On Oct. 4, several hundred Drew students and faculty alike gathered on Zoom to hear poet and activist Javier Zamora’s readings of his poetry and his journey into becoming the successful poet he is today at the Writers@Drew event. Zamora spoke about his experiences growing up in El Salvador and immigrating to America at the age of 9 on his own, and how it later influenced his unique poetry style. Several professors required their students to attend the event.
First, Zamora read his poem “Small Town Fable,” which was about when his father left El Salvador for America. Zamora, only 2 at the time, attempted to follow him.
“It was really enlightening hearing where he gets his inspiration from,” said Olivia Mango (‘22). “It really showed me that you can draw inspiration from anywhere in your life.”
Zamora went on to explain how the various titles of his poems are taken from immigration-related headlines in the news, citing his own experiences with immigration and the political climate of the country as major influences in his writing.
“I think that he demonstrates a certain kind of pursuit of this art that has been legitimized and gives a really good name to the professionalization of poetry that people are very comfortable dismissing as a professional study or pursuit,” said Sara Martin, professor of Advanced Poetry. “I’m always just encouraging people to put themselves in the way of very relatable people that have just decided that: this is the thing I love, and I’m going to do it and I can do it.”
When asked for publishing advice for new poets, Zamora suggested treating it like any other normal job: be persistent and prepare for rejection. He said that doing this would give their work the opportunity to be successful.