DR. CARMEN TAFOLLA
Dr. Carmen Tafolla, San Antonio’s Inaugural Poet Laureate, is an internationally published poet and writer and a native of the city’s West Side barrios. She is the author of more than twenty books, including five books of poetry. Her literary works have appeared in more than 200 journals, anthologies, textbooks, magazines, newspapers, and kindergarten “Big Books.” The tremendous diversity of her writings and her speeches reflect a joyful celebration of community, and an affirmation of individual and cultural strength.
Dr. Tafolla has been involved with a myriad of local arts and cultural organizations as a board member and artist participant and has presented at all of the colleges, universities and school districts in the greater San Antonio region. She is also one of the co-founders of CantoMundo, a national poetry workshop and creative development space for Latino poets. Alex Haley, author of Roots, called Tafolla “a world-class writer”.
In 1999, Dr. Tafolla was awarded the Art of Peace Award for work contributing to peace, justice, and human understanding, and has been recognized by the National Association for Chicano Studies for “giving voice to the peoples and cultures of this land”. She was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) in 1999 in recognition of her outstanding literary achievement and in 2011 became a Councilor of the TIL. Her short story collection, The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans, won the 2009 Tomas Rivera Book Award, and in 2010, she traveled to the Library of Congress to accept the coveted Americas Award from the Consortium for Latin American Studies Programs. Her latest children’s book, Fiesta Babies, was named one of the Top Ten Best Books for Babies by the Fred Rogers Corporation.
Dr. Tafolla has presented her work throughout the U.S. and Mexico as well as in Europe and New Zealand. She has conducted thousands of motivational speeches and poetry workshops throughout the State, the U.S. and the world. Her poetry has been translated into Spanish, German, and Bengali. She is one of only two U.S. Poets invited to participate in the Wellington International Poetry Festival.
Dr. Tafolla holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Bilingual Education, and has taught at numerous universities. She currently teaches at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she holds the title of Writer-in-Residence for Children’s, Youth, and Transformative Literature. In this role, she has established the Cuentos y Carino (Bilingual Bedtimes) Project of UTSA to encourage parents to read to their children.
To learn more about Dr. Carmen Tafolla go to http://www.carmentafolla.net/.