People's Literary Fest

Meet the People's Literary Festival Committee

Sarah K . Lenz

Sarah K. Lenz is the author of the essay collection, What Will Outlast Me? (Unsolicited Press, 2023). Her creative nonfiction has appeared in Colorado Review, New Letters, Triquarterly, and elsewhere. Her work has been named Notable in Best American Essays three times. Sarah is an Assistant Professor of English at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas, and she writes online at Spirit: Notes for the Creative Contemplative. (

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

Chuck Etheridge

A self-proclaimed desert rat, Chuck Etheridge was raised in El Paso, Texas. After a stint in the US Navy keeping the coast of Southern California safe from the threat of enemy invasion, he attended the University of Texas at El Paso and Texas Christian University. In addition to his time in the service, he has worked as an actor, a convenience store clerk, a Rent-a-Poet, and a catalog copy writer before finding respectable employment as an English teacher, first at McMurry University and, later, at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. His poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction have been published in a variety of reviews and anthologized in a number of books, and he has written two plays that have been produced. His first two novels,Border Canto and The Desert After Rain, were published by Fine Tooth Press. A motion picture based on his Border Canto Trilogy is in development. His comic novel Chagford Revisited was just published in the UK and is available in the States on Amazon.
Chuck Ehteridge Headshot

Dylan Lopez

Dylan Lopez is an English graduate student at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He is currently the Managing Editor of the Windward Review and President of the Islander Creative Writers. His work has been featured in Trinity University’s High Noon, Island Waves, Corpus Christi Writers, and Open All Night. He is a recipient of the Robb Jackson Poetry Award, in honor of TAMUCC’s Robb and Vanessa Jackson. His writing explores the themes of love, depression, and internal struggles in fantastic, mythical, and sometimes drearily realistic settings.

His current research focus is on digital circulation, centered on an anime review site (give it a visit!)

Jonathan Dyen

Jonathan Dyen is an Assistant Professor of English at Del Mar College, prior to which, he taught for 20 years at colleges and universities in Massachusetts. He earned his PhD in English from Boston University for his research into uses of the American Civil War as a trope in 20th century novels. Jonathan has published academic articles about John Steinbeck and Erskine Caldwell, and frequently presents on American culture and literature at professional conferences.

Joshua Bridgwater Hamilton

Joshua Bridgwater Hamilton is a Louisville, KY native who migrated to Texas.  Between Kentucky and Texas, he has traveled and lived in several places, including Spain, Appalachia, Panamá, Peru, the Philippines, and the Colorado River.  He earned his BA in English and Humanities and his MA in Spanish from the University of Louisville, holds a doctorate in Spanish with Indiana University, and is currently an MFA Poetry candidate at Texas State University.  Joshua has worked as a teacher and bookseller, and has the chapbooks Rain Minnows with Gnashing Teeth Publishing and Slow Wind with Finishing Line Press.  His poetry appears in such journals as Windward Review, Voices de la Luna, Tiny Seed Journal, Amarillo Bay, The Dillydoun Review and San Antonio Review.

Karen Cline-Tardiff

Karen Cline-Tardiff has been writing since she could hold a pen. She writes poetry, flash fiction, personal essays, short stories, and grant requests.  She has been published in a variety of online and print outlets. She was born in Texas, lived a little bit of everywhere, and now resides in the mountains of Arkansas. When she can’t find poetry somewhere, she puts it there.

She is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of Gnashing Teeth Publishing.

Lizbette Ocasio-Russe

Lizbette Ocasio-Russe is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University, Corpus Christi. Lizbette completed her Ph.D. in Humanities at the University of Texas at Dallas, her MA in English Literature at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras campus, and her BA in Journalism and minor in Creative Writing at New York University. Lizbette has worked as the translation and creative nonfiction editor of Reunion: The Dallas Review and is currently co-editor of The Switchgrass Review. She’s been published in Confluence: Journal of Graduate Liberal StudiesFlash Fiction MagazineeTropic electronic journal of studies in the tropicspostScriptum: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Literary StudiesPoui: The Cavehill Journal of Creative WritingMoko: Caribbean Arts and LettersTonguas: Student Literary and Artistic Expression Journal, the PopMeC Research Blog, and Corpus Christi Writers 2023Lizbette’s first book, Loverbar, was released July 2023 by Flashpoint Publications, and her short story “Texarican” will be featured in the forthcoming edition of Writing Texas  

Robin Carstensen

Robin Carstensen is the 2023-2024 Poet Laureate of Corpus Christi, and has served on the People’s Poetry Festival Committee (now the People’s Literary Festival of Corpus) since its inception nine years ago. Her poetry manuscript, In the Temple of Shining Mercy earned first-place award and was published in 2017 by Iron Horse Literary Press. She has won an Academy of American Poets collegiate award and numerous annual poetry awards from diverse journals.. Her poems are more recently published in Dream of a River: Queer in the New Century (Jacar Press); Odes and Elegies: Eco-Poetry from the Texas Gulf Coast (Lamar Press); Good Cop/Bad Cop and Dreaming: A Tribute to Selena Quintanilla Perez (FlowerSong Press); Cloud Women’s Quarterly; Eco-Theo Review, Lone Star Poetry: Championing Texas Verse, Community, and Hunger Relief (Jacar Press); Corpus Christi Writer’s Anthologies 2017-2023 (Mays Publishing), and many more. She directs the creative writing program at TAMU-CC where she is co-faculty advisor for the Islander Creative Writers and the Windward Review: Literary Journal of the South Texas Coastal Bend, and co-founding, executive senior editor for Switchgrass Review: Literary Journal of Healing and Transformation.

Sara Kaplan Headshot

Sara Kaplan

Sara Kaplan received her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Idaho, and she also holds degrees from Miami University and Sweet Briar College.  Her chapbooks includeMoon Talk and Touring West of the Mississippi. Published interviews with notable poets are on Poetry Daily and in Conversations with Natasha Trethewey. Her poems appear in the following journals, and several poems were nominated for The Pushcart Prize: TheAntioch Review, Harpur Palate, LIT 9, The Cincinnati Review, Talking River Review, The Meadow, InLand, Ruminate, The New Vilna Review, decomP magazine, Failbetter, Splash of Red, MO: Writings from the River, & Gulf Islands Review. As an Associate Professor of English at Del Mar College, she specializes in teaching Poetry and British Literature.

Stefan Sencerz

Stefan Sencerz born in in Warsaw, Poland, 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 as well as several refereed poems that appeared in various nationally distributed poetry journals. He 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 slams in San Antonio, Austin, Houston, and Chicago.
Stefan Sencerz
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

Zoe Elise Ramos - ZER

Art is about survival. Art is painful in the best way. Zoe Elise Ramos (she/they), aka ZER, is a visual poet. At TAMU-CC, they work as a TLS Writing Consultant and they do post-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research on genre-fluidity (and visual poetry) as an alternative scholarly media. They use creative multimedia (i.e. art, photography, doodles, video, hybrid story-telling) to vividly elaborate on multiple dimensions of complex problems. Intersectional creative and research interests, amongst many, include compassionate organizations (and institutional/ research ethics with a global audience in mind; meta-science), complexity theory as a (post-disciplinary) meta-language, and knowledge management for social/ cognitive justice and pluralistic justice. In their creative/ scholarly work, they value ephemeral auditory/ visual components and also experiment with epistemic engineering improvisation, nuttiness, deep intertextuality, and ‘Trashiness’ (especially through their alterego, Tara Incognita). They are the Creative Director/ Sr Editor for Windward Review, a TAMU-CC based creative journal & blog. Windward Review is a student-led and faculty-facilitated compassionate editing journal, the first of its kind. Its compassionate practices, organization, website, events, and outreach are continually being researched and improved through the hard work of student and faculty volunteers.
Skip to content