This page lists performers’ biographies from our most recent Monsoon Voices events. Those with blogs or Web sites have their names noted in blue.  


Friday, August 14th, 2009  (Unlimited Coffee, Phoenix)

Gary Bowers is an artist, potter, published poet, humorist, 4-time marathoner (those days are probably gone forever), avid reader, overeater, lapsed vegetarian, substitute teacher, Freethinker, writer, numbers cruncher, whaddayasayer and crossword puzzle/word search constructor. He’s a former newsletter editor, former administrative vice president and former lithographer. He’s an insomniac. An Arizonan. An unpaid critic for Four Word Film Review with 394 accepted reviews to date. A performance artist billed as Multimedia Poet, and the Master of Ceremonies for poetry events at Bards Books. onewithclay [at]

Sharon Flanagan-Hyde writes fiction and memoir. She grew up in Massachusetts and has lived in Phoenix for 20 years. Her passions include collecting sea glass, bookmarks from independent bookstores, and writing stories about her ancestors.

Living in Arizona and travelling to Costa Rica has made David Chorlton into an advocate for animals and their territory. Reading Edward Abbey has encouraged him. Consequently, the wild has made its way into his chapbooks: Waiting for the Quetzal from March Street Press, and The Porous Desert from FutureCycle. This year he won the Slipstream Chapbook Award for From the Age of Miracles. rdchorlton [at]

Carol Test received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona in 2005. Her fiction has appeared in Red Rock Review, Swink, Night Train, The Normal School, and Other Voices, among others. She is a 2006 recipient of an Arizona Commission on the Arts Award and a 2008 Pushcart Prize nominee. When she’s not writing, she enjoys highlighting her hair, travel that includes mild but not life-threatening dysentery, and being more neurotic than 70% of the general populace. She really wants you to sign up for her Novel Writing Workshop on Wednesday nights at Phoenix College. There will be punch and pie. caroltest [at]

Susan Vespoli describes herself as a former responsible citizen—a wife, teacher, small business owner— who gave it all up to move to a shack in the forest to attend poetry school. susan_vespoli [at]

Saturday, July 11th, 2009 (Oro Valley Library)

Mary Ber has been writing poetry since she was seven years old. She has published her poetry, short stories, memoir and academic essays in various publications. For 15 years, she has been the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Moon Journal Press. Once she stepped into classrooms, she never left them. This fall she begins her 50th year as a teacher. Mary teaches writing and literature at Pima College – Northwest, and leads a workshop called “Writing from the Deep Heart” at the Hearts at Peace Sufi Center. maryhber [at]

Leslie Clark indulges her lifelong love for words by teaching at Cochise College, writing, organizing an annual writers’ conference, and editing/publishing an online poetry journal, Voices on the Wind. She and her husband fell in love with the high desert and the Huachuca Mountains and moved to Cochise County about 14 years ago. Leslie’s poetry chapbook, Cardiac Alert, was published by Finishing Line Press in March 2009. leslietc [at] and

It was 10 o’clock at night and still 90 degrees when Hollis Fingold arrived in Tucson. Though people laughed when she appeared shocked by the situation, Hollis didn’t think it was funny. People warned her about pack rats chewing through the wires of her car, valley fever blowing around in the dirt and wild pigs roaming the neighborhoods, but Hollis didn’t think those things were funny either. Nevertheless, she’s remained in Tucson, where she enjoys her work as a freelance writer. She is currently finishing her novel. azholldoll [at]

Michele Finn Johnson hails from Philadelphia. In 2002, she fell in mad-love with a Tucsonan, and has thinned her blood adequately enough to stay here. When she’s not greening the planet, you’ll find Michele downing lots of caffeine and writing short stories.

Amber Gaia is a singer, guitarist, cellist and songwriter who performs throughout the United States. Born in Clinton Iowa, Amber received her first guitar at age seven. She developed Movement and Music Early Childhood Music Instruction, a program she taught privately and in schools. She released her Movement and Music, Volume One CD with Blue Dolphin Records. Her music emanates from her heart and shows her passion for bringing light and love to humanity. amber at ambergaia dot com.

 Friday, June 12th, 2009 (Unlimited Coffee, Phoenix)

Catania Larson is a mother of three and a recent transplant to the valley of the sun. She loves art, music and creativity, in general. She admits to being involved in 35 million projects at the same time. 

Karen Legg works at the library at Phoenix College. She credits the college atmosphere with inspiring a return to writing after her children grew up. She credits the simple absurdity of the world with providing material. In recent years she has found a good deal of joy in reading her work aloud. 

Betsy McPhee grew up in Ann Arbor and graduated from the University of Michigan. She now resides in Arizona with her husband, mother, and the youngest of her four kids. Ms. McPhee enjoys her women’s writing group, and her stories have appeared in Quiet Mountain Essays and Raising Arizona’s Kids.  betsymcphee [at]

Maryann McCullough enjoys sharing her stories through both written and electronic media, but her favorite means of sharing involves a live audience such as the one provided by Monsoon Voices. The story she will present is available in the recently published anthology A Cup of Comfort for Dog Lovers II.  

Candice Aragon is an accomplished singer/songwriter, who has opened for Heart and Chris Isaac at the Celebrity Theatre. She plays acoustic guitar and piano — all original songs written from her heart. For four years, she’s performed at venues all around Phoenix, including the Ritz, The Rhythm Room, The Orpheum and the Phoenician. She recently took the stage with Michelle Branch at the Chicks With Picks Festival in Tempe Arizona.

Susan Vespoli describes herself as a former responsible citizen—a wife, teacher, small business owner— who gave it all up to move to a shack in the forest to attend poetry school.  susan_vespoli [at]

Saturday, May 9th, 2009 (Oro Valley Public Library)

Mimi Ferraro loves the solitude and retreat of the canyon life in Cochise County, Arizona, but still misses the high energy east coast beat, funky neighborhoods and the ocean. She was a finalist for an Arizona Commission of the Arts Playwriting Fellowship, and her poetry and short pieces have appeared in numerous Arizona publications. She will be featured in the upcoming edition of Sin Fronteras Magazine. She is currently working on a songwriting project for the Williamsburg Songwriting Competition in Brooklyn, New York. meferraro at cox dot net.

Mazhar Khan hails from Pakistan and arrived in the United States in 1961 under a Fulbright Program for graduate studies in chemistry. After careers as a chemist and college-level teacher, he now fills his retirement with creative endeavors. He first tried painting, but color blindness got in the way. Writing has become his preferred medium. He’s now at work on a book which illuminates his life experiences from Pakistan to America. mazhar.04 at hotmail dot com.

Jefferson Carter recently retired from Pima College after teaching for 30 years. Now he plans to have more time to nap with the cat, do yoga and dream about poetry. He’s published work in numerous national journals, including Barrow Street and Shenandoah. His seventh chapbook, Sentimental Blue, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. carter7878 at msn dot com.

Lisa Vogel has called many places home: New York, Iowa, Utah, California, Louisiana, Kentucky, Nevada and Pinal County, Arizona. Though she’s moved through colorful professions such as instructor of English, animal sanctuary caretaker, emergency medical technician, lifeguard, law enforcement officer and volunteer fire fighter, her writing follows her wherever she roams. Her stories have been published in numerous print and online journals, most recently in The Blue Guitar and the The Massachusetts Review.  Her story, “The Bone Spa”, (in The Massachusetts Review), was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  lrvogel at live dot com. 

Traci Moore loves windy days and blending smoothies from odd leafy vegetables. She could eat up an hour buying a writing pen and consume an afternoon baking one tasty paragraph. As a writing coach and writer of short fiction and essays, Traci also loves to promote all writers. Since 2007, she’s helped creative people share their gifts with the community through her enthusiastic involvement with Monsoon Voices.

Amber Gaia is a singer, guitarist, cellist and songwriter who performs throughout the United States. Born in Clinton Iowa, Amber received her first guitar at age seven. She developed Movement and Music Early Childhood Music Instruction, a program she taught privately and in schools. She released her Movement and Music, Volume One CD with Blue Dolphin Records. Her music emanates from her heart and shows her passion for bringing light and love to humanity. amber at ambergaia dot com.

Friday, April 10th, 2009 (Phoenix- At Unlimited Coffee)

Bill Warren
took up writing at his daughter’s insistence that they produce a family memoir about their life in Ireland. He has been studying at the Creative Writing Program at Phoenix College, he won second place with a fiction story at the Cave Creek Art and Film Festival last year, and he expects to have a creative non-fiction piece published soon. war0824 at gmail dot com.

Paris R. Masek II was born in LA as smog was becoming popular, and lived his middle life in rural Missouri when out was not in. He now resides in the growing sprawl of Phoenix, wondering if such a diverse assemblage of life’s offerings can surround a person without creating chaos. It is Paris’ hope that all readers find value in his work.

Cathy Capozzoli started writing free verse when she was eight years old. Her poetry and short essays have been featured in literary journals and at readings around the US. Cathy has an MFA from Naropa University in Boulder, and was the guest editor of Many Mountains Moving: the Literature of Spirituality, which featured eighty-eight writers from six countries.

Madeleine Sinclair is a memoirist with a bad memory. She fills in the gaps with rumor, hearsay and the occasional lie. maddysinclair at mac dot com.

David Chorlton came to Arizona thirty years ago and the process of his desertification began with occasional walks outside Phoenix. The language of a dry landscape built a whole network of references for the way we live in a difficult climate. His writing about the land is both celebration and caution. rdchorlton at netzero dot com.

Jimmy Berlin is a graduate of the Phoenix College Creative Writing Certificate Program who received her MFA at Vermont College of Norwich University. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in both local and national journals. She has been teaching in the Creative Writing program at Phoenix College for three years. jberlingogle at gmail dot com.

Cal Enwright has been a potter since he was five years old. Over the years, he’s created more than 1,000 clay vessels and other works of art. He also likes to write and draw. He makes his living as an artist and customer service representative. onewithclay at hotmail dot com.
CV Wells has tried many times to abandon his music. Once he left it in San Francisco. Another time he buried it in the High Sierras. He even tried to leave it on a Pacific Island. But it always tracks him down and wreaks havoc in his neatly arranged life. cvwells at mac dot com

Friday, February 13th, 2009 (Phoenix – At Unlimited Coffee)

Gary Bowers has been working tirelessly to become the nation’s foremost creator of that subbest of poetical subgenres, Acrostic Poetry. His Artist/Poet’s Journal has been maintained every day for more than two years, during which he’s performed several times as a Monsoon Voice, sometimes to thunderous applause. onewithclay at hotmail dot com.

Something of a late bloomer as a writer, Maryann McCullough began writing as a way to share family stories with as yet unconceived grandchildren. As they continue to be unconceived, she is looking to highways and byways for ears and eyes with whom to share her words.

Paula Ashley was born in Pasadena, grew up in St. Louis, went to college in New York and has lived in the valley for most of her life. She enjoys watching the doves, quail, thrashers, flickers, and hummingbirds which hang out at the solar fountains in her backyard. She walks daily along Skunk Creek and writes, reads, and listens to poetry. Her most recent publication is in Merge. p.c.ashley at ieee dot org.

Iain Walinck was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and has been living in the Phoenix valley since 1996. He plays traditional Scots/Irish/American music. He writes original tunes, and creates arrangements for traditional and contemporary folk music. He also plays traditional music with Blackwood.

A recent transplant from Chicago, Elizabeth Earley used to act out scenes for stories in front of the mirror as a kid. She liked to pretend to be someone else when meeting strangers, making up details on the fly – age, name, favorite color, even what pets she had – early training for good character development. She is a copywriter for a living and an aspiring novelist otherwise. Her poems, essays, and short fiction have appeared in many publications and she has been a featured reader at several literary events in Chicago.

Kevin Hall was born in Mesa and has lived in Gilbert for 20 years. He has three beautiful women in his life. His wife takes him dancing two nights each week. His two teenage daughters drive him nuts. He likes cookies more than cake, ice in his milk, and cheese on his apple pie. He has been referred to as “a blue collar poet” because his work “has a realness that the common person can relate to”. He loves to write because he sometimes finds hidden treasures in the dimly lit shadows of his heart. ksmehall at cox dot net.

After several years in natural medicine (doing acupuncture), Sandra Yee realized that helping others to lead healthier, happier lives had drained her own health and happiness, and so she returned to her first love–writing. Sandra is currently in the creative writing program at Phoenix College and plans to apply for an MFA in creative writing next winter. She procrastinates on her writing projects by voracious eating and reading, often at the same time.
Heather Hanssard received her undergraduate degree in English Literature from Arizona State University in 2007 and is currently trying to convince someone to let her into graduate school. She and her husband and live in Ahwatukee with their two dogs, Bailey and Boozer. hhanssard at gmail dot com.

bakeem lloyd is a poet, who it turns out can’t dance. Not even a little bit. Not even chair dance. He plays bass, is learning the drums, and couldn’t dance if you pointed a gun at him. He is an Aries, and he enjoys long walks on the beach.

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