Jesús I. Valles

—3rd Place Winner of the 2019 Emerging Poet Prize—

From guest judge Kim Addonizio: This is an affecting lament —the speaker has no god or goddess except “Maquiladora, Mother deity of want.” Yet the poem grants a kind of sacredness in detailing what the speaker can claim in this difficult world where “Everything I know…I know/From bones in the sand.”


Jesús I. Valles is a queer Mexican immigrant writer-performer from Cd. Juarez, México/El Paso, TX. Jesús is a 2019 Lambda Literary fellow, a 2019 Walter E. Dakin Playwriting fellow at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, a recipient of the 2019 Letras Latinas Scholarship from Community of Writers, a poetry fellow at Idyllwild Arts Writers Week, and a recipient of a 2019 Fine Arts Work Center scholarship. Jesús is also a 2018 Undocupoets fellow, a 2018 Tin House scholar, and a fellow of the 2018 Poetry Incubator. Their work is published in The Shade Journal, The Texas Review, The New Republic, Palabritas, The Acentos Review, Quarterly West, The Mississippi Review, Tin House, BOAAT, and forthcoming in Winter Tangerine and The Adroit Journal. As a theatremaker, Jesús is the recipient of four B. Iden Payne awards, including Outstanding Original Script and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama for their autobiographical solo show, (Un)Documents.