Orion, Resurgence (UK), The Sun, various anthologies, and elsewhere. Among his honors is the Reginald S. Tickner Creative Writing Fellowship of the Gilman School in Baltimore. A lecturer in creative writing at UC Santa Barbara, he lives with his wife and daughters on a small farm in the foothills of Carpinteria, California.

Tamara Madison has just retired from several decades of teaching English and French in a high school in Los Angeles. A native Californian, she grew up on a citrus farm in the Coachella Valley. She is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers, and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and, recently, Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Some of the online and print journals in which her work has appeared include Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, and the Writer’s Almanac.

Douglas Manuel was born in Anderson, Indiana. He received a BA in Creative Writing from Arizona State University and a MFA from Butler University where he was the Managing Editor of Booth a Journal. He is currently a Middleton and Dornsife Fellow at the University of Southern California where he is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. He was a recipient of the Chris McCarthy Scholarship for the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference and has been the Poetry Editor for Gold Line Press as well as was one of the Managing Editors of Ricochet Editions. His poems are featured on Poetry Foundation's website and have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Superstition Review, Rhino, North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, New Orleans Review, Crab Creek Review, Many Mountains Moving, Figure 1, and elsewhere. His first full length collection of poems, Testify, was released by Red Hen Press in the spring of 2017.

Clint Margrave is the author of Salute the Wreckage (2016) and The Early Death of Men (2012), both published by NYQ Books. His work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, as well as in New York Quarterly, Rattle, Cimarron Review, Verse Daily, Word Riot, and Ambit (UK), among others. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Michael Mark is a hospice volunteer and author of two books of stories, Toba and At the Hands of a Thief (Atheneum). His poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly Review, American Journal Poetry, Bellevue Literary Review, Cimarron Review, Cutthroat Journal, Poet Lore, Pleiades, Potomac Review, Rattle, Sugar House, Spillway, and The Sun. His poetry has been nominated for three Pushcart Prizes.

Lee Anne McIlroy was a Senior English Language Fellow in Tanzania for The US Department of State and Georgetown University’s Center For International Education and Development. She was also an English Language Specialist for The US Department of State and has worked with The Peace Corps in East Africa. She holds a BA in Linguistics from UCLA and a Master’s Degree in Linguistics from California State University, Long Beach. The author of A Degree of Commitment and co-editor of Around The World In One Semester, McIlroy is also a contributing writer for The Laguna Beach Independent, and her poems have been published by Arroyo Seco PressWorld Parade Books and Silver Birch Press. She is currently an Associate Professor of English as a Second Language at Cerritos College in East Los Angeles.

Poet, activist, playwright and essayist Rachel McKibbens is a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and author of the critically acclaimed volume of poetry, Pink Elephant (Cypher Books, 2009.)  McKibbens is a nine-time National Poetry Slam team member, has appeared on eight NPS final stages, coached the New York louderARTS poetry slam team to three consecutive final stage appearances, is the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion and the 2011 National Underground Poetry Slam individual champion. For four years McKibbens taught poetry through the Healing Arts Program at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and continues to teach poetry and creative writing and give lectures across the country as an advocate for mental health awareness, gender-equality and victims of violence and domestic abuse. Her new volume of poetry, Blud, is being released by Copper Canyon in October, 2017.

David Miller was born a few months after the Summer of Love and he is occasionally sad about that. Since then, he has grown up and learned Latin and English and teaches both subjects at King/Drew Medical Magnet High School. He has also recently earned his M.A. in English/Creative Writing from Loyola Marymount University. His poems have been published in Rise Up Review, Rattle, Crack The Spine, and other journals. He loves the hum and anger of political poetry, but works best when his little white cat is not sitting on his keyboard.

When told to calm down, Sarah Elizabeth Miller becomes a mouthy saloon girl. The rest of the time she's a fairly nice lady. She has an MFA in Fiction from CSU, Long Beach where she spent a few years indulging her desire to write pretty sentences she enjoys reading aloud. Her biggest claim to fame use to be making the list of the top 25 in Glimmer Train's December 2008 Fiction Open, but in 2016, Arroyo Seco Press was kind enough to publish her very first chapbook, Transitory Myth. Her poetry has also been published in Tears in the Fence, Bank-Heavy Press, Bender, SheilaNa-Gig, and Rip Rap--at least two of these are now defunct, and she hopes she had nothing to do with that.

Robbi Nester is a poet and writer who has published three books of poetry: a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012) and two collections, A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014) and Other-Wise (Kelsay Books, 2017). She has also edited two anthologies, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It (Nine Toes, 2014) and an ekphrastic e-anthology, Over the Moon: Birds, Beasts, and Trees--celebrating the photographs of Beth Moon (accessible at She holds a BA and MA from Hollins University and an MFA and PhD from University of California, Irvine.

A longtime resident of Los Angeles, Martin Ott is the author of seven books of poetry and fiction, including Underdays, Sandeen Prize Winner, University of Notre Dame Press (2015) and Spectrum, C&R Press (2016). His work has appeared in 15 anthologies and more than 200 magazines, including The Harvard Review, The North American Review, and Prairie Schooner.

Shannon Phillips earned her MFA in Creative Writing from CSU, Long Beach. She won second place in Beyond Baroque’s First Annual Poetry Contest with her poem, “Plum.” Her second chapbook, Body Parts, is forthcoming from dancing girl press, Fall 2017. After teaching English as a Second Language for 3 years, she decided to study Arabic and is currently pursuing her goal of working as a translator. She is also the founding editor of Carnival, an online poetry magazine. 

Luivette Resto, a mother, teacher, poet, and Wonder Woman fanatic, was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico, but proudly raised in the Bronx. Her two books of poetry Unfinished Portrait and Ascension have been published by Tía Chucha Press. She is a CantoMundo fellow. Some of her latest work can be read in Entropy Magazine, Coiled Serpent, Pilgrimage Magazine, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, and an Afro-Latino poetry anthology titled ¡Manteca!. Currently, she lives in the Los Angeles area with her three children.

Verónica Reyes is a Chicana feminist jota poet from East Los Angeles. Reyes has won AWP’s Intro-Journal Project, an Astraea Lesbian Foundation Emerging Artist award, and a Finalist for Andrés Montoya Poetry award. She has received grants and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ragdale Foundation, and Montalvo Arts Center. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Feminist Studies, ZYZZYZVA, The New York Quarterly, Ms. Magazine (Online), and The Minnesota Review. Her first poetry book, Chopper! Chopper! Poetry from Bordered Lives (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press 2013), has won Best Poetry from International Latino Book Awards 2014, Best Poetry from Golden Crown Literary Society Awards 2014, the Goldie award, and Finalist for Lesbian Poetry from Lambda Literary Awards 2014.

Kevin Ridgeway lives and writes in Long Beach, CA. A two-time Pushcart Prize Nominee, recent work has appeared in Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Trailer Park Quarterly, Big Hammer, San Pedro River Review, Lummox, Spillway and Cultural Weekly, among many others. He is the author of six chapbooks of poetry, including All the Rage (Electric Windmill Press), On the Burning Shore (Arroyo Seco Press) and Contents Under Pressure (Crisis Chronicles Press).

Beth Ruscio, daughter of actors, comes from a large working class family of artists, writers, actors and vaudevillians. She’s a poet with published work in California Journal of Poetics, Tupelo Quarterly, The Malpais Review, In Posse Review, Spillway, Cultural Weekly and the anthologies Beyond The Lyric Moment, Poet’s Calendar, and Conducting a Life: Maria Irene Fornes. She is also an accomplished award-winning actress and a one-time playwright. Poetry honors include Honorable Mention for the Two Sylvias Prize, finalist for the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize, the Tupelo Quarterly Prize, Ruth Stone Poetry Prize, River Styx International Poetry Contest and the 2nd place winner of the Beyond Baroque Poetry Prize. 

Amy Newlove Schroeder's collection of poems, The Sleep Hotel, received the Field Prize and was published by Oberlin College Press. Her poems and prose have appeared in Arts and Letters, Boston Review, Los Angeles Magazine, and Los Angeles Review of Books. She teaches writing and ethics in the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC.

Maggie Smith is the author of Good Bones (Tupelo Press, October 2017); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (Tupelo Press, 2015), winner of the Dorset Prize; Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award; and three prizewinning chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, the Paris Review, The Best American Poetry 2017, AGNI, Ploughshares, and many other journals and anthologies. Smith is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. In 2016 her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and was called the “Official Poem of 2016” by Public Radio International. 

David Allen Sullivan’s books include: Strong-Armed AngelsEvery Seed of the Pomegranate, a book of translation from the Arabic of Iraqi Adnan Al-Sayegh, Bombs Have Not Breakfasted Yet, and Black Ice. Most recently, he won the Mary Ballard Chapbook poetry prize for Take Wing. He teaches at Cabrillo College, where he edits the Porter Gulch Review with his students, and lives in Santa Cruz with his family.

Jennifer K. Sweeney is the author of three poetry collections: Little Spells,(New Issues Press); How to Live on Bread and Music, (Perugia Press); and Salt Memory. The recipient of the James Laughlin Award, a Pushcart Prize, and a Hedgebrook residency, her essays have been featured in Vela and The Washington Post, and poems have recently appeared in The Adroit Journal, The Awl, Crab Creek Review, Passages North, Rust+MothStirring, Tinderbox, and Thrush. She lives in California’s Inland Empire where she teaches privately and at the University of Redlands.

Vanessa Tahay is an 18 year old poet recently featured at the front page of the Los Angeles Times. She has been featured on The Huffington Post and Teen Vogue. Vanessa is an advocate for immigrants rights, and she is a proud Latina. She hopes to teach you about her culture.

Inez Tan is a poet and fiction writer based in Irvine, CA and Singapore. She graduated from Williams College in 2012 with an honors degree in English. Currently, she is pursuing an MFA in poetry at the University of California, Irvine. She holds an MFA in fiction from the University of Michigan Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where she was awarded a Zell Fellowship for 2015. Her work has appeared in Rattle, Psychopomp, dusie, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and the anthology A Luxury We Must Afford from Math Paper Press. Her current interests include the intersection of Composition and Creative Writing pedagogy, food writing, roleplaying games, and Magic: the Gathering.

Winner of the Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize in 2016 and the Tuscon Literary Award (Poetry) in 2017, poet Lynne Thompson is the author of Start With a Small Guitar and Beg No Pardon, winner of the Perugia Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in Ecotone, Prairie Schooner, African American Review, Crab Creek Review, Salamander and, Poetry, among others. Thompson received a of a Master Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles in 2015 and is the Reviews and Essays Editor of the literary journal, Spillway.

Lynn Ungar is the author of the poetry collection Bread and Other Miracles, and has been included in a variety of anthologies, including most recently Poetry of Presence:An Anthology of Mindfulness Poems. Parker Palmer writes of her poems: "they take subtle, complex and elusive experiences and make them accessible without diminishing the mystery." Lynn is a Unitarian Universalist minister, and lives on the east side of the San Francisco Bay with her two Australian Shepherds. Visit her online at 

Evan Williams is a Los Angeles-based poet and second-year graduate student at California State University, Long Beach, where she is earning her M.F.A. in Poetry. She currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of RipRap, CSULB's graduate literary journal. A lifelong writer and Southern Californian, she worked in the reality TV industry after finishing her undergraduate degree but returned to her alma mater last year to pursue her master's. Dark humor is especially prominent in her work as a means of wading through difficult experiences. Her poetry is often autobiographical in nature and explores such themes as family, identity, and trauma. To submit to RipRap, visit:

The author of Carnival (not a cult media), Alyesha Wise is a Poet, Teaching Artist & TEDx Speaker from Camden, N.J. Alyesha currently resides in Los Angeles, CA and is the Los Angeles Youth Slam Team Co-coach and Hollywood Adult Slam Team Head Coach. A 2014 Hollywood Grand Slam Champion, she is also a 4-time member of the Hollywood Slam Team & a 2-time Women of the World Poetry Slam Finalist. Alyesha has been featured on different platforms and publications such as Huffington Post, Bustle, Afropunk, WHYY, POPSUGAR, Buzzfeed and more. Some recent highlights include - an artistic collaboration with Codeblack Films and a feature in the Google Interstellar Project, in conjunction with the hit film Interstellar. Co-founder of Essence Magazine, Russell Goings, wrote to Alyesha, “In all, you are awesome.” 

Terry Ann Wright’s debut chapbook Nature Studies was published by Sadie Girl Press in 2015; the title poem was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, her third nomination. Her poetry has appeared most recently in SuccorThe Rise Up Review, The Harpoon Review, Chiron Review, and Angel City Review, and in the anthologies Gutters & Alleyways: Perspectives on Poverty and Struggle; The Language I Was Broken In; and Like a Girl: Perspectives on Feminine Identity, among others. She is a teacher and an editor.

Brenda Yates is from nowhere. After growing up on Air Force bases here and overseas, she settled in California. Her poems have appeared in Mississippi Review, Cider Press Review, Spillway, So Luminous The Wildflowers: An Anthology of California Poets, Don’t Blame the Ugly Mug: Ten Years of Two Idiots Peddling Poetry, City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry (University of Iowa Press) and is upcoming in Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume VI: Tennessee (Texas Review Press). She is a Pushcart Prize nominee (thanks, Cider Press Review!), recipient of the Patricia Bibby Memorial Prize at Idyllwild Arts, and winner of the Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center Poetry Contest. Her book, Bodily Knowledge, was published by Tebot Bach in 2015.