To Live, Love, Heal & Experience Violence as a Black Person w/ Jasminne Mendez


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Nuestra Palabra: To Live, Love, Heal & Experience Violence as a Black Person w/ Jasminne Mendez

Jasminne Mendez talks to Tony Diaz about her book, "City Without Altar" and how her book helped her redefine her identity as a Black woman and better understand what it means to be Black.

Jasminne Mendez is a Dominican-American poet, playwright, translator and award winning author of several books for children and adults. She is the author of two hybrid memoirs, Island of Dreams (Floricanto Press) and Night-Blooming Jasmin(n)e: Personal Essays and Poetry (Arte Público Press). Her second YA memoir, Islands Apart: Becoming Dominican American (Arte Público Press) is forthcoming in May 2022 and her debut poetry collection, City Without Altar, was a finalist for the Noemi Press Book Award for Poetry and will be released in August 2022. Her debut middle grade book Anina del Mar Jumps In (Dial) is a novel in verse about a young girl diagnosed with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and is set to release in 2023. Her debut picture book Josefina’s Habichuelas (Arte Público Press), was released last year.

Mendez has had poetry and essays published by or forthcoming in numerous journals and anthologies including The Kenyon Review, New England Review, the YA Latinx Anthology Wild Tongues Can’t be Tamed edited by Saraciea Fennell (Flatiron/Macmillan), and in The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext (Haymarket Books). She has translated and written poetry and a libretto for the Houston Grand Opera and she translated Amanda Gorman’s best-selling Change Sings into the Spanish edition La canción del cambio. The dramatized version of her play in verse City Without Altar received its world premiere at Milagro theatre in Portland, Oregon this spring. She is an MFA graduate of the creative writing program at the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University, a University of Houston alumni, and a Canto Mundo Fellow.

Based in Houston, she is the Co-Founder and Program Director of the Houston based Latinx literary arts organization Tintero Projects and a co-host to the poetry and writing podcast series InkWell, a collaboration between Tintero Projects and Inprint Houston. She is a Canto Mundo Fellow, a Kenyon Review Writer’s Workshop Peter Taylor Fellow and a Macondo and VONA alumni. When she’s not writing or napping in her hammock she enjoys playing with sand on the beach with her daughter, swimming in the ocean or a pool, practicing yoga, baking cupcakes and laughing with her partner in poetry and in life Lupe Mendez - the Texas State Poet Laureate.


Twitter: @jasminnemendez

Instagram: @jasminnemendez


* This is part of a Nuestra Palabra Multiplatform broadcast.

* Video airs on

* Audio airs on 90.1 FM Houston, KPFT, Houston's Community Station, where our show began.

* Live events.

Thanks to Roxana Guzman, Multiplatform

Producer Rodrigo Bravo, Jr., Audio Producer

Radame Ortiez, SEO Director

Marc-Antony Piñón, Graphics Designer

Writer and activist Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, hosts Latino Politics and News and the Nuestra Palabra Radio Show on 90.1 FM, KPFT, Houston’s Community Station. He is also a political analyst on “What’s Your Point?” on Fox 26 Houston. He is the author of the forthcoming book: The Tip of the Pyramid: Cultivating Community Cultural Capital. Nuestra Palabra is funded in part by the BIPOC Arts Network Fund.

Instrumental Music produced / courtesy of Bayden Records

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