Alumni News

Kristin Dykstra (PhD, 2002) won a PEN American Literary Award for poetry in translation for her work as principal translator of The Winter Garden Photograph (Ugly Duckling Press, 2019) by the Cuban writer Reina María Rodríguez.

Major Dimitri J. Facaros (BA, 2006) is a training officer and teaching fellow at the International Institute of Humanitarian Law (IIHL). He teaches the legal aspects of international humanitarian law, human rights, and advanced topics in the law of war. He studied English and Communications at the State University of New York at Buffalo and received a Bachelor of Arts (BA) with Honors, magna cum laude. After receiving his Juris Doctor (JD) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and his Master of Laws (LLM) from the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Legal Center and School, he held many positions in the U.S. Army’s legal services.

Fred Harold Jensen (MA, 2018) has long been interested in Holy Grail lore and in how solid wastes can become liquid fuel for our cars, but he never thought these two interests would intersect. Then, late last June, in response to a solicitation for monologues the Alleyway Theater sent out to local playwrights, Fred proposed a play foretelling a possible future for Buffalo. His play is not about a utopia or a dystopia, but rather a “hopetopia,” and Alleyway asked Fred to develop this vision of the future. He conceived a tale of an aging knight-errant seeking the Holy Grail, who meets an angel garbage-man. The play has the unwieldy title, Waste to Wealth on the Waterways of Western New York Or, Parsifal asks Padon How to Save the Planet. The hope it presents is that solar-powered barges will bring waste paper, plastic, and biomass from other cities to Buffalo via the Erie Canal and Lake Erie, where the carbon discards become liquid fuel for our cars. While waiting for conversion, the discards would be stored in the grain silos. Fred wrote out the idea in poetic dialogue between the mythological characters Parsifal and Padon. The play appeared as part of a series of short works by local playwrights called “Currents: 716.” Alleyway Theater produced it as a film that was released online in September.

Seong-Kon Kim (PhD, 1984) taught at George Washington University as Distinguished Visiting Professor in 2018. In the same year, Kim received La Orden del Merito Civil (Officer's Cross) from King Felipe VI of Spain, for his cultural ambassadorship between Spain and Korea. In 2018-2019, Kim also taught at Universidad de Malaga and UC-Irvine as a visiting professor. He is currently a visiting scholar at Dartmouth.

Peter Ramos (PhD, 2003) published Poetic Encounters in the Americas: Remarkable Bridge (Routledge).

Rachelle Toarmino (BA, 2012), known in Buffalo for her work as the founding editor-in-chief of Peach Mag, recently published her first book-length poetry collection, That Ex, with Big Lucks Books. Excerpts from That Ex have appeared or are forthcoming in P-QUEUE, Cosmonauts Avenue, Shabby Doll House, Sundress Publications, and elsewhere. All news related to the book, including readings, interviews, reviews, and more, can be found at Rachelle's website: In additional news, Rachelle will be an MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Amherst in the fall.

The Angled Road: Collected Poems 1970-2020 - Jonas Zdanys book.

Jonas Zdanys (PhD, 1975) released his latest book, his fiftieth, titled The Angled Road: Collected Poems 1970-2020 (Lamar University Literary Press).

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