Poet Jessica Helen Lopez has slammed her way to national recognition status in poetry and creative writing. Her love of public readings and performances brings her to San Antonio as she makes an appearance in UTSA’s Creative Reading Writing Series, Jan 27.

Friday’s event is free, and it will consist of a lecture and a reading of Lopez’s first collection of poems, “Always Messing with them Boys.” The speaker will also take any questions at the end of the reading. Lopez began her writing career as a poet attending and competing in what is referred to as slam poetry competitions.

“I am working for performance, and I will always promote that. It’s a valid form of art in a hybrid sense. There is always the issue of page vs. stage or academic vs. slam poets. Spoken word poets have gone on to teach at the college level,” Lopez says.

She was a member of the 2008 National Champion UNM Lobo Slam Team and has been a member of the Albuquerque’s Slam Team three times. Lopez has been a participant in many programs dedicated to helping others, such as The Writing Institute for Youth, VOCES. She has been a featured instructor for the 12th annual Las Mujeres 2007 conference; performed at Poesia Sin Fronteras in 2009; participated in the Albuqueque Pride GLBQT Poetry Slam, called Outspoken in 2011; and currently teaches poetry and creative writing at Robert F. Kennedy Charter High School in Albuquerque, N. M.

Lopez’s writing delves deep into the psyche and forces the audience to gain new perspectives on the power of words. When poetry is spoken or recited, it is intended to evoke emotion.

Lopez’s use of syllabic techniques, such as dactyl and anapest stressing of pertinent syllables is effective. Lopez also effectively uses what is called the caesura in her readings, which is a natural pause or break in a line of poetry, usually near the middle.

Lopez’s intended timing and rhythmic readings are not be “messed with.” This is serious writing; Lopez writes eloquently yet is gritty; her poetry is her personal truth.

She speaks of her youth, her past, her experiences, and the border town in which she grew up; her work is personal but captivating.

In “Always Messing with Them Boys,” she focuses on issues of love, the men in her life and she tells the audience what truly makes her special: her thoughts. In the following stance, taken from her poem, “I Would Love Like this if I Were You,” she writes: “I’d be Bogart without the ego, Orson Welles without the selfishness. I would color your world with all of the creative energy I could muster. If I were a man I’d be debonair and strike your fancy; the Lawrence Olivier of glittering desert and silk tents, yellow flapping yards of fabric, curling around the breeze, curling around the dry sun that festoons your desolate sky.”

Jessica Helen Lopez joins a long list of writers who have previously been featured at the Creative Writing Reading Series, such as Bruce Mahart, Catherine Bowman, and John Phillip Santos, who will be the upcoming guest reader on Feb 17 at 7:30 p.m. The series gives students the opportunity to work closer with writers who are knowledgeable in their craft.

The rhythmic and passionate plea that is felt through reading Jessica Helen Lopez’s words permeates. “My poems are completely confessional, from a first person point of view that is mine”, she says.

Lopez will read from her work entitled, “Always Messing with Them Boys” in the UTSA Business Building (BB 2.06.04) on Jan 27 at 7:30 p.m. Don’t miss out on this reading and a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to meet Jessica Helen Lopez, poet extraordinaire.

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