Community Artist Spotlight: Alejandro Jimenez
In November, thanks to our friends at Friesen's Press, we were able to connect an upcoming writer with an editorial evaluation to help prep a manuscript for publication! We're excited to see more of Alejandro Jimenez's work in the world! Here's a little more about Alejandro and his work:
1. Can you tell us a little about the project you are working on, (without giving away too many unpublished secrets!):
My current manuscript is titled - Pieces of a Brown Body. The popular narrative about us - immigrants - centers our humanity only mattering within the confines of the colonial borders that make up the United States. It is troubling that we seem to only exist, and matter, once we are in the United States and the single narrative that we are given here, is that we came to this country searching for a better life and that we are simply here to work. While I believe that we deserve spaces, places, and opportunities to thrive – not just in juxtaposition to capitalism – single narratives like searching for a better life assumes that our life before the one we created in the United States was not good enough. It places the United States, and the colonial powers that forced us to migrate, as the saviors we need. Common narratives that water down our existence to merely that of being labor within this machine we call America – restricts us from flourishing. These single narratives, too often, are a result of non-immigrant writers – even BIPOC identifying writers – compressing our experiences into a swallowable bite for the white-gaze. We have existed before were given words like immigrant, dreamer, refugee, illegal, undocumented, etc. Through themes of home, loss, memory, returning, and masculinity – my goal and intention as a writer is to present a more complex narrative: a Brown body that has existed before it had to defend its own existence.
2. Who do you hope this work is for, and who do you hope to connect with through publishing it?
In my mind this work is for my family. I imagine doing a reading of this work during a carne asada (and plenty of veggies on the grill too!) and that my family is my audience and that they give me a standing ovation and that we proceed to talk about our family stories; our own immigration stories; what we miss from our country; what we have built here; what each one of us has lost/gained/retained/forgotten/forgiven; and that we laugh and laugh and laugh! Though this work is very personal - and at times very specific to Mexican immigrants from my hometown in Colima, Mexico - I hope that other immigrants, and non-immigrants, see some of themselves reflected in the themes of my writing and that it prompts their own writing!!!
Publishing is daunting for me for many, many reasons. The one that constantly comes to mind - are people going to publish my work because they believe in it or because they need to check/meet their diversity quota? So, I hope that my work finds a publishing home that really believes in it and that really believes in me as a writer first.
3. Tell us where we can find your work
You can find more of my work here: www.alejandropoetry.com, on instagram (and tik tok lol!) as @alejandrowrites
Alejandro is an Emmy-nominated performance poet and writer who has shared his work at 3 TEDx Events, at the National Poetry Slam, and a plethora of colleges, universities, and high schools. As a formerly undocumented immigrant, from Colima, Mexico, his work centers around cultural identity, immigrant narratives, memory, land, masculinity, and the intersection of them all. He currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. More at www.alejandropoetry.com