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Poetry to the People: Eloisa Amezcua

Eloisa Amezcua, photo credit Chris Cheney

Eloisa Amezcua earned a BA in English from the University of San Diego, where she was the recipient of the Lindsey J. Cropper Award for Creative Writing in Poetry selected by Ilya Kaminsky. In 2014, she completed the MFA program at Emerson College in Boston, MA. She’s received fellowships & scholarships from the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center, Vermont Studio Center, the Bread Loaf Translators’ Conference, the Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Workshop, the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference, & the NY State Summer Writers Institute. ​Amezcua’s debut collection, From the Inside Quietly, is the inaugural winner of the Shelterbelt Poetry Prize selected by Ada Limón, (Shelterbelt Press, 2018). She is the author of three chapbooks: On Not Screaming (Horse Less Press, 2016), Symptoms of Teething, winner of the 2016 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2017), & Mexicamericana (Porkbelly Press, 2017). The founding editor-in-chief of The Shallow Ends: A Journal of Poetry, Associate Poetry Editor at Honeysuckle Press, & founder of Costura Creative.

On June 16, she will participate in an event at Two Dollar Radio Bookstore in Columbus, Ohio as part of our Poetry to the People book truck tour with Narrative 4. This 10-day, 10-city, 1800-mile journey from New York to New Orleans, will feature stops along the way to give away free books, highlight and celebrate local writers, and promote literacy and literary organizations. To support the trip, please visit our fundraising page here.

1) Please tell us about your most recent project.

My most recent project is a collection of poems based on the life of two-time world boxing champion “Schoolboy” Bobby Chacon and his first wife, Valorie Ginn. Weaving together three voices, Bobby’s, Valorie’s, and a narrator’s, the poems confront the idea that the distance between love and violence is narrow. 

2) How did you get your start as a writer?
I started writing in college when the poet Jericho Brown invited me to be in his poetry workshop after two semesters of literature classes that focused on Modern American poetry. I like to think that in those courses of intensive reading and dissection, I was learning the mechanics of poems, how poems were made—I just needed someone to open the door for me to try writing them myself.  
3) What is earliest memory of reading or writing?
I went to a Montessori preschool where I was not only learning how to socialize, but where I was learning how to speak English (we spoke Spanish at home). While I can’t remember if I knew how to read (does anyone remember learning how to read?), I remember sitting on the floor, holding the book Black Beautyprobably an abridged version, and turning the pages slowly. 
4) What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
If the space you want for yourself doesn’t exist in the writing/publishing world, create it. 
Barnes & Noble
Hughes Hubbard & Reed
Joe's Pub

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