Maria Kelson writes crime fiction, short stories, magazine features, literary essays and poetry. Her mystery novel-in-progress won the inaugural Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award from Sisters in Crime. Her poetry and prose appear in Poetry magazine, Orion, Ms. magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, and numerous anthologies. Author of two poetry collections (as Maria Melendez) published by University of Arizona Press, her books have been finalists for the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the Colorado Book Award, and both received Honorable Mention at the International Latino Book Awards. Several collaborative art and poetry exhibitions have included her work, among them The Language of Conservation, a permanent installation at the Milwaukee Zoo, and Poetas y Pintores, a traveling exhibition with shows at Self-Help Graphics & Art in Los Angeles, the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, and elsewhere. She has given presentations, workshops, and readings at literary festivals, libraries, writers conferences, and campuses around the country, and is a grateful alumna of residencies at Ragdale, Hedgebrook, and Terraphilia. Her community arts engagement includes work as an Area Coordinator for California Poets in the Schools, collaborative arts advocacy projects with Letras Latinas, the literary branch of University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, and three years as editor and publisher of Pilgrimage magazine, a literary journal focused on themes of story, spirit, witness, and place in the greater southwest and beyond. She holds degrees in English/creative writing from Colorado State University and University of California, Davis, and is currently a faculty member in English at Pueblo Community College in southern Colorado.