stranded artist

An annual visiting writer's workshop and reading series created by The Poetry Lab and made possible by the generous support of Poets & Writers and WE Labs. 

The next Stranded Artist will be in the fall of 2017. Check back to for details. Or follow us on Facebook!

Photos from the 2015 Stranded Artist workshop + reading:



In the 1930s Nat “King” Cole was stranded in Long Beach when his first paying gig was canceled. It is said that Cole liked Long Beach so much that he decided to stay, playing in jazz joints in the Downtown corridor until he had enough money to return home. Eventually back in Chicago, Cole formed King Cole Trio and launched his career, becoming one of the most legendary voices in American music. It is this tradition that the Stranded Artist celebrates; the history of nurtured creative talent finding a haven and a home, however temporary, in Long Beach, the city of vibrancy, art, and soul.



Both the workshop and the reading take place in the incredible space that is WE Labs. The 8th floor Downtown Long Beach loft has beautiful polished concrete floors and views of the Queen Mary and the Long Beach Performing Arts Center. A creative cowork office space by day, WE Labs is transformed into an open and inspiring art gallery and event space at night. Other popular local events that take place in WE Labs after hours are Pitch Lab, Chicks Can Code, and the BBQ Radio Show. The Poetry Lab is very lucky to call the WE Labs space home. 


The 2015 Stranded Artist show was made possible by the generous support of Poets & Writers through grants it has received from The James Irvine Foundation and the Hearst Foundations.   

Additional funding for Stranded Artist comes from the support of WE Labs and the general operating budget of The Poetry Lab.

past STRANDED artists


Cathy Linh Che is the author of Split (Alice James, 2014), winner of the Kundiman Poetry Prize and the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. A Vietnamese American poet from Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA, she received her BA from Reed College and her MFA from New York University.  She has been awarded fellowships and residencies from Poets & Writers, The Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, KundimanHedgebrook, Poets House, The Asian American Literary Review and others.  She was also a Writer in Residence at Sierra Nevada College’s MFA Program.  A founding editor of the online journal Paperbag, she is Managing Director at Kundiman


Geffrey Davis grew up in Tacoma, WA and teaches creative writing at the University of Arkansas. He is the author of Revising the Storm (BOA Editions, 2014), winner of the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize. Other distinctions include the Anne Halley Poetry Prize, the Dogwood Prize in Poetry, the Wabash Prize for Poetry, the Leonard Steinberg Memorial/Academy of American Poets Prize, nominations for the Pushcart, and fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation and Penn State's Institute for the Arts and Humanities.

F. Douglas Brown of Los Angeles is the 2013 Cave Canem Poetry Prize recipient for Zero to Three (University of Georgia Press 2014). Mr. Brown, an educator for twenty years, teaches English at Loyola High School, an all-boys Jesuit school. He holds a MA in Literature and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University, and is both a Cave Canem and Kundiman fellow. His poems have appeared in Toegood PoetryThe Sugar House ReviewCura Magazine, Muzzle MagazineTransfer Magazine and Santa Clara Review. When he is not teaching, writing or with his two children, Isaiah and Olivia, he is busy DJing in the greater Los Angeles area.



Nate Pritts is the author of six books of poems, most recently Right Now More Than Ever. Publishers Weekly described his fifth book, Sweet Nothing, as “both baroque and irreverent, banal and romantic, his poems […] arrive at a place of vulnerability and sincerity.” POETRY Magazine called his third book, The Wonderfull Yeare, “rich, vivid, intimate, & somewhat troubled." His poetry & prose have been widely published, both online & in print & at places like Southern Review, Forklift, Ohio, Court Green, Gulf Coast,  Boston Review & Rain Taxi where he frequently contributes reviews. He founded H_NGM_N, an online journal & small press, in 2001 & serves as Director & Prime Architect for its various endeavors. 

Chad Sweeney is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Parable of Hide and Seek (Alice James Books) and Wolf’s Milk: Lost Notebooks of Juan Sweeney (Forklift Books, bilingual Spanish/English). Sweeney’s poems have appeared in Best American Poetry 2008, The Pushcart Prize Anthology 2012, American Poetry Review,Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. He is co-translator of the Selected Poems of contemporary Iranian poet H.E. Sayeh (White Pine) and translator of Pablo Neruda’s final book Call to Destroy Nixon (forthcoming from Marick Press). Chad teaches in the MFA program at California State University San Bernardino where he edits Ghost Town ( and lives in Redlands with his wife, poet Jennifer K. Sweeney, and their son Liam.

Matt Hart is the author of five books of poems, Who's Who Vivid (Slope Editions, 2006), Wolf Face (H_NGM_N Books, 2010), Light-Headed (BlazeVOX, 2011), Sermons and Lectures Both Blank and Relentless (Typecast Publishing, 2012), and Debacle Debacle (H_NGM_N Books, 2013), as well as several chapbooks. Additionally, his poems, reviews, and essays have appeared in numerous print and online journals, including The Awl, Cincinnati Review, Coldfront, Columbia Poetry Review, H_NGM_N, Harvard Review, jubilat, Lungfull!, and Post Road, among others. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and fellowships from both the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers. A co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety, he lives in Cincinnati where he teaches at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and plays in the poetry-noise band TRAVEL.