Oh friends, another poet is entering this space today! Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros is a friend, a mentor, an advocate, a poet, a justice slinger, a student, a wife, a mother and a teacher to us all. I can’t WAIT to get my hands on Becoming Coztototl, and after reading this interview with her, I don’t doubt you’ll feel the same way.
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? I am a Tejana poet, Chicana, and Mujerista from San Antonio, Texas. I have three children, soon to be nineteen, soon to be fourteen, and two years old. I am married to an incredible man. My favorite food is nopales (cactus). I am also a huge nerd when it comes to theology, social justice, and theopoetics.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? My book is a glimpse into a shared history of the people of San Antonio. It is a call to healing, an invitation to hold the tension between trauma and hope. It is a carrier of story. I believe birds are our greatest storytellers. This is why I’ve titled my book Becoming Coztototl which is a Nahuatl term for yellow bird, almost canary like, but not a canary. It also happens to be my grandmother’s favorite color.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? The inspiration started with a loving nudge from my friend and Maestra, ire’ne lara silva. I’d desperately been trying to pitch a book idea to different Christian publishers and the idea wasn’t quite sticking. Maybe God knew I wasn’t ready to publish a full book. ire’ne lara silva asked me why I didn’t have a book of poems already. I’d been running down other avenues to come up with a book that just didn’t want to be written. My life and passion are in poetry. That should be the first book I publish, she said. So, the rest is history. Flowersong Books was interested in my book and I couldn’t be happier to have my book published by a small press out of McAllen, Texas. It has been an incredible blessing to work with Edward Vidaurre.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? I hope readers are inspired to call on their ancestors for guidance while they stay in relationship with God. I hope readers are moved to explore new words, new meanings, and new stories that are not their own. I hope that readers know how valuable their gifts are and that we each have our own to contribute in this life.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book Publishing a first chapbook is humbling. The publishing process can be pleasant, and it can be organic. I didn’t form a launch team, nor did I send out a ton of books for reviews. I know my publisher is doing a lot of work on his end, but we both agree that it is not about the money. It’s about the relationships that form from this. I’m most excited to see the fruit from that. It can really help toward paying it forward in my community.
How and where can we find you on the internet?
Support the poets among us and purchase a copy of Carolina’s chapbook today! Otherwise, leave a comment here for your chance to win a copy of Becoming Coztotozl today!
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