Poem Sampler

U.S. Latino/a Voices in Poetry

Exploring Latin@ American poetry and culture.

by The Editors


In his introduction to El Coro: A Chorus of Latino and Latina Poetry (1997), Martín Espada wrote, “The common expectation is that literature born amid social and economic crisis by nature must be didactic and polemical, obsessed with simplistic affirmations of identity and written in a raw idiom unconcerned with nuance,” but that a look at Latino/a poetries “will frustrate that expectation.” In their recent introduction to Beyond the Field: New Latin@ Literature (2013), editors John Chávez and Carmen Giménez Smith explain the new landscape: “Over the last ten years, U.S. Latin@ writers have produced poetry and prose whose influence is yet to be seen, but whose cultural work is exceptional in its scope, variation, and vision” and that “the term ‘Latin@ writing’ is as complex as each member’s varied life experience suggests.”

The work of these following poets deftly addresses Latino/a (or Latin@, without imposition of gender) heritage as a powerful force that has altered and shaped the landscape of American art. At times, their poetry has appeared not in print, but in performance and spoken word; it has not always been written as individuals, but in collaboration. Working from their own unique perspectives, narratives, and styles, these poets engage the social, political, and personal while tackling conceptions of cultural homogeneity and normativity to open a discussion about language, history, class, and society.

This collection is intended to be broad and inclusive, in order to introduce new readers to Latino and Latina poets in the United States. To make suggestions for additions to this sampler, please contact us.

The editors would like to thank J. Michael Martinez, Carmen Giménez Smith, and Francisco Aragón for their help in compiling this selection. (Last updated June 24, 2015.)


POETS (in alphabetical order):

Achy Obejas

Ada Limón
(Harriet blog posts)

Adrian Castro

Alberto Ríos

Albino Carrillo

Alfred Arteaga

Aleida Rodríguez


Ana Castillo

Andrés Montoya

Angela de Hoyos

Angie C. Trudell Vasquez

Anthony Madrid

Aracelis Girmay

ASCO artist collective (Gronk, Harry Gamboa, Jr., Patssi Valdez, Willie Herrón)

Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Blas Manuel de Luna

Blas Falconer

Brenda Cárdenas

Caridad de la Luz

Carlos Cumpian

Carolina Ebeid

Carrie Fountain

Carl Marcum

Carmen Giménez Smith
Harriet blog posts)

Carmen Tafolla

Cecilia Vicuña

Cherrie Moraga

Craig Santos Perez

Cynthia Cruz

Daniel Borzutzky

Dan Vera

David Dominguez

David Tomas Martinez

David Shook
(Harriet blog posts)

Deborah Parédez

Demetria Martinez

Diana García

Dionisio D. Martínez

Eduardo Chirinos

Eduardo C. Corral

Edwin Torres

elena minor

Emanuel Xavier

Emma Trelles

Emmy Pérez 

Farid Matuk

Francisco Aragón


Francisco X. Alarcón

Frank Lima

Gabriel Gomez

Gary Soto

Guillermo Gómez-Peña

Gina Franco

Gloria Anzaldúa

Gustavo Pérez Firmat 

Hope Maxwell Snyder

J. L. Torres

J. Michael Martinez

Jack Agüeros

Jacob Saenz

Javier Huerta
(Harriet blog posts)

Jennifer Givhan

Jen Hofer
(Harriet blog posts)

Jennifer Tamayo

Jesús Papoleto Meléndez

Johanny Vasquez Paz

John Chávez

John Murillo

José Montoya

Jimmy Santiago Baca

Juan Felipe Herrera

Juan Delgado

Juan J. Morales

Judith Ortiz Cofer

Julia Alvarez

Julia de Burgos

Kevin A. González

Kristin Naca

Laurie Ann Guerrero

Levi Romero

Lidia Torres

Lila Zemborain

Linda Rodriguez

Lorenzo Thomas

Lorna Dee Cervantes (Harriet blog posts)

Louis Reyes Rivera

Lourdes Vásquez

Luis Alberto Ambroggio

Luis J. Rodríguez

Luivette Resto

Maria Melendez

Marie-Elizabeth Mali


Marjorie Agosín

Mark Smith-Soto

Martín Espada

Maurice Kilwein Guevara

Mayda Del Valle

Miguel Algarín




Miguel Piñero

Mónica de la Torre (Harriet blog posts)

Nancy Mercado

Naomi Ayala

Orlando Ricardo Menes

Pat Mora

Paul Martínez Pompa

Pedro Pietri

Peg Boyers

Rachel McKibbens

Rafael Campo

Raina J. León

Rane Arroyo

Raúl R. Salinas

Ray Gonzalez

Reyes Cárdenas

Rhina P. Espaillat

Ricardo Pau Llosa

Rich Villar

Richard Blanco

Rigoberto González (Harriet blog posts)

Robert Fernandez

Robert Vasquez

Roberto Harrison

Roberto Tejada

Rodrigo Toscano (Harriet blog posts)

Rosa Alcalá

Rosebud Ben-Oni

Ruben Quesada

Sandra M. Castillo

Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Maria Esteves

Sandy Florian

Shara McCallum

Sheryl Luna

Silvia Curbelo

Steven Cordova

Tato Laviera

Tomás Q. Morín

Tino Villanueva

Trinidad Sanchez, Jr.

Urayoán Noel

Valerie Martínez

Verónica Reyes

Victor Hernández Cruz

Virgil Suárez

William Archila

William Carlos Williams

Willie Perdomo

Xochiquetzal Candelaria





An interview with Martín Espada

Five poems by Victor Hernández Cruz, interpreted

How Juan Felipe Herrera found his voice

Roundtable on Latino/a American Literature at Poetry Society of America



AUDIO: Four Latino Poets, Part 1: Francisco Aragón and Brenda Cárdenas

AUDIO: Four Latino Poets, Part 2: Blas Falconer and Gina Franco

VIDEO: Ricardo Pau Llosa on Latin American art, poetry

VIDEO: Reading by Martín Espada

AUDIO: Poetry Off the Shelf with Francisco Aragón

VIDEO: Ben Saenz on Mexico’s Border Violence

VIDEO: Richard Blanco on reading at the Presidential Inauguration

VIDEO: Poet Nancy Mercado reflects on 9/11




Originally Published: October 10, 2013


On October 15, 2013 at 4:43pm Thomas Porter wrote:
I recommend the following poets from San Antonio, TX:
The late poet/activist Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. "Why Am I So Brown" and "Jalapeno Blues."
The poet/educator Fernando Esteban Flores for "Ragged Borders"; "Red Accordion Blues"; and "Blood Songs."
Poet Jacinto Jesus Cardona for "Pan Dulce."
And last but not least heavy-hitter poet Reyes Cardenas for "Chicano Poet" (a compilation of his works from '70 to 2010).

On October 21, 2013 at 10:50pm Maria Melendez wrote:
Please also include my comadre and sister southern Colorado poet, Juliana Aragon Fatula. Her book, Crazy Chicana in Catholic City, is published by Conundrum Press and has been praised by a number of prominent writers, including Sandra Cisneros. Conundrum will also be publishing her second collection.

On October 23, 2013 at 8:59pm Maria Melendez wrote:
Please also add Naropa alum Tim Z. Hernandez, author of the following three poetry collections:
*Natural Takeover of Small Things, University of Arizona Press, 2013.
*Culture of Flow, Monkey Puzzle Press, 2012.
*Skin Tax, Heyday Books, 2004.
Tim is a phenomenal writer, performer and community builder who has worked for years as head of Colorado Humanities' Writers in the Schools Program.
Thank you for all you're doing to raise the visibility for vibrant poetry...that happens to be Latino!

On March 18, 2014 at 2:29pm Jason Mierek wrote:
I highly recommend inclusion of another Naropa alumnus
(from the Buddhist Studies, rather than Poetics,
program) José M. Tirado. His poetry has been regularly
published on Counterpunch.org ("Trail Dance" is a
wonderful example), The Galway Review ("Unwelcome
Reminder"), and Cyrano's Journal ("The Only Thinking
Animal"). A New York-born and Miami-raised Puerto Rican,
ordained Jodo Shinshu Buddhist priest, graduate student
in psychology, and political commentator who lives with
his family in Iceland, José brings a unique voice to the
world of Latino/a poetry.


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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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