OLLU News

OLLU Staff Member and graduate student releases poetry chapbook, “Becoming Coztōtōtl,” 2019 recipient of the Rubem Alves Award in Theopoetics

Join the Center for Women in Church and Society on Thursday, March 21 in PWSR during community hour to support the release of Our Lady of the Lake University graduate student and staff member Carolina Hinojosa-Cisneros’ poetry chapbook, “Becoming Coztōtōtl.” The event will also celebrate her receiving the Rubem Alves Award in Theopoetics as part of Women’s Herstory Month. Lunch will be provided with RSVP by March 18th to CWS@ollusa.edu.

Hinojosa-Cisneros, a first-year graduate student in the MA/MFA Literature, Creative Writing, and Social Justice program, is also a new staff member to OLLU’s Women in Church and Society department. As a Tejana, Chicana, Poeta and Mujerista, Hinojosa-Cisneros shared some insight on her writing experience, the process of re-centering and rediscovery through indigenous ancestral history, and her passion for theopoetics.

“I’m in the process of becoming an ancient storyteller,” Hinojosa-Cisneros said. “The title means ‘yellow bird’ or ‘golden canary’ in Nahuatl. My grandmother’s favorite color is yellow, and although she is not mentioned once in my chapbook, she’s there. We always had birds growing up, and I see birds as storytellers.”

To Hinojosa-Cisneros, the chapbook of eighteen poems pertains to her and her children, and the process of becoming who she is as a storyteller. “I worked on this chapbook for two years,” she said. “Poetry is a method of survival, my testimonio. I’ve written poems since I was a little girl.”

When asked about community, Hinojosa-Cisneros went on to explain the great amount of support she’s received so far from OLLU. “The community has taught me so much,” she said, “but the chapbook wouldn’t have happened without my maestra, ire’ne lara silva. Trust me, this has been an incredibly humbling experience. If anything, I hope that my readers can all find grace in the most unexpected places.”

During spare time, Hinojosa-Cisneros reads poetry by Natalia Treviño and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The cover art of “Becoming Coztōtōtl” is by Jade Levya-Frouge. For those interested, copies of “Becoming Coztōtōtl” will be sold at the event on March 21 and is currently available for purchase on Amazon.

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