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 The mission of the English major at CSU, Chico is to provide students with effective learning opportunities in the areas of American, British, and international literature; composition and rhetoric; creative writing; literary editing and publishing; and linguistics. One of the ways this mission is supported is through The Writer’s Voice series, sponsored by the CSU, Chico English Department. These presentations feature writers of diverse genres, from fiction to non-fiction to poetry.

The Writer's Voice

Prints with Prose

Dr. Rob Davidson
English Department
CSU Chico

Professor Rob Davidson (English) discusses flash prose forms, ekphrastic writing, and a class project that his creative writing students undertook in partnership with the Janet Turner Print Gallery. The talk includes readings from various writers, discussion of working with short-form prose constraints, and the interactive nature of writing in relation to visual art. Presentation time: 49 minutes | View Now

Juan Alvarado Valdivia

Author

Juan Alvarado Valdivia is a Peruvian-American writer who was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and raised in Fremont, California. His first book, ¡Cancerlandia!: A Memoir, received an Honorable Mention for the 2016 International Latino Book Award, Best Biography in English. His short story collection, Ballad of a Slopsucker, was just recently published by the University of New Mexico Press in February 2019. Mr. Valdivia’s writing is authentic and displays the magical realism in many Latin American stories. Visit his website at http://www.juanalvaradovaldivia.com/ to learn more about him. Presentation time: 55 minutes | View Now

Dr. José A. Rodríguez

Poet and Memoirist

Poet, memoirist, and translator, José Antonio Rodríguez is a Mexican immigrant and first-generation high school and college graduate. In this poignant and lyrical presentation, Dr. Rodríguez reads excerpts from his poetry books. His books include the memoir House Built on Ashes, finalist for the PEN America Los Angeles Literary Award; and the poetry collections The Shallow End of Sleep, winner of the Bob Bush Memorial Award from the Texas Institute of Letters; and Backlit Hour, finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize. Join José as he shares some of his insightful and personal poems. Presentation time: 56 minutes | View Now

Rob Davidson

Fiction

Dr. Rob Davidson teaches creative writing and American literature at California State University, Chico. In this presentation, he reads excerpts from his two most recently published works of literature. His previous short fiction collections, Spectators: Flash Fictions (Five Oaks, 2017), was nominated for a Pultzer Prize. Additionally, his most recent book, What Some Would Call Lies: Novellas (Five Oaks, 2018) was regarded as, “A pair of tales that will entertain, transport, and move readers” by Kirkus Review. Davidson’s fiction, essays and interviews have appeared in ZYZZYVA, Hayden’s Ferry Review, New Delta Review, and elsewhere. Presentation time: 44 minutes | View Now

Mai Der Vang

Poet

Mai Der Vang is the author of the poetry collection Afterland (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Born and raised in Fresno, California, she earned degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Columbia University. She has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her writing has appeared in Poetry, Virginia Quarterly Review, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and elsewhere. Listen as she reads passages from Afterland and yet to be released works. Presentation time: 41 minutes | View Now

Jamel Brinkley

Fiction

Jamel Brinkley reads two excerpts from his book A Lucky Man: Stories (Graywolf Press). The book reflects the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world shaped by race, gender, and class—where luck may be the greatest fiction of all. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Mr. Brinkley was also a Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. He is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Fiction at Stanford University. Presentation time: 1 hour and 2 minutes | View Now


Michelle Tea

Non-fiction Writer

Michelle Tea reads from her new book, Against Memoir, a memoir involving both her experiences and stories from others. Told from the first person perspective, the presentation covers many topics, from sexism and racism to the power of writing in our society. Tea answers questions about her book, her life, and opinions. She explores her life a creative writer, and coping with the different identities throughout her life. Presentation Time: 50 minutes | View Now

Sasha Pimental

Poet

Sasha Pimentel bring an international perspective to her writing – she was born in the Philippines and raised in the United States and Saudi Arabia. She teaches students from across the Americas in a bilingual (Spanish-English) Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Texas, El Paso. Ms. Pimentel is the author of “For Want of Water: and other poems (Beacon Press, 2017), selected as a winner of the 2016 National Poetry Series. Presentation Time: 54 minutes | View Now

Beth Spencer

Poet

It could be said that Beth Spencer’s latest book of poetry, “The Cloud Museum,” is two books in one. The first, “Practicing Nowhere,” is the story of a girl named Alice. The second, “The Book of Jay,” is about and inspired by the painter Jay DeFeo. In this presentation, Ms. Spencer reads from both parts of “The Cloud Museum.” Presentation time: 37 minutes | View Now

Ryan Van Meter

Essayist and Faculty, Creative Writing, The University of San Francisco

Ryan Van Meter is the author of the essay collection, “If You Knew What I Know Now” (2011). His work is included in several anthologies, including “Best American Essays 2009.” Many of his essays are about living in the closet as a non-heterosexual person and the process of having to learn who you are. In this presentation, Van Meter reads two pieces based on memories of his grandmothers that are both touching and funny. In the course of answering questions from the audience, he then shares the meticulous ways in which he approaches his craft. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 1 minute | View Now

Luke Davies

Screenwriter, Novelist, Essayist, Poet

Luke Davies’ adapted screenplay for the 2016 movie “Lion” was nominated for an academy award; the movie itself earned a nomination for Best Picture. But the native of Australia is more than an acclaimed screenwriter. His first writing love, starting at the age of 16, is poetry. His novel, “Candy,” was made into a movie of the same name, starring Heath Ledger. In this presentation, Davies reads from his fiction and poetry. Presentation Time: 58 minutes | View Now

Graduate Student Reading 2017: Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction

Graduate Writers Workshop at CSU, Chico

Students from the CSU, Chico English Department’s Graduate Writers Workshop share their writing, covering diverse topics using several different genres. Students presenting their work in this presentation: Eli Coyle, Joanna Hooste, Emily Huso, Jeanette Keables, Ibe Liebenberg, Carissa Maddox, Megan Mann, Zeth Martinez, Amanda Rhine, Julie Ricks, Luke Scholl, Marta Shaffer, and Jer Xiong. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 7 minutes | View Now

"Landfalls"

Naomi Williams
Faculty, University of California, Davis

Author Naomi Williams reads from her novel, “Landfalls,” about French maritime explorations in the 18th century. Each chapter is written from a different point of view – the captain, deckhands, indigenous persons. In this presentation, she reads a chapter titled “Above the Mangroves” that takes place in Australia. Ms. Williams won a Pushcart Prize for her work. She earned a creative writing degree from UC Davis and now teaches there. Presentation Time: 58 minutes | View Now

"Vista Del Mar: A Memoir of the Ordinary"

Neal Snidow
Author

Neal Snidow speaks about – and reads from – his first published book, “Vista Del Mar: A Memoir of the Ordinary” (Counterpoint, 2016) He states that in the book’s prose and photos he is trying to bring back a place and time of importance to him – growing up in Southern California. In doing so, he strives to “evoke instead of document.” Snidow has been a public school teacher and a writer for many years. He earned a BA in English at the University of California, Riverside, and an MA at the University of Virginia, where he was a Danforth Fellow. He currently teaches, writes, and photographs in Magalia, CA. Presentation Time: 42 minutes | View Now

Graduate Student Reading 2016: Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction

Graduate Writers Workshop at CSU, Chico

Students from the CSU, Chico English Department’s Graduate Writers Workshop share their writing, covering diverse topics using several different genres. Students presenting their work in this presentation: Ibe Liebenberg, Carissa Maddox, Eli Coyle, Ginamarie Wallace, Jason Deane, Jennifer Smith, Julie Ricks, Kyleen Bromley, Luke Scholl, Maisue Thao, Marta Shaffer, Matt Skripek, and Megan Mann. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 3 minutes | View Now

Martha Collins

Martha Collins, PhD
Poet, Retired Faculty, University of Massachusetts-Boston and Oberlin College

In her recent books, Martha Collins has used her talent with the written word to illuminate the horrific crimes historically suffered by the African American community. One of the works she reads in this presentation is about the lynching of an African-American man her father witnessed when he was five years old. In delving into this aspect of American history, Dr. Collins uses a kind of “mixed media” of writing techniques – poetry, articles, quotations, and timelines, both narrative and lyric. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. Here, she reads from her most recent book, “Admit One: An American Scrapbook” (2016, Pittsburgh), and another book, “Blue Front” (2006, Graywolf). Presentation Time: 44 minutes | View Now

Valerie Fioravanti

Fiction Author, Faculty for UCLA Writers' Extension

Valerie Fioravanti’s first book, “Garbage Night at the Opera,” is a collection of interlacing short stories that cover 30 years of an extended family’s life in working-class Brooklyn. Regarding this book, the San Francisco Book Review noted, ““Her characters are real and unapologetic. Her backdrop of Brooklyn…is vivid, with language that is accessible and street-wise as well as poetically spot on.” In this presentation, Ms. Fioravanti reads the first story from the book. She earned degrees from New Mexico State University and the New School in New York City. She was the recipient of a Fulbright fellowship for studies in Italy. Presentation Time: 44 minutes | View Now

Louis B. Jones

Author and Essayist, Co-Director of the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley

Louis B. Jones is an American author and essayist. He has written five novels, the first three of which were named New York Times Notable Books. His third novel, “California’s Over,” was named Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. In this presentation, he reads from his short story, “A Simple Omission,” and answers students’ questions. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 6 minutes | View Now

The Poetry of Sean Hill

Sean Hill
Poet, Visiting Professor, University of Alaska-Fairbanks

Born and raised in Milledgeville, Georgia, Sean Hill is the author of Dangerous Goods, awarded the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry, (Milkweed Editions, 2014) and Blood Ties & Brown Liquor (UGA Press, 2008), named as one of the Ten Books All Georgians Should Read in 2015 by the Georgia Center for the Book. He has received numerous awards including fellowships from Cave Canem, the Region 2 Arts Council, the Bush Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, The Jerome Foundation, The MacDowell Colony, the University of Wisconsin, and a Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University. Most recently, Hill received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. He is an editor at Broadsided Press. Website: www.seanhillpoetry.com Presentation Time: 1 hour, 7 minutes | View Now

Reading from "The Animals" by Christian Kiefer

Dr. Christian Kiefer
Faculty, American River College

Christian Kiefer is the author of two critically-acclaimed novels. “The Infinite Tides” (2012, Bloomsbury) made the Best of the Year list of the Publisher’s Weekly and his most recent novel, “The Animals” (2015 Liveright), has been named A Best Book of the Year by Amazon.com. Kiefer’s creative nature has also resulted in short stories, poetry, and making recordings and touring with a band. In this presentation, he reads from “The Animals” and explains that part of the impetus for the book was “exploring the kind of thinking that puts you in a situation where catastrophically poor decisions seem perfectly reasonable.” After reading, Kiefer answers questions from his student audience and shares ideas about writing. Presentation Time: 1 hour, 22 minutes | View Now

Poetry Reading by Troy Jollimore

Dr. Troy Jollimore
Philosophy Department, CSU, Chico

Dr. Troy Jollimore burst upon the national poetry scene when his first book of poetry, “Tom Thomson in Purgatory,” won the prestigious National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry. In this presentation, Dr. Jollimore reads from his book, “Syllabus of Errors: Poems” (2015, Princeton University Press). He starts with a poem called “Charlie Brown,” which cleverly mixes images from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and John Steinbeck's “Of Mice and Men” to make some serious points. The rest of the poems he shares explore a variety of moods and philosophical thought. Website: http://www.csuchico.edu/~tjollimore/ | Presentation Time: 36 minutes | View Now

"The Quiet Time"

Dimitri Keriotis
Professor, Modesto Junior College

Dimitri KeriotisDimitri Keriotis reads a story he originally drafted while earning his MFA at Chico State, answers questions about the work and his writing practice, and offers advice to aspiring writers. His debut collection of short stories, "The Quiet Time," was released by SFA Press. His stories have appeared in Beloit Fiction Journal, Georgetown Review, Evening Street Review, Flyway, BorderSenses, and elsewhere. He has also written for Poets & Writers. Raised in Northern California, Keriotis served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire and Bolivia. Keriotis teaches English at Modesto Junior College and co-coordinates the High Sierra Institute. He and his family live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Website: http://dimitrikeriotis.com/ | Presentation Time: 54 minutes | View Now

"A Selected History of Her Heart"

Carole Simmons Oles
Professor Emerita, CSU, Chico

Carole OlesCarole Simmons Oles is the author of nine books of poems, most recently "A Selected History of Her Heart" (University of New Mexico Press), from which she reads here. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Field, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Women’s Review of Books and other magazines. She has taught at Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont. Since 1992 she has been on the faculty at CSU, Chico, where she is Professor Emerita. Website: Carolesoles.com | Presentation Time: 39 minutes | View Now

"Excavation: A Memoir"

Wendy C. Ortiz
Author

It took Wendy Ortiz 13 years to write “Excavation: A Memoir.” She says it was a matter of “getting the courage” to write of her experience of a years-long relationship with a male teacher that began when she was only 13. Ultimately, she was convinced that, “This is a story that is really important.” In this presentation, Ortiz reads three short chapters from the book and then answers questions from the audience. Her most recent work, “Hollywood Notebook,” will be published in spring 2015. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Nervous Breakdown, and The Rumpus, among many other places. Ortiz is a registered marriage and family therapist intern in Los Angeles. Website: http://www.wendyortiz.com/ | Presentation Time: 1 hour, 9 minutes | View Now

Crossing Boundaries

Doug Rice
Faculty, Sacramento State University

 

Doug Rice’s work doesn’t fit into a single genre. It crosses boundaries of fact and fiction, and of fantasy and reality; it sometimes includes his photography.  For example, Rice’s book, “When Love Was,” is a hybrid text of photographs, memoir, fiction, and photographic theory. Therefore, it’s not surprising when he states during this presentation, “It all comes down to practicing seeing, and seeing in new ways – breaking out of habits.” Rice teaches creative writing, film studies, and literary and cultural theory at Sacramento State University. Website: http://www.csus.edu/indiv/r/riced/home.htm | Presentation Time: 1 hour, 3 minutes | View Now

"Because You Have To: A Writing Life"

Joan Frank

Joan Frank reads from her essay collection, “Because You Have To: A Writing Life," which won the ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award. Commenting on her own writing path, and her beliefs about what it takes to be and remain "in the life," Frank reads from essays describing the phenomenon of rejection, and about those intervals when a writer realizes, in the midst of writing's routines and rituals, that she is actually happy. A MacDowell Colony Fellow and recipient of many grants and awards, Frank is the author of five books of literary fiction and her recent book of essays. Website: www.joanfrank.org. | Presentation Time: 59 minutes | View Now

Creative Non-Fiction

Dr. Daryl Farmer
Faculty, Department of English, University of Alaska-Fairbanks

Dr. Daryl FarmerDr. Daryl Farmer reads from and discusses “Bicycling Beyond the Divide: Two Journeys into the West.” His book follows him on his 5,000-mile bicycle journey through the diverse populations and ever-changing physical and social landscapes that make up America. In 1985, Dr. Farmer traveled through 11 Western states and the Canadian province of British Columbia. He wrote his book 20 years later, using the notes from the journal he kept while “on the road.” His story takes place in the context of the world of the mid-1980s and also in the context of his current perspective. He is the recipient of Barnes and Noble’s Discover Great New Writers Award. Website: http://darylfarmer.com/ | Presentation Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes | View Now

Dr. Daryl Farmer

Faculty, Department of English, University of Alaska-Fairbanks

 

Dr. Daryl Farmer reads from and discusses “Bicycling Beyond the Divide: Two Journeys into the West.” His book follows him on his 5,000-mile journey through the diverse populations and ever-changing physical and social landscapes that make up America. In 1985, Dr. Farmer traveled by bicycle through 11 Western states and the Canadian province of British Columbia. He wrote his book 20 years later, using the notes from the journal he kept while “on the road.” His story takes place in the context of the world of the mid-1980s and also in the context of his current perspective. He is the recipient of Barnes and Nobel’s Discover Great New Writers Award.

 

Presentation Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes