New Voice Series: featuring Jennifer S. Cheng, with Karla Myn Khine and Evelyn Jo, plus music by Neblinas del Pacífico

The Poetry Center presents the fourth iteration of its New Voice Series, featuring poet Jennifer S. Cheng, with Karla Myn Khine, and Evelyn Jo. The New Voice Series brings together a poet alum of SF State's Creative Writing MFA (or MA) program, a current graduate student in that program, and an undergrad poet (any major) selected from across the SF State campus. Poetry Center student staff select the undergraduate poet, based on an open call for work, and introduce the writers. Following the poets, we'll turn it into a party with music by Neblinas del Pacífico (whose members include current MFA candidate in Creative Writing May-Li Khoe and Federico Ardila, Professor of Mathematics at SF State). Join us!

The Poetry Center reading room is located on the fifth floor of the Humanities Building at SF State, and is wheelchair accessible.

VIDEO for this program will be posted after editing at Poetry Center Digital Archive

Evelyn Jo is a soon-to-be graduating senior at San Francisco State University with a double major in International Business and Creative Writing and a double minor in Marketing and Women and Gender Studies. Her passion for writing ignited during her first-grade daily writing assignments when her teacher stealthily slid her a thesaurus in a successful endeavor to replace the infinite "sooooooooo..."- synonyms: very, really, tremendously. She aspires to create a space for fellow realism escapists struggling to live and needing a reprieve through her writing.

Karla Myn Khine is a Filipino-Burmese poet and writer from South Texas, currently pursuing her MFA at San Francisco State where she also teaches and is a recent recipient of the Daniel Langton Poetry Prize, an Academy of American Poets University Award, and a Marcus Graduate Scholar. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Pinch, Sho Poetry JournalPoets.org, Radar Poetry, and elsewhere. You can find out more at karlakhine.com.

Jennifer S. Cheng received her BA from Brown University, MFA in Nonfiction Writing from the University of Iowa, and MFA in Poetry from San Francisco State University. She is the author of: MOON: Letters, Maps, Poems (2018), selected by Bhanu Kapil as winner of the Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize and named a Publishers Weekly “Best Book of 2018”; House A (2016), selected by Claudia Rankine as winner of the Omnidawn Poetry Book Prize; and Invocation: An Essay (2010), an image-text chapbook published by New Michigan Press. Her poetry, lyric essays, and image-text compositions appear in Tin House, The Atlantic, POETRY Magazine, The Nation, Catapult, Lit Hub, The Normal School, Hong Kong 20/20 (a PEN HK anthology), Bettering American Poetry, The Best of Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. Having grown up in Texas, Hong Kong, and Connecticut, she lives in rapture of the coastal prairies of northern California. Cheng is a founding member of The Ruby, a gathering space for women and non-binary artists and writers, as well as a founding editor of Drop Leaf Press, a women-run experiment in textual, tactile objects. Occasionally she teaches creative writing in graduate programs and community settings. More at jenniferscheng.com Photo by Gary Tsang.

Neblinas del Pacífico weaves a sonic tapestry of marimba de chonta music from the Afro-Colombian Pacific coast: music of rivers and mangroves, of percussive polyrhythms and multi-part harmonies, of spirituality and everyday life, of ancestors and tradition, of celebration and resistance.

Neblinas del Pacífico presenta un tejido sonoro de música de marimba de chonta del Pacífico Afro-Colombiano: música de ríos y manglares, de poliritmos y armonías, de espiritualidad y cotidianidada, de ancestrxs y tradición, de celebración y resistencia.

Based in La Mission and East Oakland, the members of Neblinas have roots in Colombia, Indonesia, and China. They’ve collaborated with Acción Latina, People’s Kitchen Collective, Youth Speaks, Colectivo Colombia Resiste, Fred Moten, Guache, and the Matatu Festival, among others, as well as the vibrant community of musicians in La Mission. Neblinas del Pacífico partners with and contributes 50% of all proceeds to Black-led grassroots community initiatives in Buenaventura, Guapi, Timbiquí, Tumaco, Quibdó, and Cali, Colombia.


New Voice Series 2021–2023 on video

Neblinas del Pacífico, 2023, on 24th Street in the Mission

New Voice Series: featuring Meliza Bañales, with Carlos Quinteros III and Hilary Cruz Mejia

  • Mask requested for in-person attendance
  • Tune in to the video livestream

The Poetry Center presents the New Voice Series, in its third annual iteration. The series features a poet alum of SF State, in combination with a current SF State Creative Writing graduate student poet, and an undergraduate student poet at SF State, each reading their work and engaging in conversation with each other and the audience. For this year's event, Meliza Bañales will appear as featured poet, along with Carlos Quinteros III and Hilary Cruz Mejia. Participants in the series are selected by Poetry Center student staff. Please join us!

Meliza Bañales (aka Missy Fuego) is an author, advocate, and adventurer. They are originally from Los Angeles, where she grew up the youngest of four children to a Mexican-American father and a Scottish-Dutch mother. She was a fixture in the Spoken-Word, Slam, & Queer artist communities of the SF Bay Area from 1996-2011, touring with Sister Spit and Body Heat. She competed on three national poetry slam teams (98, 99, & 02) and was Grand Slam Champion in 2002. Her short films have appeared at Frameline and Outfest, and she was the inaugural winner of the Jury Award at the Los Angeles Transgender Film Festival in 2011. They served as a Lecturer of Literature and Creative Writing at UC San Diego from 2015-2020. She was a 2016 Lambda Literary Finalist for Best LGBTQ Debut Fiction for their novel Life Is Wonderful, People Are Terrific. Their work has been anthologized in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe since 1997 and has been featured on NPR, Encyclopedia Brittanica, Lodestar Quarterly, and The Washington Square Review. They received a BA with Honors in Literature from UC Santa Cruz in 2000 and an MA in English & an MFA in Poetry from San Francisco State University in 2003. Their new book, roōt for the underdog: poems, is out now on Dodsworth Books. They live in Los Angeles and Central Coast California.

Carlos Quinteros III is a wandering writer and educator who believes in spreading positivity through productivity. He graduated from San Francisco State University in the Spring of 2020. He began his MFA in Poetry at San Francisco State in the Fall of 2020. He is the Managing and Poetry Editor for the literary magazine The ANA. He is an award-winning poet and has been published in 14 Hills, Seen and Heard, and self-publishes work through the craft of bookbinding.

Hilary Cruz Mejia (she/they) is a queer Guatemalan poet and a first-generation college student residing in the SF Bay Area. You can find their latest published poem "as if revolution is made of puddles" in sPARKLE & bLINK 115, an anthology of Quiet Lightning/Better Ancestors. Outside of writing, they spend their time learning their abuela's recipes and being a cat auntie. 

Video, earlier programs in the series:

New Voice Series, featuring Raul Ruiz, with Zêdan Xelef, Alexiz Angel Romero, and Bianca White: May 5, 2022

New Voice Series, featuring Dan Lau, with Edward Gunawan, and Carlos Osoria: May 5, 2021

New Voice Series, featuring Raul Ruiz, with Zêdan Xelef, Alexiz Angel Romero, and Bianca White

  • This program also available via live-stream and at the same link after the event.

The Poetry Center presents the New Voice Series, in its second annual iteration. The series features a poet alum of SF State, in combination with a current SF State Creative Writing graduate student poet, and (this year) two undergraduate student poets at SF State, to each read their work and engage in conversation. Participants in the series are selected by Poetry Center student staff. For this year's event, Raul Ruiz will appear as featured poet, along with Zêdan Xelef, Alexiz Angel Romero, and Bianca White. Please join us!

  • Please note: proof of vaccination and mask are required in order to attend in person.
  • And then one day we decided we weren’t children anymore, we decided we weren’t going to drag our lives across this country of fences to live out the heartbreaking demands of walls. We weren’t going to become men, weren’t going to wake up in the burning mouth of last night’s whiskeys for the rest of our yellow days like our fathers and the broken guns before them. We weren’t going to wait until our dust forgave us in death to touch with eager hands our wings. We weren’t going to forget the piano part of our bodies, the part of us every flower touched when we slept, the corner of our hearts more secret than poems (do you think you’ve ever held a poem in your hand? Prove it. Prove it with the eager shadow of your shadow)
    —Raul Ruiz

Raul Ruiz is a Spanish interpreter who lives and works in San Francisco. An MFA graduate of SF State (2015), Ruiz has a chapbook titled Mustard forthcoming in 2022 from Drop Leaf Press.

Zêdan Xelef is a poet, translator, and cultural preservationist from Mesopotamia. His poems and translations have appeared in Poetry, Los Angeles Review of Books, Words Without Borders, World Literature Today, Tripwire Journal, Asymptote, Epiphany, and Plume, among others. His translation of Selim Temo's Selected Poems from Kurmanji, in collaboration with Alana Marie Levinson-LaBrosse, comes out from Pinsapo Press in Fall 2022. He attends the MFA program at San Francisco State University. 

Alexiz Angel Romero is a queer, gender-nonconforming, Latinx poet from Oxnard, CA, studying for their BS in Chemistry and minor in Queer Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University

Bianca White is currently a Creative Writing and Liberal Studies major at SFSU. She lives in the East Bay with her mom and sisters. Her poem "Now that I'm Blooming: Things I Hope to Learn" can be found in Transfer Magazine Issue 122. You’ll find her drinking boba milk tea and writing more poetry!