National Poetry Month Happenings

Hi, everyone!

Just a quick update with a few poetry events where Mehnaz Sahibzada and I (Rachelle Cruz) will present work.  Hope to see you there!

*Sunday, April 14th – FREE Poetry Workshop and Reading at Skylight Books.  Hosted by the wonderful Terry Wolverton.

You want to celebrate National Poetry Month but you’re chagrinned to admit you just don’t understand poetry? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to write poetry, but don’t really know how it’s done? Join Skylight Books and Writers At Work’s Terry Wolverton on Sunday, April 14 from 2-4 p.m. for a free workshop, The Secret Life of Poems. Terry has invited 6 next generation poets—Ashley Blakeney, Rachelle Cruz, Ashaki M. Jackson, Eden Jeffries, Menhaz Sahibzada and Andrew Wessels —  to discuss their writing process and the techniques they use to create their poems. Participants will learn the fundamentals of writing and reading poetry.

Poetry is meant to be heard as well as read.  Join us on Sunday, April 14 at 5 p.m. as we hear the delightful and provocative poems of Poets At Work members Kim Dower, Yvonne M. Estrada, Steven Fleet, Dylan Cameron Gailey, Brett Guitar Hofer, Eric Howard, Sharon Venezio, Terry Wolverton and Helen Yeoman.  They will be joined by a dynamic group of next generation poets—Ashley Blakeney, Rachelle Cruz, Ashaki M. Jackson, Eden Jeffries, Menhaz Sahibzada and Andrew Wessels.

*Sunday, April 20th, 12-2 pm – Dancing Girl Press and Finishing Line Press at the Smokin’ Hot Literary Lounge.  Hosted by Kaya Press at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.  Booth #380.
Reading by Dancing Girl Press and FInishing Line Press authors at 1 pm:
*Rachelle Cruz
*Kate Durbin
*Lauren Eggret-Crowe
*Vickie Vertiz
And more on the Smoking Hot Lit Lounge below!
The booth will feature indie presses from LA, readings and workshops in our lounge (couches! rugs! lamps!), and fun interactive literary games. Stop by and make a bookmark, participate and watch our special #HOTLIT Instagram feed, or just curl up on our couch with some smokin’ hot indie literature. Readings & Workshops by: Deborah Miranda (Bad Indians, HeyDay Press), Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut (Magnetic Refrain, Kaya Press), Richard Rayner, Dancing Girl Press, Boxcar Poetry Review, Writ Large Press, Southern California Review, and SO MUCH MORE.

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CONGRATULATIONS: New chapbooks from MMIX Poets!

Congratulations to Rachelle Cruz and Mehnaz Sahibzada whose chapbooks are recently published or forthcoming later this year!

  • You can order signed copies of Rachelle’s chapbook, SELF-PORTRAIT AS RUMOR AND BLOOD, published by Dancing Girl Press on her website.

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MMIX REUNION: We’re still here!

Please stay tuned for updates on MMIX writers!  For now, here’s a shot from a recent MMIX meeting:

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Hello MMIX writers and readers,

We’re at the halfway point of summer 2011, and we can’t believe it’s been TWO years since we “graduated” from the PEN USA Fellowship. Time flies!

Just a few updates…and congratulations to all!

*Erika Ayon is heading to Cal State Fresno this Fall to pursue her MFA in Poetry.

*John Boucher was just awarded a 2011 LAMBDA Literary Fellowship, which is hosted at UCLA this year.

*Sylvia Sukop will be attending the Squaw Valley Writers Retreat this August.

*Marissay Tinloy’s short story “Snow Globe” won first place in the UC Davis Elliot Gilbert Prize. She will be attending the Tomales Bay Writers Workshops on a fellowship in October.

*Mehnaz Turner is participating in The Mark Program in Poetry through PEN Center USA. She’s blogging about it here.

Stay tuned for more updates!

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CONGRATULATIONS: Mehnaz Turner featured in Newer Poets XVI Reading at Central Library


Congratulations to MMIX poet, Mehnaz Turner who will be featured in the Newer Poets XVI Reading!

ALOUD at Central Library
630 W. Fifth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Thursday, July 07, 2011 7:00 PM

Lory Bedikian, A. Razor, Cassandra Love,
Sherman Pearl, Anthony Seidman, Mehnaz Turner

Hosted by Suzanne Lummis, Los Angeles Poetry Festival,
and Richard Modiano, Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center

For more information on the poets and to make reservations:

Mehnaz Turner was born in Pakistan and raised in southern California. She is a 2009 PEN USA Emerging Voices Fellow in Poetry. Her work has appeared in publications such as Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Mascara Literary Review, The Journal of Pakistan Studies, Cahoots Magazine, The Pedestal Magazine, and An Anthology of California Poets.

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CONGRATULATIONS: John Boucher receives 2011 Lambda Literary Fellowship in Non-Fiction


Congratulations to fellow MMIX writer John Boucher, who has just received a 2011 Lambda Literary Fellowship!

Forty-two talented emerging writers representing every region of the United States and traveling from as far away as Canada and Japan, were selected and will come to Los Angeles this August for the Lambda Literary Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Writers.

The Writers’ Retreat for Emerging LGBT Voices was established in 2007 as the newest program of Lambda Literary Foundation and is the first of its kind ever offered to LGBT writers: a one-week intensive immersion in fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. The retreat is an unparalleled opportunity to learn from the very best writers in the LGBT community. Faculty have included Dorothy Allison, Claire Carmichael, Bernard Cooper, Elana Dykewomon, Katherine V. Forrest, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Eloise Klein Healy, Fenton Johnson, Michael Nava, D.A. Powell, John Rechy, Ellen Bass, Ellery Washington and Nicola Griffith.

For more information on the Lambda Literary Writers’ Retreat, you can check it out here:


John Boucher started writing in 2005 in HIV+ Writing Workshops sponsored by AIDS Healthcare Foundation, AIDS Project Los Angeles, and the LA Gay & Lesbian Center. His first published piece, “Speaking in Tongues,” appeared in Washburn University’s inscape literary journal, where it won the 2009 Best Nonfiction award. John was a 2009 PEN Center USA Emerging Voice Fellow, and is the recipient of a 2009/2010 Community Access Scholarship to UCLA, where he studied and worked on Dichondra, his collection of humorously dark nonfiction stories. John attended Corcoran College of Art and Design and earned his MFA from Claremont Graduate University. Born in 1962 and raised in Los Angeles, John lives in West Hollywood. (Photo by Don Tinling.)

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READING: Rachelle Cruz and Mehnaz Turner at Silver Lake Jubliee Pre-show at Pehrspace

Silver Lake Jubilee Presents: “Girls, Girls, Girls!”

Emerging Voices alumnae Natashia Deon, Marytza Rubio, Mehnaz Turner, and Rachelle Cruz will read at this Silver Lake Jubilee promo show. PEN Center USA will curate the reading stages for the evening.

$5 Admission Wednesday, April 27 @ 8 PM
325 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90026

The Silver Lake Jubilee is a two-day music and art celebration featuring more than 20 local music acts, multi-discipline artists, crafters, and comedy acts, with literary performances curated by PEN Center USA.

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READING RE-CAP: Sylvia Sukop at Wordspace

Sylvia Sukop at Wordspace (Photo by Bonnie Kaplan)

In an evening of readings at Wordspace in Los Angeles on Sunday, February 13, curated by Chiwan Choi and Judeth Ode, the publishers of Writ Large Press, Sylvia Sukop read a fresh excerpt from her memoir, a work-in-progress centered on the death of her teenaged brother Alex. The excerpt touched on the aftermath of that loss and an unexpected encounter in her own backyard. (Photo by Bonnie Kaplan)

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READINGS: Sylvia Sukop at Wordspace on Sun. February 13th AND Erika Ayon at the Cobalt Cafe on Tuesday, Feb. 15th

OPEN WORDSPACE: Your Heart Is On Fire. Put it Out :: w/Writ Large Press

Sunday, February 13th – 5:00 – 9:00 pm

Wordspace ( Find us from Glendale or Fletcher Ave down LaClede to Minneapolis)

3191 Casitas, #156

Los Angeles, CA

  Another evening of blazing fiction, poetry, non-fiction and more.
Open reads sign up at 5:30 and show from 6:00-8:00.
This time with Host Shirley Anderson & Co-host Judeth Oden Choi of Writ Large Press – bringing us featured readers from past WL publications:

Sylvia Sukop – non-fiction
Eachan Holloway – poetry
Chris Kerr – fiction
Mike Sonksen – spoken word poetry
Jonathan Jay – fiction

And we hope some kicking music along the way.
$5 suggested donation to help the space!

See you there – Wordspace.


Valley Contemporary Poets present ERIKA AYON plus open reading
Tuesday, February 15, 2011 ~ 9:00 pm
Cobalt Cafe
22047 Sherman Way
Canoga Park, CA

Erika Ayon was a 2009 PEN fellow in poetry. She’s completing her first chapbook, Orange Lady, drawn from her childhood memories of working with her father selling fruit out of a cart.


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PHOTOGRAPHS: Sylvia Sukop’s “I forget myself (I forget you)”

© 2010 Sylvia Sukop

© 2010 Sylvia Sukop


Check out Sylvia Sukop’s breathtaking photograph series “I forget myself (I forget you)” on her website.

Below is her artist statement about the new series:

This new series of cell phone photographs is a direct outgrowth of Chron. As in that experiment, I’ve established rules including no cropping or manipulation of the image once it’s been shot; these are direct downloads from my phone. I am especially interested in shooting in “bad light” and seeing the shifts, ghostly at times, of colors and forms that emerge.

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