Li Yun Alvarado
Poet, Parent, Puerto Rican ¡Wepa!
I'm a poet, writer, creativity coach, recovering academic, and among the <1% of Latinas with a PhD.
I’m the daughter of Puerto Rican migrants (a postal worker and an elevator mechanic) and big sister to a red-headed Christmas baby.
I grew up in the Boogie Down Bronx, spent summers in Salinas, Puerto Rico, studied at Yale and Fordham, and now live in the LBC.
My husband—a Chicano Family Physician from East LA—and I are proud parents to two rambunctious MexiRicans.
A Boricua writer Mami, I’m fiercely dedicated to mi familia, my craft, & mis diversas comunidades.
HOW I DO WHAT I DO
I’ll never stop writing and publishing Books, Poems, Essays, and Picture Books prominently featuring Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans, and especially Puerto Rican women and young people.
I support aspiring and fellow emerging authors by sharing their works with others. I also offer trainings, workshops, and courses related to the more practical aspects of building a writing life you love.
- Read my Writing Life blog posts.
I regularly share picture book recommendations that feature characters from diverse communities and life experiences. I also talk about my Mamihood in relation to my writing life, sharing parenting and writer resources.
I’ve developed materials to help others teach Puerto Rico. I also share bold works by writers from underrepresented communities — especially those writers I am proud to call my friends.
- Read Li Yun’s Library for my book recommendations for adults.
Through her writing, advocacy, and teaching, she strives to amplify Puerto Rican and other underrepresented voices while supporting aspiring and emerging writers -- especially women writers of color.
Li Yun is a native New Yorker living in California who takes frequent trips to Salinas, Puerto Rico to visit la familia.
Li Yun Alvarado is a Puerto Rican poet, scholar, teacher, and parent.
Through her writing, teaching, and advocacy, she strives to amplify Puerto Rican and other underrepresented voices and to support aspiring and emerging writers from underrepresented communities—especially women of color writers.
She is the author of the poetry chapbooks Words or Water and Nuyorico, CA. Her work has been published in several journals and anthologies including: Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education; VIDA Review; Aster(ix); CURA: A Literary Magazine of Art and Action; The Acentos Review; PALABRA, A Magazine of Chicano and Latino Literary Art; and Modern Haiku, among others.
Li Yun was selected as the Honor winner for the 2015 Lee & Low Books' New Voices Award for her picture book manuscript "A Star Named Rosita: The Rita Moreno Story."
In 2012, Francisco X. Alarcón selected her poetry manuscript as an honorable mention for The Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize.
She is an Acentos Fellow and was selected to participate in VONA Writers Workshop in San Francisco (2006), Astra Writing in Greece (2010), and AROHO in Abiquiu, NM (2015). She served as the Senior Poetry Editor for Kweli Journal from 2015-2016.
Li Yun holds a PhD in English from Fordham University, where she helped coordinate Fordham's Poets Out Loud reading series and book prize as a graduate student. In 2013, she was awarded an AAUW American Fellowship to support research for her dissertation, "Latina New York: Feminist Poetics and the Empire City."
She also holds an MA in English with Creative Writing from Fordham University, a graduate certificate from Fordham University's Latin American and Latino Studies Institute, and a BA from Yale University, where she double majored in Spanish and sociology. She is also an a alumna of The Dalton School and Prep for Prep in New York City.
Li Yun has had the pleasure of teaching literature, composition, and creative writing--in English and in Spanish--to middle school, high school, and college students throughout the country and in the Caribbean.
She is a native New Yorker living in California, who takes frequent trips to Salinas, Puerto Rico to visit la familia.
WRITING AWARDS & HONORS
Lee & Low Books' New Voices Award. Honor Winner. 2015.
Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. Honorable Mention. Spring 2012.
ONSQU Blogtest. Finalist. December 2011.
Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. Finalist. Spring 2009.
Academy of American Poets University Prize. Recipient. Spring 2009.
SELECTIVE WRITING RETREATS
Selected as a program contributor for a week-long women writer's retreat.
Participated in workshop facilitated by Bhanu Kapil.
Astra Writing in Greece, May 2010.
Selected for two-week women writer's retreat in Greece, facilitated by Meredith Hall.
Acentos Advanced Writing Workshop, Spring 2010.
Selected for ten-week workshop, facilitated by Rich Villar.
VONA Writing Workshops, July 2006.
Selected for one-week poetry workshop for writers of color, facilitated by Suheir Hammad.
Praise for Words or Water:
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Words or Water
Li Yun Alvarado's Words or Water is an affective map of the Nuyorican archipelago, as oceanic as it is embodied.
-- Urayoán Noel author of Buzzing Hemisphere/Rumor Hemisférico and In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam
Li Yun Alvarado's poems carve a double-tongued space of longing and resistance, where we can pause to breathe. Read release and renewal in the soft, clear light of her words.
-- Evie Shockley, author of a half-red sea and the new black
In Words or Water, Li Yun Alvarado chooses both. This book is simultaneously a meditation and a riptide. External violences from bullets to cancer disrupt our inner worlds. Unconditional love brings us back to center where life regenerates into its full prowess in the nuances of a first and final breath. We are reminded that life is good even when it isn’t.
-- Magdalena Gómez, poet, playwright, educator; author of Shameless Woman