Writing Diaspora: An Evening of Poetry with Raquel Gutierrez and Javier Zamora


Thursday, August 27, 2020

4:00 PM*


MOCA LA and In Plain Sight present

Join us for the second in a series of public programs from MOCA LA that engage In Plain Sight, a collaborative artist project dedicated to abolishing immigrant detention and the culture of incarceration.

Over Independence Day weekend 2020, In Plain Sight (IPS) launched the nation’s sky typing fleets to write eighty artist-generated messages in the sky over detention facilities, immigration courts, border, and other sites of historic relevance in the United States. As the planes soared, they made visible what is too often unseen and unspoken on the ground: the appalling, profoundly immoral imprisonment of immigrants. Each celestial message was followed by #XMAP, a hashtag that directed viewers to an interactive web site that location immigrant detention centers in their vicinity and connects them to on-the-ground campaigns of organizational partners fighting against immigrant detention. Dedicated to amplifying immigrant voices inside and outside of detention centers, IPS will continue its social impact campaign through 2022 with augmented reality exhibitions, an anthology documentary series, and arts-related cultural partnerships and educational programming on issues of immigrant justice.

This program features an evening of readings and discussion with acclaimed poets Javier Zamora (New York) and Raquel Gutiérrez (Tucson), two participants in the In Plain Sight artist intervention. Sharing roots in El Salvador, they will read selections from their writings that explore experiences of immigration and borderland politics. Following their presentation, they will be joined in conversation by Yansi Pérez, Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at Carleton College and author of Más allá del duelo. Otras formas de imaginar, sentir y pensar la memoria en Centroamérica. At the end of the program, viewers will learn about accessible actions they can take to join the movement against immigrant detention.

To RVSP for this program


Javier Zamora

Javier Zamora's first full-length collection, Unaccompanied (Copper Canyon Press, September 2017), explores how immigration and the civil war have impacted his family. Zamora (b. 1990 La Herradura, El Salvador) was a 2018-2019 Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University and holds fellowships from CantoMundo, Colgate University (Olive B. O’Connor), MacDowell, Macondo, the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Foundation (Ruth Lilly), Stanford University (Stegner), and Yaddo. Javier Zamora lives in Harlem, NY, where he is working on a memoir and his second collection of poems, which address the current “immigration crisis.”

Raquel Gutiérrez

Raquel Gutiérrez writes personal essays, memoir, art criticism, and poetry. An adult child of Mexican and Salvadoran immigrants, Raquel was born and raised in Los Angeles and currently lives in Tucson, Arizona where she/they just completed two MFAs in Poetry and Non-Fiction from the University of Arizona. Raquel is a 2017 recipient of the Creative Capital | Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant. Raquel also runs the tiny press, Econo Textual Objects (est. 2014), which publishes intimate works by QTPOC poets.

Yansi Pérez, Moderator

Yansi Pérez was born in El Salvador and moved to the United States in 1982. She holds an A.B. in Comparative Literature from Stanford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University. She is an Associate Professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at Carleton College in MN and during the academic year 2016-17 was a visiting scholar at the Central American Studies Department at the California State University, Northridge. She has published about Central American authors such as Roque Dalton, Horacio Castellanos Moya, and Claudia Hernández, among others. Her book Más allá del duelo. Otras formas de imaginar, sentir y pensar la memoria en Centroamérica was published in 2019. Currently, she is working on a project entitled "A Cartography of Material Memory of the Central American Diaspora in Los Angeles".

*all times in local time