Meet the Peoples Poetry Fest Committee

Tom Murphy

Tom Murphy is the 2021-2022 Corpus Christi Poet Laureate and the Langdon Review’s 2022 Writer-In-Residence. Murphy’s books: Snake Woman Moon (2021), Pearl (2020), American History (2017), co-edited Stone Renga (2017).


Tom Murphy Author Photo
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Robin Carstensen

Robin Carstensen’s poetry manuscript, In the Temple of Shining Mercy received the annual first-place award by Iron Horse Literary Press and was published in 2017.  Her poems are forthcoming or recently published inQueer in the New Century, from Jacar Press: A Community-Active Literary Press; Odes and Elegies: Eco-Poetry from the Texas Gulf Coast, Lamar University Press; Good Cop/Bad Cop: An Anthology; Dreaming: A Tribute To Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, FlowerSong Press, FlowerSong Press, and many more. She directs the creative writing program at TAMU-CC where she is faculty advisor for Windward Review: Literary Journal of the South Texas Coastal Bend, and co-founding, senior editor for Switchgrass Review: Literary Journal of Health and Transformation.

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

Juan Manuel Pérez

JUAN MANUEL PÉREZ, a Mexican-American poet of Indigenous descent and a Poet Laureate for Corpus Christi, Texas (2019-2020), is the author of several books of poetry including the Elgin Nominated, SPACE IN PIECES (The House Of The Fighting Chupacabras Press, 2020), SCREW THE WALL! AND OTHER BROWN PEOPLE POEMS (FlowerSong Books, 2020), and the new book, PLANET OF THE ZOMBIE ZONNETS (2021) by Hungry Buzzard Press. His poetry has appeared in numerous scholarly journals and reviews, national and international anthologies, as well as, magazines and websites. The award-winning poet, history teacher, and Pushcart Nominee, is also a member of the Poetry Society of Texas, the San Antonio Poets’ Association, the Horror Writers Association (HWA), the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association, the Horror Authors Guild, the Baseball Bards, and the Military Writers Society of America. He has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Author’s Guild (2021). The former Migrant worker and recent HWA Diversity Grant Recipient (2021) worships his Creator and chases chupacabras in the South Texas Coastal Bend Area.

Learn more about him at

Malia A. Perez, Ed.D.

MALIA A. PÉREZ is a public-school librarian and educator. She is the co-founder and editor for The House of the Fighting Chupacabras Press. She holds a Doctor of Education degree specializing in Education and Teacher Leadership from Walden University. She has a certification in Library Science. She holds a Master of Education degree and a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Interdisciplinary Studies & Elementary Education, Math, Science, English, and minoring in History, both of these degrees from Sul Ross State University. She also holds an Associates of Science degree from State Technical Institute at Memphis majoring in General Technology, Accounting, Math, Science, English, and minoring in History. She is a three-time Teacher of the Year (different districts). She is a committee member and the Robb Jackson Poetry Awards Chairperson for the Peoples Poetry Festival. She has worked in public education and charter school education since 1998. She is working on her memoir titled, I Married A Mexican and a second collection of poetry, If Tombstones Could Talk.

Malia Perez Headshot
Alan Berecka

Alan Berecka

Alan Berecka was the Poet Laureate of Corpus Christi from 2017-2019.  Five full collections and three chapbooks have been published. The latest from Black Spruce Press (A Living is not a Life: A Working Title, 2021) explores what he considers the over-importance that is placed on work in American culture, and how he came to this conclusion by working a myriad of jobs. He is currently employed as a librarian at Del Mar College and looks forward to retirement more fervently with each and every day. 

William Mays

William Mays moderator. Mays is a writer/photographer. He and his wife own Mays Publishing which produces paperback, hardback, e-books, and audio books. is an online literary magazine that is updated daily. Mays edits and publishes the Corpus Christi Writers series.

William Mays Headshot
Joshua Hamilton Headshot

Joshua Hamilton

Joshua Hamilton is a Louisville, KY native who migrated to Corpus Christi with his family: artist Leticia Bajuyo, daughter, and their rickety but sweet cat, Walnut. Between Kentucky and Texas, he prowled the halls of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, hitchhiked in the west of Ireland, kayaked Appalachian rivers, and sweltered in the tropical heat of Panama City, Panamá. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in English and Humanities and his Master’s Degree in Spanish from the University of Louisville, and in 2013 he completed his doctorate in Spanish (with a minor in American Literature) with Indiana University. Joshua’s field of research focuses on Visual Poetry from the late Franco dictatorship (1960s – 1970s). His first chapbook, Slow Wind, was published with Finishing Line Press. His current chapbook Rain Minnows [Notecards and Poems] is available through Gnashing Teeth Publishing.

Rossy Lima DePadilla

Rossy Evelin Lima (August 18, 1986 Veracruz Mexico), holds a PhD in linguistics and is an international award-winning poet. Her work has been published in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies in Spain, Italy, UK, Canada, United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Argentina. She received the Poet of the Year Award by The Americas Poetry Festival of New York (NY, 2018), the Premio Internazionale di Poesia La Finestra Eterea award (Milan, Italy, 2017), the International Latino Book Award (USA, 2016), the Premio Orgullo Fronterizo Mexicano award by the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (USA, 2016), the Premio Internazionale di Poesia Altino award (Venice, Italy, 2015), and the National Gabriela Mistral Award by the National Hispanic Honor Society (USA, 2010), among others. She is the president and founder of the Latin American Foundation for the Arts, the founder of the International Latin American Poetry Festival (FeIPoL), as well as the founder of Jade Publishing. In 2015, she was invited to speak at TEDxMcallen to talk about her experience as an immigrant writer in the U.S. In 2020, her poetry book Aguacamino/Waterpath was translated to Serbian and published in Belgrade.

Rossy Lima DePadilla Headshot
Dylan Lopez headshot

Dylan Lopez

Dylan Lopez is a senior at TAMUCC pursuing a degree in English. A graduate from Richard King High School, Dylan was introduced to Creative Writing by his high school mentor, Joseph Wilson; who published Dylan in his final edition of King’s literary magazine, Open All Night. A recipient of the Robb Jackson Poetry Award, during his freshman-year at TAMUCC, Dylan was featured twice by the Island Waves student newspaper, and published in Corpus Christi Writers 2019 by Mays Publishing. In 2020, Dylan was featured in Trinity University’s High Noon literary journal, and again in Corpus Christi Writers 2020. His writing explores the themes of love, depression, and internal struggles in fantastic, mythical, and sometimes drearily realistic settings. Aside from being a full-time student of writing, Dylan is also currently the Managing Editor of The Windward Review.



Javier Villarreal

Javier Villarreal holds a BA and MA in Spanish from Pan American University, Edinburg, and a Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. His major fields of interests are Languages in Contact (Spanish and English), Mexican American Folklore, poetry, and photography. His works have been published by numerous academic and literary journals and anthologies. 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.  

Javier Villarreal Headshot
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.

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. Karen also edits for a small group of friends. 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 on the Texas Gulf Coast. When she can’t find poetry somewhere, she puts it there.

She is the founder of the Aransas County Poetry Society, which hosts a monthly open mic. She started the Poems on the Go project in Aransas County. She is the Founder/Editor-n-Chief of Gnashing Teeth Publishing.

Karen Cline-Tardiff Headshot
Stefan Sencerz

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.

Zoe Ramos

Zoe Elise Ramos (also known as ZER) is a native Corpus Christi poet. Their poetry is genre-fluid and can have auditory, visual, and scholarly components. With respect to the intimate relationship between time, audience, and an artist, ZER embraces the way their own pieces evolve and change naturally during performance. They often rewrite and write over works they have already published or shared. They also use photography, art media, and video to explore multiple dimensions of pieces and statements. They are a graduate student at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi where they engage in creative scholarship involving the human body and its connection to numbers. They are the Senior Editor of Windward Review creative journal and blog.

Zoe Ramos Author Photo

Crystal Garcia

Crystal Garcia is a Corpus Christi native who graduated in 2012 although strives to continue her education in being a student of life. She is a lover of books and all things literature—especially poetry. Crystal was also the co-creator of a local podcast called Revolve One. Through this platform, Crystal along with her brother and podcasting partner, Rudy, sought to connect with their local community and listeners from all around the world. Whether through the podcast or her writing, Crystal exercises her ability to pen heartfelt poetry and also confronts with veracity the current events of our time. In everything she does, this writer and content creator expresses empathy as well as an unfaltering love for creative endeavors.

Sarah K . Lenz

Sarah K. Lenz founded Writers’ Studio in July 2019. Her nonfiction has appeared in Crazyhorse, Colorado Review, The Fourth River, Entropy, and elsewhere. Three of her essays have been named Notable in Best American Essays, and she received the New Letters Readers’ award in nonfiction. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Georgia College, an MA in literature from Boise State University, and a BFA in fiction writing from the University of Nebraska, Omaha. She’s the prose editor of The Switchgrass Review. She teaches composition, creative writing, and literature at Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Colin Pope Author Photo

Colin Pope

Colin Pope is the author of Why I Didn’t Go to Your Funeral (Tolsun Books, 2019) and the forthcoming collection Prayer Book for the New Heretic (NYQ Books). Poems, essays, and criticism have appeared in journals and publications such as Slate, The Kenyon Review, Gettysburg Review, West Branch, AGNI, Ninth Letter, Third Coast, Pleiades, Willow Springs, Best New Poets, and others. Colin serves on the editorial board of Nimrod International and is an assistant professor of English at Del Mar College.

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