Iliana Rocha


Iliana Rocha is the 2019 winner of the Berkshire Prize for a First or Second Book of Poetry for her newest collection, The Many Deaths of Inocencio Rodriguez, forthcoming from Tupelo Press. Karankawa, her debut, won the 2014 AWP Donald Hall Prize for Poetry (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015). The recipient of a 2020 CantoMundo fellowship and 2019 MacDowell Colony fellowship, she has had work featured or forthcoming in the Best New Poets 2014 anthology, as well as Poetry, Poem-a-Day, The Nation, Virginia Quarterly Review, Latin American Literature Today, Oxford American, and Blackbird among others, and sheserves as Poetry Co-Editor for Waxwing Literary Journal. She earned her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from Western Michigan University and is an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her three chihuahuas Nilla, Beans, and Migo are the loves of her life. Source

Mexican American Sonnet

with gratitude to Wanda Coleman & Terrance Hayes


for Kristen


We have the same ankles, hips, nipples, knees—

our bodies bore the forks/tenedors

we use to eat. What do we eat? Darkness

from cathedral floors,


the heart’s woe in abundance. Please let us

go through the world touching what we want,

knock things over. Slap & kick & punch

until we get something right. ¿Verdad?


Isn’t it true, my father always asks.

Your father is the ghost of mine & vice

versa. & when did our pasts

stop recognizing themselves? It was always like


us to first person: yo. To disrupt a hurricane’s

path with our own inwardness.

C’mon huracán, you watery migraine,

prove us wrong for once. This sadness


lasts/esta tristeza perdura. Say it both ways

so language doesn't bite back, but stays.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Intersectionality & Culture

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:


A device in which the last word or phrase of one clause, sentence, or line is repeated at the beginning of the next.


the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence

End Rhyme

when a poem has lines ending with words that sound the same

Iambic Pentameter

a line of verse composed of five iambs– an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable (u / u / u / u / u /) commonly used in the Renaissance period

Internal Rhyme

A rhyme involving a word in the middle of a line and another at the end of the line or in the middle of the next.


the repetition of conjunctions frequently and in close proximity in a sentence

Slant Rhyme

A rhyme where the words have similar sounds in their stressed syllables.


A poem with fourteen lines that traditionally uses a fixed rhyme scheme and meter.