2020 Poetry and the Senses Fellows


Should I cry out and see what happens?
–Frank O’Hara, Meditations in an Emergency

I want to put down what the mountain has awakened.
-–Vievee Francis, Forest Primevel


Undergraduate Student Fellows:

Menat Allah El Attma

Emigrated from Egypt, Menat Allah El Attma majors in English Literature and Global Urban Humanities at UC Berkeley. She is a writer, visual artist, and a Muslim woman aspiring to teach. Menat is personally invested in a myriad of stories and expressive forms to tell them. To her, Art is not only important but necessary to meaningfully study history, science, language, ourselves and each other. The more she practices, the more she sees and understands that the art is in the telling of the story as much as the story itself.

Gracia Mwamba

Gracia Mwamba is a visual artist, composer and writer from DRCongo, by way of South Africa. Currently in her final year of a BA in Art Practice, Gracia works interdisciplinarily to communicate through her work. Upon graduation, she hopes to pursue credentials to become a licensed Art Therapist and strong advocate for art as an accessible means of healing and social change.

Graduate Student Fellows:

Jared Robinson

Jared Robinson is from Indianapolis, IN. He is a poet and scholar in the UC Berkeley English department. In his scholarship, he interrogates the relationship between the transatlantic slave trade and Enlightenment philosophy through careful attention to early African-American literature and its reception. In his poetry, he attempts an understanding of everything else. He does not care for this California weather. He is glad to greet you.

Jenif(f)er Tamayo

Jenif(f)er Tamayo is a queer, migrant, formerly undocumented poet, essayist, and performer. Her poetry collections include [Red Missed Aches] (Switchback, 2011), YOU DA ONE (Noemi 2017) and her latest publication, TO KILL THE FUTURE IN THE PRESENT (Green Lantern Press, 2018). Currently, JT lives and works on Ohlone and Patwin lands and is pursuing her PhD in Performance Studies at the University of California Berkeley. Her research explores how contemporary Black and Indigenous poets use vocal practices to counternarrate histories of colonial violence. 

Faculty Fellows:

Beth Piatote

Beth Piatote is author of two books: a mixed-genre collection, The Beadworkers: Stories (Counterpoint 2019); and a scholarly monograph, Domestic Subjects: Gender, Citizenship, and Law in Native American Literature (Yale 2013), as well as numerous essays and short stories stories in journals and anthologies. Her recent work, The Beadworkers, has been long-listed for the Aspen Words Literary Prize and the PEN/Bingham Prize. She is currently associate professor of Native American Studies, where she specializes in Native American literature and law; Nez Perce language and literature; Indigenous Language Revitalization; and creative writing. She earned a PhD from Stanford University.

Alex Saum-Pascual

Alex Saum-Pascual is Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of California, Berkeley, where she teaches Contemporary Spanish Literature and Culture (20th and 21st Centuries) and Electronic Literature (Digital Humanities). Her academic work on digital media and literature in the Spanish-speaking world has been published in Spain, Mexico and the United States. Her digital artwork and poetry has been exhibited in galleries and art festivals in the United States and abroad.

Community Fellows:

Nathalie Khankan

Nathalie Khankan is the author of quiet orient riot, to be published by Omnidawn in 2020. quiet orient riot was selected as winner of Omnidawn’s 2019 1st/2nd Book Prize by judge Dawn Lundy Martin. Her work appears in Berkeley Poetry Review, Crab Creek Review, and jubilat. She teaches Arabic language and literature in the Near Eastern Studies Department at UC Berkeley.

Rusty Morrison

Rusty Morrison is co-founder,co-publisher of Omnidawn (www.omnidawn.com) since 2001. Her five books include After Urgency (won Tupelo’s Dorset Prize) & the true keeps calm biding its story (won Ahsahta’s Sawtooth Prize, James Laughlin Award, N.California Book Award, & DiCastagnola Award from PSA). Her recent book: Beyond the Chainlink (Ahsahta; finalist for the NCIB Award & NCB Award) She teaches in MFA programs as a visiting poet, workshops through Omnidawn and elsewhere. Offering private consultations. www.rustymorrison.com