Brenda Cárdenas


Brenda Cárdenas’ books and chapbooks include Boomerang (Bilingual Press); Bread of the Earth/The Last Colors with Roberto Harrison; Achiote Seeds/Semillas de Achiote with Cristina García, Emmy Pérez, and Gabriela Erandi Rico; and From the Tongues of Brick and Stone (Momotombo Press). She also co-edited Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance (Spuyten Duyvil Press) and Between the Heart and the Land: Latina Poets in the Midwest (MARCH/Abrazo Press). Cárdenas’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in Latino Poetics: The Art of Poetry; Hope Is the Thing: Wisconsinites on Hope and Resilience; Grabbed: Take Back the Narrative; Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems; Court Green; Ghost Fishing: An Eco Justice Anthology; POETRY; The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry and many others. She has served as Milwaukee’s Poet Laureate, co-taught the inaugural workshop for Letras Latina’s Pintura : Palabra: A Project in Ekphrasis, and is Associate Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Source


If the city was a body, graffiti would tell us where it hurts.

— Charles “Chaz” Bojórquez


And this block would shout, “Nos diste un chingaso, cabrón. Mira esta cara rota, these baton-cracked ribs, this black and blue street dizzy con gente: blades, kiki, larry, snow, enrique, connie, elton, king, david, kelly, jeff, ratón, chaz, los de aquí, los de abajo. This roll call won’t be silenced, not by glock, not by chokehold. This is our temple of runes, our tomb — its glyphic curve and flow, calligraphic code writ acrylic. This, our relic, our scroll unrolled in catacombs, our flecks of subtext still buzzing después de que vayamos con La Pelona. ¡qué lucha, loco! Ven, baile con nosotros to the aerosol’s maraca y hiss, al punk en español’s furious sweat. Hang your head out the window y dale un grito tan lleno de duende that it cracks the pavement, summons our dead to dinner. Turn the tonal kaleidoscope. Then pause, catch your breath, so you don’t miss the illegible moment where all the mystery lives. There, de-cypher that!”





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Intersectionality & Culture

Poems of Place

Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences


a short quotation or saying at the beginning of a book or chapter, intended to suggest its theme


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work


an instruction or a command