Living Writers Series Spring 2018

A Knotted Atlas: Writers on Entanglement

This spring quarter will feature eight contemporary writers who explore the knotted spaces and generative possibilities of entangled lives. Their works illuminate the historical enmeshment of cruel futures and hidden histories, persons and things, race and freedom, kinship and loss, and the human and non-human natural world.

April 12: Sherwin Bitsui 

April 26: Leif Haven, Jared Harvey

May 3: Courtney Kersten

May 17: Carmen Gimenez Smith and giovanni singleton

May 24: Sawako Nakayasu

May 31: Robin Coste Lewis

June 7: UCSC Creative Writing Program, Undergraduate Student Reading

Humanities Lecture Hall, 206
Thursdays, 5:20-6:50 PM
All Readings are Free and Open to the Public 
Contact: Chris Chen (

This event is co-sponsored by the Porter College George Hitchcock Poetry Endowment,  American Indian Resource Center, El Centro, Asian American/Pacific Islander Resource Center, Laurie Sain Creative Writing Endowment, the Chicano Latino Research Center, Cowell College, Bay Tree Bookstore, the Siegfried B. and Elisabeth M. Puknat Literary Series Endowment, the Literature Department, and the Creative Writing Program. 


  • Sherwin Bitsui

    Originally from White Cone, Arizona, on the Navajo Reservation, Sherwin Bitsui is the author of two collections of poetry, Flood Song (Copper Canyon) and Shapeshift (University of Arizona Press). He is Diné of the Todí­ch’ii’nii (Bitter Water Clan), born for the Tlizí­laaní­ (Many Goats Clan) and holds an AFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program and a BA from University of Arizona in Tucson. His recent honors include a 2011 Lannan Foundation Literary Fellowship and a 2011 Native Arts & Culture Foundation Arts Fellowship. He is also the recipient of 2010 PEN Open Book Award, an American Book Award, and a Whiting Writers Award. Bitsui has published his poems in NarrativeBlack Renaissance NoirAmerican PoetThe Iowa Review, LIT, and elsewhere.

    Steeped in Native American culture, mythology, and history, Bitsui’s poems reveal the tensions in the intersection of Native American and contemporary urban culture. As an ecopoet, his poems are imagistic, surreal, and rich with details of the landscape of the Southwest.

  • Leif Haven Martinson

    Leif Haven Martinson is a writer, poet, and designer. His first book, Arcane Rituals From The Future, was selected by Claudia Rankine as the winner of the 1913 Book Prize and published by 1913 Press in 2016. He is currently the Lead Designer at Botanic Technologies, where he helps develop chatbots, voice assistants, and avatars. Previously, he developed user-centered web services for the City of Oakland and designed educational games and experiences about CRISPR, neutrinos, and gardening in space with Field Day Lab, an education innovation lab at the University of Wisconsin.

  • Jared Harvey

    Jared Harvey (Jared Joseph) is the author of Drowsy. Drowsy Baby from Civil Coping Mechanisms and, alongside Sara Peck, the co-author of here you are via Horse Less Press. Recent work has been published in Fence, Yes, and Prelude, while maybe a million chapbooks float around. He lives in Santa Cruz.

  • Courtney Kersten

    Courtney Kersten is the author of Daughter in Retrograde: A Memoir (University of Wisconsin Press 2018). Her essays can be seen or are forthcoming from BrevityThe Normal SchoolRiver TeethHotel AmerikaDIAGRAMThe Sonora ReviewBlack Warrior ReviewThe Master’s ReviewBrevity and elsewhere. She was a Fulbright Fellow to Riga, Latvia, and is currently a PhD student in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California at Santa Cruz. 

  • Carmen Giménez Smith

    Born in New York, poet Carmen Giménez Smith earned a BA in English from San Jose State University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa. She writes lyric essays as well as poetry, and is the author of the poetry chapbook Casanova Variations (2009), the full-length collection Odalisque in Pieces (2009), and the memoir Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else (2010). Her most recent book, Milk and Filth (2013), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her poems have been included in the anthologies Floricanto Si! U.S. Latina Poets (1998) and Contextos: Poemas (1994). Giménez Smith is the editor-in-chief of Puerto del Sol and publisher of Noemi Press. She teaches at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

  • giovanni singleton

    giovanni singleton is a native of Richmond, Virginia, a former debutant, and founding editor of nocturnes (re)view of the literary arts, a journal dedicated to experimental work of the African Diaspora and other contested spaces. Her debut poetry collection, Ascension (Counterpath Press), informed by the music and life of Alice Coltrane, received the 81st California Book Award Gold Medal. She has received fellowships from the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Workshop, Napa Valley Writers Conference, and Cave Canem. singleton regularly consults and gives presentations on writing, editing, graphic design, and publishing at high schools, colleges, and conferences. Her work has appeared in What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in AmericaBest American Experimental WritingInquiring MindAngles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology, and elsewhere, and has also been exhibited in the Smithsonian Institute’s American Jazz Museum, San Francisco’s first Visual Poetry and Performance Festival, and on the building of Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. She has taught poetry at the de Young Museum, CalArts, Naropa University, and Sonoma State University. She was the 2015-16 Visiting Assistant Professor in the creative writing programs at New Mexico State University and currently coordinates the Lunch Poems reading series at UC Berkeley. A new book, American Letters: works on paper, was published by Canarium Books in 2018.

  • Sawako Nakayasu

    Sawako Nakayasu is a transnational poet, translator, and occasional performance artist who has lived in Japan, France, China, and the US. Her books include The Ants and Texture Notes, and recent translations include The Collected Poems of Chika Sagawa, and Costume en Face – a handwritten notebook of Tatsumi Hijikata’s dance notations. She is co-editor, with Lisa Samuels, of A Transpacific Poetics, a gathering of poetry and poetics engaging transpacific imaginaries. She teaches at Brown University.

  • Robin Coste Lewis

    Robin Coste Lewis is the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus (2015), the winner of National Book Award for Poetry. Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies, including The Massachusetts ReviewCallalooThe Harvard Gay & Lesbian ReviewTransition, and VIDA

    Lewis earned her MFA from NYU’s Creative Writing Program where she was a Goldwater fellow in poetry. She also earned a MTS degree in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from Harvard Divinity School. She is a Cave Canem fellow and was awarded a Provost’s fellowship in the Creative Writing & Literature PhD Program at USC. Other fellowships and awards include the Caldera Foundation, the Ragdale Foundation, the Headlands Center for the Arts, the Can Serrat International Art Centre in Barcelona, and the Summer Literary Seminars in Kenya. She was a finalist for the International War Poetry Prize, the National Rita Dove Prize, and semi-finalist for the “Discovery”/Boston Review Prize and the Crab Orchard Series Open Poetry Prize.  

    Lewis has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, Hampshire College and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris. Born in Compton, California, her family is from New Orleans.