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Ada, Award-winning Poet, to Read Her Work

Little Mexican Pot

Filled to a sandpapery edge with bubbling love
potion: good beer, cilantro, fatty slab bacon,
sweet little beans spotted and brown as a newborn

goat. The stink of you can get a man going.  Make him
weaken, wamble— meaty arms steady plateside
before he reaches for the first buttery bite.                     

Formed from the dry Mexican dirt, hand-painted
and hardened in fire, round sides, creased
lip, holes notched for fingers and dish rags.

A mouth that doesn’t shut completely.

Her poetry can be gritty and stark, sweaty and close, and it elicits a sense of extended observation that reaches inside her human subjects. It can be uncomfortable while revealing, similar to standing closer to someone than you might prefer.

Ada Comstock Scholar Laurie Guerrero ’08, a Sophia Smith Scholar who moved here from South San Antonio, Texas, has had her poetry published in Literary Mama, Border Senses, Palo Alto Review, Texas Poetry Calendar 2007 and 2008, and the forthcoming Feminist Studies, as well as the Smith publication Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism.

Her chapbook of poetry, Babies Under the Skin, was chosen for the Panhandler Publishing Chapbook Award and will be published by that company next month. Poet Naomi Shihab Nye, who read her own poems at Smith last spring in the Poetry Center series, chose Guerrero’s book for the award, calling her poetry “stunning and transporting. Graphic, rich, grounded.”

Guerrero will read from Babies Under the Skin on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. in Seelye 106. The event is sponsored by the Latin American and Latino/a studies department.

The chapbook is part of a full-volume collection by Guerrero that she is working on under the guidance of Annie Boutelle, senior lecturer in English language and literature and founder of the Smith College Poetry Center. The book explores race, gender and religious issues, says Guerrero, as experienced by the Tejano women living in south Texas from the 1800s to present day.

“While I thought that I had half of this collection written before moving here, it wasn’t until I arrived in Northampton, and found myself in a place surrounded by unapologetically strong women that I was able to embrace my own personal feminisms and trace them back to my home community,” says Guerrero. “Two very different cultures, motivated by very different things, both with agency to do what they can with what they have—well, it would be dishonorable, disrespectful not to do the same."

A two-time recipient of the Rosemary Thomas Poetry Prize, Guerrero is also working on a collection of creative nonfiction works.


11/12/07   By Eric Sean Weld
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