Hays Poet Laureate

Started by a vision to create a central Texan sustainable literary community by promoting literacy in underserved & marginalized communities by directly involving local writers in the publishing process.

With the sponsorship of the Burdine Johnson Foundation, we created this workshop keeping in mind the things we would have wanted to learn during our educational career. Creative writing was not encouraged by instructors or parental figures as a viable or even possible career option.

Our hope is not only to get these students to appreciate and value their own work, but also connect them to other artists of similar backgrounds that have paved the way in pursuing creative writing as a career & succeeded. We want to open doors to young writers to let them know their dreams are possible. The Youth Poet Laureate program rooted in San Marcos, and Kyle, will promote literacy through poetry. This is an opportunity for underserved youth, and the general local community to get excited about the literary arts



We will begin FREE workshops April 26th, 2023 for any youth ages 13-19 interested in building their application. They will begin at 5PM to 6:30PM, held via Zoom, and will take place every Wednesday following its launch on April 26th, & continue until June 30th, 2023.

The class will be taught & developed by Bianca Perez, Program Director at the Texas State Creative Writing M.F.A., also program coordinator at Infrarrealista Review, and former instructor of the Austin Youth Poet Laureate; Anthony Isaac Bradley, former instructor at Texas State; Claudia Delfina Cardona, author of What Remains & co-founder of IR; & Juania Sueños.

In November, 2023 judge Natalia Treviño will announce the winner. Natalia has won several awards for her poetry and fiction including the 2004 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the 2008 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2012 Literary Award from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. Natalia’s fiction appears in Mirrors Beneath the Earth (Curbstone Press), The Platte Valley Review, and her non-fiction appears in in Wising Up Anthologies, Complex Allegiances and Shifting Balance Sheets: Women’s Stories of Naturalized Citizens. Her first book of poetry, Lavando La Dirty Laundry, is available from Mongrel Empire Press and most online bookstores. Her work captures the voices and lives of women who emerge despite everything that works tirelessly against them.
The winner will receive a cash-prize of $1,000, a chapbook deal: printed, edited, promoted, & distributed through Plancha Press.
The winning manuscript will undergo an editing process by I.R. Editors, and released late March of 2024. The chapbook’s launch will be celebrated with a reading and book signing at the Katherine Anne Porter House–where big names, like Ada Limon, Ocean Vuong, Viet Than Nguyen, & others have read in the recent years–& the highest elected official in the county, Judge Ruben Becerra will recognize the Y.P.L. The Y.P.L. will be required to attend & speak at three City Council or Commissioners Court meetings while they hold this title. They would assist-edit one issue of Infrarrealista Review, meeting with the I.R. editors three times. They will also be invited to I.R.’s monthly poetry readings & encouraged to read at two of them.

Application Requirements

Deadline to Submit: Sept 22, 2023 

  • 15-20 pages of poetry. Each piece should be on its own page. 12 pt., sans serif font. Please save it as a PDF. (the manuscript can include non-traditional, prosaic, mixed-media, illustration, etc.; if you’re unsure if your work qualifies, please contact us at infrarrealistareview@gmail.com).
  • Cover Letter- this is a brief document which should include your contact information, be addressed to our judge, Natalia Treviño, & state why you think you would be a good candidate to represent your county as Poet Laureate.
  • Bio- 50-200 words. This is a quick summary of you, your goals, & accomplishments.
  • Statement of Purpose- this should be a 200-500 word document explaining why you write, what inspires you as a poet, & how you plan to honor your title as the Hays Youth Poet Laureate if you won the contest.
  • Must be no older than 19.
  • Must be a Hays County resident.
About Our Workshops

Our workshops are conducted in Spanish & English with several goals intended to

Immerse students in the exploration of what it means to be an artist belonging to a disaporic background.

To show students how to develop these inclinations & use them as tools of intense self-expression by being very specific. If the strengths are writing, what kind of writing? poetry? rhyming? spoken word? fiction? what genres? painting: abstract? realistic? Mixing art mediums can be freeing. How can we show students to take themselves seriously as artists, & take their emotions just as seriously?

Our model was developed and based on Based on Ariana Ochoa Camacho’s (PhD) “ALAS: Adolescent Latinas Advancing Salud mental through Storytelling”

Guide students to learn what their artistic strengths are.

To find the ways art participates in our sense of self and contribute to a portrait of a peoples from the same diaspora. This program seeks to move students to explore and express their stories through different artistic forms using an anti-colonial framework. The workshop seeks to help attendees cultivate an eye and love for art as a life-long tool for expression, & connection as a form of Resistencia. Once students gain emotional tools to improve relationship to self through liberating self- expression.

Reframe/flip self-narrative.

Many of these students have been told who they are by the State. Their identities have been reduced to their mistakes or their “master status.” Mental health is all about our relationship to the self/soul. In the past we examined Yolanda Lopez’ auto-retratos, and portraits of the women in her family.


Gain Publishing, Editing & Curating Skills.

By the end of the course, students will have written, edited, and published a small book—chapbook—and organized a reception of visual works that tell their own stories.

Past Facilitators

Andrea Muñoz Martinez, is an abstract painter of borderland landscapes, from Uvalde. She is an alumnus of the U.C. Davis MFA program.

Claude Delfina Cardona, San Antonio based poet, educator, and author of What Remains.

Juania Sueños, Zacatecan poet, and cofounder of the Infrarrealista Review. Her work has appeared in Sybil Journal, The Skinkbeat Review, Acentos Review, & Porter House Review. She is currently a fellow with the Texas After Violence, After Visions program.

Jeffrey Charles Stanley, interdisciplinary artist based in New York City and Brownsville, Texas. His work combines video and objects to build stories and environments with feelings about ecology, and humanity.

Anthony Isaac Bradley is an educator, poet, and film & literary critic. His work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Coachella Review, and other lovely places. He’s a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. He lives with his cat and the ghost of another. He is the Reviews Editor at Infrarrealista Review.

Past Summer Youth Workshops:

Thank you to past sponsors

Burdine Johnson Foundation

The Center for the Study of the Southwest

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