Lorna Dee Cervantes is an internationally acclaimed Chicana poet from San José, California. Her poetry has appeared in well over 200 anthologies and textbooks, including the Norton Anthologies of Modern, American, English, Contemporary & Women’s Poetry. The recipient of many honors, awards and literary fellowships, her first book, Emplumada, (Univ. of Pittsburgh Press, 1981) won an American Book Award; her second, From the Cables of Genocide: Poems on Love and Hunger, (Arte Público Press, 1991) won the Paterson Prize for Best Book of Poetry and the Latino Literature Award. Her next book came from Wings Press DRIVE: The First Quartet, (2006), which received the International Latino Book Award. Her most recent book is Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems. Sueño will be published in September, 2013.
Lorna Dee Cervantes has performed her poetry twice at the Library of Congress, and presented at the Walker Arts Center, The Dodge Poetry Festival, New York YMCA, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Vassar, Wellesley, and numerous other venues, university & college campuses in the US, Mexico, Spain & Colombia.
A fifth generation Californian of Californio and Native American (Chumash) heritage, Lorna Dee Cervantes was a pivotal figure throughout the Chicano literary movement. On July 4th, 1976, she founded the influential small press and Chicano literary journal, MANGO, which was the first to publish Sandra Cisneros, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Alberto Rios, Ray Gonzalez, Ronnie Burk, and Orlando Ramírez (co-editor). Cervantes and MANGO also championed the early work of writers Gary Soto, José Montoya, José Montalvo, José Antonio Burciaga, and Luís Omar Salinas.
Cervantes is a dynamic poet whose work draws tremendous power from her struggles in the literary and political trenches. Her power is channeled by a keen intellect and careful craft, which allows her to explore the boundaries between language and experience.
Considered something of a Chicana / Native American legend in her own right, Cervantes has been on the cover of magazines like Bloomsbury Review, and has been interviewed at length in the Michigan Quarterly Review (Fall 2003) and World Literature Today (2010). Her poetry has appeared in literally hundreds of literary magazines.
Awarded a prestigious Lila Wallace-Readers Digest Award for her work, she founded and directed “Floricanto Colorado,” showcasing Xicano & Xicana literature in Denver and surrounding school districts, which, among other events, helped to bring about the proclamation of “Abelardo ‘Lalo’ Delgado Day in Denver.” She is the recipient of two NEA Fellowship Grants for poetry, several California and Colorado State grants, and two Pushcart Prizes for Best Poem.
After completing her doctoral work in History of Consciousness at UCSC, Cervantes was an associate professor of English for nineteen years and Director of Creative Writing at the University of Colorado in Boulder until she returned to her birthplace, San Francisco.