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Dominican-American Poets you should be reading during National Poetry Month.

Updated: Apr 12, 2022

National Poetry Month is celebrated annually during the month of April. It is a time to celebrate everything we love about poetry, to read, write and support our favorite poets. Whether you like to write a few lines or a full poetry or prose piece you can join in the celebration. Writers can also join the NAPOWRIMO. What is NAPOWRIMO? It is a challenge to write a poem each day for 30 days, doesn't matter if you've never written before, the point is to pick up the pen and write This year, like the last years our Instagram account is sharing writing prompts by Dominican writers, rappers, singers, etc., to motivate you into writing. We have also partnered with @Culturacomic an initiative that started a month after we did in 2015 in Dominican Republic. Cultura Comics mission is to support comic book artists in every which way possible, much like we do with our Dominican writers. This year we have created a contest where participants of #NAPOWRIMO can submit their pieces to cultura comic for the opportunity of getting it illustrated. The best poetry and illustration will have the chance to win $100. Writers may enter the contest by posting their poem following our instructions and then following up with completing the google form found in the link of our Instagram Bio. To learn more about Cultura Comic visit

#NAPOWRIMO will culminate in a poetry reading by the participants, facilitated by Amanda Alcantara during the last week of April, at which point we will also share the winners of the Cultura comic contest.

If you've no interest in writing, it's OK. Here we share a few of many Dominican-American poets who you should be exploring during this month.


Mela by Meliania Luisa Marte-is a collection of poetry told as a tale unpacking magic, love, culture, and healing.


Plantains & Our Becoming by Melania Luisa Marte. One of three chapbooks produced as a part of Deep Vellum’s Central Track Writers Project. Melania Luisa Marte is a Black writer, poet, and speaker from New York living in the Dominican Republic. Marte's poetry explores many subjects including her Caribbean roots, Black feminism, and self-love.


Periodicos de Ayer by Danyeli Rodriguez del Orbe-periódicos de ayer is a lover’s archive. a series of poems documenting the art of loving, letting go, and tending to the heart. written over a span of four years, danyeli bares her wounds in pieces emerging from complete vulnerability, ache, and joy. the ins and outs of romantic partnership have heavily influenced her writing and her story.


Ugly Music by Diannely Antigua- Diannely Antigua’s debut collection Ugly Music is a cacophonous symphony of reality, dream, trauma, and obsession. It reaches into the corners of love and loss where survival and surrender are blurred. The poems span a traumatic early childhood, a religious adolescence, and later a womanhood that grapples with learning how to create an identity informed by, yet in spite of, those challenges. What follows is an exquisitely vulgar voice, unafraid to draw attention to the distasteful, to speak a truth created by a collage of song and confession, diary and praise. It is an account of observation and dissociation, the danger of simultaneously being inside and outside the experiences that mold a life. Ugly Music emerges as a story of witness, a realization that even the strangest things exist on earth and deserve to live.


To the Rivers we are Migrants by Ayendy Bonifacio-To the River, We Are Migrants is Ayendy Bonifacio’s debut collection. In this nostalgic volume, the image of the river carries us to and away from home. The river is a timeline that harkens back to Bonifacio’s childhood in the Dominican Republic and ends with the sudden passing of his father.

Through panoramic and time-bending gazes, To the River, We Are Migrants leads us through the rural foothills of Bonifacio’s birthplace to the streets of East New York, Brooklyn. These lyrical poems, using both English and Spanish, illuminate childhood visions and memories and, in doing so, help us better understand what it means to be a migrant in these turbulent times.


The Pink Box by Yesenia Montilla-Poetry collection by Yesenia Montilla, a New York City poet with Afro-Caribbean roots and CantoMundo Fellow.

"The Pink Box has been waiting for us. It has been waiting for our ears to see these poems, for our eyes to listen to them. Yesenia Montilla's poems cross fertilize space and time; linking the wilderness, the city, and an otherworld like a subway ride from uptown to downtown, cross town and back. Along the way, we don't just switch trains, we switch stations of desire: the Dominican Republic is the blues, Ayiti/Haiti is jazz, hip hop is abuelita. New York City begins on Hispaniola. Is it longing we hear? Or is it the crash of one island against another? Yes, there is yearning in these poems; for touch, for visibility, for a tongue not forgotten though not spoken, for bachata and merengue. And there is spirit; something unseen, called forth, like Dominican Gaga rooted in the bateyes, the sugar cane fields, of memory. Not only does Yesenia Montilla make a weaving of magic in these remarkable and tender poems, magic is its own holiness here." Alexis De Veaux, author of Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde


Cold Coffee by Yakari Gabriel-Whether you are a fan of poetry or a partial reader, Cold Coffee invites you to take a pause or two from the adrenaline rush and upload your imaginations.Make time to travel through the pages to find your favorites and don't forget to untamed your own voice. What once began as her story, is now yours to keep.


Venus Gospels by Manny Minaya- Venus Gospels takes you on an emotional journey of a young man coming of age in New York City. With each poem, the concept of Venus is explored through various motifs, such as love, community and culture. The Universe throws us many signs on our roads through life. How do you process them? Where do you think they lead you


Poemas Domesticos by Sussy Santana-En su segundo libro Poemas Domésticos, regresa la animada y sincera voz de Sussy Santana. En su poesía, posiciona un espejo frente de ella y de nosotros. Los poemas decisivamente e introspectivamente nos hace reflexionar sobre lo que creemos y aceptamos como lo normal en nuestro mundo. En su poesía, la cual es delicada y a la misma vez audaz , ella es capaz de captar la realidad de ser mujer. En su poema ella escribe, “una mujer sin lengua es un pueblo sin futuro”, lo cual capta la urgencia de “reclamar” la habilidad de tomar nuestras propria decisiones y la habilidad de maximizar el uso de nuestra voz. En su libro, Santana nos hace analizar lo capacidad de nuestra voz, cuerpo y acciones. Lo que aparanta ser rito se revela como una fuerza opresiva que obstruye el potencial de la mujer. Sus poemas identifican el jugar con muñecas y cocinar como ritos que domestican a las mujeres. Poemas Domésticos, no nada mas pone en claro lo que está pasando, sino que tambien nos presenta con el vocabulario para usar hacia esos momentos. En su poema, “The no rhymes” ella repite la frase ‘decir que no’ hasta al punto que convierte la frase en una afirmación para nosotros aprender y usar. En su libro, Sussy Santana nos trae devuelta a casa y nos invita a reflexionar.


black/Maybe by Roberto Carlos Garcia-Poetry collection by Roberto Carlos Garcia. Explores themes of blackness and Dominican culture.

"I’m American, but I don’t speak English because I’m from England and I’m a Latino that doesn’t speak Spanish because I’m from Spain. I speak these languages thanks to a long history of colonialism, to be more specific, the losing end of colonialism. The flight attendant who poured my whiskey is a Spaniard. Spanish has been his national language for centuries and his family’s language for generations. When he hears me, a mutt with African, Chinese, and Spanish blood (but who leans more towards the African), does he consider me a fraud? Does he see me as parroting Spanish? Now, this poor flight attendant is a fill in, of course, but you get the picture. What do most Spaniards think about the Spanish speakers in the colonies they lost all those years ago? Do they care? Why should I?" --from "Trapped in History,"


La Casa de las Maletas by Roxana Calderon-Roxana Calderón nos muestra, como disuelve sus sentimientos a tinta para luego trasarlos a una hoja en blanco y enseñarnos que para sentir no hace falta tocar y que para decir lo que sientes hablar no es necesario.En su primer libro de poesía titulado “La Casa de las Maletas,” nos abre los compartimentos de su corazón, usando una voz confesional y personal. Calderón, es capaz de navegar las altas y bajas de cada sentimiento a través de sus escritos. Verás el corazón latir en las manos de Roxana cuando empieces a leer esta emotiva colección de poemas, donde sus pensamientos íntimos nos presentan con la oportunidad de reflexionar sobre las relaciones que definen nuestras vidas. Su poesía revela ideales que queremos compartir con otros pero que a veces no nos atrevemos. La Casa de las Maletas nos permite decidir lo que nos llevamos de cada relación y lo que nos da confianza sobre lo que debemos de llevar por dentro. El libro de Roxana Calderón triunfa en colocar sobre páginas las emociones que llevamos por dentro y que nos transforman cada día.


Refuse by Julian Randall-Set against the backdrop of the Obama presidency, Julian Randall's Refuse documents a young biracial man's journey through the mythos of Blackness, Latinidad, family, sexuality and a hostile American landscape. Mapping the relationship between father and son caught in a lineage of grief and inherited Black trauma, Randall conjures reflections from mythical figures such as Icarus, Narcissus and the absent Frank Ocean. Not merely a story of the wound but the salve, Refuse is a poetry debut that accepts that every song must end before walking confidently into the next music


All My Heroes are Broke by Ariel Francisco-All My Heroes Are Broke is a poetry collection written from the perspective of a first generation American coming to terms with the implicit struggles and disillusionment of the "American Dream." The first section takes place in New York, both implicitly and explicitly, and serves to introduce the speaker and reveal aspects of his family's history. The second section takes place in Florida, and continues to further exemplify the speaker's growing cynicism towards the circumstances of his life, and the peculiar atmosphere of solitude that it creates. ALL MY HEROES ARE BROKE primarily uses two forms: short, image driven poems inspired by the works of Robert Bly and Po Chu-I; and longer narrative poems that reveal more personal information about the speaker, in the manner of Li-Young Lee and Frank O'Hara, allowing the speaker to project his own life onto the surroundings and the people of those larger communities.


Night Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry by Jasminne Mendez-For Jasminne Méndez, pericardial effusion and pericarditis are not just an abnormal accumulation of fluid and increased inflammation around the heart. It’s what happens “when you stifle the tears and pain of a miscarriage, infertility and chronic illness for so long that your heart does the crying for you until it begins to drown because its tears have nowhere to go.”


Whatever by Nilsa Lopez-“WHATEVER” is a reflection of the journey my heart has begun: to heal, to know itself, to grow in light. I wrote part of my journey to recover myself from depression to let you know that in this world there is yet a lot of love to give and to see; to let you know that no matter your battles, you can make it too. Every person struggling with mental illness should know that there is no shame in it, that those who fight with their minds are the bravest; and every person who has a beloved one battling with depression should know that every human being is made out of love.


Para Cenar Habra Nostalgia by Fior Plasencia- The agony of being an immigrant and not being in a constant place is spilled wrathfully and fairly on the pages of Para Cenar Habrá Nostalgia. In the midst of arrival procedures, fatigued train rides, living adaptations, and a very loud Dominican accent, Fior E. Plasencia presents a collection of poems that excavates the damage experienced since she and her family departed from the Dominican Republic to the United States. Fior also reveals a more familiar devastation: a journey with her body and soul growing up in the neglected parts of New York City. The persistent sensation of returning to her native country is sensed in her multilingual words, yet, they also rise with self-determination and appreciation of her brown complexion. Throughout her poetry is a non-conformist voice; her rebellious spoken words and dominicanidad are offered as the true forms of the diaspora revolution. The author serves the feast to the reader with tropical nourishment, memory, sarcasm, humor, survival, and homesickness. Here you will find authentic verses dressed in Spanish, English, and Spanglish infused with recognizable flavors, bilingual dilemmas, reminiscent of a childhood on the island.


Beastgirl by Elizabeth Acevedo-Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. Women's Studies. BEASTGIRL & OTHER ORIGIN MYTHS by Elizabeth Acevedo is the first title in YesYes Books' BLUE NOTE EDITION Chapbook Series. BEASTGIRL & OTHER ORIGIN MYTHS is a collection of folkloric poems centered on the historical, mythological, gendered, and geographic experiences of a first generation American woman. From the border in the Dominican Republic, to the bustling streets of New York City, Acevedo considers how some bodies must walk through the world as beastly beings. How these forgotten myths be both blessing and birthright.


Ritmo que Late NAPOWRIMO Anthology by Dominican Writers -En ingles, Spanish o en Spanglish, escritores Dominicanos submited piezas para National Poetry Writing Month en el abril del 2018 bringing un ritmo que late en nuestras venas together like a babbling brook; beats that would soothe our souls al cruzar los mares.

You may purchase these titles at the nearest book retailer or online.


Elegies by Roberto Carlos Garcia-Poetry. African & African American Studies. Latinx Studies.

Garcia's third poetry collection, [ELEGIES], centers on love, grief, legacy, racism and history. These lyric poems range from an ode to Allen Iverson's crossover on Michael Jordan, to an original form called a mixtape featuring lines from today's most well-known poets, to a twenty-poem sequence of elegies dedicated to his grandmother, to an essay on police terror, to name a few. The poet explores the complexities of modern life and death through his clear, unflinching, embodied perspective.


I hope you continue to support Dominican writers during this month of poetry, read, write and share. Join us during the #NAPOWRIMO challenge and during the Poetry reading scheduled for the end of this month. Stay tuned for sign up options.


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