Spotlight​: Yesenia Montilla

Hobart Festival of Women Writers welcomes back Yesenia Montilla as a Participating Writer for Festival 2018.


Yesenia Montilla is a New York City Afro-Latina poet, translator, and educator. She is a 2014 Canto Mundo Fellow and a founding member of Poets for Ayiti (Haiti) a collective of poets from diverse backgrounds committed to the power of poetry to transform and educate. Her poetry has appeared in the chapbook For The Crowns Of Your Head, as well as the literary journals: 5 AM, Adanna, Wideshore and others. She received her MFA from Drew University in Poetry and Poetry in Translation. Her first collection of poetry The Pink Box was published by Willow Books in Fall 2015.


Yesenia Montilla’s work is characterized by a gentle, sensitive forthright voice that speaks to the pain and triumphs of her experiences as an Afro-Latina. Her poems The Day I Realized We Were Black and Ode To A Dominican Breakfast are published in the inaugural issue of The Wide Shore, a journal committed to publishing poetry that reveals and unearths that which has been hidden, masked, buried, or unexpressed. Read Yesenia Montilla’s poetry there, as well as, Hobart Festival of Women Writers Poets, Cheryl Clarke, JP Howard, Elana Bell, E.J. Antonio, Kamilah Aisha Moon, and Bertha Rogers.


Listen here Four O’Clock Flowers to an interview with Yesenia Montilla discussing her poetry with Festival co-organizer, Breena Clarke conducted in 2016.

Hobart Flower Breena




For Marcelo

Some maps have blue borders
like the blue of your name
or the tributary lacing of
veins running through your
father’s hands. & how the last
time I saw you, you held
me for so long I saw whole
lifetimes flooding by me
small tentacles reaching
for both our faces. I wish
maps would be without
borders & that we belonged
to no one & to everyone
at once, what a world that
would be. Or not a world
maybe we would call it
something more intrinsic
like forgiving or something
simplistic like river or dirt.
& if I were to see you
tomorrow & everyone you
came from had disappeared
I would weep with you & drown
out any black lines that this
earth allowed us to give it—
because what is a map but
a useless prison? We are all
so lost & no naming of blank
spaces can save us. & what
is a map but the delusion of
safety? The line drawn is always
in the sand & folds on itself
before we’re done making it.
& that line, there, south of
el rio, how it dares to cover
up the bodies, as though we
would forget who died there
& for what? As if we could
forget that if you spin a globe
& stop it with your finger
you’ll land it on top of someone
living, someone who was not
expecting to be crushed by thirst—

Copyright © 2017 by Yesenia Montilla. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 28, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.maxresdefault

For Hobart Festival of Women Writers 2018, Yesenia Montilla will present the exciting  workshop, Creating Worlds: Using the Poet’s Eye and Sci-Fi to Re-Invent the Future We Deserve

What do we experience on the page when a poet takes their eye and combines it with Sci-Fi theory to re-create a new world? To re-imagine the world we live in now? Through close reading of poets Tracy K. Smith, Safiya Sinclair, Aracelis Girmay and others; participants will attempt to create their own world on the page. Re-imagining a place that feels safe, beautiful and whole. – Yesenia Montilla

For a complete description of this workshop and all of the scheduled workshops, go to

Festival 2018 Workshops

For more information about Yesenia Montilla and her work

REGISTRATION for Hobart Festival of Women Writers 2018 is NOW OPEN!!!

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