Stephanie Brown has authored two collections, Domestic Interior (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 2008) and Allegory of the Supermarket (Univ. of Georgia Press, 1999). Her poems have appeared in six editions of the annual anthology, The Best American Poetry (Scribner's), and her poetry and essays have been anthologized in Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present (Scribner's, 2003), The Grand Permission: New Writing about Motherhood and Poetics (Wesleyan Univ. Press, 2003), and others. She was awarded the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Poetry at the Breadloaf Writers' Conference in 2009.
David St. John is a prominent national poet, scholar, and mentor to many SoCal poets. He has been honored with many of the most significant poetry prizes, including the Rome fellowship and the Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. He has authored ten collections including The Window (Arctos Press, 2014) and The Auroras: New Poems (Harper, 2012). With Cole Swenson, he co-edited American Hybrid: A Norton Anthology of New Poetry (W.W. Norton, 2009). In 2014, he became Chair of the USC English Dept.
Marsha de la O's new collection, Antidote for Night. winner of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, will be published by BOA Editions in 2015. Her first collection, Black Hope, won the New Issues Press Poetry Prize and Small Press Editor's Choice Award. Her work is included in the anthologies Intimate Nature (Ballantine Books, 1998) and Beyond the Valley (Sacred Beverage Press, 1998). She and Phil Taggart co-founded and edit the Askew Poetry Journal. They also founded the annual Ventura Erotic Poetry reading, a popular SoCal literary event.
The poetry of Nikola Madzirov has been translated into over 30 languages.  A native of Macedonia, he won the Hubert Burda Prize for young East European poets for his collection Relocated Stone (2007), and has received several international awards and fellowships, including the International Writing Program (IWP) at the University of Iowa (2008) and Literarisches Tandem in Berlin (2009). A selection of his poetry, Remnants of Another Age, was published by BOA Editions in 2011 with a foreword by Carolyn Forché. He is one of the coordinators of the world poetry network Lyrikline.
B.H. Fairchild is one of SoCal's most nationally recognized poets. His poetry explores working class lives in the small towns in Texas and Kansas where  he grew up. His collections include The Blue Buick: New and Selected Poems (W.W. Norton, 2014),  Usher: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2009), Local Knowledge (W.W. Norton, 2005), Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest (W.W. Norton, 2003), and The Art of the Lathe (Univ. of Maine, 1998). Fairchild received the William Carlos Williams Award, the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, the Aiken Taylor Award, the Arthur Rense Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among many other honors.
Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-born poet, writer, editor, and literary translator, now living in LA. Her work has been lauded by Billy Collins, Alicia Ostriker, and Chris Abani, among others. She has authored three poetry collections, Keeping Time With Blue Hyacinths (Univ. of Arkansas, 2013), Rooftops of Tehran (Red Hen Press, 2008), and The Scar Saloon  (Red Hen Press, 2004).  Her translation of iconic Iranian poet Forugh Farrokhzad's selected work, Sin (Univ. of Arkansas Press), won the Lois Roth Persian Translation Award in 2010. Her anthologies include The Forbidden: Poems from Iran and Its Exiles (Michigan State Univ. Press, 2012).
Douglas Kearney -- dynamic on stage, innovative on the page -- describes his evolution in both areas and discusses his hallmark "performative typography." Kearney's poetry collections include Patter (2014), The Black Automaton (2009), chosen for the National Poetry Series, and Fear, Some (2006).Named a Notable New American Poet by the Poetry Society of America, his other honors include a Whiting Writers' Award and commissions for new work from Minneapolis's Weisman Art Museum and New York's Studio Museum. Kearney, who is also an opera librettist, teaches at CalArts.
Laurel Ann Bogen's  poetry career was launched in the late 1960s when she won an Academy of American Poets' award as a freshman at USC.  Today, she is the author of 10 books of poetry; her work has appeared in over 100 journals and collections; and, since 1990, she has taught poetry and performance for the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, receiving the Outstanding Instructor of the Year award in 2008. Known for her dramatic performance style, she has appeared at many A-list art and literary venues across the country. However, as she tells host Mariano Zaro in this interview, there were tough challenges along the way.
Wanda Coleman (1946-2013) was  called the "unofficial poet laureate of L.A." with a literary career that spanned over 30 years. Her numerous volumes of poetry and fiction include Jazz & Twelve O'clock Tales (Godine/Black Sparrow Books, 2008) and The World Falls Apart (Pitt Poetry Series, 2011). In this interview from May, 2013, she discusses her life and work with Mariano Zaro.
Ellyn Maybe has authored several poetry collections and performed her work at venues across the U.S. and Europe, including poetry slams and readings in Munich, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Stuttgart. She opened the MTV Spoken Word Tour in LA and often performs with the The Ellyn Maybe Band which recently released the CD Rodeo for the Sheepish and performed at the Glastonbury Music Festival. Writer's Digest named her one of ten poets to watch in the new millennium.
William Archila was born in El Salvador, in 1968, and migrated to the U.S. with his family  to escape the civil war. His first poetry collection, "The Art of Exile" (Bilingual Press, 2009), reflecting on that experience, won the Emerging Writer Fellowship Award from the Writer's Center. His work has appeared in numerous journals. He discusses with Mariano Zaro the evolution of his work and his writing process.
Timothy Green is the author of American Fractal (Red Hen Press, 2008) and editor of the poetry journal RATTLE. His poems have appeared in many journals, including The Connecticut Review, Fugue, Mid-American Review, and Nimrod International Journal. In this Poetry.LA interview, he discusses his work, creative process, the current role of poetry, and other topics.
Willis Barnstone, prolific poet, translator, scholar, and memoirist  has authored, edited, or contributed to countless volumes over six decades. In this conversation with Mariano Zaro, he talks about his development as a poet and the work of some  poets he has translated and admires.
Holly Prado's (1938-2019) books include, "From One to the Next" (2008),"These Mirrors Prove It" (2006) and "Esperanza: Poems for Orpheus" (1998) from Cahuenga Press. Her work has appeared in a hundred publications and a dozen anthologies, both national and international. She discusses her life and process as a poet with Mariano Zaro as part of the Poetry.LA interview series.
Tony Barnstone's several collections of poetry include "Tongue of War" (BkMk Press, 2009) winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry, selected by B.H. Fairchild, "The Golem of Los Angeles" (Red Hen Press, 2007), winner of the Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award."
Brendan Constantine, author of "Calamity Joe" (Red Hen Press, 2012), "Birthday Girl with Possum" (Write Bloody Publishing, 2011), and "Letters to Guns" (Red Hen Press, 2009), discusses his work with Mariano Zaro.
Suzanne Lummis, LA poet icon, poetry educator/instigator, and co-founder of the L.A. Poetry Festival, discusses her work, poetry craft, and the L.A. poetry monde (as she prefers to call it).
Charles Harper Webb, a veteran LA poet with a national following, has authored numerous collections, most recently, Brain Camp (Pitt Poetry Series, 2015). Other titles include What Things Are Made Of, Shadow Ball, Liver, Hot Popsicles, and Amplified Dogs. His work has appeared in the Best American Poetry, Pushcart Prize, and Poets of the New Century anthologies. In this interview, Webb, a professor of English at CSU-Long Beach, who has also had careers as a psychotherapist and rock musician, discusses his writing and shares observations about contemporary American poetry and the Los Angeles poetry scene.
"I go for that place where the intellect and the imagination meet," says Gail Wronsky who has been praised by David St. John as being "among the most distinguished poets of her generation." She has authored ten books of poetry, prose, and translations, including So Quick Bright Things (What Books), Poems for Infidels (Red Hen Press), and Dying for Beauty (Copper Canyon Press). Her poems and essays have appeared in anthologies and many journals, including Poetry, Colorado Review, Antioch Review, Boston Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Wronsky teaches creative writing at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Two-time national poetry slam champion, Javon Johnson, PhD., combines lyricism, comedy, and occasional rap rhymes with an incisive cultural critique. The Los Angeles Times observed, "It's hard not to have a good time while watching him have a good time on stage." His Button Poetry video, 'cuz he's black, went viral with over 1.5-million YouTube views. He has appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam and co-wrote the Showtime documentary Crossover. A native of South Central LA, he is a perennial audience favorite at Da Poetry Lounge, LA's mega spoken-word venue attended by hundreds each week. Johnson teaches Communication Studies at San Francisco State University.
Amy Uyematsu's deft blending of the personal, political, and spiritual has given the Asian-American experience one of its most consistently eloquent voices and earned her poetry a national reputation. A third generation Japanese-Californian, Uyematsu was an activist in the 1960's-70's Yellow Power Movement and co-editor of the seminal anthology Roots: An Asian American Reader (1971). Since a Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize launched her career in 1992, she has authored four collections of poetry, most recently The Yellow Door (Red Hen Press, 2015) and her work has been included in several anthologies including Wide Awake - Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Beyond Baroque Books, 2015).
The poems of Ben Trigg -- generous shots of often cheerfully bleak whimsy served on the rocks -- can be found in his full-length collection, Kindness from a Dark God (Moon Tide Press, 2007), and several anthologies. Most Wednesday nights, the poet himself can be found co-hosting the legendary reading series, Two Idiots Peddling Poetry, at The Ugly Mug Caffé in Orange, now in its fifteenth year. In 2011, Trigg and co-host Steve Ramirez edited the anthology Don't Blame the Ugly Mug: 10 Years of 2 Idiots Peddling Poetry, containing the work of over 150 poets who have appeared in the series. Trigg, one of the organizers of the Orange County Poetry Festival, has been published in anthologies including Blue Arc West (Tebot Bach, 2007) and So Luminous the Wildflowers (Tebot Bach, 2003). He has performed in many parts of the U.S.
Alicia Partnoy, university student and poet during Argentina's "dirty war" of the 1970s, was one of thousands of "disappeared" sent to detention camps by the military dictatorship. During three years of imprisonment, she was tortured and many of her friends were killed. Expelled from Argentina in 1979, she came to the United States as a political refugee. Her first book, The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival (Cleis Press, 1986) is her "tribute to a generation of Argentines lost in an attempt to bring social change and justice." Her poetry collections include Flowering Fires (Settlement House, 2015), Little Low Flying (Red Hen Press, 2005) and Revenge of the Apple (Cleis Press,  1992). Partnoy edited the anthology You Can't Drown the Fire: Latin American Women Writing in Exile (Cleis Press, 1988). She currently teaches Spanish and literature at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
Larry Colker (1947-2018) wrote poems that are wistfully wrapped packages of unexpected images, dead-on metaphors, and everyday mysteries. His most recent collection is Amnesia and Wings (Tebot Bach, 2013). An active member of the L.A. poetry world, he is well known as co-host, with Jim Doane, of the legendary Redondo Poets Tuesday night reading series at Coffee Cartel in Redondo Beach. Winner of the 2006 California Writers Exchange poetry contest sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc., his work has appeared in many print and online journals, as well as California poetry anthologies. His chapbooks include Girl with Tattooed Heart, Boy Standing (2008), What the Lizard Knows: New and Selected Poems (2003), and At the Curb, Car Waiting, Boy Standing (1997). In 2006, he and poet/artist/photographer Danielle Grilli published a joint chapbook, Hunger Crossing.
Luis J. Rodriguez, L.A. Poet Laureate since 2014, is a renowned figure in Chicano literature. As a young man in East L.A., he renounced his street gang involvement and drug use to become a political activist, journalist, and poet. His memoir of that early life, Always Running (Curbstone Press, 1993; Open Road Media, 2012) is a perennial bestseller about which the N.Y. Times said "Here's a truth no television set, burning night and day, could ever begin to offer." As founding editor of Tia Chucha Press, Rodriguez has published poets such Terrance Hayes, Elizabeth Alexander, and Patricia Smith, who have since gained national recognition. In 2001, with family members and other poets, Rodriguez founded Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural in Sylmar, a not-for-profit cultural arts center and bookstore whose programs have served thousands of children, teens, adults, and seniors. Winner of numerous poetry honors, Rodriguez continues to maintain an active political voice, running as Green Party Candidate for California Governor in 2014.
Poet Interviews
LA-based poet and publisher Chiwan Choi, whose latest collection is The Yellow House (Civil Coping Mechanisms, 2017), was born in Seoul, Korea. His family immigrated to Paraguay, then to the US when he was five. He is a cofounder of Writ Large Press, which organizes literary and cultural gatherings, most recently producing "90 for 90"-- 90 events at different venues across the LA area over 90 consecutive days. His work engages themes of community, racism, exile, and family, which he discusses in this Poetry.LA interview hosted by Mariano Zaro. Choi's other collections include The Flood (Tia Chucha Press, 2010) and Abductions (Writ Large Press, 2012). His columns have appeared in Cultural Weekly. Choi earned an MFA at New York University.
Ramón García has authored two poetry collections, The Chronicles (Red Hen Press, 2015), a finalist for the Latino International Book Award for Best Poetry Book in English in 2016, and Other Countries (What Books Press, 2010), and a monograph on photographer and mixed-media artist Ricardo Valverde (Univ. of Minnesota Press, 2013). His poems, fiction, and scholarly work have appeared in a variety of journals, anthologies and museum catalogs, including The Best American Poetry, The Floating Borderlands: Twenty-Five Years of US-Hispanic Literature, The American Journal of Poetry, Los Angeles Review, and Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas.  He has contributed to projects of various visual artists, including Berta Jottar, Harry Gamboa Jr., Susan Silton, David John Attyah, and Sandra de la Loza. Born in Colima, Mexico, García grew up in Modesto, California.  He has a B.A. in World Literature from the Univ. of California Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. in Literature from the Univ. of San Diego. He is a Professor at California State Univ., Northridge, and lives in Downtown L.A..
Some poets contribute to the poetry community by hosting a reading series or founding a small literary press or website, or by curating literary events, or running workshops, or editing anthologies, or supporting emerging poets. Now meet Southern California poet Sarah Thursday who has done all those things in a span of five years while working a full-time teaching job and producing her own full-length collection, All the Tiny Anchors, (Sadie Girl Press, 2014) and three chapbooks. While her poetry advocacy has been most strongly felt in the Long Beach poetry scene, she reads and participates in events throughout the region.
Lynne Thompson is the author of Start with a Small Guitar (What Books Press, 2013) and Beg No Pardon (Perugia Press, 2007) winner of a Perugia Press First Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award. She also received a 2015 Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A.). Her poems have appeared in many journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, Salamander, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, African American Review, Crab Creek Review, Poetry International and several anthologies including, most recently, Nasty Women Poets: An Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017). A former practicing attorney, Thompson lives in Los Angeles and is the reviews and essays editor for the literary journal, Spillway.
Jack Grapes is an award-winning poet, playwright, actor and teacher. In 1989, he founded the internationally noted literary journal, ONTHEBUS. His book, Method Writing (Bombshelter Press), is in its 11th edition. He has authored over a dozen collections including The Naked Eye: New and Selected Poems, 1987-2012. In 2017, he published Wide Road to the Edge of the World - 301 Haiku and One Long Essay. He has won numerous publishing grants and Fellowships from the NEA and nine Artist-in- Residence grants from the California Arts Council to teach writing in schools throughout LA. He has taught over 2000 poets and writers through UCLA's Extension program and private classes.
Marci Vogel authored Death and Other Holidays (Melville House, 2018), winner of the Miami Book Fair/de Groot Prize, and At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody (Howling Bird Press, 2015) winner of the Howling Bird Press Poetry Prize. Her poetry, prose, translations, and cross-genre inventions have appeared in Jacket2, FIELD, VIDA, Plume, and many other publications. She has received a Willis Barnstone Translation Prize, a Hillary Gravendyk Memorial Scholarship from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and residencies at CAMAC Art Center in Marnay, France. She earned her PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Southern California, where she is a Postdoctoral Scholar Teaching Fellow in the Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences.
Eric Morago reads from his work and discusses his life as a poet, small press publisher and teacher. He is the author of two collections, Feasting on Sky (Paper Plane Pilot Publishing, 2016) and What We Ache For (Moon Tide Press, 2010). In 2017, he became editor-in-chief and publisher of Moon Tide Press, founded in 2006 by poet Michael Miller. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Eric has an MFA in Creative Writing from Cal State Long Beach. He hosts a monthly reading series at Half-Off Books in Fullerton and teaches writing workshops in the LA area.
Aleida Rodríguez is a bilingual poet, essayist, and translator, active since the 1970s. Her collection, Garden of Exile (1999), was chosen by Marilyn Hacker to receive the Kathryn A. Morton Poetry Prize from Sarabande Books and went on to win the PEN Center USA Literary Award. It was the only book of poetry included in the San Francisco Chronicle's Best Books list in 2000. Rodríguez was the first woman (as well as Latina and lesbian) to found and publish a literary magazine and press in Los Angeles: rara avis/Books of a Feather. Her work has appeared in many anthologies and journals and she has received numerous awards and fellowships, most recently a 2018-19 City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A.) Fellowship in Literature. She has taught writing in universities, colleges, high schools, elementary schools, community centers, and the AIDS Unit of a women's prison.
David Starkey has authored eight poetry collections including Like a Soprano (Serving House Books, 2014), Circus Maximus (Biblioasis, 2013), A Few Things You Should Know about the Weasel (Biblioasis, 2010), and Adventures of the Minor Poet (Artamo Press, 2007). His popular textbook, Creative Writing: Four Genres in Brief (Bedford/St. Martin's, 2016) is in its third edition. He has had over 400 poems published in literary journals and is the publisher and co-editor, with Chryss Yost, of Gunpowder Press, a Santa Barbara-based small press specializing in poetry. He was Santa Barbara Poet Laureate in 2009-2011 and directs the creative writing program at Santa Barbara City College.
Judith Pacht is the author of two collections, Infirmary for a Private Soul (Tebot Bach, 2019) and Summer Hunger (Tebot Bach, 2010), winner of the 2011 PEN Southwest Book Award for Poetry. She has published four chapbooks, the most recent being A Cumulus Fiction (Finishing Line Press, 2019).  She was the first-place winner of the Georgia Poetry Society's Edgar Bowers competition and earned honorable mentions in 2007 in both the Frost Award and Robinson Jeffers Tor House Prize competitions. A three-time Pushcart nominee, her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Runes, Cider Press Review and Foreign Literature (Russia), among other journals, and in numerous anthologies. Based in Los Angeles, Pacht has taught political poetry at the Denver annual LitFest and at UCLA Extension.
Lynne Thompson is the author of Start with a Small Guitar (What Books Press, 2013) and Beg No Pardon (Perugia Press, 2007) winner of a Perugia Press First Book Award and the Great Lakes Colleges New Writers Award. She also received a 2015 Artist Fellowship from the City of Los Angeles (C.O.L.A.). Her poems have appeared in many journals including Poetry, Ploughshares, Salamander, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, African American Review, Crab Creek Review, Poetry International and several anthologies including, most recently, Nasty Women Poets: An Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, 2017). A former practicing attorney, Thompson lives in Los Angeles and is the reviews and essays editor for the literary journal, Spillway.
Sesshu Foster is a poet, novelist, teacher, and community activist who grew up in East L.A. He has authored the collections City of the Future (Kaya Press, 2018), World Ball Notebook (City Lights Publishers, 2009), winner of an American Book Award and an Asian American Literary Award for Poetry, American Loneliness: Selected Poems (Beyond Baroque, 2006), and City Terrace Field Manual (Kaya Press, 1996). He is the author of the novels ELADATL: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines (City Lights Publishers, 2020) and Atomik Aztex (City Lights Publishers, 2005), winner of the Believer Book Award. His work is in The Oxford Anthology of Modern American Poetry (2000). He co-edited the anthology Invocation L.A.: Urban Multicultural Poetry (1989). He earned his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has taught in East L.A., at the Univ. of Iowa, at CalArts, at Naropa Univ. Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, at Pomona Univ., and at the Univ. of California, Santa Cruz.
Shonda Buchanan, a poet, memoirist, journalist, and educator whose work is strongly informed by her African American, American Indian, and European tri-raciality and tri-ethnic heritage, has two poetry collections, Equipoise: Poems from Goddess Country (San Francisco Bay Press, 2017) and Who's Afraid of Black Indians? (Poetica Publishing, 2012), nominated for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the Library of Virginia Book Awards. She edited Voices of Leimert Park: a poetry anthology (Tsehai Publishers, 2006) and Voices from Leimert Park Redux (Harriet Tubman Press, 2018). Her memoir, Black Indian was published by Wayne State Univ. Press in 2019. As a cultural and literary arts ambassador and lecturer, Buchanan has conducted workshops and presentations for the U.S. Government Accountability Organization, the U.S. Embassy of Kuala Lumpur, and the Athens (Greece) Institute for Education and Research. Her poetry and essays have been featured in numerous anthologies.
Tanya (Hyonhye) Ko Hong, a bilingual Korean-American poet and translator, is the author of four poetry collections: The War Still Within: Poems of the Korean Diaspora (KYSO Flash Press, 2019), written primarily in English; Mother to Myself (Prunsasang Press, 2015) in Korean; Yellow Flowers on a Rainy Day (Oma Books of the Pacific, 2003) in English; and Generation One Point Five (Esprit Books, 1993) in Korean with English translations. Weaving together two cultures, her poetry gives voice to multiple generations of Korean and Korean-American women. Her poems have been translated into Korean, Japanese, Bosnian and Albanian. Her collection, The War Still Within, includes poems based on the experiences of the Korean "comfort women" who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Army during World War II. It received the Yun Doon-ju Korean-American Literature Award. Tanya has organized dozens of multicultural literary events in Southern California, and has been a columnist for the Korea Daily since 1998.
Karen Kevorkian has authored three poetry collections: Quivira (Three: A Taos Press, 2020), Lizard Dream (What Books Press, 2009) and White Stucco Black Wing (Red Hen Press, 2004). Her poetry and fiction have appeared in numerous journals, including Antioch Review, Fiction International, 5 Fingers Review, Hambone, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Mississippi Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, Rio Grande Review, River City, Shenandoah, and VOLT. A native of San Antonio, Texas, Kevorkian has lived in Los Angeles since 2008 where she teaches in the English Department at UCLA. Prior to that, she taught in the creative writing program at the University of Virginia.
Samantha Tetangco is a Filipino-American poet, writer and teacher. Her poems, short stories, and creative nonfiction have appeared and/or are forthcoming in dozens of literary magazines, most notably The Sun, Tri-Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, Zone 3, Gertrude, and Cimarron Review. She is the former editor-in-chief for Blue Mesa Review, was president of the Association of Writers and Writing Program's LGBTQ Writer's Caucus, and has been an artist-in-residence in The Studios at MassMOCA. She has an MFA from the University of New Mexico and is currently the Associate Director of Writing at the University of California Merced.
Matthew Cuban Hernandez is a poet, three-time Southern Fried poetry slam champion, and author of the collection, 3032 (Not A Cult, 2020). He has toured widely in the U.S. and internationally, performing and teaching, including at youth detention centers across L.A. County. He coached an award-winning Get Lit youth slam team that performed at the Obama White House and the Hollywood Bowl. He has opened for artists such as Wu-Tang and performed on various platforms including BuzzFeed and NPR. In 2020, he released two hip hop albums on Spotify, "Ivanna" and "Ivanna II."
Matthew Cuban Hernandez is a poet, three-time Southern Fried poetry slam champion, and author of the collection, 3032 (Not A Cult, 2020). He has toured widely in the U.S. and internationally, performing and teaching, including at youth detention centers across L.A. County. He coached an award-winning Get Lit youth slam team that performed at the Obama White House and the Hollywood Bowl. He has opened for artists such as Wu-Tang and performed on various platforms including BuzzFeed and NPR. In 2020, he released two hip hop albums on Spotify, "Ivanna" and "Ivanna II."
Hiram Sims is a poet, essayist, and founder of the Sims Library of Poetry, providing the South L.A. community a space to read, write, and perform poetry. He also founded the Community Literature Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to teaching writers of color how to publish books. He is the author of Photõetry: Poetry and Photography from South Central LA (Figueroa Press, 2013), a collection of his poems paired with the work of five L.A. photographers. Other work includes his 2007 collection, Poems of a Young, Troubled Mind (published by ProQuest in 2014), and his curation of the anthology, Write or Die (LA Bookshelf Publishing Group, 2008), featuring the poetry from his Urban Poets workshop. Sims is a professor of creative writing, teaching at the Los Angeles Film School. He has also taught at USC, Cal State L.A., Long Beach City College, and Compton College.
Conney D. Williams (a.k.a. Mr. Beautiful), is a poet, performer, ordained minister, community activist and former artistic director of the World Stage Performance Gallery in Leimert Park, L.A. He has authored three collections, Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet (2002), Blues Red Soul Falsetto (2012) and The Distance of Observation (World Stage Press, 2021). In 2015, he released two CDs of his poetry accompanied by music: Unsettled Water and River and Moan. His work has appeared in various anthologies, including Wide Awake - Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond (Pacific Coast Poetry Series, 2015), Voices from Leimert Park (Tsehai Publishers, 2006) and Voices from Leimert Park Redux (2017).

Victoria Chang's collections include OBIT (Copper Canyon Press, 2020), winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America; Barbie Chang (Copper Canyon Press, 2017); The Boss (McSweeney's, 2013), winner of the PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award; Salvinia Molesta (Univ. of Georgia Press, 2008); Circle (Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 2005), winner of the Crab Orchard Review Award in Poetry. She edited the anthology Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation (2004). Her poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, Poetry, the Threepenny Review, and Best American Poetry 2005. The recipient of a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship, she has an MA in Asian studies from Harvard, an MBA from Stanford and an MFA from Warren Wilson College. Chang is also a children's book author and Program Chair of Antioch University's low-residency MFA Program.

Steven Reigns, West Hollywood's first poet laureate in 2015-16, is the author of three collections, A Quilt for David (City Lights, 2021), Inheritance (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2011), and Your Dead Body is My Welcome Mat (Burning Page Press, 2004), along with over a dozen chapbooks. He edited My Life is Poetry (Grenadier Press, 2008) showcasing his students' work from the first-ever autobiographical poetry workshop for LGBTQ seniors. He created The Gay Rub, a touring exhibition of rubbings from LGBTQ landmarks and he facilitates the Lambda Lit Book Club. He has received 14 Artist in Residency Grants from the L.A. County Dept. of Cultural Affairs and a 2019-20 Individual Artist Fellowship grant from City of Los Angeles (COLA). Reigns has lectured and taught writing workshops around the country to LGBTQ youth and people living with HIV.
Teresa Mei Chuc and her family were granted political asylum in the U.S. as refugees of the war in Vietnam. Her poetry engages her family history as well as the wider subject of human trauma and healing. She is the author of three collections-most recently, Invisible Light (Many Voices Press, 2018)-and several chapbooks. A featured reader at venues across the U.S., Chuc was an Altadena Poet Laureate in 2018-2020. She is founder and editor-in-chief of Shabda Press and the editor of the poetry anthology, Nuclear Impact: Broken Atoms in Our Hands (Shabda Press, 2017) and co-editor of the anthology Altadena Literary Review 2020.She is a Los Angeles Writing Project fellow and teacher consultant.