“Ode to the Quinceañera Dress” finalist in River Heron Poetry Prize

4 Aug

So happy to share my poem “Ode to the Quinceañera Dress,” which appears as a finalist in the 2020 River Heron Poetry Prize issue this month. Heartfelt thanks to final judge, Alina Stefanescu, for choosing this poem among the top five out of 500 entries!

Thank you to Gregory Pardlo and my workshop-mates at the 2019 Palm Beach Poetry Festival for “prescribing” this poem, and Rosebud Ben-Oni‘s Poetic Forms class @UCLA Extension for creating a positive space for it to come forth into the world!

This poem is an homage to many things, beyond the quinceañera dress itself. It’s a shout out to my high school friends, to late 1980’s pop music, and my Abuelita and her gift of sewing. My grandmother could make anything out of fabric, so ultimately it didn’t boil down to the dress itself. I could even have made a Pretty-in-Pink inspired frock, but ultimately the pageantry still would have felt off to me. I loved dresses and wanted a gown worthy of Cinderella, but I couldn’t give myself over to the rest of it.

My whole entire life I have been a non-conformist, and this poem is a witness to that. I will never conform to what people want me to think or believe or wear, and I will always make my own choices and my own decisions based on what I feel is true and right.


Please let me know what you think of this poem. I love comments!

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