Writers' Corner

Jose Hernandez Diaz

2017 Poetry

Author's Statement

When I received the news I’d won an NEA fellowship, I immediately shouted, “Are you serious?!” as I did a fist pump in the air. Then I thanked him like a dozen times. When I hung up, I still wasn’t sure if it was real or a scam to get my Social Security number, as I had received warnings of possible scams.

The fellowship will enable me to continue submitting to first book competitions. It will also allow me to begin a second manuscript of prose poems. I tend to write surreal, absurd, and existential prose poems. I like to mix in Mexican-American imagery, such as jaguars, boxing, and piñatas. It will also give me the opportunity to branch out and write short stories, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.

More than just the money, the fellowship means validation to me. I’m still a relatively emerging writer, and have recently become frustrated with writing. This fellowship is a shot in the arm. It is an honor to be named alongside previous winners (some of my favorite writers), such as Eduardo Corral, Sandra Cisneros, Dean Young, francine j. harris, Christopher Kennedy, and others. I’m so thankful for the much-needed financial help, but also the encouragement this award gives to me as a poet/prose poet.

"Jorge Ramos Is from Guanajuato"

Jorge Ramos is not from Guanajuato.
Jorge Ramos is from Mexico City.

My father insists he is from Guanajuato.
My father is from Guanajuato.

My father takes great pride in saying,
Jorge Ramos is from Guanajuato.

I tell my father, Jorge Ramos is from Mexico City.
He is not from Mexico City, my father says,

He is from Cerano, Guanajuato.
Why don’t we Google it, I say.

There’s no point, my father says,
Jorge Ramos is from Cerano, Guanajuato.

Jorge Ramos is from Guanajuato.

Jose Hernandez Diaz

Jose Hernandez Diaz was born in Anaheim, California. He holds degrees in English and creative writing from the University of California, Berkeley, and Antioch University Los Angeles. His poetry and prose poetry appears in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Green Mountains Review, Huizache, The Journal, Los Angeles Review, New American Writing, Pleiades, The Progressive, Rattle, Whiskey Island, Witness, and other journals. Gigantic Sequins and Parcel have nominated him for the Pushcart Prize. He has served as an editorial intern for Floricanto Press, and poetry editor for Lunch Ticket.

Photo by Juana Hernandez