MFA students present their works in ‘Fresno Writers Live’


Carlos Rene Castro

In order: Mialise Carney, sami h. tripp, Yamille Moss and James T. Morrison pose for a final picture at Rogue Festival in Tower District. (Carlos Rene Castro/ The Collegian)

By Jazmin Alvarado Villegas, Reporter

sami h. tripp read poems that focused on reconnection with their ancestors during “Fresno Writers Live” at the Fresno Rogue Festival.
tripp, who goes by they/them pronouns, is a MFA student. They read four pieces, talking about self identity, background and family history. tripp also explained how their background plays a role in their writing.
“Some of my poems are about the [loved] ones I just miss dearly. Some are an attempt to reconnect myself for who I am in relation to the concept of family, and others are about the anxiety of having children in such an uncertain future,” tripp told The Collegian.
The first “Fresno Writers Live” of the 2023 festival featured four Fresno State students in the MFA program — Mialise Carney, James T. Morrison, Yamille Moss and tripp — who had the opportunity to share a part of their personal story in front of Fresno’s literary community. The show took place at Veni Vidi Vici in the Tower District on March 3. Other readings at the festival, which closed March 11, included other groups of MFA students.
tripp’s poems explored uncertainty, but they were excited to continue to share their work.
“It feels great to be part of this creative community and you know, as nervous as I am, I’ll keep doing it,” tripp said.
Jefferson Beavers, the event organizer and communications specialist at Fresno State, introduced each reader.
“I loved hearing Mialise, Yamille, James and sami read from their new writing. They all have such precision in their language and such vivid images and stories. And they are telling stories with great care and imagination about important topics: mental health, relationships, addiction, safety, loss and so much more. I expect great things from these writers,” Beavers said.
Morrison, a first year MFA student, talked about substance abuse and mental health disorders.
Morrison shared his personal story with substance abuse. His poems explained what drug abuse meant for him and how he fought to stay sober.
He said sharing his work still feels weird to him but feels good after.
“I mean, it’s always nice to share my work, and I think it’s an important part in learning how to write. Writing is about more than just writing. It’s about learning how to read. It’s a great experience,” Morrison said during an interview.
Moss, who goes by they/them pronouns, was the third reader. Their writing is usually fantasy and they specialize in literary editing and publishing.
They read a fantasy fiction novel from their thesis. The novel surrounded a fantasy world with animals and people.
Moss offered advice to upcoming writers.
“Advice I can offer is to honestly just keep writing continuously, do not stop writing and also do a lot of reading,” they said during an interview.
Carney, a writer and MFA candidate in creative writing, was the final reader. Her writing has appeared in several magazines, and she is the senior fiction editor at The Normal School, a literary magazine.
She is also an MFA dean’s medalist nominee. The work she read at the Rogue Festival focused on the realities women face all over the world, online and in relationships.
After the show, Carney said reading this year was not as nerve-racking as her times reading at previous festivals.
“I feel great. I think usually I’m really nervous, but I think this is my last reading in the program, so I wasn’t as nervous. It’s always really fun to share with everyone,” Carney said.
Beavers added: “I hope the show continues to give our creative writing students the chance to bring their work out into the community. We love it when the community can come to us on campus. But I think there’s something even more special when Fresno State students take a chance on leaving campus and sharing their writing and their art beyond what they know.”