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10 Latina Poets Whose Collections Should Be On Your To-Read List

Poetry collections are having a wonderful moment right now and we’re hopeful that it will continue to bloom as more poets of color are working to get their work out into world through small presses and even self-publishing.

Many Latina poets start sharing their work across mediums such as Instagram, through the slam poetry scene and through their own poetry collectives. Recently, several talented Latinas have released collections of their work that are just the words we need right now.

Here are 10 Latina poets with collections to add to your to-read list!

1. Tesoro by Yesika Salgado

Credit: Instagram @yesikastarr

The poet’s second collection of poetry is available November 1st from Not A Cult Press. If you are a fan of Salgado’s work from her slam poetry performed with her troupe, Chingona Fire, to her first collection, Corazon, you will want to grab this book and not put did down until its finished. If you are new to her work, follow Salgado on Instagram, and then order her book. Her poems about love, both romantic and her journey to self-love, will make you sigh, cry, yell and want to give yourself some much needed compassion.

2. Beast Meridian by Vanessa Angelica Villareal

Credit: Goodreads

This poet’s debut book out from Noemi Press has received wonderful buzz for its unique poetic narration that explores generational familial and cultural trauma, and imagines paths towards healing and reconciliation. This collection has been on several “best of” lists and is widely praised as a raw navigation of the violences that women, especially Latina women endure, and must face in order to reclaim the self.

3. The Carrying by Ada Limón

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If you aren’t already reading Ada Limón’s work, you have some work to do! The Carrying, Limón’s fourth collection of poetry, has already set the bar high for poetry this year, depicting emotionally acute struggles that readers are not often exposed to-ruminations on chronic illness, infertility, and aging. In each of her collections, Limón is unafraid to be vulnerable with her readers, and with herself.

4. Lima :: Limón by Natalie Scenters-Zapico

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This book is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2019 and promising to be a must-read. As a Canto Mundo fellow, Scenters-Zapico has been a part of the Latinx poetry community for some time and her work reflects on life as a woman in the borderlands, illustrating the toxic masculinity that expects women to endure suffering in silence. Her work incorporates traditional corridos and music from her childhood to challenge borderland injustices and violence against women that is a part of the way immigrants are treated. This book will prove to be a force to be reckoned with.

5. Night Blooming Jasmin(n)e by Jasminne Mendez

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Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e is a wonderful hybrid collection of essays and poems from Dominican American poet Jasmine Mendez. In this collection, the poet explores her ongoing struggles with chronic illness and infertility. This poetic memoir tells her story and navigates the way that women of color are frequently dismissed by the medical community. This masterful hybrid work shares inconvenient truths about Mendez’ diagnoses, falling in love, irreparable changes to her body and finding power in telling her truth, though it may not always be hopeful. Out now from Arte Público Press, you can pick up your copy at local bookstores, and find Mendez on her poetry tour!

6. Lessons on Expulsion by Erika L. Sanchez

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Though her wonderful new YA Novel, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is getting a lot of (rightful) attention, Erika L. Sanchez’s debut poetry collection will floor you. Her poems navigate the borders between countries, culture, the dead and the new possibilities of the living. The images that Sanchez uses will haunt you, like this line from “La Cueva: “Briefly, we see they’ve learned to wipe the smeared mirrors inside them.”

7. Virgin by Analicia Sotelo

Credit: Goodreads

Analicia Sotelo’s debut collection explores the poetics surrounding the minds of women and the ways in which we subvert the expected narratives of naivete and complicity. This collection incorporates autobiographic elements with storytelling that speaks to a wider feminine voice that is both mythic and relateable to those who have needed a voice as careful, as vulnerable, and as potent as Sotelo’s.

8. Nightbloom and Cenote by Leslie Contreras Schwartz

Credit: Goodreads

Schwartz’s second collection of poetry speaks to the themes that many of the other collections on this do: the legacy of abuse for young Latina women across familial generations and their resilience to survive and to heal. In one poem of this collection, the poet speaks to the resilience of living beings despite the labels imposed on them: “Call all thriving things illegal: /  The magnolia tree, its roots, / That vast network of veins that feeds itself / And others like it in dry soil, / Pushes space through concrete sidewalks / To breathe … Every tough, gnarled thing holding / Its own life in a fist of vitality is illegal.” This collection can be found from Saint Julian Press.

9. Muted Blood by Monica Teresa Ortiz

Credit: Black Radish Books Site

This debut collection from Tejana poet Monica Teresa Ortiz explores the intersections of queerness, ethnicity and language and how they are policed in spaces that seek to silence these voices. Told in a triptych, or three-part structure, navigates a decidedly Texan landscape while also nodding to Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, creating a conversation around fluid ideas of gender and culture and the ways that we connect across our stories.

lo terciario/the tertiary by Raquel Salas Rivera

Credit: Goodreads

Raquel Salas Rivera the 2018-2019 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. A widely published poet with several chapbooks and full length collections, their work is bilingual and speaks to decolonizing the queer Puerto Rican experience in the face of a growing debt crisis and the ongoing colonial control of the US over the territory. This poet’s prolific work has made them someone to follow and to read as someone who challenges what poetry can be.


Read: Latina Reads: 7 Classic Literary Works Created By Costa Rica’s Most Beloved Women Writers

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

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Netflix Is Turning Gabriel García Márquez’s Classic ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ Into A Series

Fans of magical realism rejoice. On Wednesday, Netflix announced it acquired the rights to Gabriel García Márquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and will be turning the literary masterpiece into a Spanish-language series.

This is the first time the 1967 novel, considered “one of the most significant works of the 20th Century,” will be adapted for screen. For years, the author, who died in 2014, refused to sell the film rights, believing the story could not be done justice through a two-hour project, according to Deadline.

Rodrigo Garcia and Gonzalo García Barcha, García Márquez’s sons, who are serving as executive producers on the show, believe a series is an appropriate approach to the book.

“For decades, our father was reluctant to sell the film rights to Cien Años de Soledad. He believed that it could not be made under the time constraints of a feature film, or that producing it in a language other than Spanish would not do it justice,” Rodrigo Garcia told BuzzFeed News, adding that the “current golden age of series,” with “the level of talented writing and directing, the cinematic quality of content,” changed the family’s mind.

“The time could not be better to bring an adaptation to the extraordinary global viewership that Netflix provides,” he continued.

The series will be filmed in Colombia.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” tells the story of the multi-generational Buendia family, whose patriarch Jose Arcadio Buendia founded Macondo, a fictional town in the South American country.

The book has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into 46 languages.

In a statement, Francisco Ramos, Netflix’s vice president of Spanish-language content, said, “We know our members around the world love watching Spanish-language films and series and we feel this will be a perfect match of project and our platform.”

He’s right. Since announcing the adaptation, fans of the magical realism novel have been celebrating the news.

There’s no word yet on when the series will debut and who will star in it.

Read: This Film About Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is At The Center Of The Most Expensive Sundance Documentary Deal Of All Time

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These Books by Latina Authors Prove that Latinx Writers and The People Who Publish Them Understand the Real America

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These Books by Latina Authors Prove that Latinx Writers and The People Who Publish Them Understand the Real America

Our LGBTQ hating, xenophobic Vice President, Mike Pence will hate the upcoming middle-grade book, The Moon Within by Aida Salazar, and the publishing industry doesn’t care. The Moon Within about Celi Rivera, a young bi-racial Puerto Rican and Mexican girl who dances bomba and has a gender fluid best friend is set to be published by Scholastic later this month. While Latinx folks are still largely ignored on television and in film, publishers of middle-grade and young adult books know there’s a market for books about people of color and LGBTQ folks.

Hailed, by Kirkus Reviews, as a “worthy successor to Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume, The Moon Within is written in an elegant, swift verse.

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It tells the story of the budding Celi, a young accomplished dancer whose mother insists on announcing to the whole family that Celi is developing into a woman and insisting on holding a pre-Colombian style moon ceremony when Celi starts her first period.

At twelve, I read and loved Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret, and as a small-for-my-age, Xicana, I identified with Margaret who felt her body was developing slower than those of her school friends. I also understood that the lavender covered book with the very blonde girl on the cover who wanted to “get her period” was very different kind of book than books like Little House on the Prairie that I had also read and loved, despite their flaws. But as a Xicana raised by a single mom in a run-down small town, the only place we could really afford to live in California, I felt distanced from Margaret’s life in many other ways. Her suburban neighborhood with sidewalks, her tidy house, her busy but attentive mother, and a father who worked and drove her to parties at friends’ houses, all seemed very far away and very white to me.

Judy Blume wrote for all children, but Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret is about a particular social class of girl, while Salazar’s The Moon Within is about family that is rich in other ways, culturally rich, artistically rich, and deeply rooted by their particularly close and caring community of artists and healers.

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Celi’s mom, an herbal healer, who grows herbs in the yard is actually, however, similar to Margaret’s mother in that she wishes to help her daughter to grow into womanhood without shame. Interestingly, the particular brand of the shame that both mothers hope to help their daughters avoid is rooted in Christianity. Celi’s mom, Mima, rejects the misogyny of Catholicism that encourages women to fear and despise their bodies, bodies that have the capability to give life  — and that’s all they’d do if Mike Pence had anything to with it.

And it’s this impulse of conservative men to dirty everything that isn’t cis-male centered that The Moon Within is such an important book right now and ever, especially in light of the racist and homophobic attack that severely injured, Empire’s, Jussie Smollet.

In a recent appearance on Late Night with Stephen Colbert, queer actor, Ellen Page, called out Mike Pence, blaming the Trump administration’s outward hate for the LGBTQ community,  “Connect the dots,” she said, “this is what happens if you are in a position of power,” referring to the attack on Smollet. She continued, “and you hate people and you want to cause suffering to them, you go through the trouble, you spend your career wanting to cause suffering, what do you think is going to happen. People are going to be abused and they’re going to kills themselves, and they are going to die in the street.”

Children’s books agents– a surprising number of whom are people of color, like Marieta B. Zacker of Salazar at Gallt & Zacker Literary Agency and  Amara Hoshijo at Soho Press– seem to know that even and even though equity and decency for all has seemed to have reversed in our country, that books like The Moon Within are the antidote to hatred, bigotry, and ignorance amongst the actual people who make up America.

As former pre-school teacher who did much of the book ordering for my pre-school library, and a current English professor, it’s comforting to know that the education of America’s children, is somewhat in the hand of these agents and publishers willing to listen.

It seems that publishing children’s, middle-grade and YA books by and about people of color is no longer considered a risk.

After the publication of Celia C Perez’s The First Rule of Punk, we can officially all stop being surprised by the fact middle-grade and young adult book publishers are the seemingly most willing to publish books about people who exist in the real world that their counterparts in the past would have considered niche: Latinx kids who are into punk, Latinx kids with parents who are artists, or young Latinx feminists, as in the upcoming We Set the Dark on Fire, by Tehlor Kay Mejia and several other books written for middle-graders and young adults set for publication this spring and summer.

Pues, check out this list of exciting books about to be published and remember that pre-ordering these books is not only the best way to support the authors, but it also guarantees that your chamaquitx won’t have to wait to read books about characters who look and/or have lives like theirs.

We Set the Dark on Fire, by Tehlor Kay Mejia

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This fiercely feminist YA novel features a young Latina who attends a prestigious school under the pretense that she is not a member of the upper echelons, a fact that she must keep hidden in order to have a chance of success in the real world. Apparently, fans of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood are bound to love this debut by Mejia. This Xicana dystopian lit nerd eagerly awaits the release and the accolades that will surely follow.

All Of Us With Wings, by Michelle Ruiz Keil

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Or if you liked 2017s The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez, you should pre-order the YA, All of Us With Wings, by Michelle Ruiz Keil, a book set in San Francisco and blends Aztec rituals and punk rock.

The Grief Keeper, by Alexandra Villasante

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Available in June, The Grief Keeper, by Alexandra Villasante features a young Salvadoran girl who must leave El Salvador and attempt to cross into the US after her brother is murdered in order to save herself and her younger sister’s life.

The Last Eight, by Laura Pohl

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Perhaps you know a young reader who likes to read science fiction, due for publication in March, The Last Eight, by Brazilian author, Laura Pohl, is about Clover Martinez, one of the last eight teenagers left on Earth, teenagers who survive an alien attack.

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