Clovis Community College Introduces Willow Poetry Series

(Clovis Community College)

Clovis Community College (CCC) will be holding their first Willow Poetry Reading Series tomorrow, April 29, from 4-5:30 p.m. via Zoom.

This event will include a discussion and reading with three award winning poets all who got their start from the Central Valley.

The reading series is free and open to the public. To attend, a registration link can be found on the CCC website.

After registering for the event a confirmation email with the Zoom link will be sent to each participant before the event tomorrow night.

The reading series is sponsored by the 2020-21 Action Plan Funds from the CCC Department Chairs and the English and Reading Department at the college.

The Willow Poetry Reading Series is an event the college will continue to host each year for students and the community to enjoy.

English Instructor at CCC Von Torres said the series is something the college will continue to host each year for students and the community to enjoy.

“There’s a writing community in Fresno and a writing history too,” Torres said.

“I hope that they (students) learn that they can see themselves in the writing…I think it’s important for people to hear people, like these poets, perform and also know that there’s this rich literary tradition.”

Torres said when choosing which poets to feature for this event, he hoped that they would inspire and show people that there are writers in the Fresno/Clovis community writing poetry and literature today.

“When they (students) choose their path to study, they don’t always have to choose the high paying career. They can choose to study literature; they could choose to study creative writing,” Torres said. “I think there’s value in that not only professionally, but even personally as well because literature and poetry gives us the chance to see the world in new ways.”

This year’s featured poets include Anthony Cody, Sara Borjas and Joseph Rios, all who began their writing journeys in the Central Valley.

Anthony Cody is a graduate of Fresno State’s MFA-Creative Writing Program and is CantoMundo Fellow from Fresno, CA.

He’s the author of “Borderland Apocrypha” (Omnidawn, 2020), is the winner of the Omnidawn Book Prize in 2018 and was a finalist in the 2020 National Book Awards.

Cody is also a 2020 Poets & Writers Debut poet, a nominee in the 2020 L.A. Times Book Award Finals and much more. Cody currently teaches ecopoetry at Fresno State and has worked alongside Juan Felipe Herrera and with the Laureate Lab Visual Wordist Studio.

Sara Borjas is a Fresno poet who is a Xicanx pocha. Borjas’ debut work “Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff,” won the 2020 American Book Award after being published in the Noemi Press in 2019.

Amongst many awards, Borja’s was the recipient of the 2014 Blue Mesa Poetry Prize, is a 2017 CantoMundo Fellow and was named one of the 2019 Poets & Writers. She currently teaches at UC Riverside and believes in resisting white supremacy in support of Black lives matter.

Joseph Rios is a graduate from Fresno City College and graduated from the University of California Berkeley. He’s the author of “Shadowboxing: Poems and Impersonations” and was the winner of the American Book Awards in 2018.

He was named as a notable debut poet by the Poets and Writers Magazine and is a fellow from CantoMundo, the Community of Writers and the University of Notre Dame. His work can be found in the San Francisco Chronicle, Poem-A-Day and much more.

Rios currently attends Bennington College in the low residency MFA program and lives in Fresno, CA.

“Places like Fresno State and Fresno City College, they’re known for their poetry,” Torres said. “But also at Clovis Community College, I also wanted to highlight and bring in poets to show that we’re part of this literary community as well.”

Halle Sembritzki
Halle Sembritzki was born in the small Swedish village of Kingsburg, California and graduated from Kingsburg High School in 2017. She now attends Fresno State and will graduate with her Bachelor’s in Multimedia Journalism in spring 2021. She aspires to use her voice as an outlet for those who can’t use their own and hopes to educate the public on important news topics happening within her community and the country.