Jessica Helen Lopez, Founder and Lead Facilitator

Jessica Helen Lopez has recently been named the City of Albuquerque Poet Laureate. She has also been a featured writer for 30 Poets in their 30’s by MUZZLE magazine.  Lopez is a nationally recognized award-winning slam poet, and holds the title of 2012 and 2014 Women of the World (WOW) City of ABQ Champion.

Jess PicShe’s also a member of the Macondo Foundation. Founded by Sandra Cisneros, it is an association of socially engaged writers united to advance creativity, foster generosity, and honor community.

Her first collection of poetry, Always Messing With Them Boys (West End Press, 2011) made the Southwest Book of the Year reading list and was also awarded the Zia Book Award presented by NM Women Press. Her more recent publication, Cunt.Bomb.(Swimming with Elephants Publications 2014), is a chapbook collection of poems focusing on the powers of the feminine. She is the founder of La Palabra – The Word is a Woman collective created for and by women and gender-identified women and a Ted Talk speaker alum.

Her work has been anthologized in A Bigger Boat: The Unlikely Success of the Albuquerque Slam Scene (UNM Press), Earth Ships: A New Mecca Poetry Collection(NM Book Award Finalist), Tandem Lit Slam (San Francisco), Adobe Walls, Malpais Review, SLAB Literary Magazine and the upcoming Courage Anthology: Daring Poems for Gutsy Girls (Write Bloody Press).

Along with several other publications, her collection: Always Messing with Them Boys and her chapbook Cunt.Bomb. are available from Amazon.com.


Mariah Be, co-founder and principal photographer

Mariah Bottomly, would prefer to called only by her first name. Hence her foundingProfile_bio picMariah Be Photography.

Originally from Santa Fe NM, Mariah lived a good portion of her life in San Diego, California. She then re-located to Albuquerque, NM to find that she didn’t really get along with the desert and her ways, so she decided to put some roots down in Denver Colorado. Mariah has been residing there with her two beautiful daughters for about 3 years now…

Mariah generally photographs poets and performance artists but also likes to capture nature and the earths essences. She is dabbling in portrait photography with an emphasis on fine art photography. Mariah was the principal videographer for the Taos Verse/Converse Poetry festival 2010 and had been seen photographing for the Women of the World Poetry Slam that was hosted in Denver March 2012.

Mariah is also the co-founder and principal photographer for La Palabra: The Word is a Woman which was founded by her soul sister, Jessica Helen Lopez. Mariah continues to further her photography knowledge by getting her degree in film and digital photography at Red Rocks College in Denver.


Katrina K Guarascio, co-facilitator and webmistress

Kat's Hands 3Katrina K Guarascio is a writer and teacher living in Albuquerque, NM. As an active member of the poetry community, she has worked as an editor for various literary magazines and small presses, along with hosting poetry workshops and producing various poetry performances, including The Second Saturday Slam, Rio Rancho’s only monthly Poetry Slam and Open Mic.

As an educator, her focus resides in bringing poetry into the classroom and making it accessible to students. Guarascio sponsors the Cleveland High School Poetry Community, coaches a youth Slam Team, and produces a yearly literary magazine of student poetry.

In 2013, Guarascio began sponsoring the Rio Rancho Youth Poetry Community, which holds monthly poetry workshops open to the public and sponsors a youth slam poetry team..

Along with many small press and e-zine publications, she is the author of two chapbooks of poetry, Hazy Expressions and More Fire than Sun, and two book length publications entitled September and my verse, both publications are in collaboration with local photographers. Find these publications and many others by Swimming with Elephants Publications on Amazon.


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