Board Members

Melanie Madden

Melanie Madden | Director | 

Melanie Madden (she/her) is a storyteller, essayist and poet who originally hails from the crossroads desert city of Barstow, California. Madden has called Tucson home since 2012 and is honored and humbled to serve the Tucson Poetry Festival in its 40th year.

Laura Talarsky Stevens | Treasurer |

Laura Talarsky Stevens is a writer, editor, potter, and teacher based in Tucson, AZ for the last quarter century. She writes fiction, personal essays, and poetry. Her prose poems have been published in Sandscript and she was selected as a two-time fiction finalist of the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards. Laura hails from the Garden State of New Jersey, graduated with an M.A. in Anthropology from the University of Arizona, and was a Fulbright scholar in India. She’s thrilled to be serving as the treasurer for the Tucson Poetry Festival since October 2015.

Avery Lane | Active Board Member |

Avery Lane (she/her) is a poet raised in and currently based in Tucson, AZ. She earned her M.A. in Anthropology from Washington State University in 2018, where she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Having recently decided to leave science/academia to more fully pursue writing, she is eager to engage with the diverse literary community found in Tucson, and for her first year serving as a board member for the Tucson Poetry Festival!

Richard Leis | Active Board Member |

Richard Leis (he/him) is a poet and writer in Tucson, Arizona where he teaches writing workshops at The Writers Studio and works for a team at the University of Arizona with a camera in Mars orbit. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype, The Laurel Review, Manzano Mountain Review, MarsPoetica, and Star*Line. He has been a poetry finalist of the Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards and a winner of the Hattie Locket Undergraduate Student Poetry Award. Richard earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is excited to join the Tucson Poetry Festival as a Board Member as of November 2019.