Elisa Grajeda-Urmston is a Mexican American poet who was born and raised in Southern California, and graduated from California State University, San Bernardino with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts/Poetry. She has worked in the music industry for nearly 40 years as a singer/guitarist for bands that played all over the American Southwest in venues such as The Luxor, The Golden Nugget, Disney, The Crazy Horse Saloon, and The Excalibur. Her poetry is informed by the music and lyrics of the songs she has spent a lifetime performing, as well as the experiences only an itinerant musician can know.
Currently, her work still includes musical performance, but she also teaches English and creative writing at both VictorValley Community College and Barstow Community College in the Mojave Desert. She also works as a vocal coach and is a writer and editor for HD Living Magazine. She is also the in-house editor for the Mexican American Baseball book series, available on Arcadia Press.
Her own work has been featured in Xicano Poetry Daily, Whistling Fire, Palabra Magazine, The Pacific Review, and Tin Cannon.
Elisa's Community Service
- As a musician and entertainer, Elisa has donated performances for various charitable events, most notably the Relay for Life and the Desert Heritage awards ceremonies.
- She has led writing workshops, and has been a performer, presenter and facilitator for the Desert Heritage Writing Foundation through Barstow Community College
- She has fostered/rescued over 35 dogs over the past five years ensuring these dogs would not be euthanized in the shelter system. She is currently affiliated with Patch Rescue, a 501c3 charity
- And as creative writing instructor, she has worked to foster confidence in her students as well a love for writing, and has encouraged her students to submit writing to major literary journals
Micah Tasaka is a queer mixed Japanese poet from the Inland Empire exploring the intersections of identity, spirituality, gender, sexuality, and transformation. They received their undergraduate degree in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside. They have performed throughout Southern California and have featured in Riverside, Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Palm Springs. Their debut chapbook, Whales in the Watertank, was self-published in 2014. They have written for The Blood Jet Writing Hour literary blog, and their work was published in the In The Words Of Women 2016 International Anthology and Inlandia: A Literary Journey, Volume VI, Issue I, Spring 2016.
Micah's Community Service
- Micah is a writing tutor at multiple community colleges in the Inland Empire, working closely with ESL populations and attempting to inspire a love of writing in their students.
- They teach creative writing workshops to at risk queer youth, queer people of color in the Inland Empire, and those interested in developing their writing skills as a means of healing from trauma.
- They work as a healer and Reiki practitioner and offer their services to queer and trans folks and women recovering from assault, abuse, and injury.
- Since 2014, they have volunteered and been an active performer at Monday Night RUPO, an open mic in Downtown Riverside.
- Micah also organizes poetry shows with fellow poets and spoken word artists to strengthen and expand the poetry community and to bring awareness to the incredible talent breeding in the Inland Empire.
- They have been a member of various queer/trans, poc, and women of color activist groups such as the Inland Empire Feminist Collective, Liberacion Ya!, and Women and Queer People of Color for Decolonization. They have led and participated in educational workshops, self defense classes, and food distribution programs.
In one word, Ginger M. Galloway can be described as intricate. Ginger is the author of several poetic collections, novellas, children's books, and stage plays. She enjoys art and has penned illustrations for two picture storybooks and a coloring book. Her other interests and hobbies include crochet, knitting, quilting, and reading. She is an educator and loves to engage her students in creative, performing and expressive arts. Ginger and her husband, Richard, live in Menifee with four of their seven children. She is a freelance writer and writing coach. Her books can be found on Amazon.
Ginger's Community Service
Teacher and administrator of a private Christian school in Menifee, California.
Cofounder of three nonprofit organizations for art and literature in the community.
Author of two books for children: Color! - A Coloring Book of Affirmations & What I Really Want to Be.
Playwright and director for several community plays for and about black women.
Born in Iloilo City, Philippines, Angela Peñaredondo is a poet and artist from Los Angeles, California.
Currently, she is part of the University of California, Riverside’s MFA program in Creative Writing. Angela is a recipient of a Gluck Fellowship, Fishtrap Fellowship, University of Los Angeles California’s Community Access Scholarship in poetry and a Mendocino Coast Writers Conference (MCWC) Scholarship.
She was selected as runner-up for the 2012 Atlantis Poetry Award, and won 2nd place for MCWC’s 2012 Poetry contest.
Her work has appeared in Burningword, the Poet’s Billow, 20x20 Magazine, Global Graffiti and Noyo River Review. Her work was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Angela's Community Service
Administered and facilitated interdisciplinary art programs serving at-risk youth populations throughout the Los Angeles County. Many of these locations included charter schools, probation camps and juveniles halls,
Volunteered for art as activism-based organizations such as Mujeres de Maiz and The Roots and Wings Project, whose objectives were utilizing art programs as a tool for gang prevention and intervention.
Selected for a television interview on LA18 (a channel targeted towards the Los Angeles Asian community) to promote the work of court-appointed special advocates for youth in the foster care system.
- Worked as a disaster relief volunteer in Tacloban, an island in the Philippines that was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda.
A native Californian, Romaine is a graduate of Azusa Pacific University with a Master in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in French from California State University San Bernardino whose poetry has been published in Stand Our Ground: Anthology for Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander, Defining Moment: Anthology of Teachers’ Writing, Brothers & Others: Anthology of Black Women Writing About Black Men, The Verdict is In: Anthology on the L.A. Uprising, Lullwater Review: Emory University, California English: A Home for Hip-Hop, The Black Scholar, New Directions: Howard University, Number One, San Fernando Poetry Journal, Blue Milk: Art Periodical, Buckle &, Phineas, and the chapbook Coffeehouse Chatter published by Red Dancefloor Press.
Romaine has been a featured poet in a wide variety of venues. In addition to featured performances she has also presented her poetry on community television programs in Georgia and on a variety of radio programs from National Public Radio (NPR) to KPFK Los Angeles, KUCB Santa Barbara, WRFG and WAOK in Atlanta, Georgia.
Romaine's Community Service
- Romaine is an active member in the California poetry community and participates as a feature and in open mics, as well as poetry workshops.
- A fellow of the Inland Area Writing Project (IAWP) University California Riverside (UCR), Romaine served as poet-in-resident at the Riverside Mission Inn for three years. In IAWP, she has also been a presenter and facilitator in the Summer Writing Program on the UCR campus.
- She is a public high school teacher in California. To foster a love and appreciation of poetry in her students she invites poets and spoken word artists to perform in her classroom and on campus. Her students are also encouraged to attend and participate in local college and community poetry readings.
Cindy Rinne has created fine art for over 25 years. She started creating fiber poetry over fifteen years ago. She draws with thread, paints, stamps, burns or bleaches fabric. Cindy writes original poetry which often appears as a part of the art work. Her work emphasizes using fiber as collage with embellishment. She enjoys using vintage fabrics, laces, buttons and Japanese fabrics among other textures.
Cindy has exhibited internationally. Cindy’s works have been featured in the San Bernardino Sun, Redlands Daily Facts, Riverside Press Enterprise, Los Angeles Times, “Art/Quilt Magazine” and “Sew Somerset” magazine.
Cindy is the managing curator for SAQA@20:Art & Excellence. This international 20th Anniversary show for the Studio Art Quilts Associates premiered in Houston in 2009. Cindy had art work in the TAQS exhibit in Taiwan and the national exhibition, “Like Water on Rock” (a traveling show) in Los Angeles, CA in 2009. Both of these shows included catalogs.
Ms. Rinne's Community Projects
- A family workshop series of visual poetry for the City of Fontana, CA, 2014 and two family visual poetry workshops, "Words of Life" workshop at the First Presbyterian Church, San Bernardino, CA 2011 and "Raven Observes the World" at the San Bernardino County Museum, Redlands, CA 2012 as well as guest teacher in fourth grade classes in visual poetry at Trapp Elementary School, Rialto, CA 2012.
- Poetry editor as a guest from the community in 2014 working with the students as a team at Crafton Hills College to produce the literary magazine, “The Sand Canyon Review.”
- Art openings in 2014 at the Bunny Gunner Gallery and the Buddhamouse Emporium in Claremont, CA.
- Future Projects: “Stars Rising”, a collaborative art and writing workshop held at La Sierra University in a sociology class. PoetrIE, a non-profit organization that is working with graduate students from CSUSB in San Bernardino, CA to present poetry events to the public. House of Ruth poetry workshop series, sponsored by PoetrIE, which will bring poetry prompts and writing projects to abused women and “Collage & Gong” at Source Studio in Riverside, CA which will be an exploration of image and text that brings new discoveries, breakthrough, and healing in the process.
Keisha-Gaye Anderson is Jamaican-born poet, creative writer, and screenwriter. In 2013, she was selected to participate in the Callaloo Creative Writing workshop for fiction. In 2010 she was named a fellow by the North Country Institute for Writers of Color, and was also short listed for the Small Axe literary competition.
Keisha’s writing has appeared in a number of collections, anthologies, and literary magazines, including Renaissance Noire, The Killens Review of Arts and Letters, Small Axe Salon, Streetnotes: Cross Cultural Poetics, African Voices Magazine, Mosaic Literary Magazine, Captured by the City: Perspectives on Urban Culture, Poems on the Road to Peace: A Collective Tribute to Dr. King, Sometimes Rhythm, Sometimes Blues: Young African Americans on Love, Relationships, Sex, and the Search for Mr. Right, the Mom Egg, Caribbean in Transit Arts Journal, Women Writers in Bloom Poetry Salon blog, and Bet on Black: African American Women Celebrate Fatherhood in the Age of Barak Obama.
Her journalistic work includes news and documentary production for CBS, PBS, and Japanese television (NHK, Nippon, and others), as well as feature articles for magazines like Psychology Today, Black Enterprise, Honey, and Teen People. As a screenwriter, Keisha has written for Hallmark cable channel news programming, as well as for an independently produced sitcom, “The Married Bachelor.” Keisha graduated from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School and College of Arts and Science. She holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from The City College, CUNY.
Keisha's Community Projects
- Caribbean Cultural Theater--moderator and selected reader for Celebration of the Word Book Fest (2013, 2014) and featured poet and volunteer for CCT's Poets and Passion platform (over the past 4 years).
- Serves as host to two poetry salons/reading series: Women Writers in Bloom Salon, created/curated by JP Howard, and the Calypso Muse series, created/curated by Cheryl Boyce Taylor.
- Member of the Harlem Arts Alliance Screenwriting Workshop, lead by award-winning screenwriters Jamal Joseph, Eddie Pomerantz, and Zach Sklar.
- Founding poet with Poets for Ayiti. Proceeds from the 2010 chapbook, For the Crowns of Your Heads, helped to rebuild Biblioteque Soliel, a Port au Prince library razed during the earthquake.
- Promotes emerging artists through The Door blog. Artists include poets Ekere Tallie and Monica Hand, film maker Storm Saulter and playwrights Debra Ernheardt and Stefhen Bryan.
- Co-founded a local Block Association and heads the Family Friday Committee at a local school to create arts activities for children.
- For the past ten years, Keisha has worked as a higher education communications and marketing mmanager. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two children. Learn more about Keisha at www.keishagaye.com.