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MJC Hosts Poetry Reading
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The Modesto Junior College Visiting Author Series will host a poetry reading by Patricia Smith and June Sylvester Saraceno on Tuesday, April 15 at 6:30p.m. in the Music Recital Hall on East Campus, 435 College Ave., Modesto. The event is free and open to the public.

Patricia Smith is the author of six books of poetry, including “Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah,” winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets and the Phillis Wheatley Award, and finalist for both the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America and the Balcones Prize. She also authored “Blood Dazzler,” a finalist for the National Book Award, and “Teahouse of the Almighty,” a National Poetry Series selection.

Smith’s work has appeared in “Poetry,” “The Paris Review,” The New York Times, “TriQuarterly,” “Tin House,” The Washington Post, and in both “Best American Poetry” and “Best American Essays.” Her contribution to the crime fiction anthology “Staten Island Noir” won the Robert L. Fish Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the best debut story of the year and was chosen for Best American Mystery Stories 2013.

A 2012 fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo, she is also a two-time Pushcart Prize winner, recipient of a Lannan fellowship and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history.

Smith is a professor at the College of Staten Island and an instructor in the MFA program at Sierra Nevada College, where she is currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Humanities.

June Sylvester Saraceno is a transplant from the American South to the American West. The influences of both regions are reflected in her work. Her second full-length collection of poetry, “of Dirt and Tar,” was published in February 2014 by Cherry Grove Collections.

Saraceno is also the author of “Altars of Ordinary Light,” released by Plain View Press in 2007, and a chapbook of prose poems, “Mean Girl Trips,” published in 2006 by Pudding House Press. Her work, both poetry and fiction, has appeared widely in journals including “American Journal of Nursing,” “California Quarterly,” “Haight Ashbury Literary Journal,” “The Pedestal,” “Quicksilver,” “Silk Road,” “Smartish Pace,” “Southwestern American Literature,” “Tar River Poetry” and others.

Sylvester Saraceno is also a contributor to several anthologies including “A Bird as Black as the Sun: California Poets on Crows and Ravens,” “Tahoe Blues,” “Cradle Songs: Poems on Motherhood,” “Intimate Kisses: the poetry of sexual pleasure,” and “Passionate Hearts: the poetry of sexual love,” now in a second printing.

Originally from Elizabeth City, North Carolina, Sylvester Saraceno received a BA in English from East Carolina University and an MFA in creative writing from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She is currently English program chair at Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe where she is director of the popular Writers in the Woods literary speaker series and founding editor of the Sierra Nevada Review.

For more information contact English Professor Optimism One at (209) 575-6465 or