Kudos to Fresno Writers — Spring 2022

Kudos to #FresnoWriters is an ongoing series on the Fresno State MFA blog, celebrating the professional accomplishments of students, alumni, and faculty in Fresno State’s Creative Writing Program and the Department of English. This compilation includes news between January 2022 and May 2022.

If you’re an alumni of the English Department and you have a special announcement, a new job, a professional or creative success, or an inspiring story that you’d like to share, please submit this short “Keep in Touch” form.

Compiled by Jefferson Beavers
5/20/22

J.J. Anselmi (alumni) — Announced the publication of his third nonfiction book, “Out Here on Our Own: An Oral History of an American Boom Town,” forthcoming in fall 2022 on the Bison Books imprint of the University of Nebraska Press.

Rodolfo Avelar (alumni) — Published the poems “xtravaganza cenotaph,” “what i know so far,” and “jotxland” in About Place Journal.

Jamie Barker (MA student, alumni) — Accepted a new job teaching writing at Pleasant Valley Prison as part of West Hills College’s Rising Scholars program, which allows inmates to earn their associate’s degrees while incarcerated.

Rosie Bates (MFA student) — Named winner of the graduate Fresno Creative Nonfiction Prize for the essay “Fear,” as selected by author Charles L. Radke. Published the essay “Just for Context” in Alpinist magazine.

Venita Blackburn (faculty) — Her book “How To Wrestle a Girl” was named finalist in lesbian fiction for a Lambda Literary Award.

Sara Borjas (alumni) — Published the poem “Todos los hombres que cuido de algún modo” in the Spanish language journal Periódico de Poesía. Interviewed for the Get Lit Minute podcast.

David Borofka (retired faculty) — Celebrated the release of his latest book, the story collection “A Longing for Impossible Things,” published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Audra Burwell (BA student) — Published the poems “Lavender Dreams” in Deep Overstock; “Wrath of a Druidess” in Superpresent magazine; and “Heat Wavering” in Carcinogenic Poetry. Interviewed for the DO Fiction podcast.

Mialise Carney (MFA student) — Named winner of the graduate Fresno Fiction Prize for the story “The Rage Room,” as selected by author David Borofka. Published the story “I Haunt This House Like a Ghost” in Barren Magazine.

Marcus Chinn (alumni) — Under the pen name ślimak vr0k, published the poems “Pinocchio” and “Monica’s Erogenous Zones” in Voice from the Void magazine.

Steven Church (faculty) — Interviewed for the Fresno’s Best Podcast.

Anthony Cody (alumni) — Won a Whiting Award from the New York-based Whiting Foundation, which comes with a $50,000 prize. Featured in the Erin Vanderhoof article “10 Up-and-Coming Writers Who Don’t Shy Away From the Current Moment” in Vanity Fair. Interviewed for the Poetry Centered podcast for the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Published a translation of the Juan Felipe Herrera poem “Exile Boulevard” in Poetry magazine. Published the poem “El Arpa, a Mexican Lynching, No. 53” in the Paris Review. Exhibited the visual poems “The Rendering, as Neoapocalyptices” and “PoemMural Assemblage” at The Ramp Gallery inside SOMArts Cultural Center in San Francisco.

Rebecca Colbert (BA student) — Presented the paper “Rooting out White Supremacy in the Canon Through Multi-ethnic Theory” at the College of Arts and Humanities honors symposium. Her mentor was Dr. Melanie Hernandez.

Gabi Cruz-Brittsan (MFA student) — Featured in the story “English graduates embrace risk, improvisation, creativity” on Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities blog.

Alea Droker (BA student) — Presented the paper “Rejoicing in Each Others Arms: Finding Community in Jewish and Hindu Love Poems” at the College of Arts and Humanities honors symposium. Her mentor was Dr. Steve Adisasmito-Smith.

Brian Dunlap (alumni) — Published the poems “Dear White America” and “Hope” in the Vagabond Books anthology “Reimagine America.” Reviewed the traci kato-kiriyama book “Navigating With(out) Instruments” for the Compulsive Reader.

Lillian Faderman (emeriti faculty) — Celebrated the release of her latest nonfiction book, “Woman: The American History of An Idea,” published by Yale University Press. The book was reviewed by Alexandra Jacobs in The New York Times.

Kathy Fagan (alumni) — Published the poems “To My Hands On Their Birthday” and “Smart Watch” in the journal Couplet Poetry.

Alexander Flores (MA student) — Featured in the story “English graduates embrace risk, improvisation, creativity” on Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities blog.

Angela Flores (alumni) — Performed the poem “An Ode to Hands” for the Salamander Ink poetry reading podcast series.

Will Freeney (MFA student) — Named finalist for the annual Art Song Festival’s poetry competition with the poem “Cloak (from Colorado).”

Aaliyah Green (alumni) — Celebrated the release of her debut story collection, “The Bones Stay,” published by Passengers Press.

Hermelinda Hernandez Monjaras (MFA student) — Named winner of the graduate Ernesto Trejo Poetry Prize for the poem “The Bleeding Love of a Water-Ghost,” as selected by author E.C. Belli; and honorable mention for the graduate Fresno Creative Nonfiction Prize for the essay “x,” as selected by author Charles L. Radke. Published the poems “everything limes” in the Santa Ana River Review; “untitled” in the Ascentos Review; and the poems “Lingua Franca” and “Language” in Zone 3 journal.

Sydney Allison Hinton (MFA student) — Published the essay “The Immaculate Illusion” in Under the Sun magazine.

Soreath Hok (alumni) — Accepted a new job as a reporter for Valley Public Radio. Won two Edward R. Murrow Awards from the RTDNA, one in hard news reporting and one in investigative reporting. Received a 2022 California Fellowship from USC Annenberg’s Center for Health Journalism.

Kimberly Horg (alumni) — Selected by Flying Ketchup Press for inclusion in their CNote list, honoring contemporary fiction writers.

Jackie Huertaz (alumni) — Published the essay “How Samantha Jones from Sex and the City was used to slut shame me” in The Daily Drunk magazine.

Randa Jarrar (faculty) — Interviewed by author Roxane Gay for the podcast The Roxane Gay Agenda. In conversation with author Mychal Denzel Smith for Lit Hub’s Open Form podcast.

Arielle K. Jones (alumni) — Accepted into the Tin House summer workshop in Oregon, and will study with author Patrick Cottrell. Selected as a coach for the Write By Night writers’ service.

Phoua Lee (BA student) — Named winner of the undergraduate Larry Levis Poetry Prize for the poem “Scavenger Hunt Where We See Our Ghosts and Run Toward Them,” as selected by author E.C. Belli; winner of the undergraduate Mireyda Barraza Martinez Prize for Social Justice Writing for the poem “Dark Landing Signals,” as selected by author Marisol Baca; and winner of the Soul Vang Prize for Poetry for the poem “in which orpheus is a confused hmong daughter,” as selected by author May Yang.

Yia Lee (alumni, faculty) — Interviewed author K-Ming Chang for The Normal School magazine.

Austin LeMay (alumni) — Interviewed by Adam Devine on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, after going viral in a TikTok dance video and receiving praise from Snoop Dogg.

Janette Lopez Villalobos (BA student) — Named the English Department’s 2022 B.A. Student of Distinction.

Kirk Alvaro Lua (alumni) — Interviewed authors Dustin Prestridge, Kimiko Hahn, and Marisol Baca for The Normal School magazine.

Suzanne Lummis (alumni) — Published the poems “I’m driving to Fresno (and I don’t care who knows it),” “Noir Confession, with Evasions,” and “Noir Stanzas: Pieces of advice after viewing” in Air/Light magazine. Published a commissioned poem in the Stephen White photography anthology “A Country Called California,” from Angel City Press.

Lena Mahmoud (alumni) — Published the story “The Beguiling Ghoul” in the journal Miracle Monocle.

Alison Mandaville (faculty) — Reviewed the Gulbahar Haitiwaji and Rozenn Morgat nonfiction book “How I Survived a Chinese ‘Reeducation’ Camp: A Uyghur Woman’s Story,” and the Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura nonfiction book “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration” for World Literature Today. Published the poem “Sana’a: Girl and Soldiers in Spring” in Grub Street Literary Magazine. Wrote the preface and served as co-editor and English translator for the “Anthology of Young Azeri Poets” from Vakxikon Publications.

Sharon K. McClain (BA student) — Named honorable mention for the undergraduate Fresno Creative Nonfiction Prize for the essay “Teresa,” as selected by author Charles L. Radke.

Melinda Medeiros (MFA student) — Interviewed author Ira Sukrungruang for The Normal School magazine.

Sarah Fawn Montgomery (alumni) — Announced the publication of her fifth book, the essay collection “Halfway from Home,” forthcoming in fall 2022 from Split/Lip Press. Received an Outstanding Faculty Award from Bridgewater State University. Published the essays “Giving Up” in Under the Sun magazine, and “Constellate” in the journal Pidgeonholes. Published the poems “Infestation” in Birdfeast Magazine, and “Wetlands” in the Indianapolis Review.

James T. Morrison (BA student) — Named winner of the undergraduate Fresno Creative Nonfiction Prize for the essay “Five East,” as selected by author Charles L. Radke. Featured in the story “English graduates embrace risk, improvisation, creativity” on Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities blog.

Esmeralda Nava (BA student) — Featured in the story “English graduates embrace risk, improvisation, creativity” on Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities blog.

Lindsay Norton (BA student) — Presented the paper “Platforming Indigenous Voices in the Environmental Humanities: A Theoretical Approach to the Euro-American Settler-Colonialist Objectification of Indigeneity and the Environment” at the College of Arts and Humanities honors symposium. Her mentors were Dr. Samina Najmi and Dr. Ruth Jenkins.

Janet Nichols Lynch (alumni) — Published her 14th book, the biography “Florence Price: American Composer” on the Dragonfeather Books imprint of Bedazzled Ink Publishing.

James O’Bannon (alumni) — Published the poem “On Days I Wish for My Grandfather’s Brain” in the journal Cotton Xenomorph.

David Oliveira (alumni) — Interviewed by Millicent Accardi for the Portuguese American Journal.

Delaney R. Whitebird Olmo (MFA student) — Named winner of the graduate Mireyda Barraza Martinez Prize for Social Justice Writing for the poem “A basket reaches inward,” as selected by author Marisol Baca. 

Liliana Perez Rodriguez (alumni) — Received an Excellence in Teaching by a First-Year Graduate Teaching Assistant Award from the Ohio State University.

Seth Phillips (BA student) — Presented the paper “An Analysis of Dystopia and the Other” at the College of Arts and Humanities honors symposium. His mentor was Dr. J. Ashley Foster.

Shelby Pinkham (MFA student) — Published the poems “Secobarbital; or the poem formerly known as reds” in The Ana journal; and “the Healthy insanity” in Neon Door.

Feroz Rather (alumni) — Accepted a new job as an assistant teaching professor at Simmons University in Massachusetts, teaching creative writing and literature.

Jacob Reina (BA student) — Published the poem “No Mary in Hkashuri” in Rougarou: Journal of Arts and Literature.

Brian Rojas (MFA student) — Won the annual Art Song Festival’s poetry competition with the poem “Ascend to Heaven to hear these songs and collect your flowers where on Earth.”

Monique Quintana (alumni) — Awarded a summer artist residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska. Published the stories “Boy Clouds of Xquic,” “I Forget You,” and “Saturns” in Roi Fainéant Press. Published the essays “Bad Keanu in Paula Abdul’s 1991 Rush Rush Video,” “MTV Daria’s Trent (My Dark Valentine),” and “Armand Affect” in The Daily Drunk magazine; “Fernando” in The Daily Drunk magazine’s Golden Girls issue, “Stay Golden”; and “Patches” in the magazine Versification. Her previously published essay “dark lord of the rainbow” was reviewed by Reneé Bibby in Wildness journal.

Iris D. Ruiz (alumni) — Published the article “Desconocimiento: A Process of Epistemological Unknowing through Rhetorical Nepantla” in the anthology “Writing Across Difference: Theory and Intervention” from University Press of Colorado.

Emily Saeteurn (credential student) — Featured in the story “English graduates embrace risk, improvisation, creativity” on Fresno State’s College of Arts and Humanities blog.

Brynn Saito (faculty) — Published an essay on the works of Adrienne Rich, “First Loves, Remembered,” for the Poetry Society of America. Published the poems “What exists outside the frame” on the Denshō blog, The Catalyst; and “Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Teacher Resource” in The Volta.

Bradley Samore (MFA student) — Accepted into the Master of Social Work program at UT Arlington. Attended the Palm Beach Poetry Festival as a Thomas Lux Scholar. Published the poems “Let the Wind Have Ashes” in the Star 82 Review; and “Mirror-Spectrum Glance, Many-Colored Gleam” in Ekstasis magazine.

Steven Sanchez (alumni) — Published the poem “Elegy for Your Southern Twang” in the journal Fourteen Poems.

Emily Jo Scalzo (alumni) — Published a haiku and a senryu for the website Better Than Starbucks.

Tom Sepulveda (alumni) — Published the poems “The Seeds We Plant” in Foglifter journal; and “Every day a gift” in Kissing Dynamite.

Navdeep Singh Dhillon (alumni) — Celebrated the release of his debut novel, “Sunny G’s Series of Rash Decisions,” published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Curated an official playlist for the book and compiled a list of “5 fun things you can do to improve your life” for Penguin Teen. Interviewed about the book for the The Chills At Will literary podcast; by Steve Dunk for We Need Diverse Books; by Pooja Makhijani for Publishers Weekly; and by Courtney Collins for the KERA podcast Think. The book was included on Book Riot’s list of “33 must-read South Asian books in 2022” and Good Housekeeping’s list of “15 best teen romance books that perfectly capture teenage love.” The book was reviewed by Rita Shah for The Rita Reads, and by Sam Key for the Pine Reads Review. Published the essay “Cosplaying with my kids helped me learn who I am as a parent” in Parenting Magazine.

Mary Sosa (MA student) — Named the English Department’s 2022 M.A. Student of Distinction.

Gary Soto (alumni) — His poem “Oranges” was adapted into a short film by filmmaker Johnny Soto.

Hector Tapía III (alumni, faculty) — Accepted into a summer residency with Aesop scholar Dr. Laura Gibbs on a “proverb recipes” project, with the goal to create a proverbs book for Latin, Spanish, and English learners, where students are taught how to read and write proverbs in each respective language.

Laura Thor (BA student) — Presented the paper “Transgenerational Trauma in the Hmong Narrative: Kao Kalia Yang’s ‘The Late Homecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir’” at the College of Arts and Humanities honors symposium. Her mentor was Dr. William Arcé.

Brian Turner (alumni) — Served as guest poetry curator for February 2022 for Zócalo Public Square. Interviewed by Edward Clifford for the Massachusetts Review; and for the One True Sentence podcast.

Burlee Vang (alumni) — With filmmaker brother Abel Vang, released their third feature film, the horror movie “They Live in the Grey,” on the AMC+ streaming service Shudder. Interviewed about the film for the A.Frame blog of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; by Yutaka Tamanaha for The Horror Hour videocast; and by Darren Paltrowitz for The Hype Magazine. The film was reviewed by Leslie Felperin for The Guardian; by Meagan Navarro for Bloody Disgusting; by Karina Adelgaard for Heaven of Horror; by Dave Pierdomenico for Halloween Year-Round; by John Edward Betancourt for Nerds That Geek; and for Culture Crypt.

Mai Der Vang (faculty) — For her book “Yellow Rain,” was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; finalist for the California Book Award from the Commonwealth Club; and finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry from PEN America. News coverage of the Pulitzer recognition included stories from Valley Public Radio, ABC30, and The Fresno Bee. Interviewed about the book by Sydney Van To for the Diasporic Vietnamese Artists Network. Published the poem “Disfigures” in the Adroit Journal. Won a 2022 Promising New Faculty Award from Fresno State’s provost, Dr. Xuanning Fu.

Carolina Vasquez Mata (MFA student) — Named the English Department’s 2022 MFA Student of Distinction.

Emily Weissenborn (BA student) — Named winner of the undergraduate Fresno Fiction Prize for the story “Pizza Party in the Pit of the Pathetic,” as selected by author David Borofka.

Lisa Weston (faculty) — Published the article “‘Wyrd’ Poetics: Collapsing Timescapes and Untimely Desires in ‘The Ruin’” in the open access journal Humanities, a special issue on Old English poetry and its legacy. Presented the paper “Seeing in Dark Time: Old English Uht and the Embodied Ecology of Visionary Experience” at the annual conference of the Medieval Association of the Pacific.

Erik Wilbur (alumni) — Published the poems “This Mojave” in Poet Lore magazine; and “Living With Jason Voorhees” and “The Poem My Grandfather Wrote” in the Southern Review.

Steve Yarbrough (emeriti faculty) — Celebrated the release of his latest novel, “Stay Gone Days,” published by Ig Publishing.

Did we miss your accomplishment? Submit this short “Keep in Touch” form or contact staff Jefferson Beavers by email or at 559.278.1569.

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