16 Up-and-Coming Latina Poets You Should Know

Here are 16 up-and-coming Latina poets you should be reading for National Poetry Month

Up & coming Latina poets

Photos via Instagram: @biancaperez_poeta/@bellaassantana/@

It’s National Poetry Month which was originally created by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 to celebrate and increase awareness for poets and poetry across the U.S. While this genre in the mainstream is often centered on old dead white men, there is no shortage of talented Latina poets putting pen to paper to create masterful poetry. While the likes of Elizabeth Acevedo, Yesika Salgado, and Melissa Lozada-Oliva, to name a few, have received critical acclaim and accolades which helped uplift Latinas in this space, this list is devoted to the up-and-coming Latinas poets gaining success in their own right. The next generation of Latina poets is here and they should be on your radar this month and every month. This is not an exhaustive list but is a starting place for you as you compile your lists of poetry books to read and poets to follow. Read on to learn more about 16 up-and-coming Latina poets you need to know in honor of National Poetry Month and beyond.

Celeste Alyssa Gomez

Celeste Alyssa Gomez is a Mexican and Puerto Rican American poet, playwright, and performer originally from Norwalk and Pico Rivera, California. While earning a BA in Creative Writing from the University of California Riverside, she discovered her love for poetry and went on to get involved with spoken word organizations and fellow poets on campus. Since then, she’s gone on to self-publish her debut collection of poetry Besos, which explores themes of grief, love, abandonment, empowerment, healing, and culture and is heavily inspired by poet Rupi Kaur. The book now has a Spanish-language translation, as well as an audiobook version that is forthcoming.

Salma Alejo

Salma Alejo is a Los Angeles-based poet and the founder of Typoética, a pop-up service and small business where she creates custom, one-of-a-kind poems on the spot for clients at in-person events and vendor markets using a vintage typewriter. Oftentimes, through conversations with clients, she is prompted by words, phrases, and images that she then uses to create unique poems to honor special memories, emotions, relationships, and energies. She also offers poetry workshops to foster a love for poetry for experienced and first-time poets who may not have tried the genre before. In her personal work outside of Typoética, she explores themes like daughterhood, family, healing, and love.

Liz Márquez

Liz Márquez is an Ecuadorian American bilingual educator and poet based in Houston, Texas. The daughter of immigrants and a first-gen college graduate, her poetry and nonfiction have been published in various literary magazines and journals including The Acentos Review, The Bayou Review, and Dollar Store Magazine, among many others. In 2021, she won the La Raíz Poetry Prize for her poem “Church Culture,” which explores faith through a decolonial and mujerista lens. Her poetry, including her poem “Love in Liquid Form,” has also been displayed in art centers and exhibitions around Houston as a way to foster collaborations between visual artists and poets. Throughout all of her work, she enjoys exploring religion, motherhood, community, liberation, and reproductive justice. Outside of poetry, she also works as a bilingual educator advocating for young English as a Second Language (ESL) students.

Shandela Contreras

Shandela Contreras is an award-winning spoken poet based in Los Angeles who has been recognized as a 2023 finalist for California Youth Poet Laureate and a 2022 Finalist and Ambassador for Los Angeles Youth Poet Laureate. A creative writing graduate of USC, she has performed her poetry all across the country in various venues including the L.A. Times Festival of Books, Everything Raw LA, and Walt Disney Concert Hall. In 2021, she won the 1st Place Gold Medal for the Prepared Speaking Competition at the CalHOSA State Leadership Conference. She has published one poetry chapbook, Mellow Ballads That Move Your Bones, which explores growth, self-reflection, grief, love, loss, friendship, and dreams. Her sophomore poetry collection Dark and Lovely: Something in Orange, which will feature a series of original love poems, is forthcoming.

Ellie Lopez

Ellie Lopez is a Mexican American poet, storyteller, and photographer based in the Bay Area. A self-described community college dropout and former music journalist, she writes poetry about grief, pop culture, family, and chisme. Her poetry has been featured in various literary journals including Sin Cesar, Maria’s at Sampaguitas, OUCH! magazine, Hot Pot Magazine, and Mixed Mag, among other outlets. Her debut micro chapbook While in Mourning is forthcoming from Sampaguita Press later this year.

Dr. Cecilia Caballero

Based in Boyle Heights, California, Dr. Cecilia Caballero is an award-nominated poet, creative nonfiction writer, speaker, and teaching artist. She has given lectures and taught writing workshops at East Los Angeles College, the Puente Project, the University of Arizona among others, with a specific focus on storytelling, healing justice, and visibility for BIPOC students. Her writing has been featured in literary journals like Dryland, Raising Mothers, and The Acentos Review where she’s received multiple literary nominations. The co-editor of the bestselling book The Chicana Motherwork Anthology, she is currently at work on her first memoir and a book of poetry.

Andrea Lopez

Andrea Lopez is a Mexican American poet based in the Coachella Valley. She first found a love for writing when she was 13 years old. Since then, she has become a recognized poet with work in magazines including Pigments of Change and DeColores Collective Alegría y Comunidad and who has performed in many open mics throughout her local community. In 2021, she published her debut poetry chapbook You Will Soon Bloom through Not a Cult Media, which explores heartbreak, loss of self, self-worth, and self-love. She is a two-time recipient of the Women Rising Contributing Artist award and continues to perform around Coachella Valley.

Alma Rosa Rivera

Based in the Inland Empire, Alma Rosa Rivera is a Xicana spoken word poet and mother who has lived and worked all over Los Angeles including Santa Clarita, Koreatown, and Boyle Heights. She has been published in various outlets and magazines including Mitú, Luna Magazine, Frijolera Press, and Latina Magazine. She is also a facilitator for The Garcia Center for the Arts leading meditative work spaces for writers of all levels at the end of every month. Her debut poetry collection Mariaposa is forthcoming in 2024.

Paula Macena

Based in Los Angeles, Paula Macena is a Brazilian American poet and community organizer originally from New Jersey who grew up with aspirations to become a songwriter. Soon, she discovered a love for all genres of writing, especially poetry. When she was only 14 years old, she self-published her debut poetry book stuff i wrote after cutting my hair. In 2023, she published her second collection Penance of the Byronic Hero, which explores religious trauma, mental illness, and domestic violence. Her work has also been featured in magazines like Pile Press and Mixed Mag. In addition to writing, she organizes poetry and music events around Southern California and performs her own original work.

Christiane Williams-Vigil

Christiane Williams-Vigil is an award-nominated Xicana writer and poet based in El Paso, Texas. As a student, she earned a BA in English and American Literature with minors in InterAmerican Jewish Studies and Sign Language Interpretation at the University of Texas at El Paso. Since then, she has become a regular contributing staff writer at Alebrijes Review with published work in other outlets including Maria’s at Sampaguitas, Fatal Flaw Literary Magazine, HyDRAW Zine, Chismosa Press, and Marshall University’s Movable Project. In 2022, she received a nomination for the Best of the Net anthology. She is at work on her first novel, which she documents on Instagram and TikTok. Outside of writing, she teaches ESL courses for young students.

Monica Salazar

Monica Salazar is a Chicana poet and founder of Typaway Poetry, which offers custom typewriter poems to clients at events, workshops, pop-ups, parties, and weddings all throughout Los Angeles. While earning a degree in Communications Studies from California State University, Northridge, she took various writing courses in journalism and poetry. Inspired by her lived experiences, she pursued a career in poetry where she now delivers her unique service to people and forms connections through creativity and inspiration. All she needs to know is the client’s name, a topic, and a couple words they need to hear. She is currently at work on her first collection of poetry.

Brittany Menjivar

Brittany Menjivar is a Salvadoran American screenwriter, journalist, and poet based in Los Angeles. As a journalist, she writes about art and culture for a variety of outlets including the Los Angeles Review of Books, V Magazine, Document Journal, and Movie Ranker. Her first film Fragile.com, which she wrote and currently has over two million views, follows a teenager Mara as she begins to livestream herself crying for a charming man’s niche website Fragile.com in exchange for fame, fortune, and affection. Most recently, she released Parasocialiate, her debut collection of short stories and poems that follows the exciting and often frightening world of wealth, fashion, and technology. She is also the co-host of Car Crash Collective, a literary reading series uplifting writers in LA.

Bianca Vanessa Gonzalez

Based in Texas, Bianca Vanessa Gonzalez is a nutritionist, poet, and writer originally from Del Rio. She found a love for writing when she was 12 years old as a way to express her creativity and intellect. After earning a BA in English literature from The University of Texas at San Antonio, she is now pursuing an MFA in poetry from Texas State University. Her work, which explores themes of nature, land, family, and culture, has been published in literary magazines including Defunct Mag and Juke Joint. Her debut poetry collection Pouring Poetry was published in 2020 through Austin Macauley Publishers.

Sandra Dolores Gómez Amador

Sandra Dolores Gómez Amador is a Mexican interpreter-translator, researcher, editor, writer, and feminist poet. While studying Modern English Literature at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, she worked as a researcher for the Mexican Network of Young People for Research. She now studies at UT Knoxville in Tennessee. As a poet, she was an international selection for the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival and a third-place winner of the Jesús Serrano Valle National Poetry Contest. She has published her poems, essays, and reviews in various magazines and anthologies including Point, Aster Lit, and The Broken Chair, and also works as a reader for Grist Journal and editor for Red Universitaria de Mujeres Escritoras.

Isabella Santana

Based in Los Angeles, California, Isabella Santana is a 19-year-old poet of Ecuadorian and Guatemalan descent. In 2022 and 2023, she was recognized by Urban Word as a Los Angeles Youth Poet Ambassador and has performed her poetry for many events and organizations including Univision. Throughout her work, she explores themes of family, storytelling, heartbreak, endurance, immigration, and cultural pride. Her debut bilingual poetry chapbook Abuela Lore was published in March 2023 through Somos En Escrito Press.

Bianca Alyssa Pérez

Born and raised in Mission, Texas, Bianca Alyssa Pérez is a Latina poet with an MFA in Poetry from Texas State University, where she also teaches in their MFA Creative Writing program. Her work has been published in various publications including but not limited to Magma Poetry UK, ReclamationATX, Psst! Press’ The Sappho Diaries, East French Press, The New York Quarterly, Re-side Magazine, The Ice Colony Anthology, and The Porter House Review. Her debut poetry chapbook Gemini Gospel was published in 2023 through Host Publications, which explores self-discovery, grief, memory, love, tenderness, religion, mythology, daughterhood, and how good it is to be kind to ourselves. Outside of writing, she is co-host of the horror podcast Basement Girls alongside fellow writer Steph Grossman.

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