MELISSA CASTILLO-GARSOW is a Mexican- American writer, journalist, and scholar currently completing a PhD in American Studies and African American Studies at Yale University. A lover of all forms of writing, Melissa’s short stories and poetry have been published or are forthcoming in numerous journals including Acentos Review, Hispanic Culture Review, Kalyani Magazine, Huizache Magainze, Four Quarters (India) and Portal (Australia). She is the editor of ¡Manteca! An Anthology of Afro-Latin@ Poets (Arte Público Press, 2017) and co-editor with Jason Nichols of La Verdad: The Reader of Hip Hop Latinidades (Ohio State University Press, 2016). Her first novel, Pure Bronx, was released by Augustus Publishing in Fall 2013 and her first volume of poetry Coatlicue Eats the Apple is forthcoming with VerseSeven.
Melissa completed her Master’s degree in English with a concentration in Creative Writing at Fordham University in 2011 where she was a graduate assistant for the American Studies Program. Prior to that she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts from New York University summa cum laude with a double major in Journalism and Latin American Studies. A former employee of NBC News, El Diario/ La Prensa and Launch Radio Networks, Melissa has had articles and reviews published in a wide variety of forums including CNN.com, Latin Beat Magazine, Washington Square News, University Wire, El Diario/La Prensa, Women’s Studies, Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture, and The Bilingual Review.
Melissa is an active scholar in the fields of English literature, American Studies, African American Studies and Latin American/Latino Studies. At Yale, she focuses on the study of Afro-Latino history and culture in the 20th Century, presenting at numerous conferences around the world. Her dissertation, “The Atlantic Borderlands: Mexican American Container Cultures of New York City” explores Mexican cultural productions in New York City given the current climate of service sector labor, globalization, and immigration policies and policing practices in order to rethink the meaning of border/ borderlands in an East coast context.