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The Mission Poetry Series: Three Poets in Spring | A Must Watch Virtual Reading

On May 25th at 1:00 pm PT (3:00 CT/4:00 ET), the Santa Barbara Public Library and The Mission Poetry Series are hosting an online poetry event: Three Poets in Spring, featuring Presidential Inaugural poet, Richard Blanco, and award-winning Gunpowder Press authors Amelia Rodriguez and Fred Arroyo. It will surely be an exceptional reading so we encourage you to tune in. The reading will also offer complimentary digital broadsides and the chance to e-meet and chat with our featured authors during a Q&A.

This past year we posted about the Alta California Chapbook Prize which publishes two chapbooks by Latinx poets each year. In an effort to learn more about the prize, we featured the past winners, their chapbooks, and the series editor, Emma Trelles. One of the winners this year, Fred Arroyo, visited the University of Notre Dame in October 2023 and shared poems from the larger poetry manuscript he’s been working on. If you'd like to get to know Fred's work ahead of the Mission Poetry Series event, we encourage you to watch Fred Arroyo’s Oral History Project Interview and the reading and conversation he shared with Luivette Resto. And though we are not yet familiar with Amelia Rodriguez's poetry, we encourage you to get to know her excellent culture writing for San Diego Magaizne and look forward to reading more form her in the future.

Amelia Rodriguez and Fred Arroyo’s chapbooks are available on Gunpowder Press’ website.



This lyrical and well-crafted chapbook has the breadth and substance of a full-length collection. Focusing on the said and unsaid, in an imagistic and incantatory style, Fred Arroyo has written an honest yet tender examination of a father-son relationship. Steeped in the nature of his barrio, Arroyo’s poems trace the borders of land and body to tell a story of family, exile, and belonging: “There are no boundaries / save the lines on maps.

There is no time / save the eye of memory.

—Alexandra Lytton Regalado, Final Judge, Alta California Prize

FRED ARROYO is the author of Alba and Other Songs, co-winner of the third annual Alta California Chapbook Prize from Gunpowder Press. His Sown in Earth: Essays of Memory and Belonging was shortlisted for 2021- 2022 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. He is also the author of Western Avenue and Other Fictions, and The Region of Lost Names. His writing has appeared in the anthologies Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and The Colors of Nature: Essays on Culture, Identity and the Natural World. Fred is currently working on a book of poems, Emigrant Creek and Other Songs, and a collection of short fiction, The Book of Manuels.



The flowing, associative poems of The First Amelia sing with confidence and travel through the veins of memory, family, and the landscapes of Colima. Amelia Rodriguez conjures images of sparring hawks, crushed rubies, trees glassed with ice, a snared kite, and other wondrous and unique visions. She converses with the men and women of her past, and at the center is a twinned self,

“two Amelias hovering / above the turning earth,”

that is hungry and ever-present.


—Alexandra Lytton Regalado, Final Judge, Alta California Prize

AMELIA RODRIGUEZ is a lesbian poet and journalist from the Coachella Valley, California. She is the author of The First Amelia, co-winner of the Alta California Chapbook Prize from Gunpowder Press. Her creative work explores queerness, religion, and familial and personal mythmaking. She holds a degree in Writing & Literature from UC Santa Barbara's College of Creative Studies. The 2023 recipient of the San Diego Press Club's Rising Star Journalist Award, Amelia is now the associate editor at San Diego Magazine, where she covers art, culture, and obscure women's sports. Her articles and poetry have also appeared in Rolling Stone, Palm Springs Life, Spectrum Literary Journal, and other publications. She lives with her girlfriend in San Diego, where she spends her days perusing art exhibitions, eating strawberries, and maintaining her four-year Duolingo streak.


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