Poetry Students

Marissa Ahmadkhani


Marissa Ahmadkhani is a 27 year old Bay Area native, who holds an M.A. in English Literature from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo. Her writing can be found in Radar Poetry, Cosmonauts Avenue, Southern Indiana Review, The West Review, The Journal, and poets.org, where she received the Academy of American Poets Prize in 2015 and 2017. In her free time, she enjoys writing, sleeping, owning too many plants, and hanging out with her cat. 

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

"Can I have it be UwU"

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 is a native of Southern California. She studied English and Spanish at Biola University and graduated from the Torrey Honors Institute. She used to sell T-shirts at metal concerts and tutor ESL before coming to UCI. Lately she can be found writing anxiety poems at 3am, talking to her cats, doom-scrolling through the news and dreaming of a day when she can grow houseplants without inevitably killing them.

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.

Helena Li


Helena split her childhood between China, Maryland, and California. She studied Applied Math and Philosophy at Berkeley before moving to Madison. She loves Gabe, her friend’s cat, and bread.

Nicholas Martino


Nick Martino grew up in Milwaukee along the ocean of Lake Michigan. He attended Wesleyan University and taught first grade for two years before landing in Irvine.

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. 

Harriet Weaver


Harriet Weaver graduated from Yale University with a B.A. in Theater Studies, and for several years pursued a career as an actor and producer before allowing herself to write. She lived in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, and New York before relocating to the pleasant culture shock that is Los Angeles. She owes much of her love of poetry to her late great teachers, Harold Bloom and Wynn Handman.

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.