AMC Online | Meet a Poet: Luis Alberto Urrea

Hailed by NPR as a “master storyteller with a rock and roll heart,” Luis Alberto Urrea is a prolific and acclaimed writer who uses his dual-culture life experiences to explore greater themes of love, loss and triumph.

A 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist for nonfiction and member of the Latino Literature Hall of Fame, Urrea is the critically acclaimed and best-selling author of nineteen books, winning numerous awards for his poetry, fiction, and essays. Born in Tijuana to a Mexican father and American mother, Urrea is most recognized as a border writer, though he says, “I am more interested in bridges, not borders.” 

Urrea newest book, Good Night, Irene , takes as inspiration his mother’s own Red Cross service. With its affecting and uplifting portrait of friendship and valor in harrowing circumstances, Good Night, Irene powerfully demonstrates yet again that Urrea’s “gifts as a storyteller are prodigious” (NPR). A book of poetry, Piedra , will also publish this year (Flowersong Press).

The House of Broken Angels (2018) is a novel of an American family, which happens to be from Mexico. Angel de la Cruz knows this is his last birthday and he wants to gather his progeny for a final fiesta. A New York Times Notable Book, it was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Fiction.

In 2017, Urrea won an American Academy of Arts and Letters Fiction award and his collection of short stories, The Water Museum , was a finalist for the 2016 PEN-Faulkner Award and was named a best book of the year by The Washington Post and Kirkus Reviews , among others. Into the Beautiful North , his 2009 novel, is a Big Read selection by the National Endowment of the Arts and has been chosen by more than fifty cities and colleges as a community read. The Devil’s Highway , Urrea’s 2004 non-fiction account of a group of Mexican immigrants lost in the Arizona desert, won the Lannan Literary Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Pacific Rim Kiriyama Prize. The Hummingbird’s Daughter , his 2005 historical novel, tells the story of Urrea’s great-aunt Teresa Urrea, sometimes known as the Saint of Cabora and the Mexican Joan of Arc. The book, which involved twenty years of research and writing, won the Kiriyama Prize in fiction and, along with The Devil’s Highway , was named a best book of the year by many publications.

To get a sneak peek at these poems in Russian and English, click here  >>


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