Blas Manuel de Luna


Blas Manuel de Luna is a Chicano autobiographical poet and educator. He was born in Tijuana, Mexico in 1969, but soon immigrated with his family to Madera, California. There, he and his young brothers and sisters worked alongside their parents in California’s agricultural fields, picking fruit for long hours. De Luna earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University, Fresno, where he studied English, and he received his MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington. In 2000, he became a Ruth and Jay C. Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he spent a supremely happy year teaching undergraduate creative writing classes and composing many of the poems that would later appear in his first book. That collection, Bent to Earth, was published in 2006 by Carnegie Mellon University Press and became a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. De Luna frequently draws on his own life experience to create his poetry, using straightforward and visually rich language to revisit his immigrant labor experience and the bond he shares with his family, especially his father. De Luna still resides in California, where he is a high school English teacher. 

Bent to the Earth

They had hit Ruben

with the high beams, had blinded

him so that the van

he was driving, full of Mexicans

going to pick tomatoes,

would have to stop. Ruben spun


the van into an irrigation ditch,

spun the five-year-old me awake

to immigration officers,

their batons already out,

already looking for the soft spots on the body,

to my mother being handcuffed

and dragged to a van, to my father

trying to show them our green cards.


They let us go. But Alvaro

was going back.

So was his brother Fernando.

So was their sister Sonia. Their mother

did not escape,

and so was going back. Their father

was somewhere in the field,

and was free. There were no great truths


revealed to me then. No wisdom

given to me by anyone. I was a child

who had seen what a piece of polished wood

could do to a face, who had seen his father

about to lose the one he loved, who had lost

some friends who would never return,

who, later that morning, bent

to the earth and went to work.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:





Poems of Place

Police Brutality

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 line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


visually descriptive or figurative language, especially in a literary work