Nov 1 – 19, 2023

Sonya Lara

Sonya Lara is a biracial Mexican American writer. She received her BA in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her MFA in Poetry from Virginia Tech. She has extensive experience teaching writing at Virginia Tech, Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, All Write through Virginia Tech, and the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, she is the Poetry Editor for Minerva Rising. Additionally, she has served as a juror for contests and residencies, such as the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the Peter Bullough Foundation Residency, and the Blue Mountain Center Residency.

She was accepted for the Kenyon Review Writers’ Workshop with Leila Chatti, the Juniper Summer Writing Institute, the Hambidge Creative Residency Program, the Peter Bullough Foundation Residency, and the Blue Mountain Center Residency, and was shortlisted for The Eavan Boland Emerging Poet Award and runner-up in Shenandoah’s Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginia Poets. Her work appeared or is forthcoming in The Pinch, X-R-A-Y Lit, Shenandoah, Ninth Letter, AGNI, The Los Angeles Review, The Acentos Review, and elsewhere. For more information, please visit sonyalara.com.

Statement of Intent: 

During her residency, Sonya Lara will work on her first book of poetry, small gods, that explores the life of a queer biracial first-generation Mexican American woman grappling with the suffocating expectations and disappointments of choosing one identity while simultaneously attempting to understand the almost-death of her father. Weaving together the past and present, the collection connects her father’s twenty-five-year occupation of being a garbage man with the cruelty and neglect experienced within the healthcare system. The manuscript serves as an unrelenting examination of what it means when a man who lives in society’s margins is forced to endure the indignities of financial hardship during a period of inconceivable trauma. It is an exploration of who matters and who doesn’t, and who is seen and who isn’t. 

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