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Texas Matters: Laurie Ann Guerrero, San Antonio’s Poet Laureate, Talks About Her Struggle

Octavio Quintanilla

Laurie Ann Guerrero was named the city of San Antonio Poet Laureate in the spring of 2014. 

She was the city’s second Poet Laureate. Guerrero succeeds inaugural Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla. And Guerrero was named recently by the Texas Commission of the Arts to be the state of Texas Poet Laureate for 2016.

The office of poet laureate in San Antonio is an unpaid, honorary position whose role is to promote the literary arts and literacy within the community and create a greater appreciation of the poetic arts through the reading and writing of poetry. The individual selected serves a two-year term.

Guerrero’s chapbook, “Babies under the Skin,” won the Panhandler Publishing Award.  Guerrero's first full-length collection, “A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying,” won the 2012 Andres Montoya Poetry Prize. In 2013 Poets & Writers Magazine named her one of its top 10 emerging poets.

Laurie Ann Guerrero is known as much for her personal struggle to break out of the Southside of San Antonio and become an established poet and for her writing.  Her path to awards and accolades hasn't been an easy one.

Her poems are charged with the ethos of her San Antonio Tejana background and the pathos of longing and loss. Her most recent collection, "A Crown for Gumecindo" is a collection of sonnets that chronicles the poet's grief after the death of her grandfather--a man who championed her along the path to defying the odds and becoming a poet.   As compelling as the 15 poems in this book is Laurie Ann Guerrero's own story about this journey.

Texas Public Radio’s Yvette Benavides spoke with Guerrero about her work and her life.  

David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi