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


“I don’t know what to tell you.
Your daughter doesn’t understand
math. Numbers trouble her, leave
her stuck on ground zero.”


                              Y fueron los mayas
                              quienes imaginaron el cero,
                              un signo para nada, para todo,
                              en sus gran calculaciones.


                Is zero the velvet swoop into dream,
                the loop into plumes of our breath?


“I suggest you encourage languages.
Already she knows a little Spanish,
and you can teach her more of that.
She lives for story time.”


                In the beginning there was nothing.
                Then the green of quetzal wings.

                              Las historias siguen cambiando,
                              sus verdades vigorizadas
                              con cada narración
                              como X x X = X2





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Education & Learning


Literary Devices:


an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie

Rhetorical Question

a question asked for effect, not necessarily to be answered