Amalia Ortiz is a Tejana performance poet and CantoMundo fellow who appeared on three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO and the NAACP Image Awards on FOX. She has toured countless colleges and universities as a solo artist, and with the performance-poetry troupes Diva Diction, The Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word, and the Def Poetry College Tour. In 2010, she was awarded a writers' residency at Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island, WA. There she wrote the musical theater piece, Carmen de la Calle. This past August she completed a month long residency at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Brenda Nettles Riojas
Brenda Nettles Riojas grew up in Brownsville, Texas on the border of South Texas and Mexico. Her first collection of poems – “La Primera Voz Que Oí” was published in Guadalajara, Mexico in 2009. She co-edited "Writing to Be Heard / Escúchame: Voices From the Chicho" with Alan Oak, which was released by Otras Voces Publishing in June 2011. Brenda is the host of Corazón Bilingüe, a weekly radio program that addresses the dynamics of language and culture and how it impacts writing. She is currently pursuing an M.F.A. in creative writing through the University of New Orleans.
Born in East L.A., CA in 1973, Edward Vidaurre writes poetry about his upbringing and experiences of living in the barrio. His poetry takes you on a ride through his barrio memories. Known to his friends as Barrio Poet, Vidaurre says: “Sometimes the barrio claims us, holds us by our feet like roots in its field of chalk outlines closed off by the screaming yellow tape being pulled from its soul.” Edward was recently published in the Valley International Poetry Festival Anthology Boundless 2011 and is working on a book of poems tentatively titled “Chalk Outlines: A Poetic Drive-By.”
Erika Marie Garza Johnson
La Erika, aka Poeta Power, aka Erika Marie Garza Johnson has her MFA in Creative Writing. She is a lecturer at UTPA and a wife and mother to two amazingly gifted children. Step-mother to a genius, Erika spends her time trying to give it all she's got to raise all of her babies to be compassionate citizens and loving individuals. Her credentials include but are not limited to being published by several legit magz and co-editing an anthology for Texas A&M press and a chapbook by Dark Sky out of University of Houston-Victoria tentatively titled "Word Witch."
Melitón Hinojosa Jr.
Melitón Hinojosa Jr. has a B.S. and a Masters degree from Texas A&M at Corpus Christi and is currently working on an MFA with emphasis on Chicano Studies from the University of Texas at Pan American in Edinburg, Texas. He currently works for San Benito High School as an automotive instructor.
Julieta Corpus is originally from Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico and spent four years of her childhood in San Pedro, Coahuila. She started writing poetry at the age of eleven, and blames her penchant for the dramatic to Mexican soap operas and romantic ballads from the 1970's by such well-known composers as Camilo Blanes, Napoleon, and Jose Jose. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, college journals, and local newspapers respectively such as, Tendiendo Puentes, The University of Texas Pan American Gallery Magazine, Interstice, Tierra Firme, The Mesquite Review, and The Monitor's Writer's Edition: Festiba. She has participated in the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival for two years in a row, and her poetry is included in both anthologies. In 2009, Julieta, along with two other local poets (Melitón Hinojosa and Brenda Riojas-Nettles), was invited to be a guest poet at FELISMA in San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato. She is currently pursuing an MFA at the University of Texas Pan American and organizing poetry events around the Rio Grande Valley. Julieta is also a fifth grade teacher at Bowie Elementary in Harlingen, Texas.
Kaitlin LaMoine Martin
Kaitlin LaMoine Martin was born in a Kalamazoo ice storm in 1984. She's been writing poetry since she was nine. She graduated from Earlham College in 2007 after studying colonial history, queer theory and gender studies, and contemporary anthropology. She then spent two years counseling victims of sexual and domestic assault before moving to Texas to become a temporary housewife. She now writes poems at the laundromat and is working on an MFA at the University of Texas Pan American.
Monica Ramirez is an artist who was born in Mexico. She says, "Passion and strength will give meaning to my poetry and art until death do us part… or maybe they'll continue. "Monica's feelings engrave her art physically and metaphysically.
Rossy Lima comes from a family that enjoys storytelling, poetry declamation and writing music. Her biggest influence is her mother and her grandfather who first introduced her to the fantastic realms of the poetic expression. She has been published in two anthologies; La ruta de los juglares, McAllen, Texas and Letras en el estuario, Matamoros, México. Rossy has been published in various literary magazines and journals in Texas, Mexico and Spain. She received the Gabriela Mistral Award by the National Hispanic Honor Society on 2009. Besides been an active participant in different congresses and symposiums, Rossy actively organizes artistic events for the community, including creative writing workshops with a focus on identity discovery through poetry.
Lady Mariposa is Veronica Sandoval, an old school chola, street poet from The Rio Grande Valley, Texas. She has been performing poetry as a spoken word artist for over 10 years and her writing has appeared in anthologies such as the Valley International Poetry Festival's Boundless, Houston Poetry Fest Anthology and UTPA's Gallery, Lung: Online Journal, Border Senses, and El Tecolote Press in San Francisco. She has self published a collection of work titled “The Answer” and a spoken word album entitled “Hecha en El Valle: Spoken Word & Borderland Beats with Keytar Dreamz & Chula Records. Veronica is the first Valley International Poetry Festival Slam champion and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2008 from the University of Texas Pan American with a BA in English. In May 2001, she received her MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas Pan American with the completion of her thesis entitled “After Borderlands: The Making of an Academic Chola. ”She currently lives in Grandview, Washington, and will be applying to WSU in the Spring in pursuit of her PhD. Lady Mariposa continues to write and perform at local and national conferences, donating her time to area high schools and public libraries as an advocate of education and art.
Emmy Pérez is the author of a poetry collection Solstice (Swan Scythe Press). Her work has also appeared in Prairie Schooner, New York Quarterly, North American Review, Indiana Review, Crab Orchard Review, From the Fishouse, The Poetry Foundation online, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press), A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line (University of Iowa Press), and other publications. She is a contributing editor for the AWP Writer's Chronicle and Texas Books in Review. She has received poetry fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and she has been a poet-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. In 2009, she received the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Foundation Award. Currently, she is a CantoMundo poetry fellow and a member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop. She has taught creative writing in adult and juvenile detention centers for many years. A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Southern California, currently she is an assistant professor at the University of Texas-Pan American.