Every spring semester at Cabrillo College, I teach a poetry workshop based on June Jordan's Poetry for the People workshop. In this workshop, we explore personal voice and social justice through poetry and spoken word. I also teach 12F Introduction to Creative Writing in the fall at Cabrillo College that explores writing non-fiction, fiction, drama, and poetry.
I'm the author of three poetry collections: Split Geography, Twice ToldOver and My Childrens, a chapbook that includes teaching resources. With My Childrens, I hope to bring Latinx poetry into the high school and college classroom so that students can explore poetry, identity, and what it means to be a person of color in US society. My extended family’s emigration from Nicaragua to San Francisco began in the 1940’s and concluded in the eighties when the last of the family settled in the Los Angeles area. I currently teach creative writing, literature, and composition at Cabrillo College. I am also the English instructor for the Puente Project, a program designed to support Latinidad in all its aspects, while preparing community college students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities.
About Twice Told Over,Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, comments below:
Juan Felipe Herrera writes, "For its eye of the all-seeing crocodile half in dark waters and half in the prey-light of death and hunger, for its electric rush of love, its gambles with destiny, for its deep knowledge of borderlessness, the slippage of love and dissolution into something like Mystery makes this collection a rare magic. And perhaps, because of its woman eye, illusory skin, bleached colors and its various upside-down taboos where words and love-deeds are 'hechas para atrás / pushed aside,' I commend this book. It is a surreal mathematics, a travelogue to ancestors, a gypsy’s deck of last-breath, plotting flowers ditching toward thesun. A tour de force, magnificent, lovely, sculpted, drenched with Borges, Sexton, Najarro. A radically new Latina verse."
Denise Chávez writes the following about Twice Told Over:
"Between Nicaragua and the United States lives the Country of Spirit. This is where poet Adela Najarro breathes a world fresh and merciful with words that spring from the heart of our troubled lands, our families and our desire to love. I applaud her vital, luminescent and transcendent understanding that Mystery can be shared and understood, poem by poem. Embrace her work, for it is our future."
About Split Geography, Richard Blanco and David A. Sullivan comment below:
Richard Blanco writes, “Split Geography is a marvelous shifting between Nicaragua and the States, between the mangos and Michigan’s ice angels, between histories and national boundaries. Adela’s poems are compelling pastiches that contemplate the everyday wonders that arrive in small packages, as well as our sorrows that trumpet loudly into the future.”
David Sullivan writes, "Split Geography covers vast tracts of land and multiple countries in language that heals as it explores both internal and external rifts. Its first poem declares: 'I always like to start by stating it / straight up,' and then marries many surprising images that are anything but 'straight up,' to sudden, earth-shatteringly vulnerable revelations, such as 'Obviously the woman I used to be was a fool / or an idiot. I don't like her.' In a later poem the speaker is flabbergasted that 'My family, each of them with their screwed up lives, loved me / and loves me. And I can't get over it.' The vagaries of love, and the need to love oneself and others (in all their rich complexity) surface in poem after poem. The personality that emerges from this collection is funny, poignant, irascible, and above all, in love with the promise that writing can be a spiritual exercise to re-make ourselves. These are startling poems where 'Spirits live under rocks / and there are birds that tell you everything.' These are poems to live among."