S261. Post-MFA vs. POC: Five Poets Speak About and Read from First Books

D137-138, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
3:00 pm to 4:15 pm


In his essay “MFA vs. POC,” Junot Díaz sparked an important conversation about MFA programs, lack of representation in workshops, and meeting the needs of writers of color. In this panel, five poets extend this discourse to talk about writing after the MFA. They discuss what resources helped them publish first books, including writing communities and conferences, PhD programs, and finding editors who value their work. Each panelist also reads from their recently published collection.



Michelle Brittan Rosado is the author of Why Can't It Be Tenderness, selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil for the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry. She holds an MFA from California State University, Fresno, and is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing & Literature at University of Southern California.

Steven Sanchez is a CantoMundo Fellow and Lambda Literary Fellow. His debut book of poems, Phantom Tongue, was selected by Mark Doty as the winner of the Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Fresno State.

Douglas Manuel received a BA from Arizona State University and a MFA from Butler University. He is a fellow at the University of Southern California where he is pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing. His first full length collection of poems, Testify, was released by Red Hen Press.

Ife-Chudeni A. Oputa is a writer, editor, and the author of Rummage, winner of the 2015 Little A Poetry Contest & 2018 Lambda Literary Award finalist. She is a Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Lambda Literary fellow. Her poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Some Call it Ballin, and elsewhere.

Ángel García is the author of Teeth Never Sleep, winner of the 2018 CantoMundo Poetry Prize. A CantoMundo fellow and a recipient of the Lukas Riveros Amani Fellowship from Vermont Studio Center, his poems have been included in American Poetry Review, McSweeney's, Crab Orchard Review, and Huizache.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center