S119. Vulnerability as a Radical Act

B115, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1
Saturday, March 30, 2019
9:00 am to 10:15 am


What happens when we abandon artifice and armor in a poem? When we write into uncomfortable spaces? Risky speech acknowledges the porousness of a poem, letting us see the connective tissue between writer and writing, self and world. Panelists explore how a poetics of vulnerability can enact transformation while resisting the culture of bluster, gaslighting, and dehumanizing rhetoric. Can a relationship forged in vulnerability between reader and writer allow for different kinds of change?



Sasha West’s first book, Failure and I Bury the Body, won the National Poetry Series and a Texas Institute of Letters award. She is working on a manuscript about climate change. She teaches in Austin, Texas, as an assistant professor of creative writing at St. Edward’s University.

Elyse Fenton is the author of the poetry collections Clamor and Sweet Insurgent. She has published poetry and nonfiction in The New York Times, Best New Poets, Pleiades, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.

Laurie Filipelli is the author of two books of poems: Elseplace and Girl Paper Stone. She lives in Austin where she coaches, edits, and blogs as Mighty Writing.

Celeste Guzman Mendoza is codirector and cofounder of CantoMundo. Her poetry and essays have been published in various anthologies and journals. Her first collection of poetry is Beneath the Halo.

Emily Pérez is the author of House of Sugar, House of Stone, and the chapbooks Made and Unmade and Backyard Migration Route. A CantoMundo fellow, she has received funding and support from Bread Loaf, the Artist Trust, Jack Straw Writers, and the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center