Join us for GLOWING IN THE DARK, a reading to celebrate members of our community, hosted by Seema Reza.


Join CBAW Founder Seema Reza on Wednesday, November 30th at 7pm EST, as she hosts Glowing in the Dark, a winter reading and gathering to celebrate our community of authors as they read from their newly published works. Featured authors include: Ben WeakleyHari AlluriCarla Rachel SamethYesenia MontillaCynthia Dewi Oka, and Shuly Xóchitl Cawood.

Attend the reading and stay after for Open Studio with Veteran Artist and CBAW Co-Founder, Joe MerrittBring anything you want to work on, in any medium, and create art with our community.



About The Poets

Ben Weakley spent fourteen years in the U.S. Army, beginning with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan and finishing at a desk inside the Pentagon. He writes poetry and prose about the enduring nature of war and the human experience. His first collection of poems, HEAT + PRESSURE is forthcoming in November 2022 from Middle West Press.
Ben’s work appears in the anthologies, Our Best War Stories, by Middle West Press and We Were Not Alone, by Community Building Art Works. Other poems and articles appear or are forthcoming in Sequestrum, Cutleaf Journal, The Wrath-Bearing Tree, and Army University Press., among other publications. His Awards include First Place in the 2019 Heroes’ Voices National Poetry Contest, and Finalist in the 2020 Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Writing Awards. Ben is also a nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Today, Ben lives in the Tri-Cities of Northeast Tennessee with his wife, their children, and a very mischievous hound dog. You can read more of Ben’s work at

Hari Alluri (he/him/siya) is an award-winning migrant poet of Filipinx & South Asian descent on unceded Coast Salish territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples and Kwantlen, Katzie, and Kwikwetlem lands of Hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓-speaking peoples. Co-editor, with Seema Reza, of We Were Not Alone (CBAW), siya is the author of The Flayed City (Kaya), chapbook The Promise of Rust (Mouthfeel) and, most recently, Our Echo of Sudden Mercy (Next Page). His work appears widely in print and online, in these and other venues: PoetryPRISM InternationalRejected Litti-TCR 19: on ritual, and—via Split This Rock—Best of the Net 2022

Carla Rachel Sameth was recently selected as the Co-Poet Laureate for Altadena, CA 2022-2024. Her chapbook, What Is Left was published December 2021 (dancing girl press) Carla’s award-winning memoir, One Day on the Gold Line will be reissued by Golden Foothills Press in November 2022. Her writing on blended/unblended, queer, multi-racial and single parent families appears in a variety of literary journals, newspapers and anthologies. Carla’s work has been twice named as Notable Essays of the Year in Best American Essays, and nominated for Best of the Net.. Her story “Graduation Day at Addiction High,” which originally appeared in Narratively, was also selected for Longread’s “Five Stories on Addiction.” A Pasadena Rose Poet, a West Hollywood Pride Poet, and a former PEN Teaching Artist, Carla teaches creative writing to high school and university students and has taught incarcerated youth.

Yesenia Montilla is an Afro-Latina poet & a daughter of immigrants. Her poetry has appeared in Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, & others. She received her MFA from Drew University & is a CantoMundo graduate fellow. Her first collection The Pink Box was Longlisted for a PEN award in 2016. Her second collection Muse Found in a Colonized Body (Four Way Books, 2022) is available now.

Cynthia Dewi Oka is the author of A Tinderbox in Three Acts, a Blessing the Boats Selection chosen by Aracelis Girmay, published by BOA Editions in 2022, Fire Is Not A Country (Northwestern University Press), Salvage: Poems (Northwestern University Press) and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (Thread Makes Blanket). She’s currently Poet in Residence at the Amy Clampitt House.

Shuly Xóchitl Cawood is the author of several books, including the poetry collection, Trouble Can Be So Beautiful at the Beginning (Mercer University Press, 2021), winner of the Adrienne Bond Award for Poetry. Her forthcoming flash essay collection, What the Fortune Teller Would Have Said, won the 2022 Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Competition. Shuly has an MFA in creative writing and an MA in journalism. She loves teaching writing workshops, hiking in the woods, and watching trashy TV. Learn more about her at