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Alto Arizona has taken on the priority of highlighting the work of writers and poets who are responding to SB 1070 and other similar hateful legislation. Two distinct groups have been formed and we will us this space to promote and display their work. Below are samples of the work and descriptions of their groups.

Poems in Response to SB 1070


to Poets Responding to SB 1070

by Francisco X. Alarcón

this poem
is nameless

already up
before the Sun
comes out

waiting for
the next bus
pick-up truck

this poem
is pageless
but warm flesh

on skin mark
its poetic lines

night kisses
morning kisses
its best rhymes

this poem
has the cadence
of embraces

loving breasts
arms and thighs
for sleepless nights

faithfully singing
the song of this Land
of Opportunity

this poem
is as quiet as
the desert night

sky stars are
the punctuation
marks of its verses

tree branches
recite this poem
by heart

this poem
has the same
dreams as you

the same
goals and fears

before the news
of its own demise

this poem
is everything
but faceless

is a bright teenager
trapped in the dark
soulless, dreamless

no man’s land
that a Dream Act
could just vanish

this poem
cries from the back
of the bus

leaving the inner
urban old barrio
for the suburbs

children’s tears
wipe out the lines
of this poem

this poem
is a mother
a father

a neighbor
a human being
bone and flesh

walking around
buying groceries
disposable diapers

this poem
is beyond any
poetry anthology

“we have a heart
a soul, a familia
just like you”

this poem
is the unwritten
poem of this land

© 2010 Francisco X, Alarcón
from Ce-Uno-One: Poems from the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press 2010)


Latino Studies

by Rich Villar

sacred cristobal colon island outposts,
empires relocated stone by stone to the sea,
misnomer maps cracking new smiles to new nations
border lines looped around the neck of ownerless dust
moving melancholies of iron bellies purifying temples
economies of raw wrists, sifting tongues
names rattled in cheeks, spit for building clay
gothic architectures pushed through infertile soil
honed edges glided through soft slave throats,
tupac amaru's tongues torn, language betrayed
patois spanish creole mixto yoruba yenyere bruca manigua
machetes burned claiming old blood and new blood
mestizaje risen in the voice of el zambo manuel
silver memories quickened the feet of bronze titans
monroe doctrines and catholic teachings
title passed from South to North, set down in constitutions
negritude, mambises, bolivar guevara dictadura,
allende and neruda buried in the same grave,
debt piles and roosevelt corollaries.


Many Walls

by Sarah Browning

On the border with Mexico
we call it a fence, as if
to lean on its top, chat
with those neighbors
to the south, trade rakes,
trade gossip. Call it a fence,
call it a gate, call it good –
still, Nogales, Arizona,
Nogales, Sonora: trench,
ground sensors, infrared
night-vision scopes.

In Palestine, the land’s already
been taken – families on one side,
orange groves on the other.
Ours is a culture of many walls
the Saudi poet writes
in her email. Translated
into Japanese, her poems
vault the high barriers
of this world. Young people
sat on the Berlin Wall
and waved the flags
of their future.

I want a flag that waves
like that, for bricks
that go home in tourist
luggage, for the Saudi poet
and her sisters, for touch.
I want the flag of touch,
the flag of men waiting
for work in the morning
chill of the 7-11 parking lot,
the flag of nannies
pushing strollers to the park
for fellowship and swings,
flag of the women
who spend each day
changing the soiled sheets
of their new country.

I want the flag of talking,
of sitting on the disintegrating
wall and gabbing, gossiping,
negotiating, waving that flag
of no walls. That flag.


Poet Biographies:

Francisco X. Alarcón, award winning Chicano poet and educator, is author of twelve volumes of poetry, including From the Other Side of Night: Selected and New Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002). His latest book is Ce•Uno•One: Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press 2010). His book of bilingual poetry for children, Animal Poems of the Iguazú (Children’s Book Press 2008), was selected as a Notable Book for a Global Society by the International Reading Association. His previous bilingual book titled Poems to Dream Together (Lee & Low Books 2005) was awarded the 2006 Jane Addams Honor Book Award. He teaches at the University of California, Davis. He created a new Facebook page, POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070:

Sarah Browning is Director of Split This Rock, a national organization dedicated to integrating the poetry of provocation and witness into public life and supporting the poets who write this vital work. She is an Associate Fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies, Poetry Co-Editor of On The Issues Magazine, author of Whiskey in the Garden of Eden, and co-editor of D.C. Poets Against the War: An Anthology. The recipient of an artist fellowship from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, she has also received a Creative Communities Initiative grant and the People Before Profits Poetry Prize. She co-hosts the Sunday Kind of Love reading series at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, where she lives with her husband and son.

Rich Villar directs the Acentos Foundation, an organization fostering communities around Latino/a literature, and serves as fiction editor for Acentos Review. His work appears in Latino Poetry Review, Rattapallax, and Achiote Seeds. He is working on his first book and lives in New Jersey with his wife, poet Tara Betts.

Wordstrike: Writers Against SB 1070 is a writer boycott launched by The Asian American Writers' Workshop in response to the passage of Arizona anti-immigrant law SB1070. This law requires, among other things, that law enforcement officers detain anyone they think is undocumented.

Work Strike Header

See the press release about launch of their campaign here: PDF

From their website, " Writers' Letter Boycotting SB1070," July 13, 2010:

We call on our fellow writers to join the growing movement to boycott the State of Arizona until it revokes anti-immigrant law SB 1070. Scheduled to take effect July 29, the statute requires law enforcement officers to detain anyone they think is an undocumented immigrant. The law will lead to the profiling and detention of anyone who does not look like they belong—not just undocumented immigrants, but U.S. citizens and permanent residents. The law also criminalizes anyone who shelters or transports an undocumented immigrant and allows anyone to sue any Arizona county, city, or town, if they think the law is not being enforced zealously enough. What Arizona has legislated, in other words, is nothing less than a police state.

As writers, we are conscious of the power of the written word. The statutory language of SB 1070 wields the power of the state to decree that the narratives of certain people simply do not count. The law serves as one plank of a larger regulatory framework that not only defines who we are, but dictates whose voices are allowed to speak. Another Arizona law (HB 2281) prohibits schools at any grade level from offering courses that explore the literature and history of any particular race. The Arizona Department of Education has ordered the firing of any teacher who speaks English with a foreign accent. As writers, scholars and educators who are committed to deepening rather than censoring intellectual inquiry, we believe that no one’s voice should be silenced.

We believe Arizona represents the epicenter in a major civil rights battle of our time. We oppose SB 1070, a law that has already been opposed even by the Arizona Association of Chiefs of Police and several Republican leaders, and which has inspired a boycott movement by the country’s leading civil rights organizations and union federations, as well as more than twenty-two cities and counties, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston. We oppose the national xenophobic fringe movement that last year alone helped pass more than 250 anti-immigrant laws and resolutions in forty-eight states. We call on the administration to vigorously pursue its lawsuit against Arizona and to use all its powers to block SB 1070. And we call upon all writers—no matter their citizenship, no matter their ethnicity—to join us in repudiating this virulent, repugnant law.

Andrew Hsiao, Ken Chen, Jennifer Hayashida
On Behalf of The Asian American Writers’ Worksho

Tariq Ali, Russell Banks, Amiri Baraka, Breyten Breytenbach, Noam Chomsky, Sandra Cisneros, Ry Cooder, Thulani Davis, Junot Díaz, Martin Espada, Eduardo Galeano, Jessica Hagedorn, Tom Hayden, David Henry Hwang, Ha Jin, Maxine Hong Kingston, Naomi Klein, Yusef Komunyakaa, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chang-rae Lee, Ruben Martinez, Michael Ondaatje, Ed Park, Francine Prose, Ishmael Reed, Adrienne Rich, Luis Rodriguez, Salman Rushdie, Peter Sellars, Wallace Shawn, Andre Schiffrin, Anne Waldman, John Waters.

Chris Abani
Francisco X. Alarcón
Meena Alexander
Anthony Arnove
Hossannah Asuncion
Naomi Ayala
Morteza Baharloo
Amiri Baraka
Lincoln Bergman
Marina Budhos
Norma Cantu
Lorna Dee Cervantes
Henry Chang
Jeff Chang
Wah-Ming Chang
Colin Channer
Alex Chee
Lisa Chen
Faith Childs
Marilyn Chin
Joshua Cody
Mike Davis
Chitra Divankaruni
Jennifer Egan
Ben Ehrenreich
Deborah Eisenberg
Robert S. Eshelman
Deanna Fei
Miranda C. Field
John J. Fitzgerald
Carolyn Forché
Ruth Forman
Sesshu Foster
Luis Francia
Rivka Galchen
Matthew Gallaway
Odilia Galvan Rodriguez
Eric Gamalinda
Sarah Gambito
V.V. Ganeshananthan
Cristina Garcia
Diana Garcia
Lauren Groff
Mohsin Hamid
Juan Felipe Herrera
Lee Herrick
Ron Hogan
Bob Holman
Hua Hsu
Brigid Hughes
Tania James
Ha Jin
Esther Kaplan
Suji Kwock Kim
David Kipen
Amitava Kumar
Jen Kwok
Laila Lalami
Joseph Legaspi
Ben Lerner
Ed Lin
Tan Lin
Andrea Louie
Devorah Major
Marie-Elizabeth Mali
Shivani Manghnani
Adam Mansbach
Demetria Martínez
Nina Marie Martínez
Victor Martinez
Tasa L. Masih
Celeste Guzman Mendoza
Vikas Menon
Truong Monique
David Alan Mura
Jill Nelson
John Nichols
Deborah Paredez
Shailja Patel
Willie Perdomo
Loida Maritza Perez
Robert Polito
Bino A. Realuyo
Paisley Reckdal
Bessy Reyna
Matthew Rohrer
Patrick Rosal
Renato Ignacio Rosaldo
Chuck Rosenthal
Benjamin Saenz
Oscar Sarmiento
Sarita See
Prageeta Sharma
Falguni A. Sheth
Gary Shteyngart
Ranbir Sidhu
Hasanthika Sirisena
Rebecca Solnit
Lara Marie Stapleton
Jean Stein
Miguel Syjuco
John Kuo Wei Tchen
Barbara Tran
Ky-Phong Tran
Jennifer Tseng
Grace Tumang
Chase Twichell
Thrity Umrigar
Victor Valle
Laura van den Berg
Lauro Vazquez
Dionisio Velasco
Angel Velasco Shaw
Helena Maria Viramontes
Vivien Weisman
Evelyn C. White
Sholeh Wolpe
Sung J. Woo
Gail Wronsky
Shawna Yang Ryan
Paul Yoon
Marilyn B. Young
Alexi Zentner


Poets Responding to SB 1070

This is an effort by a collective of poets on the internet who started a Facebook page to gather poem and have discussions about their views on SB 1070. From their Facebook page: "... Some of us as poets decided to create this FB page to post poems in response to the inhumane SB 1070, a new law in Arizona." -- Francisco X. Alarcón

You can view the Index of Writing/Poems here: Poets Responding to SB 1070 Facebook Page


  1. Create your poem/piece in YOUR own facebook "notes" page...
  2. Tag at LEAST one of the Facebook "admins." (the tag feature is to the right of your Facebook notes page: you will have to be sure that at least one of them is your "friend" in order to tag us.
  3. The facilitators or administrators of this page are: Francisco X. Alarcon, Alma Luz Villanueva, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Odilia Galvan Rodriguez, Scott Maurer, Abel Salas, Meg Withers, Israel Francisco Haros Lopez, Hedy Trevino, Andrea Hernandez Holm, and Elena Diaz Bjorkquist.
  4. They will publish your piece on these pages: you will find your poem posted in NOTES at the top of this page.
  5. You will be added you to our INDEX page...and be considered for a "hard copy" anthology we will be creating this summer!

If you have any other questions, we're here!


Poets Responding to SB 1070 Facilitators

SUBCRIBE: RSS Feed of Poets Responding to SB 1070's Notes


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