Poets Against Walls: An Anthology/Handbook for Writing Past the Checkpoints

Room 2215C, Kansas City Convention Center, Street Level
Thursday, February 8, 2024
1:45 pm to 3:00 pm


Poets Against Walls anthology/handbook features poetry and hybrid writings from the geopolitical spaces of the borderlands, along with a history of the collective’s social actions, discussions on craft, and writing prompts. In addition to reading short selections of their work and speaking on the value of writing directly about communities under attack, panelists will provide tips and strategies for writing what some may feel dissuaded from in workshop spaces: crafting work for social change.

Outline & Supplemental Documents

Event Outline: AWP24_Panel_Outline_Poets_Against_Walls.pdf



Sehba Sarwar is a novelist (Black Wings, Veliz Books 2019) whose writings tackle gender and displacement issues. Her short stories have been anthologized by Feminist Press, Akashic Books, and Harper Collins India, and her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Callaloo, LA Times, and elsewhere.

Cesar L. De Leon is the author of Speaking With Grackles by Soapbery Trees, winner of the John A. Robertson book award and the Best Book of Poetry award from the Philosophical Society of Texas. Cesar is a poet-organizer for Poets Against Walls, a Macondista, and an educator in South Texas.

Emmy Pérez, USA Fellow 2022, is the author of With the River on Our Face, Solstice, and a forthcoming volume of new & selected poetry. A past recipient of a Poets Laureate Fellowship & an NEA Fellowship, she cofounded Poets Against Walls and is a professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

Carolina Monsivais is the author of three collections of poetry: Somewhere Between Houston and El Paso, Elisa’s Hunger, and Descent. She holds an MFA from NMSU and a PhD from UTEP. Monsivais has worked many years with survivors of patriarchal violence and is a founding member of Poets Against Walls.

Celina A. Gómez is a performance poet and educator who coaches performance poetry to high school students. She has her MFA in creative writing and graduate certificate in Mexican American Studies. She is the reigning ultimate poetry boxing champion and published in various anthologies and journals.


February 7–10, 2024
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Convention Center