Brooklyn, NY, January 21, 2022—Medgar Evers College is pleased to announce that Darrel Alejandro Holnes received the 2022 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize for his first full-length collection Stepmotherland. Named after the late California native and author of the award-winning book The Iceworker Sings, the prize supports the work of emerging Latino/a poets and aims to nurture the various paths that Latino poetry is taking in the twenty-first century.
Holnes is an assistant professor of creative writing and dramatic writing at Medgar Evers College. “I’m so proud to share poems about my culture, one I see reflected every day in Crown Heights and on the faces of my Medgar students, many of whom are of Caribbean or Central American descent like me. I hope this to be a gift to our community, one that I hope inspires others to write about the homes they’ve left behind and the ones they make here for themselves,” said Holnes.
The poems in Stepmotherland chronicle and question identity, family, and allegiance. This Central American love song takes us on a lyrical and sometimes narrative journey from Panamá to the U.S. and beyond. The driving force behind Holnes’s work is a pursuit for a new home, and as he searches, he takes the reader on a wild ride through the most pressing political issues of our time and the most intimate and transformative personal experiences of his life.
“This book is at least ten years in the making, and I’m so grateful to add to the body of wonderful creative work by faculty across the City University of New York. Now more than ever our community needs a way to process the rapidly changing world around us, and creative writing is one way to figure it all out. It has certainly helped me throughout the years, and I’m excited to bring more opportunities for creative writing to our students through innovative courses, exciting institutional partnerships, and new writing projects to demonstrate the power of this art form to change the world,” said Holnes.
As an Afro-Panamanian American writer, he is also the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing, Poetry. His poems have previously appeared in the American Poetry Review, Poetry, Callaloo, Best American Experimental Writing, and elsewhere.
Holnes has scheduled a national in-person and virtual book tour to promote Stepmotherland:
- Virtual Event with Hafizah Geter, The Writers’ Center, January 25, 2022, 8:00 pm EST
- Virtual Event at Writers and Books, New York, NY, February 3, 2022, 7:30 pm EST
- Virtual Event at White Wale Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA, February 10, 2022, 7:00 pm EST
- Event with Donna Hill and Women Writers in Bloom, Weeksville Heritage Center, Brooklyn, NY, February 16, 2022, 6:00 pm EST
- Virtual Open Mic, Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA, February 17, 2022, 9:00 pm PST
- Live Keynote Address for Black History Month Celebration, SUNY, Morrisville, NY, February 17, 2022, 5:00 pm EST
- Live with Poetry, Cabaret at Green Room 42, New York, NY, February 25, 2022, 9:30 pm EST
- Live with NYC Voices/Mike Geffner, New York, NY, March 4, 2022, 7:00 pm EST
- Virtual Book Event with Laurie Ann Guerrero at BookWoman, Austin, TX, March 8, 2022, 7:00 pm CST
Excerpt from press release published by Kathryn Pitts at undpressnews.nd.edu on December 17, 2021.