7 Latina Poetry Books to Add to Your Collection

image of the cover of four books

For some, poetry can be an escape from the world of novels and books. Talented writers have a unique ability to transport us out of our lives and into theirs with their ability to create stories with meaning. We’re highlighting some amazing Latinx poets who give us all the feels and would be a great edition for your bookshelf.


We’d be remiss if we did not give Alegria Publishing a shoutout for their work as an indie publishing company whose primary mission is to nurture emerging Latinx writers. Our list includes several of their publications because it’s important that we create our own Latinx spaces and uplift those who are also doing the same.

“Déjame Contarte Lo Que Dice El Corazón” by Paloma Alcantar

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Interested in words of wisdom as one navigates through the trials and tribulations of love? Paloma Alcantar’s poetry book is sure to meet your needs. Every word is beautifully written to capture all of the emotions one experiences in love, and we’re settling in for it.

book cover for \u201cD\u00e9jame Contarte Lo Que Dice El Coraz\u00f3n\u201d by Paloma Alcantar

Copyright: Alegria Publishing

“Imperfecta” by Alejandra Ramos Gómez

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Meditations on being a woman, migrant, and a Latina. Alejandra perfectly captures what it means to live in-between two cultures and the struggles of making peace with your identity and your lived experiences.

book cover \u201cImperfecta\u201d by Alejandra Ramos G\u00f3mez

Copyright: Alegria Publishing

“Corazón” by Yesika Salgado

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The first of her three poetry books, Yesika Salgado has enamored our hearts with her way with words. Salgado also co-founded Chingona Fire, a poetry collective based on highlighting Latina feminist poets. We highly recommend checking out her other books entitled “Hermosa” and “Tesoro”.

book cover for \u201cCoraz\u00f3n\u201d by Yesika Salgado

Copyright: Not A Cult Publishing

“Mujer de Color(es)” by Alejandra Jimenez

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Tackling everything from obstacles in expressing cultura to embracing your femininity, Alejandra Jimenez does well to tackle it all in entrancing words. Reexamine your ability to embrace your feminine strengths with this guide, it won’t let you down.

book cover for \u201cMujer de Color(es)\u201d by Alejandra Jimenez

Copyright: Alegria Publishing

“El Poemario del Colibrí | The Hummingbird Poems” by Edyka Chilomé

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Edyka Chilomé is a Mexican Salvadoran poet, identifying as queer, indigenous, and mestiza. Her work is heavily centered around transformative moments full of meaning in her book “El Poemario del Colibrí” (“The Hummingbird Poems” in English).

book cover for \u201cEl Poemario del Colibr\u00ed | The Hummingbird Poems\u201d by Edyka Chilom\u00e9

Copyright: Deep Vellum

“Groanings from the Desert” by Alma Cardenas

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Alma Cardenas allows us a glimpse into her mind with “Groanings from the Desert”, a bilingual collection of poems in both English and Spanish. Cardenas wrote all of these works in 2020 between February and October, so there’s plenty of space for everyone to enjoy her thoughts along with her.

book cover for \u201cGroanings from the Desert\u201d by Alma Cardenas

Copyright: Alegria Publishing

“The Latinx Poetry Project” by Davina Ferreira

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If you’re looking for the end all be all collection of poetry by Latinx poets, we’re recommending “The Latinx Poetry Project”. Over 45 Latinx poets are featured in this immense collection of work centered around a variety of themes: from social justice to feminism and beyond, this book truly has it all.

book cover for \u201cThe Latinx Poetry Project\u201d by Davina Ferreira

Copyright: Alegria Publishing

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This article is part of a series developed in partnership with Project Pulso.

Latino history is vital to the American narrative - there is no America without Latino contributions. Despite this, Latino storytelling and history are increasingly being sidelined in educational institutions. The issue deepens when we look at the emerging trend of book banning.

What is the Modern Book Ban?

Book banning is the act of removing books from reading lists, libraries, or bookstores based on content disagreements. Often done with the pretense of safeguarding children, the majority of these challenges come from parents and library patrons. However, elected officials, school boards, and even librarians can also be champions of imposed ignorance - after all, they know knowledge is power.

Recently, the ALA reported an "unprecedented volume" of book challenges. This is alarming for multiple reasons:

  • Censorship: Book banning is fundamentally a form of censorship. Although the First Amendment protects against government censorship, private individuals or organizations face limited restraint. This makes book banning a primary example of legal censorship in the U.S.
  • Democracy at Risk: At the core of democracy is the free exchange of ideas. By constraining this, we challenge the principles on which the U.S. was built. Censorship often paves the way to tyranny, allowing a small group to dominate the narrative.
  • Stagnation: Book bans impede societal progression by avoiding challenges to prevailing beliefs. To quote English writer George Orwell from his eerily prescient dystopian novel “1984”: “The best books are those that tell you what you know already.” Do we aspire to a society that shuns diverse thought? Book bans lead fully in that direction.
Marginalization: Such bans further alienate underrepresented communities. With Latinos already underrepresented in literature, these bans exacerbate the problem.

Latino Representation: The Understated Crisis

Despite making up a significant portion of the K-12 public school population, Latino students are presented with textbooks that overlook or barely touch upon key topics in Latino history. Out of the books published for young readers, only 5% concern or are authored by Latinos. This void extends beyond just fictional narratives.

Recent bans in states like Texas and Florida are erasing the already sparse representation Latinos have. Essential books reflecting Latino experiences, such as My Name is María Isabel, are disappearing from shelves. Project Pulso underlines this issue in their post:

Even beyond Latino literature, there's a broader attack against critical theory. This crusade aims to stifle discussions on racism, sexism, and systemic inequality. In a single year, 2,539 books faced bans, according to PEN America. A startling number of these pertained to LGBTQ themes, protagonists of color, race, and racism.

A Spotlight on Banned Latina Authors

Amidst the unsettling rise in book bans across the U.S., Latina authors have found themselves at the epicenter of this censorship storm. These authors not only highlight the complexities of Latino heritage but also bridge gaps in understanding, weaving tales that resonate across boundaries. Many invaluable works by Latina authors have been banned, including:

  • “The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende: Spanning generations, this saga chronicles the lives of the Trueba family in Chile, accentuating the mystical powers of its female characters. Challenges against it cite reasons like its "pornographic" nature and alleged attacks on Catholicism.
  • “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros: Through vignettes, this novel paints the life of Esperanza Cordero, a young Chicana in Chicago. Bans have been enforced based on claims that it instigates skepticism against "American values."
  • “Out of Darkness” by Ashley Hope Pérez: Set against the backdrop of 1930s Texas, this novel delves into the love between a Mexican American girl and a Black teen. Challenged for its graphic nature, it's deemed "sexually explicit" and has earned a place on the Top 10 Most Banned Books list.
  • “The Poet X” by Elizabeth Acevedo: The narrative revolves around 15-year-old Xiomara, who channels familial tension into her poetry. Accusations against it range from being "anti-Christian" to violating religious safeguards.
  • “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents” by Julia Alvarez: This novel charts the journey of the Garcia sisters, uprooted from their Dominican heritage, as they grapple with a starkly contrasting life in New York, touching on themes of identity, family, and culture.
  • “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel: This enchanting novel narrates the intriguing history of the De La Garza family in Mexico, where love, tradition, and magic blend seamlessly. It delves deep into themes of forbidden love, family obligations, and the transformative power of food.
  • “Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolf Anaya: Set in New Mexico; this narrative introduces us to Antonio Marez and Ultima, a healer. As Antonio steps into manhood, Ultima becomes his guiding light, illuminating his path through childhood bigotry, familial crises, and the mysteries of spirituality.

The increasing trend of book banning, especially of Latino literature, is a pressing concern. Not only does it threaten our democratic principles and societal growth, but it also amplifies the marginalization of already underrepresented communities. Our society's richness lies in its diversity, and by stifling these voices, we risk losing an integral part of our narrative. It's time to reassess and recognize the value of all stories, regardless of their origin.