Mexican American poet Juan Delgado first started coming to the United States with his family when he was a child. He attended California State University, San Bernardino, where he studied accounting before discovering writing and majoring in English. He earned an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, where he was a Regents Fellow. Delgado’s collections of poetry are Green Web (1994), selected by poet Dara Weir for the Contemporary Poetry Prize at the University of Georgia; El Campo (1998); A Rush of Hands (2003); and Vital Signs (2013), a book about his hometown of San Bernardino, winner of the American Book Award, given by the Before Columbus Foundation. His poems have been included in the anthology Touching the Fire: Fifteen Poets of Today’s Latino Renaissance (1998).
Delgado’s work often portrays the realities of the immigrant experience, with its attendant poverty, hardships, and love. In El Campo, Delgado’s poems about Mexican farmworkers and their families are accompanied by paintings by Simon Silva. Rosa Martha Villarreal, reviewing A Rush of Hands for Tertulia, noted the “muted images of personal sorrow and terrified wonder,” adding that Delgado “takes images from the community of shadows, the undocumented immigrants, and gives substance to their being.”
Delgado has been poet-in-residence at the University of Miami. He is a professor of creative writing, Chicano literature, and poetry at the California State University, San Bernardino.