Mar 21, 2023 - News

San Antonio's new poet laureate is Chicano writer

Nephtalí De León, wearing a green button down shirt and beaded necklaces, speaks into a megaphone in front of a river, while holding a flower and a sheet of paper.

Nephtalí De León will be the next San Antonio poet laureate. Photo: Courtesy Nephtalí De León

Nephtalí De León will be San Antonio's sixth poet laureate for a three-year term starting next month.

Why it matters: Local poet laureates promote the craft by participating in events and workshops around the city, such as at community centers and schools. They aim to uplift local pride through artistic expression.

Context: De León succeeds Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson, who has served since 2020.

  • San Antonio was the first major Texas city to appoint a poet laureate, beginning in 2012, per a news release.
  • Texas has appointed a state poet laureate since 1932.

Zoom in: De León was born in 1945 in Laredo to parents who were migrant workers.

  • His first book, "Chicanos: Our Background and Our Pride," was published during his senior year of high school, per a news release.

What they're saying: "In San Antonio, we speak through our ancestors in a code-switching modality, taco flavored musings," De León said in a statement. "It is the poetry of our jalapeño hot, chili flavored souls! It is time to raise the roof high and celebrate our city."

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