Letras Latina: Naomi Ayala, Valerie Martinez, J. Michael Martinez (2011)

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Letras Latina: Naomi Ayala, Valerie Martinez, J. Michael Martinez

In a reading that showcases the range in contemporary Latino poetics, three voices converge for the night of February 28, 2011 at the Folger's Elizabethan Theatre. This event of the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series is co-sponsored with The Poetry Society of America and with Letras Latinas, with an introduction and conversation moderated by poet and Letras Latinas director Francisco Aragón.

Naomi Ayala

A native of Puerto Rico, Naomi Ayala is the author of two books of poetry Wild Animals on the Moon, selected by the New York City Public Library as a Best Book for the Teen Age, and This Side of Early. Ms. Ayala lives in Washington, DC where, until recently, she served as the Executive Director of 826DC. Distinguishing herself as a poet who writes in both Spanish and English, Ms. Ayala’s most recent work appears in Al Pie de la Casa Blanca: Poetas Hispanos de Washington, DC. Ms. Ayala teaches at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD and at the Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences at UMASS-Boston. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her work. Her third book of poems is scheduled for release by Bilingual Review Press.

J. Michael Martinez

J. Michael Martinez is a recipient of the 2006 Five Fingers Review Poetry Prize, and he has received residencies from the Ragdale Foundation, Canto Mundo, and the Vermont Studio Center. His first collection Heredities was selected by Juan Felipe Herrera for the Academy of American Poets' Walt Whitman Award.

Valerie Martínez

Valerie Martínez’s first book of poetry, Absence, Luminescent, won the Larry Levis Prize and a Greenwall Grant from the Academy of American Poets. Her other books include World to World and a book-length poem, Each and Her. She was the Poet Laureate for the City of Santa Fe from March 2008 to March 2010.


Watch a video of Ayala delivering a bilingual reading of her poem, "Within Me."

Visit J. Michael Martinez's official website.

Visit Valerie Martínez's official website.