An important new voice in contemporary Latin@ literature, Marissa Johnson-Valenzuela is a multi-talented writer, publisher, and editor. Marissa was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. And though she’s also paid some sort of rent in Lawrence, Detroit, D.C., Laramie, Havana and the Mexican state of Chiapas, Philadelphia has long been home. Her poetry and prose have been supported by the work of The Leeway Foundation, Hedgebrook, Art Farm, Fancyland, VONA/Voices, Lambda, The Baffler, American Poetry Review, Make/shift, As Us, Acentos Review, Bedfellows, Solstice, APIARY, Asterix, Big Bell, Philadelphia Printworks and others. She the founder of Thread Makes Blanket press (www.threadmakesblanket.com), and teaches at Community College of Philadelphia.
At Taller, she will discuss her work as an editor and publisher of Dismantle, an anthology featuring work from over 50 writers of color from across the nation. The first ever Voices of Our Nation’s Arts (VONA) anthology, Dismantle includes creative work from established and new authors who have either taught at VONA, or are alumni of the program. Over 55 prose and poetry writers are included in an attempt to capture the range of VONA voices. Keeping with the community spirit of VONA, work from Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners is next to work from authors who have never been published before.
The introduction to Dismantle, written by award-winning author Junot Diaz, also appeared online in The New Yorker and was shared thousands of times because it resonated with many writers and artists who have studied at predominately white institutions. Marissa’s prose and poetry has been published widely and she is currently working on a novel. She will share some of her creative work. In addition to discussing her work as a publisher, she will share some of her creative work.