About Us

Established in 2002, Pomona Valley Review is an annual, online liberal arts journal published by English graduate students of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, by faculty, and by continuing graduate students from Cal Poly who are now pursuing doctoral work or developing their professional careers. Our staff includes English M.A. students or Ph.D. students whose focus is either rhetoric & composition, literature, or teaching English as a second or subsequent language; therefore, our perspectives capture the interdisciplinary atmosphere of our program and translate the scene to the page. We not only enjoy classic literature, but also edgy, provocative, and groundbreaking literature which attempts to deconstruct the paradigms that have supported the English intelligentsia over the past centuries.

As mainly a geographic journal, Pomona Valley Review serves in part to portray the current literary environment of the West Coast, but, in particular, Southern California. Our publication largely features the work of upcoming authors who attend colleges and universities throughout Southern California, but we consider work outside of this area equally for submission.

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Staff Biographies

Ian Cressman

Ian Cressman is an English Literature student at Cal Poly Pomona; he is currently pursuing a career in publishing and editing—largely a side project to his own literary pursuits. His primary scholarly interests include 19th and 20th Century American literature ranging from Henry James to Ernest Hemingway (his favorite novel is The Old Man and the Sea); along with a strong appreciation for the works of writers such as Henrik Ibsen and Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Other interests include adoration for all facets of artistic expression—including anything from the works of Hieronymus Bosch (a major influence on Cressman’s poetry) to filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick and Ingmar Bergman. As such, he pursues any and all forms of art which provide the inescapable rapture of emotional ingenuity—be it the graphic novels of Alan Moore, the music of Björk, or simply the fresh and forward-thinking writing of his contemporaries and peers—he believes that all forms of art can tell a story; whether it is visual, audible, or simply emotionally affecting. His other interests include early American history, Mexican-American relations, politics, religious studies, linguistics, Anthropology, and even the burgeoning advancements of art in the fields of Television and Video Games—essentially nothing is off-limits in terms of inspiration. He also enjoys travelling cross-country, hiking and camping in California, and drinking dark beer. Cressman currently resides in Chino, California, likely reading Mark Twain in a comfortable corner with a cup of coffee as his maniacal cat Fox sprints about like a hyper child.

Marta Albalá Pelegrín
Faculty Adviser

Marta Albalá Pelegrín is an Assistant Professor at the English and Foreign Languages Department at Cal Poly Pomona. Her research and interest include Late Medieval and Early Modern Spanish literature, Theater and Diplomacy in the context of the Mediterranean World. She is particularly interested in French, Italian and Spanish humanistic and theatrical cultural networks as well as in English drama. She has been originally trained as a literary historian, a journalist and a creative writer, and has developed a keen interest in translation studies and cultural mediation. During her undergraduate studies she spent one year of study abroad at the Université Paris 7. A voracious traveller since then, she has developed the appetite for living in different countries, learn different languages and devouring local cuisine, all spiced up with good wine and beer. She enjoys welcoming the summer with a German course book over an obazda in a Beer Garden. When not reading at a coffee place or at the archives, she watches movies, hunts for old movie theaters, and new culinary traditions. She used to be a figure skater, and now she loves strolling in big cities, and having a drink or some tapas with friends.

Ryan David Leack
Emeritus Editor

Ryan David Leack is an English Ph.D. student at the University of California, Riverside, where he studies rhetoric, composition, 20th century American literature, and critical theory.  His main interests lie in exploring the place of the university in facilitating a substantive rather than procedural democracy, in fostering critical thinking in first-year composition classrooms with critical theory, and in resisting the terror of neoliberalism by resurrecting philosophy, as Foucault says, as a way of life, an aesthetics of existence. He also hopes to find a place for the poetic imagination in his work, having been published in poetry journals such as Pif, RipRap, Contemporary World Literature, Strong Verse, and Word River, as well as in Pomona Valley Review, of which he is now the Editor-in-Chief.  He lives a quiet life with his wife and daughter in Pomona seeking Thoreauvian tranquility and harmony with words.

Christopher Baarstad
Emeritus Editor

Christopher Baarstad, ostensibly known as Chris, teaches Basic Writing and Composition at Riverside City College in California.  He also teaches international 7th and 8th grade students at his local junior high school.  He enjoys reading Norse mythology, dystopian novels, and writing for no reason at all.

Notable Contributors

VIRGINIA HAMILTON ADAIR was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. She received her B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and her M.A. from Harvard-Radcliffe. Adair was one of the first women hired to teach at Cal Poly Pomona in the 1960's; she began in the Art department before joining the English & Foreign Languages faculty. She has published three collections of poetry: Ants on the Melon, Beliefs and Blasphemies, and Living on Fire. She has had work published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New Republic.

MELISSA MARIE ANDERSON lives in La Mirada, California. She enjoys imagining new writing ideas while running along Southern California beaches.

LLOYD AQUINO has recently received his B.A. in English Literature and Language from Cal Poly Pomona and will begin the graduate program this fall. He is the 2002 recipient of the Ted Pugh Poetry Award.

LISA ARANA currently resides in the city of Upland, California; she is studying creative writing at Chaffey College and intends to transfer to Cal Poly Pomona. She participates in poetry events at the dA Center for the Arts in Pomona, and this is the first time her work has been published.

MARY BARNES has lived in Claremont, California for over 30 years. She teaches English as a Second Language to adults.

ELIZABETH DE L. BENNETT has lived in La Verne, California for almost two years. She teaches English at Upland High School and finds inspiration in words, people, music, and miracles.

HENRY CASTANEDA was born in El Paso, Texas and raised in Baldwin Park, California. He served in Vietnam 1/9 (The Walking Dead) from 1967-1968. Henry wrote "Her Purple Heart" for his mother on Mother's Day four months before she died.

BRIAN CLARK is currently working to complete a B.A. in English Literature and Language at Cal Poly Pomona. He plans to start a career as a professional fiction writer and eventually to obtain his doctorate in English.

R. MAPUANA COTTELL lives in Pomona, California with her husband and two children. She enjoys drawing and dancing hula, and she perpetuates the spirit of aloha through the written word.

J. EDWIN CRAVELLO currently resides in Fullerton, California. He is a lecturer in English at Cal Poly Pomona and is the coordinator of Pre-University Studies for the Cal Poly English Language Institute. He is a recipient of the Virginia H. Adair Poetry Award.

DANIEL DOWD lives in the city of Rialto, California. He is pursuing a B.A. in English at Cal Poly Pomona. He has been writing across several genres of fiction and poetry for ten years.

DEVON HACKELTON was raised in San Dimas. He currently resides with his wife Dawn and children Jacob and Hannah in the windiest city: Fontana, California. He has been writing poetry for the last fifteen years (ever since he hit puberty). He teaches in the English department at Cal Poly Pomona.

JOEL DAVID HARPER was born in Claremont, California. He is currently taking time off from a career in social work to help manage the family music business and to publish his first book Restless Spirit: The Eyes of a Child.

WENDY HERBERT lives in Claremont, California with her husband and two daughters. She has received the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Prize and was a finalist for the Atlanta Review, American Literary Review, Madison Review, and Flyway Literary Prizes. Wendy has also been a semi-finalist in the Discovery/The Nation competition and a Pushcart Prize nominee.

H.R. HOPKINSON resides in Upland, California. His most recent poems and writings have appeared in Ellery Queen Magazine and Rural Heritage and now the Pomona Valley Review.

SARA JACOBSON, a classically trained sculptor, is scribbling her life away in Pomona, California.

SCOTT JACOBSON is pursuing a B.A. in Computer and Electrical Engineering Technology. He is currently screaming at walls in an immaculate unending prayer.

JOHN G. LABELLA was born in East Boston, Massachusetts. He served as a Coast Guardsman and an Army Paratrooper and is now retired. He resides in San Dimas, California where he enjoys writing, gardening, and cats.

KAREN CHAPMAN LENZ is a native of Pomona, California and a lifelong valley resident. She shares memories of her life growing up in Pomona, attending Roosevelt Elementary, Emerson Junior High, and the only high school in town. Retiring in 1995 after teaching 30 years in the Claremont schools, she has since found great enjoyment in writing and is pleased to be included in the first issue of the Pomona Valley Review.

DENNIS LOO is an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Science at Cal Poly Pomona. He lives in Glendale with his wife, son, two cats, a bunch of rose plants and three dwarf fruit trees. Home is where the fruit trees are.

ALBERT LUMANLAN is a resident of Corona, California and has recently received his B.A. in English Literature and Language from Cal Poly Pomona. He hopes to one day become a novelist, or failing that, the greatest professional baseball player of all time.

BOB MATRANGA resides in beautiful Pomona, California. He is working to complete a B.A. in English at Cal Poly. Thus far in life, he has yet to reach his crossroads.

DAN MERRITT has lived in the Pomona area since 1969. He enjoys reading, spending time with family, and teaching biology and environmental science to college students. He especially enjoys playing basketball.

DOUG MULLANE resides in Hacienda Heights, California; he is in the M.A. program in Rhetoric and Composition at Cal Poly. He enjoys taking midnight walks and noticing abundant, menacing trees. His inspiration and everything he wants in life come from what he describes as "the sunshine that my only sunflower gives me."

MIKE REIBEL lives in Altadena, California and is an Assistant Professor of Geography at Cal Poly Pomona. He has been performing and publishing poetry since the 1980's.

KURT RIGHTMYER lives in West Covina, California. He is a U.C.L.A. alumnus and formerly taught English in Japan. His poems have recently appeared in The Iconoclast and Maelstrom.

ERIN SLOSSER is from Pasadena, California and is currently studying for her B.A. in English at Cal Poly Pomona. Her interests include writing, photography, drawing, and painting.

JOAN JOBE SMITH lives in Long Beach, California. She is a founding editor of Pearl magazine and The Bukowski Review. She has published 17 collections of poetry, most notably The Pow Wow Cafe, a finalist for the 1999 Forward Prize.

BARBARA SMYTHE resides in West Covina, California. She is a retired teacher, school and city administrator, a mother of three, grandmother of five, great-grandmother of one, and friend to one cat. Author Barbara Kingsolver's discipline and technical skill inspire her, and the poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay reverberate in her soul.

DAVID SOLTIS is a teacher at La Salle High School in Pasadena, California. When he is not caring for his constant source of love, his two wonderful children, David spends time coordinating a literary magazine called Cygnet. David is currently finishing his M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language and Rhetoric/Composition at Cal Poly Pomona.

FRED VOSS is a resident of Long Beach, California. He has been working in factories, steel mills, and machine shops for twenty-five years with men from Mexico, Guatemala, Russia and other places. He has tried to put some of their humanity onto the page. He has done five reading tours of the U.K. with his wife, poet Joan Jobe Smith, and has read twice for BBC Radio 4. His book Carnegie Hall with Tin Walls (Bloodaxe Books) is available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

JUDY WENRICK received her M.A. from Cal Poly in 1976. She currently lives in Claremont, California. She teaches at Upland High School, and for the last three years has been co-director of "Teaching Towards College" at U.C. Riverside.

ERICA NICOLE WOLICKI lives in Glendora, California. She is an English Education major at Cal Poly Pomona and is working toward becoming a high school teacher or college professor.

PEGGY WOODRUFF lives in Padua Hills, California. Poetry has been a part of her life for 77 years, from growing up on a Colorado farm, to the University of Tennessee, to the Claremont Graduate School, to Naropa, to the Claremont Forum, to her home in her beloved Padua Hills. She has self-published two books of poetry.