Poetry Series: McKibbens, Alire Sáenz, Zamora

Presented with Copper Canyon Press, "Of An Impossible Country": An Evening with Rachel McKibbens, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, & Javier Zamora will present three contemporary Latinx poets whose work challenges and illuminates the notion of border-crossing.

Rachel McKibbens is a Chicana poet and the author of the collection Pink Elephant. McKibbens is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellow and the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion. She co-curates the monthly reading series Poetry & Pie Night with poet Jacob Rakovan in upstate New York, and is a member of the Right Coast Writers Brigade. She has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, including World Literature Today, The New York Quarterly, and Bowery Women: Poems. McKibbens’ latest collection, blud, will be released later this year by Copper Canyon Press.

Benjamin Alire Sáenz is an author of poetry and prose for adults and teens. He is the winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the American Book Award for his books for adults. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe was a Printz Honor Book, the Stonewall Award winner, the Pura Belpre Award winner, the Lambda Literary Award winner, and a finalist for the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award. His first novel for teens, Sammy and Juliana in Hollywood, was an ALA Top Ten Book for Young Adults and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His second book for teens, He Forgot to Say Goodbye, won the Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the Southwest Book Award, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. He teaches creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso.

Javier Zamora was born in the coastal fishing town of La Herradura, El Salvador in 1990. When he was nine, he migrated to the United States, joining his parents in California. He is a scholarship recipient from Breadloaf, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, Squaw Valley, and VONA; holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University, the National Endowment for the Arts; and he was also a recipient of the 2016 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Zamora’s poems appear or are forthcoming in Huizache, Narrative, Ploughshares, POETRY, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. He is the winner of Meridian’s Editor’s Prize, CONSEQUENCE’s poetry prize, and the Organic Weapon Arts Chapbook Contest. He earned a B.A. at the University of California-Berkeley and an M.F.A. at New York University and is a 2016-2018 Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Zamora’s first collection, Unaccompanied, will be released later this year by Copper Canyon Press.
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