Letras Latinas, the literary initiative of the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies, is pleased to announce that Jordan Pérez, from Atlanta, GA, is the tenth recipient of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. Named after the late Chicano poet from Fresno, the Prize is a collaboration with University of Notre Dame Press and supports the publication of a first book by a Latinx poet residing in the United States.
The tenth edition of the Prize was judged by Alexandra Lytton Regalado and Sheila Maldonado, with the assistance from preliminary judges Adela Najarro and Ariel Francisco.
Alexandra Lytton Regalado writes:
Jordan Pérez’s are poems of hunger and want; an urgent and haunting voice reveals the everyday of a Latinx life in the South: “two generations / of quiet // sucking each other’s pain / as you might a snakebite.” The lyrical poems of Santa Tarantula follow a dreamlogic embedded with rich details and are guided by revelatory proclamations of atonement and reckoning: “I spent my entire life expecting I’d grow up to be a dead girl.” Pérez assembles her poems as shadowboxes, curious collections of the natural world, bible stories, and family memories. At times Pérez’s quiet observation reminds the reader of Ada Limón, and with the compactness of Louise Gluck, but Pérez stands out, a remarkable and confident voice that understands survival is in the telling: “I refuse to die… having not come / into the fullness of myself. This / is my blood. This, my body. Saying no or yes, / and liking it.”
Sheila Maldonado writes:
“Santa Tarantula is a collection of the many ways all that is female survives. Jordan Pérez lends scientific, lyrical attention to the deepest wounds within families and sexes. This fearless, economical writing haunts from the start, excavates and sings of pain and persistence. Pérez takes on a wide range of contexts, nature and the body, insects, the sea, biblical tales, recent Cuban history, all possible sites of destruction for the feminine. She approaches all of these with particular, devastating clarity, poems like small resurrections. A brave, sparse, wise debut.”
Jordan Pérez writes:
“I’m thrilled and honored to be the 10th recipient of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize from Letras Latinas for Santa Tarantula. This manuscript has been so present on my heart during the four or so years it took to write, and I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the family members, mentors, and friends for their support and guidance during its formation.
I’m also grateful to Alexandra Lytton Regalado and Sheila Maldonado, the final judges, as well as Adela Najarro and Ariel Francisco, the preliminary readers, for their attention and consideration.
It is a true privilege to join this growing list of winners, whose powerful work inspires me to continue walking in the light — and the darkness — that is being a poet. I hope to be a true extension of Montoya’s legacy of advocacy for justice and the uplifting of Latine voices.”
Jordan Pérez is a Cuban-American poet and advocate from Atlanta, Georgia. She holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from American University, where she worked on the Visiting Writers Series and read for FOLIO. She is currently the Director of Communications for SOSA, a non-profit dedicating to preventing online sex abuse.
Jordan’s work has made her a finalist for the 2021 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, the winner for the 2019 Cosmonauts Avenue Poetry Prize, and a finalist for the 2018 Mississippi Review Poetry Prize. Her poetry also appears or is forthcoming in Winter Tangerine, Pilgrimage Press, and elsewhere.
Her poetry has earned her acceptance to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the DISQUIET International Literary Program. She has also written for CNN, The Atlantic, and Bustle.
You can learn more about Jordan and get in touch with her by visiting https://www.jordanperezpoetry.com.
Alexandra Lytton Regalado and Sheila Maldonado
also designated two finalist manuscripts as
“Aerik Francis’s intimate poems make music of theory and politics centered on the African-LatinXXX-American.”
La Casa Roja
“Alonso Llerena invokes indigenous mysteries and revolutionary history, contemplating Peru with stark, imagistic constructions.”
Aerik Francis is a Queer Black & Latinx poet based in Denver, Colorado, USA. Aerik is the author of the recently published chapbook BODYELECTRONIC (Trouble Department 2022). Selected by Dorothy Chan as the winner of the 2022 chapbook contest, Aerik's second chapbook MISEDUCATION is forthcoming from New Delta Review in 2023. Aerik is the recipient of poetry fellowships from Canto Mundo and The Watering Hole, as well as a poetry reader for Underblong poetry journal and an event coordinator for Slam Nuba. Aerik's work can be found on their website phaentompoet.com
Alonso Llerena is a Peruvian writer, visual artist, educator, and MFA candidate at the Bard: Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. His current work, which merges interpretations of historical events and personal history, documents and honors the memory of the Internal Armed Conflict that factured Peru from 1980 through the year 2000. He is a Tin House alumnus and his work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Offing, FENCE, Cream City Review, and elsewhere.
Peru from 1980 through the year 2000. He is a Tin House alumnus and his work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, The Offing, FENCE, Cream City Review, and elsewhere.