Release: Jan. 29, 2018
GAMBIER, Ohio — Javier Zamora comes to Kenyon College for a reading of “Unaccompanied,” his poignant debut collection of poetry, on Monday, Feb. 5, at 7 p.m. in the Storer Hall's Brandi Recital Hall, 105 College Drive.
Zamora is a native of La Herradura, El Salvador. At the age of 9, he fled his home country, crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone and on foot, to reunite with family in the United States. In “Unaccompanied,” published by Copper Canyon Press in 2017, Zamora tells the story of that turbulent journey to escape the aftermath of El Salvador’s brutal civil war, and he explores how immigration, and the war, have affected his family.
“I just started, day by day, trying to remember that moment when I left my house with my grandpa, got on a bus in San Salvador, and took the eight-hour trip to the Guatemala-Mexico border,” he said in a September 2017 interview with the New Yorker, recounting his trip through Guatemala, where he parted with his grandfather and continued alone to Mexico and, ultimately, the U.S.
“We were thrilled when Javier Zamora accepted our invitation to come and speak to our community,” said Elizabeth Dark, associate director of programs at the Kenyon Review. “As each day’s headlines are flitting before us at such rapid speed, it’s helpful to take moments to pause and listen to the narratives and poetry ever flowing underneath the frenzy. Javier’s work asserts the human element into a complicated conversation that really shouldn’t be had without it.”
Zamora earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a master of fine arts degree from New York University. He now holds a 2016-2018 Wallace Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. His numerous accolades include scholarships to the Bread Loaf, Frost Place, Napa Valley, Squaw Valley and VONA writers’ conferences, and he won the Barnes & Noble 2016 Writer for Writers Award for his work with the Undocupoets Campaign. He also is a member of the Our Parents’ Bones Campaign, whose goal is to bring justice to the families of the ten thousand who disappeared during El Salvador’s civil war.
Zamora’s poetry reading, co-sponsored by the Latino/a Studies Program, the Kenyon Review and the Department of English, is free and open to the public. For more information, call Elizabeth Dark, associate director of programs at the Kenyon Review, at 740-427-5451.