Sheryl Luna


Sheryl Luna is a Latine poet and educator born and raised in El Paso, Texas. In high school, a college counselor told her she was not “college material.” Despite this discouragement, Luna went on to earn four separate degrees: a BA from Texas Tech University, an MFA from the University of Texas at El Paso, an MA in English from Texas Woman’s University, and a PhD in Contemporary Literature from the University of North Texas. While Luna was running track at Texas Tech University, her coach introduced her to the work of esteemed novelist Ralph Ellison; Luna was transformed by the power of his work and grew an immense fondness for reading literature. Luna enrolled in a creative writing course with hopes of becoming a novelist but was urged by her professor to pursue poetry. Luna began by writing short soulful poems, somewhat inspired by the Imagist movement, weaving rhythmic lines with autobiographical insights. Her debut collection, Pity the Drowned Horses (2004), an exploration of cultural identity and the U.S.–Mexico border, won the inaugural Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. Before becoming a professor of Creative Writing at the University of Texas–Pan American, Luna worked with the literary organization BorderSenses, where she taught poetry in juvenile detention centers in El Paso. In addition to her academic work, Luna is a volunteer poetry teacher at her local mental health center. In her collection Magnificent Errors (2022), she writes about her personal experiences with homelessness and mental illness, as well as the struggles she has witnessed others face. Luna, who now lives in Colorado, believes wholeheartedly in the healing properties of poetry.