Emma Trelles is the 9th Poet Laureate of Santa Barbara (2021-23) and a 2023 recipient of an Established Artist Fellowship from the California Arts Council. In August 2022, she was named one of 22 Poet Laureate Fellows across the country by the Academy of American Poets. The daughter of Cuban immigrants, she is the author of Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press), winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and a finalist for Foreword-Indies poetry book of the year. She is writing a new collection of poems, Courage and the Clock. Her work is anthologized in Best American Poetry; Verse Daily; Best of the Net; Political Punch: Contemporary Poems on the Politics of Identity; To Give Life A Shape: Poems Inspired by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art; and others. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Florida International University and has taught poetry and creative writing workshops in academic and community based settings such as the O, Miami Poetry Festival, the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, Santa Barbara City College, Antioch University-Santa Barbara, and the Pintura Palabra project at the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum. (author photo by Regina Reese)
Emma has presented her work at venues across the country, including The Bryant Park Reading Room in New York, The Poet and the Poem series at the Library of Congress, Busboys & Poets in Washington D.C., the Miami Book Fair, the Ojai Art Center, the Milwaukee Public Library-Central Branch, the University of California-Santa Barbara, the Last Bookstore in Los Angeles, the University of Notre Dame, and the Palabra Pura series at the Guild Literary Complex in Chicago.
She is a CantoMundo Fellow and the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. Emma was born and raised in Miami, and after working for many years in South Florida as an arts and culture journalist, she now lives with her husband in California, where she curates the Mission Poetry Series. She is the series editor of the Alta California Chapbook Prize from Gunpowder Press, open to Latina/e/o/x poets who reside in the U.S. and published in bilingual editions in the spring.
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