People's Literary Festival

2023 Poets

Alan Berecka

Alan Berecka is a recently retired librarian who lives with his wife Alice and dog Ophelia in Sinton, Texas. He has published 5 full collections of poems and three chapbooks. His latest book A Living is not a Life: A Working Title was a finalist for the 2020 the Hofer Prize. Visit his website at

Corey Johnson

My name is Corey Johnson, I’m currently an online business student and a full-time Youth Prevention Specialist. Poetry isn’t a professional activity for me, but moreso a creative outlet that I use to release my thoughts and emotions! I’ve been writing short form and slam poems in a small journal since I was 15, most of which include drawings or formatting that help emphasize the feelings I want to display in my poetry.


I began reading slam poetry in my junior year of highschool in St. Louis, Missouri on a poetry team called “Slam Cats”. I’ve faced plenty of adversity in my life: being a Black Queer person growing up in a White & Christian household, going through self harm, and dealing with addiction in my family. I wanted to share what I was going through so that I was no longer alone. Doing this helped me realize that sharing my life’s experiences was helping other people share their stories as marginalized people, and not just black queer stories. Years after reading poetry competitively, I wanted to invoke the feeling of slam poetry on paper, which is when I began digitalizing my poetry journal to one day share as a book of its own.

Duante Gaiter

Daunte Gaiter is a writer from Dallas TX. He is a senior at TAMUCC, majoring in Marine Biology and minoring in Creative Writing.

Dustin Hackfeld

Dustin Marley Hackfeld is pursuing a B.A. in Literary Studies at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. His haikus have been published in Frogpond, The Heron’s Nest, and Tinywords. He is currently working on a chapbook, The Deep Line, wherein he seeks to render into organically poetic forms the myriad manifestations of creative energy surging through all existence. He lives in Ingleside, Texas with his wife, daughter, two dogs, and cat.

Edward Viduarre

Edward Vidaurre is an award-winning poet and author of eight collections of poetry. He is the 2018-2019 City of McAllen, Texas Poet Laureate, 2022 inductee to the Texas Institute of Letters, and publisher of FlowerSong Press. His writings have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Texas Observer, Los Angeles Review of Books, as well as other journals and anthologies. He has edited over 50 books and anthologies. Vidaurre resides in McAllen, Texas with his wife and daughter.

Forrest Hope

Forrest Hope is currently a high school senior at Collegiate High School where he takes both college and high school courses at Del Mar College. In the Fall 2022 semester, he was enrolled in a Creative Writing class at Del Mar. Right now, he is focused on getting his associates degree along with his high school diploma. On his days off, he enjoys spending time with his dog Cowboy.

Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs

Dr. Gutiérrez y Muhs is a poet and professor in Modern Languages and Women and Gender Studies at Seattle University. Gabriella is the author/editor of several poetry collections. She received her MA and PhD from Stanford University. She has also edited multiple anthologies and has been anthologized and published in multiple journals and anthologies like Cascadian Zen, As/Us: A Space for Women of the World, Bilingual Review: Revista Bilingüe, 25th Anniversary Issue, Quarry West Anthology, In Celebration of the Muse Anthology, Cruzando Puentes: Antología de Literatura Latina, Yellow Medicine Review, Puentes, Ventana Abierta, Camino Real, Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, Diálogo: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Last year she co-edited In Xochitl, In Cuícatl, a bilingual poetry anthology of Chicanx/Latinx poetry, published in 2021 in Madrid, Spain, (includes more than 60 poets) and another multigenre Latinx women’s anthology Indomitable/Indomables, forthcoming, with San Diego State University Press. Her latest collection ¿How Many Indians Can We Be? ¿Cuántos indios podemos ser? was recently published with Flowersong Press, 2022.

Jacob Benavides

Jacob R. Benavides is a South Texas Poet from Corpus Christi TX who holds a BA from Texas
A&M University-Corpus Christi in English with minors in Studio Art and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Jacob writes about Queer South Texas existence with special attention to themes of immateriality and transience in the cultural spaces, presented across multi-genre work in poetry, painting, fiction, and the illustrious notes app on his iPhone. Jacob has been previously published in The Windward Review, and with Texas Poetry Assignment. He has had the opportunity to work within his local literary community in both writing workshops and national poetry month celebrations. Jacob has also received HAAS writing awards for his work in poetry and is currently and hopefully looking forward to a future pursuing graduate studies in English.

Javier Villareal

Javier Villarreal, a Professor Emeritus of Spanish, holds a BA and MA in Spanish from Pan American University, Edinburg (UTRGV), and a Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. His works have appeared in numerous academic and literary journals and anthologies. His first poetry collection Entre Lluvia, canto y flor was published in 2008, and Perfiles del silencio in 2021. He edited La voz de amor of Servando Cárdenas in 2016. He is a member of the People’s Poetry Festival. Javier retired from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2015. He resides in Corpus Christi with his family, where he writes, practices photography, and promotes cultural events in South Texas.

Joe Santos Medina

Joe Santos Medina (Aka Arbol Medina) is the author of two poetry books: “Arbol Medina Poetry Volume 1: 50 Years Of My Life Poetry” and “Arbol Medina Poetry Part s II & III: A Power Source.” Joe is a Vitenam Veteran and has been married for 49 years. This former teacher from Robstown is a also a DJ for KROB Country Western Radios Station 99.9.  

Juan Antonio González

Juan Antonio González nació en Matamoros, Tamaulipas. Catedrático de Letras Hispánicas en Texas Southmost College de Brownsville, TX., es narrador, poeta, crítico literario y traductor. Su obra ha sido antologada en más de un centenar de revistas arbitradas nacionales e internacionales.  Es editor en jefe de la revista literaria arbitrada El Novosantanderino, y de la revista estudiantil De Puño y Letra. Funge como miembro del Consejo Editorial de: Revista Literaria de la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española (RANLE)Puentes, A S U, y Pegaso, U. O. Desde el 2005 es codirector del Congreso Binacional Letras en el Estuario, y con el coauspicio de Humanities Texas se han apreciado los trabajos de los Oradores Magistrales: Rolando Hinojosa Smith, Elsa Cross, Beatriz Espejo, Héctor Carreto, Carmen Boullosa, Manuel Martín Rodríguez, Jesús Rosales, Lauro Zavala, y próximamente Eduardo Langagne.

Juan Manuel Pérez

Juan Manuel Pérez, a Mexican-American poet of Indigenous descent and the Poet Laureate for Corpus Christi, Texas (2019-2020), is the author of numerous poetry books including Another Menudo Sunday (2007), O’ Dark Heaven: A Response to Suzette Haden Elgin’s Definition of Horror (2009), WUI: Written Under the Influence of Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. (2011), Live From La Pryor: The Poetry of Juan Manuel Perez: A Zavala Country Native Son, Volume I (2014), Sex, Lies, and Chupacabras (2015), Space In Pieces (2020), Screw The Wall! And Other Brown People Poems (2020), Planet Of The Zombie Zonnets: Seasons One And Two (2021), Casual Haiku (2022), Christian Haiku For The Daily You (2022), Terror Of The Zombie Zonnets: Planet Of The Zombie Zonnets Season Three (2022), and Live From La Pryor: The Poetry of Juan Manuel Perez: A Zavala Country Native Son, Volume II: The Early Chapbooks (2022), as well as, the co-editor of the speculative poetry anthologies, Unleash Your Inner Chupacabra (2012, Archive Edition 2022) and The Call Of The Chupacabra (2018). Juan is also The 2021 Horror Authors Guild’s Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award winner and a recipient of a 2021 Horror Writers Association Diversity Grant.  Juan is a ten-year Navy Corpsman/Combat Marine Medic (1987-1997) with experience in the 1991 Persian Gulf War (Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Desert Calm) attached to the 2nd Marines out of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and was also a part of the 1992 Hurricane Andrew Relief Marine Air Group Task Force that went down to provide medical support to a devastated Homestead, Florida. This two-time Teacher of the Year, along with his wife, Malia (a three-time Teacher of the Year and now Librarian), is a co-founder of The House of the Fighting Chupacabras Press. The former migrant field worker previously from La Pryor, Texas currently worships his Creator, writes as well as conducts poetry and history workshops, and chases chupacabras in the Texas Coastal Bend Area. To learn more about him got to

Matthew Murphy

Matthew Murphy is a poet, musician, and sometimes starving artist. His works focus on race, politics, and the inevitable crises that occur in your twenties. Currently working on his first collection of poetry titled “ A Work in Progress”. Matthew is a creative trying to capture emotions through both writing and music.

Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is an author, songwriter, and award-winning poet living in Wimberley, Texas. He holds a PhD in English and Journalism from the University of Oklahoma where he’s taught for over 20 years. He served as Poet Laureate for the State of Oklahoma in 2013/14, and now travels fulltime performing readings, concerts, workshops and speaking on creativity, poetry, and songwriting.


Nathan has published 25 books. Most recent is his new collection of poems, In the Days of Our Resilience, the fourth in a series now known as the Pandemic Poems Project, a collection of commissioned poems that deal with the days of the pandemic, and a new travel memoir Just Another Honeymoon in France: A Vagabond at Large. Karma Crisis: New and Selected Poems, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Oklahoma Book Award. His earlier book, Two Tables Over, won the Oklahoma Book Award.


He’s taught memoir, poetry, songwriting, and performance workshops from Tuscany and Ireland to the Sisters Folk Festival in Oregon, the Taos Poetry Festival, the Woody Guthrie Festival, Laity Lodge, the Everwood Farmstead Foundation in Wisconsin, as well as for Blue Rock Artist Ranch near Austin, Texas.


And his online live video series The Fire Pit Sessions—inspired by the Pandemic Poems Project—has had over 80,000 views. At almost 170 episodes now, Nathan reads a few poems from the project and performs a song at the end. Many followers of the series have referred to it as being one of the ways they’ve “made it through.”


Naomi Shihab Nye said about Nathan’s book, My Salvaged Heart: “Brave new world! The sizzle of couplings and uncouplings – attraction and romance, ineffable magnetism, mysterious as ever – but doused with a savory dose of Nathan Brown humor, a tilted long-ranging eye that sees the next bend in the road even when he’s standing right here, firmly planted.”

Norma Elia Cantú

Norma Elia Cantú served as the President of the American Folklore Society and is the Murchison Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where she teaches Latinx and Chicanx Studies. A daughter of the borderlands, she focuses on the US-Mexico border for her research and scholarly work as well as her poetry, fiction and personal essays. She has coedited over 10 books on a number of subjects including art (Moctezuma’s Table: Rolando Briseño’s Chicano Tablescapes and Ofrenda: Liliana Wilson’s Art of Dissidence and Dreams), in STEM (Paths to Discovery: Autobiographies of Chicanas with Careers in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering), Texas Studies (Entre Guadalupe y Malinche: Tejanas in Literature and Art), and in Folklore (Chicana Traditions: Continuity and Change and Dancing Across Borders: Danzas y Bailes Mexicanos). She has received awards for her work from the Modern Languages Association, the American Folklore Society, the Tejas Foco of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, and The University of California, Santa Barbara. She received the Galardón Luis Leal from the Universidad de Alcalá de Henares in Spain. She co-founded CantoMundo and is a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop; she currently serves on the board of the latter and of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. Her research and creative writing have earned her an international reputation, and she is a frequent keynote and plenary invited speaker. She has read her work in Europe, Asia, and throughout the US and Mexico. The award-winning Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera, is taught in numerous universities in the US and in Europe. She translated Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/la Frontera into Spanish. She most recently published the co-edited anthologies meXicana Fashions: Politics, Self-Adornment, and Identity Construction and Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa: Pedagogies and Practices for our Classrooms and Communities, Cabañuelasa novel, and Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life, and Labor.

Pete Lutz

Pete Lutz is a voice actor, audio drama producer and director, on-air personality and award-winning playwright. He isn’t a connoisseur of horror, but he’s the next-best-thing. An independent creator since 2013, he has produced more than 150 full-length programs. His audio drama series, “The Cellar”, has thrilled listeners worldwide, and a third season is in the works. He has created audio adaptations of such horror films as “White Zombie” and “Queen of Blood”, and has penned original plays in the vein of such classic Old-Time Radio shows as “Lights Out”, “Quiet Please”, and “Inner Sanctum”. As of this writing, Pete is producing works for four different audio drama series, plus a monthly OTR discussion podcast. His troupe of actors, The Narada Radio Company, boasts upwards of 100 members, with the bulk of them in the Corpus Christi area, but with others located from Sea to Shining Sea, plus Canada and the United Kingdom. Find his works at, or subscribe to Narada Radio Company on your favorite podcast provider.

Raven Reese

Raven Reese is the co-managing editor for the Windward Review, a South Texas-based literary journal. In December 2022, Reese graduated from Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi with a BA in English, along with two minors in Creative Writing and Women and Gender Studies. She received the 2020 Haas Writing Award for 2000 level literature, and previously read on the Rising Poets panel at the 2021 Peoples’ Poetry Festival. Her poetry explores trauma, economic disparity, and a range of personal narratives.

Ricardo Ruiz

Ricardo Ruiz was born, raised and educated in Corpus Christi, Texas. A working artist since 1986 whose mediums range from oils, acrylics, and watercolors to drawings and prints. Descended from a family of storytellers, his interest has been in creating narratives that explore themes of family and the cycle of life. Ruiz believes that the beauty of a good story is in its potential to transcend into myth, and in that state take on a life of its own, free to evolve and change as it passes from one storyteller to another, from one generation to the next; free to teach or amuse or horrify in its subsequent incarnations.

Roberta Shellum Dohse

Roberta Shellum Dohse hails primarily from California. She is a graduate of the University of California Berkeley. After a stint on a farm in northern Minnesota and time in Oregon, she moved to Texas in 1980. She attended law school at the University of Houston and has practiced law in Corpus Christi, Texas since 1997. She was formerly a flight instructor and a college professor. She loves to write. She has been published in Corpus Christi Writers Anthology series (2018-2022), Lamar University’s Odes and Elegies, Eco-Poetry from the Texas Gulf Coast (November 2020), Voices de la Luna, Austin International Poetry Festival Anthology, Poetry at Round Top, Texas Poetry Assignment and the Lone Star Poetry anthology(2023).

Robin Carstensen headshot

Robin Carstensen

Robin Carstensen’s In the Temple of Shining Mercy was awarded an annual first-place award by Iron Horse Literary Press, and published in 2017.  Poems are also published in BorderSenses, Southern Humanities Review, Flowersong Press anthologies, Lacar Press LGBTQI+ anthology, Demeter Press’s anthology, Borderlands and Crossroads: Writing the Motherland, and many more. She directs the creative writing program at Texas A&M University-CC where she advises The Windward Review: Literary Journal of the South Texas Coastal Bend, and is co-founding, senior editor of the Switchgrass Review: literary journal of health, and transformation.  

Roy Gomez

Roy Gomez is a Creative Writing student at Del Mar College with an interest in poetry and fiction. He has an AA in English and will begin working on a BA at Texas A&M in the spring of 2023. He lives in Corpus Christi with his wife, two kids, and too many cats.

Sarah Webb

Sarah Webb splits her time between Corpus Christi and Lake Buchanan in the Hill Country.  She co-leads a Zen writing group and helps edit its Zen arts magazine, Just This. Her collections Black and Red Riding Hood’s Sister (virtual artists collective, 2013 and 2018) draw on myth and the fantastic to explore undercurrents in the life we think we live. This January, two of her mythic poems were published in Contemporary Surrealist and Magical Realist Poetry, edited by Jonas Zdanys for Lamar University Literary Press.

Sister Lou Ella

Sister Lou Ella has a master’s in theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio and is a former teacher and librarian. She is a certified spiritual director as well as a poet and writer.  Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines such as AmericaUS Catholic, Commonweal, The Christian Century, PresencePrism, and several anthologies.  She was a Pushcart nominee in 2017 and 2020. Five poems from her book, she: robed and words, set to music by James Lee III were performed on May 11, 2021. The soloist was the opera singer Susanna Phillips, principal clarinetist Anthony McGill of the New York Philharmonic and Grammy® nominated pianist Mayra Huang.  The arrangement was part of a concert held at Y92 in New York City. The group of songs is entitled “Chavah’s Daughters Speak.” 

Stefan Sencerz

Stefan Sencerz

Stefan Sencerz was born in Warsaw, Poland and came to the United States to study philosophy and Zen Buddhism. He teaches philosophy, Western and Eastern, at the Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. He has numerous publications in professional philosophy journals (mostly in the areas of animal ethics and metaethics) and literary journals. Stefan has been active on a spoken-word scene winning the slam-masters poetry slam in conjunction with the National Poetry Slam in Madison Wisconsin, in 2008, as well as several poetry slams in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Chicago. 

Stephen Sanders

Stephen Sanders, “A Poet With Many Voices,” also known as “Blackbead the Pirate Laureate,” also known as “The Steampunk Poet,” is a man who writes in many voices.  First published in 1975, Sanders has become an award-winning poet with book/magazine/anthology credits too numerous to list here.  He regularly performs and speaks at poetry, pirate, Renaissance, and Steampunk events, most recently participating in a poetry panel at the Winnsboro Festival of Books.  He is on the Board of Directors of Seadog Enterprises which includes a publishing firm, Blackbead Books, a recording studio, Seadog Studios, and Galaxy of Voices, a stable of voice-over talent.  He is the current President of the Fort Worth Poetry Society and an active member of the Poetry Society of Texas and the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.  You can find examples of his work on YouTube at “The Adventure Poetry Channel.”  Sanders is also a published author of flash fiction and short stories.  If you want to know more about him, simply do a web search for “Stephen Sanders poetry.”

Tom Murphy Author Photo

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is the 2021-2022 Corpus Christi Poet Laureate and the Langdon Review’s 2022 Writer-In-Residence. Murphy’s books: When I Wear Bob Kaufman’s Eyes (2022) from Gnashing Teeth Publishing, Snake Woman Moon (2021), Pearl (2020), American History (2017), and co-edited Stone Renga (2017) with Alan Berecka. He’s been published widely in literary journals and anthologies such as: Poetry is DEAD: An Inclusive Anthology of Deadhead PoetryBoundlessConcho River ReviewMONO, Good Cop/Bad Cop Anthology, Odes and Elegies: Eco-Poetry from the Texas Gulf Coast, Wine Anthology, The Great American Wise Ass Poetry Anthology, Red River Review, Switchgrass Review, Windward Review, Corpus Christi Writers Anthologies, Voice de la Luna, WordFest Anthology, Outrage: A Protest Anthology for Injustice in a Post 9/11 World among other publications. Recently retired from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, he still works with the Barrio Writers and the People’s Poetry Festival. Contact information, books or bookings

Xanthe Lee Vinson

Ms. Xanthe (SHAWN-tay:) Lee Vinson, an all-around polymath, her passion for art, theatre, and spoken word carried over into her teaching career.  Not only is she an 8th-grade Language Arts teacher, but she sponsors the art & poetry club, where young scholars collaborate and merge the art of their own poetry and the visual art of their peers.

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