Summer reading ☀️📚

I love summer for countless reasons. There’s more time to lounge and read, the days grow longer, my birthday falls in the summer. My spirits are always higher in this season — something about the warmth of the sun on my skin, the fireflies lighting up the night.

When I was a kid, summer vacation also meant summer reading, great for an avid reader like me! That’s stayed constant in my life even after school. I’ve already read lots of books this summer, and plan to finish more.

Also, this summer is jam-packed with poetry readings and literary festivals. Here are some upcoming events that I’m super excited about:

 July 28: I’m a featured reader at The Deaf Poets Society’s reading at Bards Alley in Vienna, Va. at 7 p.m. Bards Alley is a brand-new bookstore in the DMV area, and the DPS literary journal has been doing incredible work at offering a space for D/deaf/disabled writers and artists. There are going to be incredible readers, like Camisha Jones, so make sure to come to this one.

Ask Rayceen Show August 2017August 2: As a part of The Ask Rayceen ShowI’m participating in the Authors’ Corner with OutWrite 2017 panelists at the Human Rights Campaign at 7 p.m. There will also be live music, poetry readings, and a burlesque performance.

Queer Enough panel at OutWrite 2017 OutWrite 2017, August 5:

Hope to see you at some (or all!) of these events! Happy summer (reading)!

My panel was chosen for Split This Rock’s 2016 poetry festival

In 2012, Regie Cabico moderated the session on stage versus page poetry, where poets Rachel McKibbens, José Padua, and Jeffrey McDaniel discussed the nuances between them.

If you’d asked 8-year-old, third-grader Marlena where her fable writing would take her, she never would have suggested that she would one day speak on a creative writing panel. But, 16 years later, I’m grateful and excited to announce that I’m on the Physical Bodies and Poetic Bones panel for the 2016 Split This Rock poetry festival on April 14-17!

My session features the incredible Leeya Mehta, Sarah Sansolo, and Tyler Vile (who I attended the Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House with). Diana Bolton, the editor and founder of District Lit, will moderate the panel. I’ll keep you updated about what day and time this panel will be held. While we don’t want to give everything away just yet, our panel will focus on poetry on bodies, ability/disability, gender, and more.

The festival occurs every two years in Washington, D.C. I have attended twice, and have soaked in the rich diversity of panels, readings, workshops, and discussions over lunches. I have attended sessions on gay writers, page versus stage poetry, writing about displacement, and the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. The peers you meet, friends you make from across North America and the world, and thoughts you share on writing are invaluable.

I hope you can attend the 2016 festival. Registration will open later this winter. Trust me, it’s well worth it.