Poetry Santa Cruz's June reading will feature poets Arlene Biala and Marc Zegans.
The daughter of immigrants from the Philippines, poet and performance artist Arlene Biala was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned a BA at San Jose State University and an MFA at New College of California.
In her poems, Biala engages themes of community, prejudice, and inheritance with urgency and compassion. She is author of the chapbooks bone (1993) and continental drift (1999) and the full-length collection her beckoning hands (2014), which won a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award.
In an interview with Victoria Kezra for the Mercury News, Biala states, "I feel that poetry is a way to honor and serve as witness to those challenges that people face in their everyday lives. To me, [poetry] helps … not only in creating a dialogue and trying to raise awareness about certain issues, but for me to work through the angst and the place of frustration and helplessness about those issues so that I can come back and be grounded and remind myself that there are ways to fix them."
For 20 years, Biala has served as arts program manager for the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs. In 2016, she was appointed the Santa Clara County poet laureate. The recipient of a residency at Montalvo Arts Center, Biala lives in Sunnyvale, California, with her family.
Marc Zegans is a poet, spoken word artist, and creative development advisor who helps artists, writers and creative people thrive and shine. Marc is the author of four collections of poems, The Book of Clouds, Boys in the Woods, The Underwater Typewriter, and Pillow Talk, an e-book, Intentional Practice and the Art of Finding Natural Audience, and two spoken word albums, Marker and Parker, with the late jazz pianist Don Parker, and Night Work. He has been the Narragansett Beer Poet Laureate and a Poetry Whore with the New York Poetry Brothel—which Time Out New York described as “New York’s Sexiest Literary Event,” and has performed everywhere from the Bowery Poetry Club and the American Poetry Museum to the San Francisco 40th Anniversary of Punk Rock Renaissance.