Youth High School Poetry Slam Workshop

Sep 14, 2022, 4:00 pm

Join the Utah High School Poetry Slam Initiative for a youth poetry workshop with Cynthia Guardado.


Cenizas offers an arresting portrait of a Salvadoran family whose lives have been shaped by the upheavals of global politics. The speaker of these poems—the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants—questions the meaning of homeland as she navigates life in the United States while remaining tethered to El Salvador by the long shadows cast by personal and public history. Cynthia Guardado’s poems give voice to the grief of family trauma, while capturing moments of beauty and tenderness. Maternal figures preside over the verses, guiding the speaker as she searches the ashes of history to tell her family’s story. The spare, narrative style of the poems are filled with depth as the family’s layers come to light.

Guardado crafted the poems in Cenizas over a ten-year period, often traveling to El Salvador for research and to conduct interviews. The Salvadoran Civil War haunts the pages of this collection as it unflinchingly explores war, its aftermath, and the bittersweet legacies that are passed down from one generation to the next. The poems mourn those who were lost and honor the strength of the speaker’s ancestors. “All my people have been born from the ashes of volcanoes,” she writes, invoking a family lineage that has endured the atrocities committed against them. Even so, El Salvador keeps pulling the speaker back—and despite warnings of danger, she still manages to find beauty among the ruins.

- ASL interpretation provided if requested.
- Livestream on @utahbookfest Instagram
- Parking: Disabled parking available in each of the parking lots.
- Seating: Standard classroom chairs provided. Space for people with wheelchairs is available.
- Bathrooms with accessible stalls available throughout school. SIngle-stall available upon request.
- On-site sensory kit available. Ask Willy Palomo for one if needed.
- Masks recommended
- Request any additional questions or accommodations here:

This event is possible with support from Utah Humanities, Kearns High School, and the Utah High School Poetry Slam Initiative.

Kearns High School

5525 S Cougar Ln
Kearns , UT 84118-5517
Map [+]

Event Contact:

Willy Palomo