Hosted by Kevin Dublin, the 2023 National Poetry Month Celebration was held at the Kimpton Alton Hotel in San Francisco and the featured writers are: MK Chavez, Antony Fangary, Judy Juanita, Sabina Khan-Ibarra, Giovanna Lomanto, David S. Maduli, Ayodele Nzinga, Lucie Pereira, Landon Smith, and Sydney Vogl. Thank you to Emily, Natalia, Luz, and all of the Kimpton team!
Note: Read a wonderful piece about the event by JL Odom.
MK Chavez is a Black Latinx writer, educator, and curator. Chavez is the co-director of the Berkeley Poetry Festival, co-curator of Lyrics & Dirges, and teaches and supports writers at Ouroboros Writing Lab. Chavez writes about identity, human injustices, environmental degradation, horror films, magic, and ritual. Dear Animal, Chavez’s first full collection won the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles award, other books include Mothermorphosis, the lyric essay chapbook A Brief History of the Selfie, and Virgin Eyes. You can find Chavez's most recent work among the trees in Golden Gate Park through the Voices of the Trees Project.
Antony Fangary is a Coptic-American poet, educator, and artist living in San Francisco. His poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in The Oakland Review, New American Writing, Interim, The Sycamore Review, West Branch, and elsewhere. His paintings have been featured in art shows around San Francisco and Los Angeles. His chapbook, HARAM, was published by Etched Press in 2019. His work has received support from the San Francisco Arts Commission, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Arts. Antony holds a Masters of Fine Arts from San Francisco State University and a Bachelors of Arts from the University of California, Davis.
Judy Juanita's poetry collection Manhattan My Ass, You're in Oakland (Equidistance Press) won the American Book Award 2021. Her fiction collection, The High Prie of Freeways (Livingston Press) won the Tartt Fiction Prize 2021. Her semi-autobiographical novel, Virgin Soul, about a young woman who joins the Black Panther Party in the 60s , was published by Viking in 2013.
Sabina Khan-Ibarra is a teacher and writer. She is currently working on completing her chapbook, Telling, and her novel, The Poppy Flower. Her poetry, short stories and short creative nonfictions have been published in various anthologies, including Non-White and Women, Taboos and Transgressions, both published within the past two years. She lives in Half Moon Bay, California with her husband, two children and two cats- Twyla and Aslan.
Giovanna Lomanto is an Oakland-based, Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and teaching artist. An alumnus of U.C. Berkeley and a current MFA candidate at NYU's low-residency program, her work has been featured on KALW, the Worth-Ryder Art Gallery, the SFMOMA archive, and various literary magazines. She is the author of two poetry collections: no body in particular (Scrambler Books, 2019) and jupiter fell out the sky last night (Bound to Brew, 2021) as well as a poetry box/art edition called erase this: prose poem for the sentimentalist (RITE Editions, 2021). She simultaneously serves as the co-host of The Living Room Series & Salon at Syzygy in San Francisco.
David S. Maduli is a Filipinx father, husband, poet and educator. His work, often inflected by many years as a DJ and public school teacher, has received the Joy Harjo Poetry Prize. Born in San Francisco, he is a longtime resident of East Oakland, Muwekma Ohlone land, where he completed his MFA at Mills College with a fellowship in Community Poetics. In addition to his work in public schools, he teaches in the MFA in Writing program at Lindenwood University.
Ayodele Nzinga is a multi-hyphenated artist; a brilliant actress, producing director, playwright, poet, dramaturg, performance consultant, educator, and community advocate. She is the director of the Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc., Oakland's oldest North American African Theater Company and founder of Lower Bottom Playaz Summer Theater Day Camp. She is co-founder of Janga’s House a Black Women Arts collective and a founding member of BlacSpace Collective. She is the Executive Director of the Black Arts Movement Business District Community Development Corporation, of Oakland, (BAMBD CDC); and founder and producer of BAMBDFEST International Biennial a month-long arts and cultural festival animating the Black Arts Movement Business District in Oakland CA. Nzinga holds an MFA in Writing and Consciousness; a Ph.D. in Transformative Education & Change; is a Cal-Shakes Artist Investigator Alumni; a San Francisco Foundation Arts Leadership Fellow; a member of the Alameda County Women’s Hall of Fame; recognized by Theater Bay Area as one of the 40 faces in the Bay that changed the face of theater in the Bay Area; is recognized by the August Wilson House as the only director in the world to direct the complete August Wilson American Century Cycle in chronological order; a YBCA 10 Fellow, a BIPOC Circle Fellow and a VOICES Community Journalism Fellow. Nzinga is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Oakland CA.
Lucie Pereira is a San Francisco-based writer and educator. Her work has appeared in Honey Literary, the Hellebore, Mason Jar Press, and Yes Poetry, among others. She teaches creative writing at Children’s After School Arts and the Elder Writing Project, and is a co-founder of the reading & food pop-up series Kitchen Table.
Landon Smith is a father, a professor, a poet, a painter, half Mende and half Balanta & Fulani, that feeling of falling that wakes you up in a dream, the amethyst geode on your desk, Angela Davis’ afro, Frantz Fanon’s pocket notebook, Walter Rodney’s fingernail, the 7-10 bowling split, your favorite pillow. Despite his institutional degrees, he really became a poet through the East Side Arts Alliance in Oakland. Landon thanks his older sister Alia for buying him his first journal, starting his ever-evolving relationship with words. You can often find him processing the world through poetry, including in his full-length collection No Bedtime Stories Of Soil on Black Freighter Press.
Sydney Vogl recently won the Cow Creek Chapbook Prize for their chapbook, CRYBABY!, and the Jane Underwood Poetry prize. Their work has been featured in or is forthcoming in Iron Horse Review, Honey Literary, Tusculum Review and Ghost City Review. She currently serves as a poetry editor for The San Franciscan Magazine and works at an independent publisher in Berkeley. Their debut chapbook, CALIFORNIA IS GOING TO HELL, was released in November 2021.