The Santa Barbara Public Library will host the first poetry reading of the 14th season of The Mission Poetry Series at 1 p.m. Nov. 5 in the Faulkner Gallery at the Central Library, 40 E. Anapamu St., Santa Barbara.
The Mission Poetry Series is curated by Santa Barbara’s Poet Laureate, Emma Trelles.
“Coming Home: Three Poets in Fall” features three award-winning authors: Chloe Martinez, Sara Borjas and Rick Benjamin. The title of the event is from the poem “Fifteen Balls of Feathers” by Ada Limón, who is originally from Sonoma and is currently the 24th Poet Laureate of the United States.
The event offers complimentary broadsides, poets’ books for sale, and the chance to meet and chat with the featured authors.
This reading is made possible by the Academy of American Poets with funds from the Mellon Foundation.
Ms. Martinez is a poet and a scholar of South Asian religions. She is the author of the collection “Ten Thousand Selves” (The Word Works) and the chapbook “Corner Shrine” (Backbone Press). Her poems and translations have appeared in Ploughshares, POETRY, The Common, Prairie Schooner, AGNI, Beloit Poetry Journal and elsewhere.
She is a graduate of Barnard College, where she was a Mellon Mays Fellow, and received her doctorate in religious studies from UCSB. She is also a graduate of Boston University’s Creative Writing MA program and the MFA for Writers at Warren Wilson College, where she was a Holden Scholar.
She is the program coordinator for the Center for Writing and Public Discourse at Claremont McKenna College as well as lecturer in CMC’s Department of Religious Studies. She lives in Claremont with her husband and two daughters.
Ms. Borjas is a self-identified Xicanx pocha and a Fresno poet. Her debut collection, “Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff” (Noemi Press, 2019), received a 2020 American Book Award. She was featured as one of Poets and Writers 2019 Debut Poets, and she has received fellowships from MacDowell, CantoMundo, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, Postgraduate Writers Conference and Community of Writers.
Her work can be found in the Los Angeles Times, Ploughshares, The Rumpus, Poem-a-Day by The Academy of American Poets, and Catapult, among others.
Ms. Borjas teaches creative writing at Cal State East Bay and the UCR Palm Desert Low Residency MFA Program but stays rooted in Fresno.
Mr. Benjamin lives on Chumash land in Goleta and walks each day on indigenous trails. He teaches courses at UCSB, among them poetry and community, the wild literature of ecology, and literature of both social and juvenile justice, while also working among elders, young people at a local Boys and Girls Club and in art museums and youth detention facilities.
Among his works are the books of poetry,”Passing Love,” “Floating World,” “Endless Distances” and “Some Bodies in the Grief Bed,” and his next book of poetry, “The Mob Within the Heart,” is due out in April. He served as poet laureate of Rhode Island from 2012- 2016.
In addition to being the poet laureate of Santa Barbara, Ms. Trelles is the the author of “Tropicalia” (University of Notre Dame Press), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. She is currently writing a second book of poems, “Courage and the Clock.”
The daughter of Cuban immigrants, Ms. Trelles is a CantoMundo Fellow and the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Her work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry; Best of the Net; Verse Daily; Big Enough For Words: Poems and Vintage Photographs from California’s Central Coast and others.
She teaches creative writing at Santa Barbara City College, where she also coordinates the Writing Center. In 2022, she was selected as one of 22 poets in the United States to receive a Poet Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets.
MPS production coordinator Mark Zolezzi is a musician and has worked as a bookseller for 20 years in both college and independent bookstores. He has performed in many venues and festivals, including the Art Center of South Florida; South by Southwest in Austin, Texas; the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood, Florida; the Miami Book Fair; and the City Link Music Festival.
He has released albums under the Ant Lunch Musick and Hotown Records labels and received a bachelor’s degree in communication from Florida Atlantic University. He is the textbook and tradebook buyer at Santa Barbara City College and has served at times as a community radio deejay at kcsb.org – 91.9 FM. He can also be found busking on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara with his band, The Gruntled.
The Mission Poetry Series was founded in 2009 on the historic grounds of the Old Mission Santa Barbara by poet and activist Paul Fericano and Susan Blomstad, a sister in the Order of St. Francis. Paul and Susan co-directed the series for five seasons, from 2009 to 2014.