A community of poets conversing about the hopes, dreams, and realities of having known before the trials and tribulations of everyday life. Had I Known Before features over 50 poets giving advice and reflections on what it means to experience heartbreaks, metamorphoses, and regrets.
Danielle Birnell earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in May 2019.
Her service with the US Army in Kuwait and Afghanistan blends with her love of the supernatural to inform much of her writing.
Birnell is currently a college professor and high school teacher living in the small town of Hartley, TX.
Forthcoming: The Blood of the Blackbird
Laura Lee Bonde is a Harlingen, TX resident who has lived an extraordinary life. She has written stories and poems about her experiences for years and has brought her perspective on life to the stage in poetry readings and flag-worshiping dances. Bonde has overcome the difficult multiple times and, through faith and perseverance, will continue to do so.
Laura Lee Bonde is ready to put those stories and poems together in a collection for all to hear. Working in the mental health and addiction programs has taught her the power of healing through storytelling, and she’s ready.
Forthcoming: Shut the F- Up: I’m Fine
Karina Flores received her Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. She currently resides in Houston, Texas with her lovable pup, Alfred.
A native of the Rio Grande Valley, Flores' deems her Latinx voice will offer an important and diverse perspective. Her poem "Anxiety" was published in The University of Oklahoma’s Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine. And most recently, her poem "La Magia Divina de Natalia: Un Homenaje a Natalia Lafourcade" was published in The Mixtape Literary Journal: Tumbao! Louder Than Borders Vol. 1 2021.
Forthcoming: Juntas: Toget(her)
Jasmin Garcia is a poet based in the Rio Grande Valley. Garcia earned her Associates in EC-6 General Education from South Texas College in 2019 and is currently pursuing her Bachelors in Bilingual Education.
Garcia has been published in La Bloga, Boundless: the Anthology of the Valley International Poetry Festival, and I Sing: The Body Anthology. Garcia wishes to inspire others in building a healthy relationship with literature and view reading as a source of comfort and closure.
Forthcoming: Paper Crane
2022 City of McAllen Poet Laureate and Author, Victoria Lopez -- Victoria has always enjoyed writing; in 2015, she began to introduce herself as a writer and built her confidence by engaging with the community. Her first novel, Fire in May, was published in 2016, the same year she was selected as a tenant of the McAllen Creative Incubator.
Victoria writes Poetry on Demand, a performative demonstration of spontaneous writing. Using her typewriter, you may give her a word, topic, phrase, question, feeling, or thought and she'll write you a poem to either keep or share with someone you love!
"The most important thing about being a writer is identifying who you are and what you represent, what is your mission? What are you putting into the world? Spend time with yourself and be gentle, the words will come, and when they do, let them be authentic."
You can join Victoria for Unfolded: Poetry Project workshops at the McAllen Creative Incubator.
A United States Marine/Gulf War Veteran MOS 7222, Serna started writing while serving time in Federal Prison. He is currently working on his Second Masters in Mexican American Studies at UTRGV and starting his admission process to a P.H.D. Program in Mexican American Studies.
Panorama UTPA. Galley UTPA. 2006 Harper College learning communities. Los Angeles "La Bloga" online publication.
Awards and Education
2009 Who's Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges.
Bachelors in English/ Minor is Spanish. Masters of Arts in English.
Nueva Onda Poets. Vice President - Sigma Tau Delta.
No Name Poetry Group. Novena Poetry member.
Forthcoming: Untitled Poetry Collection
Jonathan Solis has been writing stories since he was in high school. Solis lives in Rio Grande City, Texas, and began to pursue writing out of a love for storytelling and exploring the different aspects of the human psyche.
Solis holds two degrees; a Bachelors in English (2014) and a Master in Creative Writing (2018) from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Solis writes about different psychological disorders and uses a variety of narrative styles.
Solis hopes for readers to see themselves in the characters he writes, to see both the good and bad in each, and derive a special connection between their own lives and the fictional ones he has created.
Forthcoming: Camp Supernatural: Mind Over Matter