A Part of fresno poetry
By Marisol Teresa Baca
I see myself as a part of Fresno poetry – a changing and growing community of writers who come to this city or stay in this city to connect, work, and learn. My father brought me and my whole family to live in Fresno and although we were once new to Fresno, we quickly began to feel like it was home to us. I have taken what I learned outside of Fresno to try and make a difference here. I’ve helped to cultivate a community feeling with other writers in Fresno. Women Writers of Color came about because there were a few of us looking to connect and to talk about what the Fresno writing life was like for us.
How am I also connected to outside poetry? From teaching for the California Center for the Book, Poets & Writers, The Rural Libraries Tour, to touring the backbone of the southwest and speaking about Border issues with Las Peregrinas in 2018, to continuing a relationship with poets and writers that I studied with at Cornell University and other parts of the United States, I have been a part of a national conversation about poetry, creativity, and social justice issues.
This is why it’s important to me: On May 2nd 2019, I was sworn in as the Poet Laureate of Fresno. I am the first woman, the first woman of color and first Latinx/Chicana poet. I want this to be a moment that Fresno can focus on our voices in this community – women, women of color, marginalized people, and those who often feel left out of the conversation about arts in this place. This is a community that I have put my blood, sweat, and tears into. I have been striving to help create a culture of inclusive, open, and critical creativity and art making. I want to be in a community that helps me to feel strong, connected, creative, and healthy. Poetry is the way that I express my connectedness and my creative voice, and I’m honored to be able to be a part of the conversation.