Austin Poets International  Leadership

We would like to welcome and thank you for taking the time to get to know us.  Every member and festival goer is an important part of the API/AIPF experience and without you this organization wouldn't exist.  Open board positions are voted on by members at the membership meeting at the close of the festival every year.  The board then elects vacant officer positions at its next meeting.  A great way to get experience with the organization is to volunteer at the festival and we strongly encourage you to do so.  If you'd like to learn more about how we operate check out the Bylaws

  Lynn Wheeler-Brandstetter, Immediate Past Chair
Lynn has a passion for writing poetry, loves to hang out with her family and enjoys boating, tubing and swimming.  Lynn also loves to travel and regularly travels to her homeland, Canada.  She was Board Chair for six years and is still an integral part of the API Board.

Lynn  (written by another Board member)
She is not a ship
She is the Captain
Guiding us by knowing just when to take the wheel
letting us take the wheel when things are calm
being on the bridge during the storm
remembering where we could get stuck
adjusting the sails when winds are contrary
always staying the course.

   Mark Wendel, Chair
Mark My Words started writing poetry 18 years ago, but there was about a decade between his first and second poem. He has written more frequently since then. The first time he read in front of a group was August 2010. The first open mic reading was March 2011. He has been very involved in the poetry community since then, has read at almost every venue in and around Austin, and been a feature at several. Mark started on the Board in March 2012.  This is his first year as Chair.

   Lisadenise Ricks, Treasurer
Lisadenise studied at Princeton and the Ohio State University and is a Return Peace Corps Volunteer.  Currently she is on the Advisory Board of Rutgers Business School.  In her spare time she mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteers at hospitals, and tutors children for free in math.  Lisadenise has helped with fundraising for the non-profit Nuru International and is passionate about ending extreme poverty.  Other interests are Star Trek, Star Wars, ballroom dancing, hiking, and cooking. 

   Griselda Castillo, Secretary
Griselda J. Castillo is a bilingual poet and creative nonfiction writer living in Austin. Her poems have been featured in Sparkle + Blink and Unlikely Strangers. She is a College of Santa Fe graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and published several long lost poems as an undergrad in Glyph Literary Magazine. She was a finalist for the Helman Prize for Short Story Fiction in 2007 for her flash fiction piece, Stories. Griselda currently works for mental health organization and is working on her first manuscript. 

   Dr. Charles A. Stone, Parliamentarian
Dr. Charles A. Stone (Ronald J. Jorgenson) is a Wisconsinite by birth, Texan by choice, geneticist, archeologist, professor, entrepreneur, rancher, chef, adventurer, poet – in no special order. Member of API Board of Directors.

Other Directors of the Board

 Del Cain, Director
I’m a writer of poetry and prose, workshop leader, and contract editor. I’ve had two nonfiction books of Old West history published and two books of poetry. Songs on the Prairie Wind is available in a new perfect bound edition. Voices of Christmas is a group of character poems telling the traditional story in free verse. I have attended AIPF for 16 of the last 17 years and am a life member of DFW Writers Workshop. I live and write in Saginaw, Texas with the Spice of My Life, my partner, my love, my wife, Isabel. I care about poetry.

   Hal C. Clark, Director
Hal is a retired fourth grade teacher and a graduate of Texas A&M University. He has had poems published in Red River Review, Illya's Honey, and several anthologies. He is an active member of Dallas Poets Community and Austin Poets International. His first collection of poems, All of Me, was published March 2014. He lives with his wife, Anne, in Waxahachie, Texas.

   Shachon F.E. Leaf, Director
Shachon F.E. Leaf began expressing herself in verse as a young person. Always seeing the world through a clearly peculiar view, she developed a way of using words that people could connect to. She loves words and phrases and sentences structured just right. So, she was grateful for the opportunity to share a poem about the bond that her little sister and she hold dear. The poem in the 2016 di-vêrsé-city Anthology is about their sisterly-alikeness (experiences, thoughts and souls), although her sister is adopted and Shachon is not.  She lives in Austin. 

   Roger West, Director
Roger West is a poet, songwriter, performer and punk rocker long before and long after it was fashionable. He was born in London, England but now spends most of his time in SW France, writing, recording and performing in French and in English, influenced by those ‘liquid stories’ that ebb and flow across the Mediterranean and wash up on its shores.  He is part of the Urgence Poésie collective, has published four books of poems and contributed to a French anthology of ‘poésie de la marche’.  He has read and performed at previous AIPFs and at festivals in France, Morocco and the UK.  His current place of residence is Gignac, France.