Name: Roy G. Guzmán
Hometown: Miami, FL (born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras)
Current city: Minneapolis, MN
Occupation: MFA candidate in creative writing at the University of Minnesota
What does poetry mean to you?
We relate to language quite differently, and that relationship is what gives poetry its urgency and tenderness. I often think of poetry through active verbs: to witness, to resist, to persist, to renounce, to relate, to embrace, to acknowledge, to activate, to excavate, to elevate. Some theorists claim that dancing is the quintessential form of human expression; in my view—and as a dancer myself—poetry is what lends human experience its roaring impetus.
Elizabeth Bishop’s work speaks to me on an aesthetic and queer level. Her poems are quietly intense, and when they’re not observing and digesting the outside world, they are emphasizing its beauty and vicissitudes.
“Mexicans Begin Jogging” is heartbreaking, relevant to major discussions on immigration, citizenship, ethnicity, class, and power, and serves as a reminder of how poetry can function as a tool for social justice.