Hispanic Heritage month guest speaker Gabriel Ramirez discusses his writing process on Sept. 28


Poet and activist Gabriel Ramirez speaks at Park Library on Sept. 28. 

On Sept 28. the Sarah R. Opperman Auditorium in the Park Library was a full house to hear poet and activist Gabriel Ramirez speak for Hispanic Heritage month. 

Ramirez has performed in several venues and universities around the nation including the New Amsterdam Theater when he was on Broadway, the United Nations, and the Lincoln Center. 

During his speech, Ramirez recited a series of poems he wrote that deals with family relations, overcoming challenges and grief. Ramirez has been writing poetry since he was in second grade when he was inspired by his teacher who also provided him mentorship. 

A student in the audience asked Ramirez if it is a challenge to share personal poems with a group of strangers. 

“No it's actually very easy, it’s only difficult when I’m not ready to share them,” Ramirez said. 

Whether it’s five people or 5,000 people I want everyone who is listening to take away whatever it is that they need to hear from my poems."

Ramirez said this was the first time reading his poems in front of a live audience due to COVID-19.

He had the audience engaged throughout his presentation, by snapping and reciting parts of his poem with him. 

“My poetry readings are alive… you’re alive, I’m alive, we’re alive here together,” Ramirez said. 

Another student in the audience asked Ramirez what his writing process was like. 

“I don’t really have a set writing process, I just write when I find the motivation,” he said.

When writing about something difficult I don’t write very long, [about] 20-30 [minutes] then [I] do something after.” 

When asked by a student what his editing process is like, Ramirez said it varies between each poem he is writing.

“I could just draft a poem and not edit it for a month, or edit it while I go,” he said.

A poem is never really finished so it is always in the editing stage.”

Senior Krystal Gates who is a Spanish major heard about this event through one of her classes. 

“This was one of the first in-person events I have been able to attend due to COVID-19 and I really enjoyed being able to connect better with the audience and speaker,” Gates said.

When asked what her biggest takeaway from Ramirez's speech was, Gates said it was working on letting things go. 

“Today you deserve joy, and again tomorrow,” Ramirez said during one of his poems. 

Ramirez had announced that he is to publish a book titled, "Herringbone," by 2024.

For more information on Ramirez's work visit his website