May 26, 2019
Kelsie Barry performs the closing number, "Stella Maris" by Moby during the opening night performance of "Nothing is Beautiful; Everything Is Fine" at Dianna's Studio of Dance during the Fresno Rogue Festival on Friday, March 2, 2018. (Larry Valenzuela/The Collegian)

Fresno writers to read at the annual Rogue Festival this March

Faculty, alumni and students from the Creative Writing MFA program will hold readings in the Tower District as part of the 18th annual Rogue Festival in March.

Venita Blackburn, Brynn Saito, Steven Church, Carole Firstman, Ronald Dzerigian and Joseph Cassara are among the faculty who will participate.

Rogue Fest is described as a 10-day “fringe festival” celebrating independent artists in dance, theatre, spoken word and puppetry.

Esmeralda Gamez, a second-year student in the MFA program, said she’s excited to be reading some of her poems for the second year in a row at the festival.

“Most of my poetry deals with the relationships I have with the people and the world around me,” she said. “And with today’s political climate, many poems try to speak to the events happening, or to what they make me feel as a Mexican-American woman and daughter of immigrants.”

Gamez is also a little apprehensive, but the opportunity for students like her to network is important, she said.

“It’s always a nerve-wracking but rewarding experience being able to read in a room where most people attending have never heard of you or your work,” she said. “It gives us the opportunity to put our writing out into the world and become more confident with presenting our work.”

Blackburn, alumnus David Campos and student Jer Xiong will read on March 1 at 5 p.m.; Cassara, Firstman and Gamez will read on March 2 at 8 p.m.; Church, Dzerigian and student Danielle Potter will read on March 3 at 5:30 p.m.; and Saito and alumni Ethan Chatagnier and Kimberly Horg will read on March 9 at 4:15 p.m.

All readings will be held at the Spectrum Gallery at 608 E. Olive Ave. Tickets are $7 at the door with a $3 Rogue Festival wristband.

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