#AWP19 Featured Presenter Q&A with Javier Zamora

AWP | February 2019

Event Title: Love from the Belly of Terror: A Copper Canyon Press Reading
Description: Copper Canyon Press presents a reading from four dynamic poets who are leaders in the literary community: Ellen Bass, Jericho Brown, Deborah Landau, and Javier Zamora. Brown's The Tradition and Landau's Soft Targets are new collections debuting at AWP: See their first public readings from these hot-off-the-press books. Zamora's Unaccompanied continues to make (and critique) headlines, and Bass remains one of the most beloved poets writing today.
Participants: Ellen Bass, Jericho Brown, Deborah Landau, Javier Zamora
Location: Oregon Ballroom 201-202, Oregon Convention Center, Level 2
Date & Time: Friday, March 29, 8:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.


Q: If you’ve been to an AWP before, what is your favorite conference memory?
Favorite memory has to be my very first AWP in Minneapolis. The shock of it. The sheer amount of people interested in writing, flying to a conference, the commotion of the Bookfair, brushing shoulders with living legends, etc. It was overwhelming in a great way.

Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
Valeria Luiselli’s Tell Me How It Ends is a brilliant work of non-fiction; as is Jose Antonio Vargas’ Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen. Both books address our current “immigration problem.” Both should be required reading for all.

Q: Has public funding for the arts made a difference in your life and career as a writer?
Absolutely, my very first published poem was a 6th grade entry into the county fair. I got some prize-money and a ribbon. I think the award left a lasting effect. Later, much later, I received an NEA during a year that I was contemplating going back to school for something outside the arts. Thank you, public funding.


Javier Zamora Javier Zamora was born in La Herradura, El Salvador. His first full-length collection, Unaccompanied, explores how immigration and the civil war have impacted his family. He holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University (Olive B. O'Connor), MacDowell, Macondo, the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation (Ruth Lilly), Stanford University, and Yaddo. He has also received a 2017 Lannan Literary Fellowship, the 2017 Narrative Prize, and the 2016 Barnes & Noble Writer for Writers Award for his work in the Undocupoets Campaign. Zamora is a 2018–2019 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University.
(Photo Credit: Ana Ruth Zamora)

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