Meet The Team

The Poetics Project was founded in 2012 as an online writing workshop by a group of college students looking for camaraderie outside of academics. The group has evolved over the years and will continue to grow as our contributors and editors come to better understand themselves and how to navigate this fast-paced world as writers.

A lot of what we do here is attempting to extend that spirit of camaraderie to you, our readers. Because let’s face it, most days writing is damn hard. As writers, we (of course) also love reading, so on the blog, you’ll find plenty of posts on books, English education, industry news, writing advice, creative nonfiction, and more.

The people who write for The Poetics Project are writers just like you. They’re also professional editors, college professors, and graduate students. We believe learning never stops and your worth as a writer is about more than what you have or haven’t published.

We are on a mission to spread positivity, advice, and a dash of snark. Come join us.



Melanie Figueroa
Editor in Chief

After graduating from Portland State University's master's program in writing and book publishing, where she worked as a project manager at Ooligan Press, Melanie moved back home to California, finding work as an in-house editor on the Walter Foster Jr. publishing team.

Now she works as a freelance editor, putting her eye for detail and creative spirit to use helping authors and publishers polish their manuscripts before publication. Melanie works with nonfiction and fiction manuscripts, magazines, blogs, literary journals, academic papers, and more. Her poems have been published in Pathos Literary Magazine and the Pomona Valley Review.

She currently lives in Southern California, where she was born and raised, and has a love-hate relationship with the sun. Two of her favorite books are The Bell Jar and Zazen. She loves learning new things, being outdoors, and eating good food.

Oh, and lots of coffee. Preferably Stumptown.

Amanda Riggle
Managing Editor

A graduate of Cal Poly Pomona's English education program, with a minor in political science, Amanda is now enrolled in a master's program with an emphasis in literature. As an undergraduate, she won multiple awards for her work, and in fall 2017, she will present her research at conferences like PAMLA. Find her research and full CV here.

At the age of nineteen, Amanda worked as the music director of a free alternative music magazine. Now she writes poetry and short fiction. Her poems have been published in the Pomona Valley Review.

She currently works as an advisor for the McNair Scholars Program and as the special events coordinator for The Office of Undergraduate Research. She is the president of Sigma Tau Delta (the English Honors Society) Rio XI chapter and lead editor of the Pomona Valley Review's 11th edition. She enjoys volunteering with the Stop LAPD Spying Coalition, going to The Socialist Party USA L.A. Local meetings, organizing the Inland Empire chapter of The Socialist Party USA, and sometimes even sleeping.



Nicole Embrey

Having received her master's in English, with a professional certificate in teaching and writing, Nicole is currently an adjunct English instructor at various community colleges. Aspiring to be more than just a teacher, she likes to say she is a "storyteller in training." She longs to finally sit down and pen the many stories bouncing around in her head, ranging from a collection of mythical "creature features" to an intensely personal, yet fictional, story about ghosts and clairvoyance.

In her spare time, which happens to be very little, she absorbs anything pop culture, often jumping into new fandoms with reckless abandon. In fact, she is a proud rêveur (which simply means her favorite book is Night Circus).

Allison Bellows

Allison has loved reading and writing since she was a kid. As a teenager, she'd spend full days in her room writing chapters to novels that never were finished before a new idea sparked. She graduated from Long Beach State University with a BA in English education and an emphasis in creative writing and now attends the University of Southern California, working on both her MA in teaching and her secondary English teaching credential.

Her favorite genres to read are suspense/thrillers like Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train, mysteries like And Then There Were None and The Cuckoo's Calling, and the average romance like Outlander. Even cheesy books like The Fault in Our Stars now and then, for a good cry.

Missy Lacock

Missy is a freelance editor and writer from Missoula, Montana. She obtained her master's degree in writing and book publishing from Portland State University and her bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Montana.

Before launching Missy Lacock Editorial, Missy earned her stripes in-house at various publishing companies. Her love is copyediting manuscripts.

Publications have featured Missy’s writing more than 100 times, and she’s been the recipient of an editor's choice award and the James Welch Jr. Memorial Award for outstanding writing.

Missy loves the sun, road trips, and music. Her favorite book is We Need to Talk about Kevin.