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Rogue Review: #FresnoWriters Live

My first Rogue show and I cried. One of the reasons I ensure that Fresno State’s MFA Program in Creative Writing is on my schedule for Rogue viewings: they always bring the future of the Central Valley’s voices to life in a non-performative context, allowing for the words, not the presentation, to pierce. Opening night’s show brought four of San Joaquin Literary Association’s writers: Mialise Carney (she/her), Rosie Bates (she/her), Carolina Mata (she/her), and sami h. tripp (they/them). These four writers, spanning from fiction to non-fiction to poetry, brought a seriously excellent excerpt of their work.

Mialise delivered excellent use of imagery, simile, and metaphor in her excerpt from a short story she is working on. Not once did her syntax get in the way of the central Godmother figure she brought focus to. Her main vision was sublimely complemented by the feelings surrounding the overarching message of love and the experience of the life she is living.

Rosie brought an excerpt of her essay, titled “Just for Context,” that demands attention and earns empathy. Her carefully woven through line of adjective-laden lists employs the audience to care for her journey as an active human who is dealing with disorder. This excerpt is crafty in its wording and processing, not wasting a moment of anecdote nor drop of emotion. It’s an astounding piece that you can search for soon in the magazine, “Alpinist.”

Carolina offered two pieces which dive into experience and reflection. She digs into, literally, real-life as it is experienced by women in the Central Valley, and asks audiences to contemplate what it’s like to have hope at the expense of living a life worthy of comforts most take for granted. Carolina is a straight-shooter of the facts, and the writing indicates her masterly ability to put them into words. Lastly, sami delivered a series of poems, inspired by the passing of her abuela, but also in their experience living in this, still, divided world of gender and non-binary recognition. My personal favorite–though no poem in sami’s catalog is undeserving of praise–was “My New Therapist Mis-gendered Me Three Times.” This particular poem exposes the very issue of mis-gendering in our population: laziness and not paying attention, with a dash of willful ignorance. sami’s calibration of the ironic humor in a therapist not respecting their Zoom-printed identity is the micro-focus of a macro issue, one which sami nailed in this piece. Seek out sami’s writings in Bramble.

You can catch the remaining shows of #FresnoWriters Live, which feature different lineups every show, at Goldstein’s Mortuary and Delicatessen on Saturday, 3/5 at 2pm, Sunday, 3/6 at 8pm, and Saturday, 3/12 at 8pm.

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