A look at recently published works by UCR faculty, staff, and alumni



Rooted and Winged
“Rooted and Winged”

By Luanne Castle, Ph.D. ’95

Finishing Line Press

September 2022, 68 pages

Castle’s poetry delves into the physical and emotional movement of flight and falling in a new collection full of golems, ghosts, birds, and angels. Embedded in land and weather, her work explores the connection between what we inherit and what we leave behind, and the endless striving for flight, even while rooted to the earth.

Castle earned a doctorate in English from UCR.

Anti-Blackness at School
“Anti-Blackness at School”

By Joi Spencer and Kerri Ullucci

Teachers College Press

November 2022, 192 pages

Drawing on more than 44 years in equity work, Joi Spencer and Kerri Ullucci explore how schools in the U.S. continue to harm Black children, who are lacking necessary educational and personal support. The authors outline the ways anti-Blackness persists in American education systems, providing critical insight on how teachers and administrators can create Black-affirming spaces.

Spencer is the dean of the UCR School of Education.

The Best American Mystery & Suspense 2022
“The Best American Mystery & Suspense 2022”

Edited by Jess Walter and Steph Cha

Mariner Books

November 2022, 336 pages

Curated by guest editor Jess Walter and series editor Steph Cha, this collection offers the year’s best mystery and suspense short fiction, including stories by UCR’s Tod Goldberg and Alex Espinoza.

Goldberg is a professor of creative writing and director of the UCR Palm Desert low-residency MFA program. Espinoza is an associate professor and the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing.

Shadow Valley
“Shadow Valley”

By Nik Xandir Wolf, MFA ’19

Kelp Books

November 2022, 353 pages

Wolf’s debut suspense thriller follows Heath and Rori, a young couple on a perilous journey from Santa Cruz communes to Baja cartel territory after the accidental death of a police officer. With a crooked police chief and the cartel on their trail, Heath begins to question if he’s any different than the men hunting them.

Wolf earned an MFA in creative writing and writing for the performing arts from UCR.

Sex Depression Animals
“Sex Depression Animals”

By Mag Gabbert, MFA ’13

Mad Creek Books

March 2023, 84 pages

Winner of the 2021 Wheeler Poetry Prize, “Sex Depression Animals” recasts Gabbert’s adolescent traumas while establishing paths towards linguistic and bodily autonomy as an adult. Through dreamlike imagery, Gabbert explores femininity and examines the origin of shame, inheritance, and myth.

Gabbert earned an MFA in creative writing and writing for the performing arts from UCR.


By Ben Stoltzfus

Atmosphere Press

November 2022, 290 pages

Blending memoir and historical fiction, “Transgression” follows the escape of an American family from the Nazi-occupied Balkans during World War II. Set against a backdrop of destruction, Stoltzfus explores war, seduction, and coming-of-age in a time of social, political, and personal chaos.

Stoltzfus is a professor emeritus of comparative literature, creative writing, and French.

Return to UCR Magazine: Spring 2023