Poetry Students

Marissa Ahmadkhani


Marissa Ahmadkhani is a 26 year old Bay Area native, who holds an M.A. in English Literature from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. Her poetry has received the Academy of American Poets Prize both in 2015 and 2017. In her free time, she enjoys sleeping too much, reading, writing, exploring the natural world, and focusing on her musicianship.

Steven Bankert


Steve Bankert grew up in Pennsylvania and attended the University of Delaware.  He graduated with degrees in Economics and Creative Writing, and spent two years working in finance before yielding to his true calling.  When he's not spending his time with his amazing family, Steve enjoys writing poetry, golfing, and competing in international gaming tournaments.

Sean Cho Ayres

Cho Ayres

Sean Cho A. recently turned 23 years old, and realized he still doesn't know the sig fig rules he was supposed to learn his sophomore year of high school. He has spent the last year trying to write stuff that sounds poemy (poemie?). He is in the process of becoming a resident of California.

Hannah Dow


Hannah Dow is from New Hampshire. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, Loyola Marymount University, and the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Writers. She liked unicorns before Target realized they were cool.

Brooke Harries


Brooke Harries is from Sacramento. She was awarded the Academy of American Poets Harold Taylor Prize at San Francisco State University in 2016.

Marisa Lainson


Marisa Lainson is a native of Southern California. She grew up in the Inland Empire and recently relocated to Costa Mesa. She enjoys the idea of reading Shakespeare on a sunlit beach and the reality of reading pulp fantasy novels in the comfort of her living room. Lainson attended the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University and graduated with a degree in English with a minor in Spanish.

Cassandra Leone


Cassandra Leone is originally from the Bay Area in California. She completed her undergraduate degree in English Literature at Smith College, in Massachusetts. Her poems have been published in The Roadrunner Review and The Milvia Street Journal. Additionally, she's self published two limited edition letterpress chapbooks at Smith College's Apiary Press. She's spent the past several years working for antiquarian booksellers, but eventually decided she wanted to write rather than catalogue poetry.

Timothy Melvin


Tim is from California and received his BA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Someday he will be a hobbit.

Alex Stanley


Alex Stanley hails from Phoenix, Arizona. He graduated from Boston College, where he earned a degree in English with a minor in philosophy. He does not know why he pursued a degree in a language he is already fluent in. After college, Alex worked as a sports journalist in a small, New Mexican town. His one claim to fame is that he was published by Sports Illustrated's technology section. Alex's favorite poets are W.S. Merwin and Young Thug. He is an avid stealer of jokes from famous Irish-American comedians. 

Lauren Swift


Lauren grew up between NM and CA and is most recently from Davis, where she finished up her M.A. in English. She hopes to never encounter a Sith Lord, but if she did she would probably just smile awkwardly and fidget a lot.

Justine Yan


Justine is from Fremont, CA, studied architecture at Yale, and has spent much of the past three years traveling within China.

Lizabeth Yandel


Lizabeth Yandel is a writer and musician based in San Diego, CA and originally from Chicago. She is currently a poetry reader for The Adroit Journal. Her work can be found in Rattle Magazine, Lumina Journal, Popshot Magazine, Nashville Review, The Los Angeles Review, and was chosen as the 1st runner up for the 2018 Sandy Crimmins National Prize for Poetry. Her original music, somewhere in the Jazz/Neo-soul realm, can be found on all the streaming platforms. She definitely likes plants and music and words and she probably likes you too.