Windward Review Publishes New Volume, Promotes Poetry Events as Part of National Poetry Month at TAMU-CC

And now, a couplet/to help us never forget:
An Islander verse in rhyme / in April is apt all the time.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – National Poetry Month, celebrated each April, is underway at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, and the Windward Review, an annually published print and digital creative journal, is contributing to festivities throughout the month to celebrate the role poetry plays in the campus community and beyond.

April’s poetry events at the Island University follow the significant university presence at the People’s Poetry Festival in February. Dr. Robin Carstensen, TAMU-CC Associate Professor of English and faculty advisor for the Windward Review, was inducted by the City of Corpus Christi, as Poet Laureate of Corpus Christi for 2023-2024 at the festival. She was selected by the People’s Poetry Festival Committee of Corpus Christi, in its eighth year.

Carstensen describes poetry as an act of witness, provocation, meditation, dance, and pleasure ‒ an art form that is universal in nature.

“Through poetry, we express the stories of our lives and who we are, what we face, what we love, hope, grieve, and reach for,” said Carstensen. “Poetry is a revolution in this sense.”

 Carstensen is a huge influence on writers in Corpus Christi, her students say. They credit her work with the Windward Review in helping to make the creative writing program a place where students can hone their skills and become professional writers.

“Dr. Carstensen has made our creative writing program at TAMU-CC what it is today,” said Jayne-Marie Linguist ’21, ’25, English graduate student and Windward Review contributor.

Carstensen says the Windward Review serves as an editorial teaching platform for students who are in the Literacy Publishing class and across the Island University who want to develop skills in editing, technical and professional writing, creative writing, marketing, and publishing. Volume 19 of the Windward Review was released this spring. 

“With our new interdisciplinary colleague in creative writing and literary studies, Dr. Lizbette-Ocasio-Russe, we have new ideas, such as Ocasio-Russe proposing a FLASH contest for the current Volume 21 in production, which she is judging” Carstensen says. 

According to Ocasio-Russe, “The ICW and Windward Review are all about helping people find their voices so they can share their stories; the world is in desperate need of stories. As a group, we pride ourselves on providing a safe space for people to explore their writing and themselves.”

Students work on all phases of production, from reading and selecting submissions to corresponding with professional writers who have submitted to the journal, Carstensen said.

“Students have opportunities to specialize in marketing, social media, web design, copy editing, or planning the layout in InDesign. They also collaborate with Document and Design publication students, who work on the design aspect of the layout, and they consult with students in social media courses for marketing strategies,” Carstensen said.

Volume 19: Empathy and Entropy received more than 90 submissions, which required the editors to correspond with all of the contributors. In addition to the Windward Review’s digital presence, a print run of 100 copies were published in late March, and each contributor received a copy as payment. Volume 20: "Beginnings and Endings" will be released in early fall 2023, and early production on Volume 21 is wrapping up.   

English graduate student Zoe Ramos ’18, ’24 is editor and creative director of the Windward Review. Ramos has been involved with Windward Review since 2017; that year, a group of students revived the former print zine as a professional literary journal that published accomplished authors as well as TAMU-CC student writers.

Ramos, who earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a minor in creative writing at TAMU-CC, said part of their thesis work is theorizing and developing Windward Review’s humanistic, empathetic, and decolonialist editing practice to create space for individuality and polyvocality to cohere into a cultural narrative within each volume.

“From my work as one of the lead editors, I have made the journal more conscious of genre and artistic fluidity, the social impact of editing (healing from trauma through creative writing and editing), and the importance of thematic coherence in the design of the journal,” Ramos said.

Dylan Lopez, Windward Review managing editor, said his key tasks are communicating with contributors and coordinating production with core editors.

“We’re all students who keep busy, and everyone — besides myself in the one paid position — graciously volunteer their time to keep the Windward Review going. This means that, sometimes, we have to reign in our drive, our creativity, our designs, because we can’t be everywhere at once.”

For this month’s slate of poetry activities, Lopez said he is most excited about University Authors Day on April 27 featuring McAllen Poet Laureate Edward Vidaurre. Lopez is assisting Raven Reese, a Windward Associate Editor, who will host the Creative Writing Workshop and Open Mic on April 28, which will include high school students in the audience and on the mic. Author’s Day is an annual event, hosted by the English Dept., including all hands-on deck from faculty and grad students who host 130-140 high school students from the greater Corpus Christi area.

“I think the students will get a lot out of seeing Vidaurre, an incredibly talented, successful regional voice and editor of FlowerSong Press, who speaks to issues that are relevant to us,” Lopez said.

Beyond his on-campus work, Lopez has been active in the People’s Poetry Festival since his days as a senior at King High School in 2018. He said the experience was instrumental in building his passion for poetry.

“As someone who was fortunate enough to have the PPF community uplift me to where I am today and platform me/my work, I work to give that opportunity to other students ‒ to help jumpstart their journeys as established/presenting poets,” Lopez said.

For more information about National Poetry Month at TAMU-CC and the Windward Review, visit and

p-Musgrove Reading-ICW-041423

National Poetry Month events at TAMU-CC and partnerships as follows:

  • April 14: Open Mic at All Saints Episcopalian Church, with keynote Laurence Musgrove reading from his poetry collection, “Bluebonnet Sutras,” and Islander Creative Writers attending for Open Mic. Free and open to the public. 7 p.m.
  • April 19: Deadline for Submissions to Switchgrass Review, Vol. 6, on Radical Body Love. Follow icwriters on Instagram for more information.
  • April 20: Dr. Robin Carstensen, CC Poet Laureate Reading, at Neyland Public Library, 1230 Carmel Parkway, 6:30 p.m.
  • April 27 and 28: University Author’s Day with McAllen Poet Laureate Edward Vidaurre.
  • Author’s Day with Vidaurre. Creative Writing Workshop and Open Mic hosted by Raven Reese, Associate Editor of Windward Review and English alum, on Friday.
  • Fall 2023: Windward Review Vol. 21 “Myths and Hauntings” Halloween Release