Category Archives: 2018

Events from 2018

Robin Davidson & Tony Diaz

Robin Davidson is author of two poetry chapbooks, Kneeling in the Dojo and City that Ripens on the Tree of the World, as well as a full collection, Luminous Other, which received the Ashland Poetry Press’s 2012 Richard Snyder Memorial Publication Prize. She is co-translator with Ewa Elżbieta Nowakowska of The New Century: Poems from the Polish of Ewa Lipska, and is completing a second volume of translations of Lipska’s recent Droga pani Schubert (Dear Mrs. Schubert) poems. She has received, among other awards, a Fulbright professorship at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland and a National Endowment for the Arts translation fellowship. Davidson served as the 2015-2017 Poet Laureate for the City of Houston under the leadership of Mayors Annise Parker and Sylvester Turner, and was a finalist for Texas State Poet Laureate in 2017. She is a member of the artist-run, cooperative literary press Calypso Editions, and teaches literature and creative writing as professor of English for the University of Houston-Downtown.

Writer, activist, and professor Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, was the first Chicano to graduate from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. He holds an MFA in Fiction. He’s the author of the novel The Aztec Love God, and his essays have appeared in the Houston Chronicle, The Texas Observer,, the Los Angeles Times, and The Huffington Post Latino Voices, among other publications. He is included in Hecho En Tejas: The Anthology of TEXAS MEXICAN Writers and Literary Houston. He recently launched the column “The Cultural Accelerator” to address issues that other publications don’t address in a unique style and point of view.  

In 1998, he founded the organization Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say, to promote Latino literature and literacy. Nuestra Palabra has organized and conducted the largest book fairs in Houston, and created the Nuestra Palabra radio show. Through the NP MFA program, 14 Latinos have been inspired and guided to earn Master’s degrees in Writing.

Diaz made national and international news in 2012 by leading veteran members of Nuestra Palabra to organize a Librotraficante Caravan to smuggle contraband books into Arizona in defiance of the state’s Mexican American Studies ban. He has been a leading advocate for Mexican American Studies statewide, and was the lead writer and editor for the textbook The Mexican American Studies Toolkit. He is also an educational consultant for school districts implementing innovative curricula.   

Diaz is a political analyst on the show “What’s Your Point,” which airs on Fox 26 Houston. He also hosts the weekly bilingual radio program “Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say,” which covers Latino literature, art, and politics on KPFT 90.1 FM Houston.


Martha Serpas & Peter Turchi

Martha Serpas is the author of three collections of poetry, The DienerThe Dirty Side of the Storm; and Côte Blanche. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and Image: A Journal of the Arts and Religion, as well as in a number of anthologies. A native of south Louisiana, she remains active in efforts to restore Louisiana’s wetlands. Since 2006 she has worked as a trauma hospital chaplain. She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at The University of Houston.

Peter Turchi is the author of five books, and co-editor of three anthologies. The recipient of fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches fiction and nonfiction at the University of Houston.

New Creative Writing Graduate Students

Before starting the University of Houston’s Creative Writing PhD, Nick Rattner taught English at Holyoke Community College and coached high school basketball. He is a former basketball journalist and Editor for Ugly Duckling Presse. With Marta del Pozo, he has translated the work of poets Yván Yauri and Czar Gutiérrez. Recent work can be found in The Columbia Review, Beautiful Losers, Asymptote, Exchanges, and InTranslation.

A native Houstonian, Sonia Hamer earned her BA in English from Rice University. She has been the recipient of the Marion Barthelme Prize in Creative Writing at Rice University, the Larry McMurtry Prize in Fiction, and the George Williams Prize in Non-Fiction.   

Hunter Gilson is a first-year MFA student. Before joining the Creative Writing Program at UH, he received a BA and MA from Kansas State University.

Colby Ornell is originally from a small town in central Massachusetts. She has a BA in English Literature from Wheaton College (MA) and an MFA in Fiction from Butler University. Her work has appeared in The Cobalt Review and Curbside Splendor.

Madeleine Maillet is a writer, translator and editor. Her work has appeared in Prism International, THIS Magazine, Joyland, The Journey Prize Stories Anthology and other places. She is happy to be a brand new PhD Candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Houston.

Despy Boutris is a Berkeley, California native currently earning her MFA in creative writing at the University of Houston. Her poems have been featured in several publications, and she was awarded Editor’s Choice in 2016, Second Place in 2017, and First Place in 2018 in California Polytechnic State University’s yearly literary journal, Byzantium.

Grace Wagner is an incoming a MFA in poetry. She just graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado Denver where she studied with Wayne Miller, Brian Barker, and Nicky Beer. She has attended the New York Summer Writers Institute and her work can be found in Salmagundi Magazine, which featured nine of her poems.

Blaine Ely received a BA from Western Kentucky University, an MA from Auburn University, and an MFA from the University of Oregon. He has worked in both retail and agriculture, as well as in the oil and gas industry, and his fiction has appeared in Ninth Letter and Shenandoah. He is from Kentucky.

Brittny Ray Crowell, a native of Texarkana, TX, received her BA in English from Spelman College, followed by an MA in English from Texas A&M-Texarkana. Her work focuses on the hidden mythologies, dreams, traumas, and sensualities of the black contemporary south. In addition to poetry and creative writing, her interests also include studying the intersections between religion and hip hop.

Obi Calvin Umeozor received his B.A. in English from the University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and taught English Literature before moving to the States in 2015, where he obtained an MFA in Creative Writing from Florida State University. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the New Orleans Review, Southeast Review, Shift and others. He was shortlisted for the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.


Glass Mountain #20

Lida Hedayatpour is a sophomore attending UH’s Honors College. While she is seeking a career in law or academia, one of Lida’s hobbies is to write poetry. She most commonly writes about love, mental strife, and her relationship being both an Iranian and an American citizen. She has been published in Z Publishing’s Best Emerging Poet Series, has taken a poetry writing course at UH, and performed spoken word at Girls Rock, an event which showcases the talents of women at the University of Houston.

Jeremy Amorin is a writer, filmmaker, and entrepreneur from Houston, TX, who aspires to be a renowned name in original fiction throughout the world. He is a first-generation American—both of his parents are from Accra, Ghana—and his dream career is unencumbered storytelling through every available medium, from literature to film to music and more.

Erin Andrea is full of nightmares and fears. She beats them up in Krav Maga and runs from them on horseback through the desert. She also feels compelled to share them in her writing. She’s an undergraduate student with the University of Houston, and Glass Mountain is her published writing debut.

D.M. Rice is a nonbinary writer from Dallas, TX with interests including psychoanalysis, ancient religions, and a nice cup of tea. DM has recently completed a short novel, We Three Kings, is negotiating a contract for a book of erasure poems carved out of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther, and is attempting to secure permissions for a screenplay adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.


Wanjiku wa Ngugi & Peter Kimani

Wanjiku wa Ngugi is author of the novel The Fall of Saints, as well as the founder and former director of the Helsinki African Film Festival. She has been a columnist for the Finnish development magazine Maailman Kuvalehti, and her essays and short stories have been published in Wasafiri Magazine, The Herald (Zimbabwe), The Daily Nation & Business Daily, Pambazuka News, and Chimurenga, among others. She is currently completing her MFA in the University of Houston Creative Writing Program.

Peter Kimani is an award-winning journalist and author of the acclaimed historical novel Dance of the Jakaranda, which was selected as  a New York Times Editors’ Choice and a New York Times Notable Book of 2017.  Kimani’s previous work includes the novel Before the Rooster Crows, and the children’s novel Upside Down, for which he was awarded the 2011 Jomo Kenyatta Prize for Literature, Kenya’s highest literary honor. His poetry appears in several anthologies, and he was one of only three international poets commissioned by National Public Radio to compose and recite a poem to mark Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009. Kimani received his formal education in Kenya, the United Kingdom, and the United States, where he earned a doctorate in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston in 2014. He is a founding faculty member of the Graduate School of Media and Communications at Aga Khan University in Nairobi, Kenya, and is currently a Visiting Writer at Amherst College.

Henk Rossouw & Novuyo Rosa Tshuma

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Henk Rossouw’s book-length poem Xamissa won the Poets Out Loud Editor’s Prize and will be published in Fall 2018 by Fordham University Press. Best American Experimental Writing 2018 (Wesleyan University Press) features an excerpt. His chapbook Xamissa: The Water Archives is part of the boxset New-Generation African Poets: Tano (Akashic Books/African Poetry Book Fund), along with the work of ten other writers connected to the continent. His poems have come out in The Paris Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Boston Review. He holds an MFA from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and a PhD from the University of Houston. Currently, Henk is a visiting assistant professor in the University of Houston’s Honors College and an associate editor for Tupelo Quarterly.

Novuyo Rosa Tshuma is the author of the forthcoming novel House of Stone (Atlantic Books, UK, June 2018, W. W. Norton, USA, January 2019). A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop (2015), where she was a recipient of the Maytag and TWF Fellowships, as well as a Rydson Award, she is a native of Zimbabwe, has lived in South Africa and the USA, and is a recipient of the Inprint Fondren Foundation/Michael and Nina Zilkha Fellowship at the UH Creative Writing Program. Shadows, her short story collection, was published to critical acclaim by Kwela in South Africa (2013) and awarded the 2014 Herman Charles Bosman Prize. Novuyo has received writing residencies from the Rockefeller Foundation’s prestigious Bellagio Programme and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. She has work forthcoming in McSweeney’s (Issue 52, March 2018) and The Displaced (Abrams Press, April 2018), an anthology edited by the Pulitzer Prize winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen. Novuyo serves on the Editorial Advisory Board and is a Fiction Editor at The Bare Life Review, a journal of refugee and immigrant literature.