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Piper Fellow-in-Residence

Photograph of Jacqueline Balderrama

Jacqueline Balderrama

Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence 2021

About Jacqueline Balderrama

Jacqueline Balderrama is a Mexican-American poet and author of  Now in Color, winner of the 2020 Perugia Press Prize, and the chapbook, Nectar and Small (Finishing Line Press 2019). She grew up in Southern California and earned a BA from UC Riverside and a MFA from Arizona State University, where was involved in the Letras Latinas literary initiative and the ASU Prison Education Program. Recently she completed a PhD in English with a specialization in creative writing at the University of Utah.

Her poems have received the 2013 Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize, won a 2019 Intro Journal Award and been published in Blackbird, Poet Lore and other journals. She serves as poetry editor for Iron City Magazine. Her recent work is invested in hybrid identities, monstrosity, and environmental concerns. 

As the Virginia G. Piper Fellow-in-Residence, Balderrama will be leading the Thousand Languages Project. She will also be teaching as a Clinical Assistant Professor for the 2020-2021 academic year.

More About Jacqueline Balderrama

"Now in Color." Perugia Press.

Now In Color explores the multigenerational immigrant experience of Mexican-Americans who have escaped violence, faced pressures to assimilate, and are now seeking to reconnect to a fragmented past. These poems illuminate the fluidity of language and of perception through both small hypocrisies and real atrocities. One of Balderrama’s strategies is to use the development of motion pictures and Technicolor as a lens through which to examine personal and cultural histories and stereotypes. She also considers bilingual expectations through an innovative series of Spanish definition poems. Balderrama documents pieces of her family’s oral tradition and draws connections to ongoing injustices experienced by current migrant families, offering a living picture of a present inevitably tied to and colored by its past. Through the poetics of witness, ekphrasis, portraiture, and family mythos, Now In Color deepens our understanding of hybrid identities and calls attention to those impacted by tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border.