Melissa Lozada-Oliva


Melissa Lozada-Oliva is a Guatelombian (Guatemalan-Colombian) American poet and screenwriter living in Brooklyn by way of Massachusetts.  Her book peluda (Button Poetry 2017) explores the intersections of Latina identity, feminism, hair removal & what it means to belong. Her novel-in-verse Dreaming of You is about bringing Selena back to life through a seance & the disastrous consequences that follow & it’s coming out October 2021 on Astra House. She is the co-host of podcast Say More with Olivia Gatwood where they dissect the world through a poetic lens. Lozada-Olivia is currently working on a pilot about a haunted book store. She is interested in horror because she’s scared of everything. Lozada-Olivia likes when things are little funny so that she has space to be a little sad. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in REMEZCLA, PAPER, The Guardian, BreakBeat Poets, Kenyon Review, Vulture, Bustle, Glamour Magazine, The Huffington Post, Muzzle Magazine, The Adroit Journal, and BBC Mundo! Source

Excerpt from "My Spanish"

If you ask me if I am fluent in Spanish I will tell you

My Spanish is an itchy phantom limb: reaching for a word and only finding air

My Spanish is my third birthday party: half of it is memory, and the other half is a photograph on the fridge is what my family has told me 


If you ask me if I am fluent I I will tell you that

My Spanish is a puzzle left in the rain 

Too soggy to make its parts fit so that it can look just like the picture on the box. 


If you ask me I will tell you 

My Spanish is hungrier than it was before. 

My Spanish reaches for words at the top of a shelf without a stepping stool 

is hit in the head with all of the old words that have been hiding up there

My Spanish wonders how bad is it to eat something that’s expired

My Spanish wonders if it has an expiration date

My Spanish asks you why it is always being compared to food

spicy, hot, sizzle

my Spanish tells you it is not something to be eaten 

but does not really believe it. 


If you ask me if I am fluent in Spanish I will try to tell you the story

of how my parents met in an ESL class

How it was when they trained their mouths to say 

I love you in a different language, I hate you with their mouths shut

I will tell you how my father’s accent makes him sound like Zorro 

how my mother tried to tie her tongue to a post with an English language leash

I will tell you that the tongue always ran stubbornly back to the language it had always been in love with 

Even when she tried to tame it it always turned loose 

If you ask me if I am in fluent 

I will tell you 

My Spanish is understanding that there are stories will always be out of my reach

there are people who will never fit together the way that i want them to 

there are letters that will always stay silent

there are some words that will always escape me. 





Literary Movements:

Spoken Word

Anthology Years:






Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


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


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


the attribution of human qualities to a non-human thing