Click here to watch Rafael Jesús González share his poetry and discuss art inseparable from action for change.
Poet Laureate and human rights activist Rafael Jesús González read his poems to inspire social change through peaceful activism in a reading on November 18, 2021, followed by a discussion with a panel of writers, including Iván Argüelles, a Mexican American surrealist poet; Naomi Quiñonez, a Chicana poet and professor at San Francisco State University; Manuel Martín-Rodriguez, a professor of Literature and Language, U.C. Merced, and Lucha Corpi, poet, essayist and novelist. Armando Rendón, Somos en escrito Editor moderated. This event was sponsored by the Somos en escrito Literary Foundation with the support of Poets & Writers, Inc., as part of the Poets & Writers' national program to promote diversity in poetry.
“Poetry awakens our perceptions,” Rafael states, “and causes us to look at the world in different ways; it deepens and widens our individual and collective consciousness, and conscience, to change that world. In that sense, poetry is a revolutionary act. Performing poetry before others and delving into what each poem may call us to do can build mutual responsibility and accountability, connections and dialogue towards constructive change. In poetry, we honor our suffering, celebrate our joy, and raise our voice against that which would diminish life.”
Rafael Jesús González of El Paso, Texas, who now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an internationally known poet and peace activist. A professor of Creative Writing and Literature, he taught at the University of Oregon, Western State College of Colorado, Central Washington State University, the University of Texas El Paso, and Laney College, Oakland, where he founded the Mexican and Latin American Studies Department. Somos en escrito has also featured his book of poems, La Musa Lunática/The Lunatic Muse. Follow his blog at rjgonzalez.blogspot.com.