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Who Cares About the Past? A Reading and Panel Discussion


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Who Cares About the Past? Transforming Personal Experience into Art

Hosted by the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts and moderated by Ithaca College creative writing professor Christine Kitano, panelists will read from their work and discuss strategies for translating the lived experience onto the page.

Writing is an act of transformation. Whether you’re writing poetry, fiction, or nonfiction, the writer’s aim is to make personal and private experiences — and the cultural tension around them — accessible to a reader.

This is a concern for all writers, but especially for writers who write from marginalized histories. How much can you expect your reader to know? How do you balance creative expression with communicating contextual and historical information? What are your obligations to reality, and what are your obligations to the imagination?

Panelists include: poet Santee Frazier from Syracuse; Saltonstall poet alumna Devon Moore (’15); and incoming 2018 Saltonstall fiction Fellow and Cornell MFA graduate, Leo Ríos.

This program is part of the Community Arts Partnership's Spring Writes Literary Festival



A member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, Santee Frazier earned a BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA from Syracuse University. His collection of poems, Dark Thirty (2009), was published in the Sun Tracks series of the University of Arizona Press.

In Dark Thirty, Frazier portrays Native Americans living on the fringes of contemporary America. Offering nonromanticized and realistic portraits of great beauty, Santee’s poems afford a rare look at the truths of survival for Native peoples in today’s society.

Frazier’s honors include a Fall 2009 Lannan Residency Fellowship and the 2001 Truman Capote Scholarship from the Institute of American Indian Arts Creative Writing Program.


Christine Kitano was born in Los Angeles, CA. Her mother is a first-generation immigrant from Korea, and her father is nisei (second-generation) Japanese American. Christine earned an MFA in Creative Writing (poetry) from Syracuse University and a PhD in English and Creative Writing from Texas Tech University. She is an assistant professor at Ithaca College where she teaches creative writing, poetry, and Asian American literature. She is the author of the poetry collections Sky Country (BOA Editions) and Birds of Paradise (Lynx House).


Devon Moore is a native of Buffalo, NY. She currently lives in Syracuse, NY where she teaches writing at Syracuse University and SUNY Oswego. A former Syracuse University Fellow, she has an MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. Her poems have appeared in or are forthcoming from Gulf Coast, Foothill, Ovenbird, Cider Press Review, Harpur Palate, Stone Canoe, The Cortland Review, Meridian, New Ohio Review and Juked. Her first poetry book, Apology of a Girl Who Is Told She Is Going to Hell, which was a semi-finalist for the 2013 Crab Orchard First Book Award and the University of Wisconsin Press Brittingham and Pollak poetry series, was published by Mayapple Press in 2015.


Leo Ríos is a fiction writer from Delano, California. He studied English, Spanish and Latinx Studies at UCLA, where he was recipient of a scholarship from the UCLA Extension Writers' Program. A Cornell MFA graduate, he has worked as a maintenance mechanic, case worker and ESL teacher. His fiction appears as winner of the Emerging Writers' Prize in The Arkansas International.