Recommended Reading


Our Writing the Community mentors and administrators are talented writers and avid readers, making them great people to ask for book recommendations. Here are some of their favorite reads--from books on education to those that just plain inspire them.


tc tolbert:

The Triggering Town by Richard Hugo

Anything We Love Can Be Saved by Alice Walker

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

3arabi Song by Zeina Hashem Beck

March (1-3) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell


TC Tolbert often identifies as a trans and genderqueer feminist, collaborator, dancer, and poet but really s/he’s just a human in love with humans doing human things. The author of Gephyromania (Ahsahta Press 2014) and 3 chapbooks, TC is also co-editor (along with Trace Peterson) of Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics (Nightboat Books 2013). S/he is currently studying to be an EMT and spends his summers leading wilderness trips for Outward Bound. His favorite thing in the world is Compositional Improvisation (which is another way of saying being alive).


Yanara Friedland:

Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing by Helene Cixous

Cassandra by Christa Wolf

Salvation Army by Abdellah Taia

Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks

Notes from No Man's Land by Eula Biss  


Yanara Friedland is a German-American writer, translator, and teacher. She holds a PhD from the University of Denver and is the recipient of a 2016 DAAD research grant. She is author of the novel Uncountry: A Mythology, the 2015 winner of the Noemi Fiction Prize. Abraq ad Habra: I will create as I speak, a digital chapbook, is available from Essay Press. She is a member of the poets’ theater group GASP: Girls Assembling Something Perpetual and of the POG board of directors, a poetry reading series in Tucson, Arizona.


Aisha Sabatini Sloan:

Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee

Photocopies by John Berger

Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag

Black Looks by bell hooks

In the Break by Fred Moten


Aisha’s essay collection, The Fluency of Light: Coming of Age in a Theater of Black and White was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2013. Her most recent essay collection, Dreaming of Ramadi in Detroit, was just chosen by Maggie Nelson as the winner of the 1913 Open Prose Contest and will be published in 2017. A contributing editor for Guernica: A Magazine of Art & Politics, her writing can be found in The Offing, Ecotone, Ninth Letter, Identity Theory, Michigan Quarterly Review, and others. She helps coordinate Education Programs at the UA Poetry Center.


Brook Bernini

Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici

Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks

An Indigenous People's History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz


Brook Bernini is a teacher and organizer guided by a commitment to working for social justice. She currently teaches GED classes at Pima Community College, where she has had the opportunity to focus on the art of teaching and developing curriculum, and is loving learning from and with the students there. She engages in migrant, racial, and climate justice organizing. Brook holds a Masters in Geography from the University of Minnesota, where she was driven by a desire to learn about how solidarity economic efforts can effectively be fostered as a way to both increase economic security and social equity. She enjoys dancing wherever and whenever possible, writing, growing food, and biking and hiking as ways to experience the world around her.


Renee Angle

Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

The Grammar of Fantasy by Gianni Rodari

Literature as Exploration by Louise Rosenblatt


Renee Angle is the author of WoO (Letter Machine Editions, 2016). Her writing has appeared in the literary journals Entropy Magazine, Western Humanities Review, The Volta, Diagram, Practice New Art + Writing, Sonora Review, EOAGH in addition to the anthology I'LL DROWN MY BOOK: CONCEPTUAL WRITING BY WOMEN (Les Figues Press, 2012), and in the chapbook Lucy Design in the Papal Flea (dancing girl press, 2010). She lives and works in Tucson, AZ, where she is an archivist for The League for Holographic Music and the Education Programs Coordinator for the University of Arizona Poetry Center. She holds an MFA from George Mason University.


Lisa O’Neill

Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings by Joy Harjo

Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit

Citizen by Claudia Rankine

Living Beautifully With Uncertainty and Change by Pema Chodron

Writing to Change the World by Mary Pipher


Lisa O'Neill is a writer and writing teacher living in Tucson, AZ. Originally from New Orleans, she has lived in Tucson for nearly a decade where she has taught writing at the University of Arizona and Pima Community College. She developed curricula for taught creative writing workshops with incarcerated students at juvenile and adult detention and at Arizona State Prison. ahw has also taught writing workshops at The University of Arizona Poetry Center and and residencies in elementary schools through the Poetry Center's Writing the Community Program. Lisa received her MFA in nonfiction writing from the University of Arizona and previously served on the board of The University of Arizona Poetry Center and literary nonprofit Casa Libre en la Solana. She works as teacher, editor and creativity usher, helping writers discover and clarify their voices and stories. Her writing has been published in defunct, drunken boat, Diagram, GOOD, Good Housekeeping, Salon, The Feminist Wire, Essay Daily, and Edible Baja Arizona among others. She is the founder, editor, and curator of literary blog The Dictionary Project and is currently writing a book on sound and silence.


Wren Awry is a New York-raised, Tucson-based writer. They like folklore, food, bookstores, and hiking; and volunteer with No More Deaths, an organization that provides humanitarian aid on the U.S.-Mexico border. They're an editor at Tiny Donkey and Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness; and their essays and poems have been published by or are forthcoming from Rust + Moth, Essay Daily, Anarcho Geek Review,, Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness, and Ghost City Press. They teach with the University of Arizona Poetry Center's Writing the Community program.