Tutor and poet has book release reading

By Jonathan Baca, Copy Editor | Photos Courtesy of Jessica Lopez and Facebook.com

8.1 8.2

Award winning slam poet, activist, former student, and ACE tutor, Jessica Helen Lopez brings a passion for language to everything she does, painting vivid pictures with words, and bringing wit and attitude to her many causes.

Lopez is scheduled to read from her second published book of poems, “C*nt. Bomb,” at Bookworks on 4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW, April 15 at 7 p.m.

C*nt Bomb is a follow-up to her highly acclaimed collection “Always Messing with Them Boys,” and is a provocative exploration of gender, sexuality, power, and the realities of being a woman and Mexican American in the modern world, Lopez said.

As for the controversial title that the Chronicle has cen­sored, Lopez said it is an attempt to take the power of the word “c*nt” back from people who use it to abuse women, and instead use it to empower them.

“It used to be a fertile word. It’s only been taken and misappropriated over the centu­ries, abused just like women have been abused: raped, pillaged and oppressed to this day,” Lopez said.

The book features femi­nist poems about the violence against women in Juarez, the beauty of the female body, reproductive rights, the process of transitioning from girlhood to womanhood, and Chicana pride, she said.

Lopez has been involved in the Albuquerque slam poetry scene since 2005, when she took a creative writing class at CNM, she said.

One of her assignments was to attend a poetry read­ing, where she met instruc­tor and local poet Don McIver, who convinced her to perform for the first time, she said.

“That was it— man, I was hooked,” Lopez said.

She has since been on five poetry slam teams, and has com­peted in eight national events, she said.

“Then I found my place in this community. And I’ve been writing, performing, publish­ing, and been an educator of spoken and written word ever since,” Lopez said.

In 2012, she was the Women of the World slam poetry cham­pion for Albuquerque, and she repeated this feat just two weeks ago, and will once again go on to represent the Duke City in the national competition.

Her first collection of poems, “Always Messing with Them Boys,” was published in 2011 on West End Press, and has won the Zia Book Award and was featured on the Southwest Book of the Year readers list.

The book has since been part of the curriculum for several literature classes at UNM, where Lopez also teaches poetry, she said.

“I found a lot of success with that book. It really opened my eyes to the publishing world, and the ability to tour with a book that was published by a press,” Lopez said.

Lopez was also featured at TEDxABQ in 2012 where she spoke about the power of poetry to tell personal stories, which can be found on youtube.com.

She said that without the help of mentors like McIver and support from a tight-knit com­munity of local writers and per­formers, her teammates in the Albuquerque Slam Team, and the rest of the poetry community, she would never have gotten to where she is today.

“I really had to model myself after my teammates, who were more experienced than I, and I learned a lot from them. It’s like that within Albuquerque, it’s a mentorship model,” Lopez said.

Lopez said that her advice for anyone who wants to break into the world of the written and spoken word is to read and write as much as possible, to find a community that can support you, and most of all, to never be afraid of failure.

“Allow yourself to be sur­prised, allow yourself to be disap­pointed, but don’t allow yourself to be stagnant. If you want to be a writer, writing will find you; it won’t leave you alone, it will gnaw on you like a bone, and you just have to meet it in the middle,” Lopez said.

The following is an excerpt from the poem “C*nt. Bomb.” by Jessica Helen Lopez. C*nt. Bomb. the c is as insidious as a paper cut as pleasurable as a paper boat — if you happen to know how to fold one and let it ride the u of it lies between your legs look down lovingly lucky you if you happen to have one pet it if you will pet it as if it is the pet rabbit your mother never let you have the c*nt is absolutely not a bomb it will not hand-grenade explode your skull open like a cantaloupe brain matter writhing against the wall behind your head it will not shred your hands to lace if you happen to finger the trigger every now and now the c*nt is most definitely a bomb
The following is an excerpt from
the poem “C*nt. Bomb.” by Jessica
Helen Lopez.
C*nt. Bomb.
the c is as insidious
as a paper cut
as pleasurable as a paper boat —
if you happen to know how to fold
one and let it ride
the u of it lies between your legs
look down lovingly
lucky you if you happen
to have one
pet it if you will
pet it as if it is the pet
rabbit your mother
never let you have
the c*nt is absolutely
not a bomb
it will not hand-grenade explode
your skull open like a cantaloupe
brain matter writhing against
the wall behind your head
it will not shred your hands
to lace if you happen to finger
the trigger every now and now
the c*nt is
most definitely
a bomb

To find Lopez’s book C*nt Bomb online CLICK HERE.

 

Leave a Reply