Over the summer I attended VONA (Voices of Our Nation, Summer Writing Workshops for Writers of Color). It was held in San Francisco at  USF. I worked closely with Lorna Dee Cervantes who is incredibly down to earth and embodies the essence of poetry. Her vast experience as a Latina woman poet opened new doors for me. VONA brought me to better understand myself as a writer and what my writing process really is. Lorna Dee Cervantes helped pushed me outside of my comfort zone and really asked me to address the possibilities that exist in my poetry. It was great to be among a community that can relate to cultural struggles and how they make their way into our writing. Being among so many different people from different cultural backgrounds allowed me to really connect with my own culture. I realized how important it is that I spend some time in El Salvador before I finish my MFA. I am currently planning a trip where I will spend most of next summer in El Salvador. Overall, the events that took place during the week were intense  but it was nice to have SF as a distraction. I spent many mornings and afternoons in the Mission basking in Latino culture and the World Cup. Once the conference was over I walked away with new friends, a new outlook on my poetry, and 14 workshopped poems to go home and revise. If you are looking for a conference where you can build a community with writer’s of color I highly recommend VONA.


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