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Meet the Authors & Editors
Thelma T. Reyna, Ph.D.

Thelma T. Reyna’s books have collectively won 22 national book awards. She has written 6 books-- a short story collection, 2 poetry chapbooks, and 3 full-length poetry collections-- and has edited 4 anthologies: as Poet Laureate in Altadena, CA in 2014-2016, she edited the Altadena Poetry Review Anthology in 2015 and 2016. Then in 2020, she edited a ground-breaking anthology, When the Virus Came Calling: COVID-19 Strikes America. In 2022 she co-edited Doctor Poets & Other Healers.

Dr. Reyna’s fiction, poetry, and nonfiction have appeared in literary journals, anthologies, textbooks, blogs, and regional media for over 25 years. She was selected as a “Top 10 San Gabriel Valley Poet, 2016” by Spectrum Publications and was a Pushcart Prize Nominee in Poetry in 2017. She also won the “2011 Women in Business Award, Most Inspirational” for her work as an author, presented by California State Assembly and State Senate legislators for the Pasadena (CA) district.

Dr. Reyna has curated and coordinated numerous readings of fellow Southern California poets and other authors from across America for in-person and virtual events. She has also organized literary panels, emceed book launches, and judged literary competitions. Recently, she has served as keynote speaker at a large university symposium and regularly appears as featured or solo author at literary events and podcasts. She received her Ph.D. at UCLA. She is available for private writing consultation and organizational events, including speaking engagements and classroom visitations. Contact her at or at
Victor Cass

Victor Cass is the author of several books, including the well-received novels Love, Death, and Other War Stories and Telenovela, which was a "Top 10 Best Reviewed Books" on the literary blog, "Living La Vida Latina." His newest novel, Black Widow Bitches, has won 4 national book awards in less than one year. Cass’ short stories, articles, editorials, and essays have appeared in If&When, Arroyo Monthly Magazine, Mexican War Journal, Pasadena Weekly, Pasadena Star-News and other publications.

Cass was born in Kingsville, Texas but was raised in his hometown of Pasadena, California. He grew up in Pasadena's Armenian neighborhood, East Washington Village, and graduated from John Muir High School. He is also an Eagle Scout from Pasadena's historic Troop 4. Victor received his Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree (Awarded with Honors) from Art Center College of Design, in Pasadena, and his Master of Arts Degree from American Military University, in Manassas Park, Virginia.

Cass has worked as an advertising art director in New York, and is a decorated, 24-year veteran police officer serving in various capacities within the police force. His first book was a non-fiction history of his department, Pasadena Police Department: A Photohistory, 1877-2000.  This was followed by his first novel, Love, Death, and Other War Stories, based, in part, on some of his experiences as a street cop.

Victor's books are available through as well as from his website, at
Pauli Dutton

Pauli Dutton founded, coordinated, and led the Altadena Library Poetry and Cookies Anthology and public reading events from 2003-2014. She also published a poetry newsletter during those years and served on the Altadena Poetry Review Anthology Selection Committee in 2015-2018. In 2017 and in 2018, she co-edited the anthologies. She has won awards for her poems and been published in several poetry anthologies. Recently retired from 30 years at the library, she enjoys having more time to write, sing, and dance.
Elline Lipkin, Ph.D.

Elline Lipkin, Poet Laureate of the Altadena Library District in
2016- 2018, co-edited the Altadena Poetry Review: Anthology 2017. She is the award-winning author of two books: The Errant Thread and Girls’ Studies. Her poetry and scholarly work have appeared in various journals and academic publications. She is a Research Scholar with UCLA's Center for the Study of Women and teaches for Writing Workshops Los Angeles. She holds an MFA from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Literature
Joseph C. Robledo

Joseph C. Robledo was born and raised in Pasadena, CA, the adopted home of his iconic father Canto and the birthplace of Canto’s famous Crown City Boxing Stables. Joseph’s life was interwoven with boxing, as he was close to his father and an integral member of Canto’s team in and out of the ring. Joseph was an amateur boxer as an adolescent and won the Junior Golden 65-Pound Novice Division Championship in 1956, when he was also named Most Outstanding Fighter in the tournament. His overall ring record was 27-3-1 by the time he stopped boxing to focus on his academic goals.

A native son of California, Joseph attended local schools; taught in the Oak Grove, Pasadena, and Duarte school districts; coached various school teams; and was an adjunct professor at Pasadena City College and California State University, Los Angeles. He received a BA Degree in Physical Education from Cal State LA and an MA in Physical Education from Azusa Pacific University. He recently retired after teaching for 38 years. Joseph also served as an Athletic Inspector in boxing sanctions for the State of California.
Alejandro Morales

Alejandro Morales, the son of Mexican immigrants, was born in Montebello, California and lived his childhood years in Simons, the company town of the Simons Brick Yard #3, bordering Montebello. He earned his B.A. from California State University, Los Angeles, and a M.A. and Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Morales is an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine.

Morales’ literary works include: Caras Viejas y Vino Nuevo (1975); La Verdad sin voz (1979); Reto en el paraíso (1983); The Brick People (1988); The Rag Doll Plagues (1992); Waiting to Happen (2001); Pequeña nación (2005); The Captain of All these Men of Death (2008). River of Angels (2014) and Little Nation & Other Stories (2014). Morales received the prestigious “Luis Leal Award for Distinction in Chicano/Latino Literature” in 2007 from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Morales lives in Santa Ana, California and is now working on three projects: a biographical novel, a collection of short stories, and another book of poetry. Morales is considered a pioneer in American Latino literature, being one of the first authors in the 1970s to depict harsh socioeconomic conditions of barrios and to create Chicano cultural testimonies and metanarratives. His large body of work is deemed so consequential, that a forthcoming academic volume – A Critical Collection on Alejandro Morales: Forging an Alternative Chicano Fiction*– examines his novels and short fiction in 14 insightful critical essays.

*Critical collection edited by Drs. Marc Garcia-Martinez and Francisco A. Lomeli (University of New Mexico Press).
Dr. Frank L. Meyskens, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.P

Dr. Frank L. Meyskens, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.P. is co-editor of Doctor Poets & Other Healers (2022). He is also Distinguished Professor of Medicine  Emeritus and Founding Director of the  NCI-nationally designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of California, Irvine; a Physician Scientist  internationally renowned for translationally based laboratory studies of redox chemistry and cancer; co-founder of the field of chemo-prevention for AACR, ASCO, and SWOG; and co-developer of several clinical chemoprevention companies. Since 2001, he has helped develop the field of end-of-life medicine. Dr. Meyskens has attained international prominence for his poetic contributions and his co-editorship of a column in Oncology Times titled “Poetry for Cancer Caregivers.”  He has published in different academic venues, including in his blog ASCO Connection “White Coat Conversations,” and was designated as Poet Laurate for ASCO. He has published  two books of patient, care-giver , and family -themed poetry (Aching for Tomorrow and Believing in Today). In 2018 he co-organized  the  well-received “1st Annual Symposium on Healing and Hope,” which continues with the 5th Annual Symposium in February 2022. 
Johanna Shapiro, M.A., Ph.D.

Johanna Shapiro, M.A., Ph.D. is co-editor of the anthology Doctor Poets & Other Healers (2022). She is also Professor Emerita of Family Medicine and Founder-Director of the Program in Medical Humanities & Arts, University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. She is the recipient of many teaching awards and honors, including STFM’s Humanism in Medicine Award in 2020 and UCI’s Lauds & Laurels Outstanding Faculty Achievement award.  Dr. Shapiro’s research and scholarship focus on the process of professional identity formation in medical education, including the impact of training on student empathy, on medical student-patient relationships, and on the management of difficult clinical encounters. She is widely published in the field of medical humanities. Her book, The Inner World of Medical Students: Listening to Their Voices in Poetry, is a critical analysis of important themes in the socialization process of medical students as expressed through their creative writing. She has published poetry in several journals, including Pulse, The Healing Muse, Journal of General Internal Medicine, and JAMA. She is co-founder and co-coordinator of the “Annual Symposium on Healing and Hope” series hosted by the University of California, Irvine.
Carla Sameth

Writer. Teacher. Mother. As a writer, Carla hopes to help readers feel less alone and more resilient. As a teacher, she strives to help others tell their stories and hone their craft while experimenting with new forms. The journey of motherhood informs much of her writing. Her chapbook What Is Left was published in 2021 by dancing girl press.
Carla’s work on blended/unblended, queer, biracial, and single parent families has appeared in a variety of literary journals and anthologies, including Narratively, Longreads, Brevity Blog, Mutha Magazine, Brain, Child, Entropy, The Rumpus, and The Nervous Breakdown. Carla’s essay “Mother’s Day Triptych” was selected as a Notable for The Best American Essays 2020. A Pasadena Rose Poet, a Pride Poet with West Hollywood, and a former PEN in the Community Teaching Artist, Carla teaches creative writing to high school and university students and has taught incarcerated youth. She lives in Pasadena with her beloved partner, Milo. To learn more, see
Our Newest Editor...
Peter J. Harris 
Altadena Poet Laureate Editor in Chief (2022-2024) and Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow (2023-2024), is the author of Safe Arms: 20 Love & Erotic Poems (w/an Ooh Baby Baby moan), with Spanish translations by Francisco Letelier (FlowerSong Press), and SongAgain (Beyond Baroque Books). In 2015, his book of poetry, Bless the Ashes (Tia Chucha Press), won the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and his book of personal essays, The Black Man of Happiness: In Pursuit of My 'Unalienable Right,' won the American Book Award. Harris is founding director of The Black Man of Happiness Project, a creative, intellectual, and artistic exploration of Black men and joy. He writes the blog WREAKING HAPPINESS: A Joyful Living Journal:
Harris is also Fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at USC and was the 2018 Los Angeles COLA Fellow in literary arts. His 1993 book, Hand Me My Griot Clothes: The Autobiography of Junior Baby, which featured a philosophical elder Black man ruminating on life, love, and ethics, earned the PEN Oakland award for multicultural literature. He is Founding Publisher/Editor of the LA magazine, The Drumming Between Us: Black Love & Erotic Poetry, (1994 to 1999) and Genetic Dancers: The Magazine for and about the Artistry within African/American Fathers (1984 to 1988). He’s the former Producer/Host of Inspiration House: VoiceMusic for Whole Living, a weekly radio show on KPFK-FM Los Angeles featuring poets in studio reading their work to recorded music (1999 to 2004).