The 14th season of the Mission Poetry Series wraps up with an in-person reading on Saturday, May 27, 2023, at 1 p.m. in partnership with Santa Barbara Public Library.
Three Poets in Spring features award-winning authors Catherine Esposito Prescott, Gabriel Ibarra, and Florencia Milito. Held at Central Library’s Faulkner Gallery, this reading is free and open to the public. The event offers complimentary broadsides, poets’ books for sale, and the chance to meet and chat with our featured authors. This reading is made possible by the Academy of American Poets with funds from the Mellon Foundation.
CATHERINE ESPOSITO PRESCOTT’s poetry collection Accidental Garden won Gunpowder Press’s 2022 Barry Spacks Poetry Prize, selected by Danusha Laméris. Originally from Long Island, New York, and the author of two chapbooks, Maria Sings (dancing girl press, 2017) and The Living Ruin (Finishing Line Press, 2012), Prescott’s recent work appears or is forthcoming in EcoTheo Review, Green Mountains Review Online, Northwest Review, Pleiades, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Verse Daily. Prescott earned an MFA in Creative Writing—Poetry from New York University. She has worked as a copywriter, editor, book seller, activist, fundraiser, event organizer, organic garden founder, professor, and teaching artist. She is co-founder of SWWIM and editor in chief of SWWIM Every Day. An RYT 200-HR yoga instructor with a 300-HR yoga philosophy certification, Prescott teaches vinyasa yoga and yoga philosophy and leads yoga and writing retreats. She is a mom to three beautiful humans and lives with her family in Coconut Grove, Florida.
GABRIEL IBARRA is the author of On Display (Gunpowder Press, 2023), co-winner of the Alta California Chapbook Prize, selected by Francisco Aragón. Born and raised in California’s San Joaquín Valley, he attended Fresno City College and earned a BA in Literature (Creative Writing) from UC Santa Cruz After graduating, he returned to Fresno, worked at a local Good Neighbor Pharmacy, then at the local newspaper, where he found himself writing poems rather than typing copy or selling ads, which ultimately led him to earn an MFA in Poetry from Fresno State. His poetry has been published in the Packinghouse Review and he earned an honorable mention for the Ernesto Trejo Memorial Prize from the Academy of American Poets, selected by Philip Levine. To honor his roots as a Puentista, he has served as a Puente Program mentor at Fresno City College. He’s part of Fresno State’s Creative Writing Alumni Chapter, whose goal is to connect multiple generations of Fresno writers. He currently lives, writes, and teaches in Fresno, with his wife Marina and two sons, Andrew and Emiliano.
FLORENCIA MILITO is a bilingual poet and author of Sor Juana (Gunpowder Press 2023), co-winner of the Alta California Chapbook Prize. Her work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Indiana Review, Catamaran, 92nd Street Y, Latinas: Struggles & Protests in 21st Century USA, and Zócalo Public Square, among others. A Hedgebrook and Community of Writers alumna and San Francisco Writers Grotto and CantoMundo fellow, her writing has been influenced by her early experience fleeing Argentina’s 1976 coup, subsequent childhood in Venezuela, and immigration to the United States at the age of nine. In 2011, she was a reader at the Festival Internacional de Poesía de Rosario. In 2020, she read virtually at the 8th Winter Warmer Poetry Festival in Cork, Ireland. Her bilingual collection Ituzaingó: Exiles and Reveries / exilios y ensueños, was published in 2021 by Nomadic Press. Florencia is also a creative writing and composition educator, translator, and mother. She has a BA from Cornell University, an MA in English from the University Colorado, and pursued studies in Writing Pedagogy, Composition/Rhetoric, and Reading Theory at San Francisco State University. Having lived in far too many places, including her beloved New York, she lived longest in the Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco, the city where her two daughters were born. Last summer, her family relocated to Davis, California. Strongly connected to the Bay Area, she misses the ocean and city, and seeks refuge in the trees, especially her golden ginkgo (árbol de la memoria).
MPS program curator Emma Trelles is the 9th Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara (2021-2023) and a Poet Laureate Fellow at the Academy of American Poets (2022-2023), one of 22 poets in the United States appointed for their creative and community work. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, and originally from Miami, she is the author of Tropicalia (U. of Notre Dame Press), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, and is currently writing a second book of poems, Courage and the Clock. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Her work has been anthologized in Best American Poetry; Best of the Net; Verse Daily; Big Enough for Words: Poems and Vintage Photographs from California’s Central Coast; and others. Recent work appears or is forthcoming in the Los Angeles Review of Books Quarterly; Split this Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Database; Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts, and Cultures; Anacapa Review; and New England Review. She has presented her work across the country, including The Bryant Park Reading Room in New York; The Poet and the Poem Series at the Library of Congress; Busboys & Poets in Washington D.C.; the Miami Book Fair; the Ojai Art Center; the Last Bookstore in Los Angeles; and the Palabra Pura series at the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago. She coordinates the Writing Center at Santa Barbara City College and is the series editor of the Alta California Chapbook Prize, open to Latinx poets in California and published in bilingual editions in the spring by Gunpowder Press.
MPS production coordinator Mark Zolezzi is a musician and has worked as a bookseller for 20 years in both college and independent bookstores. He has performed in many venues and festivals, including the Art Center of South Florida; South by Southwest in Austin, Texas; the Art and Culture Center in Hollywood, Florida; the Miami Book Fair; and the City Link Music Festival. He has released albums under the Ant Lunch Musick and Hotown Records labels and received a BA in Communication from Florida Atlantic University. He is the textbook and tradebook buyer at Santa Barbara City College and has served at times as a community radio deejay at KCSB.org-91.9 FM. You can also find him busking on State Street in downtown Santa Barbara with his band, The Gruntled.
The Santa Barbara Public Library is a department of the city of Santa Barbara and is dedicated to supporting education for all ages through classes and events, building a community of readers, empowering individuals with free access to information, and connecting people to community resources. For information, visit [www.sbplibrary.org]www.sbplibrary.org.
The Mission Poetry Series was founded in 2009 on the historic grounds of the Old Mission Santa Barbara by poet and activist Paul Fericano and Susan Blomstad, a sister in the Order of St. Francis.
Paul and Susan co-directed the series for five seasons, from 2009 to 2014. For more, visit https://www.facebook.com/missionpoetryseries.
The Mission Poetry Series has been generously supported by partnerships with the Academy of American Poets; the Mellon Foundation; the City of Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara Public Library; the Santa Barbara Poetry Fund; the Santa Barbara County Office of Arts and Culture; Poets & Writers; Diana and Simon Raab; Instruments of Peace; and Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.