Wednesday, April 6, 2016

LETRAS LATINAS is pleased to announce....

Felicia Zamora


Felicia Zamora wins 2016 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize

Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies is pleased to announce Felicia Zamora of Fort Collins, Colorado as the winner of the seventh edition of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize—an initiative which supports the publication of a first book by a Latino/a poet residing in the United States. Noted poet, Edwin Torres, was the judge.

In its constant unhurried evolution, Zamora has crafted a work that celebrates the impact of form as human revolution — the poem’s breath, the poet’s body — passing over time in a landscape thirsty for passage. The lungs between the lines, one continuous vertibration, page to page, word to other. Zamora’s reminder, is to affect each part of the poem by the organized assemblage of its gathering. Implementing a profoundly gentle humanity that connects to the shifting external across borders, continuously returning to invention — with a charge to the ‘think’, a dare to the heart, that brings the reader to the reader’s own voice. With a language that lives to be lived, she brings about ‘other’ as ‘in’ — to affect change by knowing that change needs to happen underneath our organized paradigms, beneath layers of cognition. This is quietly revolutionary work that throws a gauntlet to the social diaspora. A living palimpsest to newly awaken our social engagement by breathing in a simultaneity of opposing forces — as tectonic plates of hearing that create new fissures inside the unfolding kinetic,” read Torres’ award citation.

Felicia Zamora is the winner of the 2015 Tomaž Šalamun Prize from Verse, and author of the chapbooks Imbibe {et alia} here (Dancing Girl Press 2016) and Moby-Dick Made Me Do It (2010). Her published works may be found or forthcoming in Bellevue Literary Review, BOMB, Camas, Cimarron Review, Columbia Poetry Review, Crazyhorse, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, ellipsis…literature and art, Harpur Palate, Hotel Amerika, Indiana Review, Juked, Meridian, North American Review, Phoebe, Pleiades, Potomac Review, Puerto del Sol, Tarpaulin Sky Magazine, The Burnside Review, The Carolina Quarterly, The Cincinnati Review, The Laurel Review, The Journal online, The Normal School, The Pinch Journal, TriQuarterly Review, Witness Magazine, West Branch, and others. She is an associate poetry editor for the Colorado Review and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Colorado State University.  

“This prize is a huge honor for me. The work of Letras Latinas and the Institute of Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame impacts Latino/a poetry around the country, and for an emerging poet like myself, helps bring dreams into fruition,” said Zamora.

Zamora’s winning manuscript, Of Form & Gather, will be published in 2017 by University of Notre Dame Press.


Letras Latinas strives to enhance the visibility, appreciation and study of Latino literature both on and off the campus of the University of Notre Dame, with an emphasis on programs that support newer voices and foster a sense of community among writers.

Friday, April 1, 2016

LETRAS LATINAS is pleased to announce...


Joe Jiménez wins Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize


Joe Jiménez  


Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, and Red Hen Press, the Los Angeles area literary press, are pleased to jointly announce Joe Jiménez of San Antonio, Texas as the winner of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize—an initiative which supports the publication of a second or third book by a Latino/a poet residing in the United States. Noted writer and critic, Rigoberto González, was the judge.

“Joe Jiménez’s poetry shimmers with arresting imagery and light, but its beauty is hard-won—a victory song celebrating the bittersweet journey of one who inhabits the queer space inside the Chicano heart. Among the many graces of this book manuscript is that its language feels at home in serene desert vistas and on explosive barrio streets. It recognizes guidance from the living and the dead, and its breath aches with longing and comforts like prayer,” read González’s award citation. 

Joe Jiménez is the author of, The Possibilities of Mud (Korima Press, 2014), as well as the chapbook, A Silver Homebody Flicka Illuminates the San Juan Courts at Dawn, recipient of the 2011 Gertrude Press Poetry Chapbook Prize. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Poetry Prize. His YA novel, Bloodline, is forthcoming from Arte Público Press later this spring. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles and is a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop in San Antonio, where he resides and teaches.

News of Jiménez’s win prompted Poet Laureate of Texas, Laurie Ann Guerrero, to offer these thoughts on his poetry: “Joe Jiménez’s vulnerabilities and raw truths mark the fecundity of and fluidity of masculinity. His is the work of a broken-open, risk-taking documentarian and demands that his reader enter openhearted as well. I am overjoyed that his work will now be in the hands of so many and, too, that we get to call him one of our own.”

Jiménez is the first Chicano/a poet to win the Letras Latinas /Red Hen Poetry Prize. Founded in 2012, the Prize’s previous winners have been DC-based Cuban American poet Dan Vera, Salvadoran-born, Los Angeles-based poet, William Archila, and Argentine-born, New Jersey-based poet Ruth Irupé Sanabria. "The fact that our winners, so far, come from such varied backgrounds speaks, I think, to the rich diversity of voices emerging from Latino communities across the United States," said Francisco Aragón, director of Letras Latinas and faculty member at Notre Dame's Institute for Latino Studies. "But I'm also pleased to have Joe join this list not only because of his fine poetry, but because of the work he does with youth. He's slated to teach the first ever Macondo Writers Workshop for youth this summer."

“I am grateful for this opportunity to bring attention to the part of the world I am from.  Deeply, and with each of my bones, I love South Texas, and these poems, from the alligator gar and the cotton field rattlesnake, to the armadillo and the half-human owl, push me to question the loneliness of men, to ask the man I have been about the one I am becoming. I hope these poems stir thoughts and questions and joys, sadnesses even, because I believe life is richer when we ask these things of ourselves,” said Jiménez, after learning his manuscript had been singled out by González.

Red Hen Managing Editor Kate Gale said of the award, “We are proud of our partnership with Letras Latinas and to be publishing the groundbreaking work of Joe Jiménez.”

Jiménez’s award-winning manuscript will be published in the spring of 2019. In the spring of 2017, Ruth Irupé Sanabria’s Beasts Behave in Foreign Land, selected by Lorna Dee Cervantes, is slated for publication.

Letras Latinas strives to enhance the visibility, appreciation and study of Latino literature both on and off the campus of the University of Notre Dame, with an emphasis on programs that support newer voices and foster a sense of community among writers.


Red Hen Press is committed to publishing works of literary excellence, supporting diversity , and promoting literacy in our local schools. We a community of readers and writers who are actively engaged in the essential human practice known as literature.