Vince Gotera

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Vince Gotera
The Man with the Blue Guitar blog, June 2009.
The Man with the Blue Guitar blog, June 2009.
BornVicente Ferrer Gotera
(1952-06-20) June 20, 1952 (age 70)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
OccupationPoet, writer, critic, professor
Genrepoetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, literary criticism

Vince Gotera (/ɡˈtɛrə/; born June 20, 1952) is an American poet and writer, best known as Editor of the North American Review. In 1996, Nick Carbó called him a "leading Filipino-American poet of this generation";[1] later, in 2004, Carbó described him as "one of the leading Asian American poets ... willing to take a stance against American imperialism."[2]


Born Vicente Ferrer Gotera on June 20, 1952, to Candida Fajardo Gotera and Martin Avila Gotera, immigrants from the Philippines. He was born and raised in San Francisco, but spent some time as a child in the Philippines.[3]

In 1971, Gotera started college at Stanford University. Having a draft lottery number of 30, Gotera served in the US Army during the Vietnam War (1972–1975). After returning to college, he earned an A.A. in General Studies from City College of San Francisco (1977), a B.A. in English from Stanford (1979), and then an M.A. in English (American Literature) from San Francisco State University (1981). Gotera then moved to Indiana Universityyy, where he earned an M.F.A. in poetry (1989) and a joint (or double-major) PhD in English and in American Studies (1992).[3][4]

Since 1995, Gotera has taught at the University of Northern Iowa, where he is a professor of English specializing in creative writing (both poetry and fiction) and multicultural American literature. He also taught at Humboldt State University from 1989 to 1995.[4] Other institutions where he has taught include Indiana University, Grinnell College, and Wartburg College. He also frequently teaches creative writing at the annual Iowa Summer Writing Festival sponsored by the University of Iowa.[5]

Gotera and Nick Carbó are the co-founders of FLIPS, a listserve for writers of Filipino ancestry and anyone interested in Filipino literature and arts. FLIPS has been a thriving cyber-community since its founding in 1997.[6][7]

In 2000, Gotera was appointed Editor of the North American Review (NAR); established in 1815, the NAR is the longest-lived literary magazine in the US. Previously, he was Associate Editor of Literary Magazine Review (1995–2001) and Poetry Editor of Asian America: Journal of Culture and the Arts (1991–1993).[5]


Gotera is the author of three poetry collections, most recently Fighting Kite (Pecan Grove Press, 2007).[8] In The Best American Poetry blog, Emma Trelles includes Fighting Kite among "a list of chapbooks well worth the read."[9] Gotera's second poetry collection Ghost Wars was published by Final Thursday Press (2003);[10] this chapbook won the Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry in 2004.[11][12] About Ghost Wars critic Matthew Hundley wrote, "For those of us who have not experienced war – nor have direct contact with family members who have – these poems give us a taste of the pain and pleasure that war brings about.[13] Dragonfly (Pecan Grove Press, 1994) was Gotera's first poetry collection; critic Will Hochman called Dragonfly "a collection of poems that feels like a scalpel – in the book's cultural wingspan, Vince Gotera flies through Vietnam, rock and roll, terrorism and art with a voice that is iconoclastic, steely and real."[14]

Gotera's work has appeared in such literary magazines as Ploughshares, Caliban, Amerasia, The Kenyon Review, The Asian Pacific American Journal, Zone 3, and others, as well as in anthologies like Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America, Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Writing, and From Totems to Hip-Hop: A Multicultural Anthology of Poetry Across the Americas, 1900–2002.[6]

Gotera has also published a book of literary criticism titled Radical Visions: Poetry by Vietnam Veterans (University of Georgia Press, 1994.)[15]

In 2008, Gotera started a blog, The Man with the Blue Guitar. This blog discusses his poetry, poetics, fiction, and other literary ventures. Gotera's blog also features reprints from his 2004 book-review column in the Cedar Falls Times, titled "Of Books and Such." The title of this column is a tribute to his father Martin Gotera, who wrote a column titled "Of This and Such" in the San Francisco-based Philippine News during the '60s and '70s.[16]

Gotera is also an emerging filmmaker. His 2009 video titled "'Maybe Dats Your Pwoblem Too' by Jim Hall" is a spoken-word performance of James W. Hall's humorous poem with Spiderman as speaker. About this film Jim Hall wrote, "I'm honored he did such a great job with this poem. He actually performs it better than I do."[17] "Deconstructing Cummings" is Gotera's animation of e. e. cummings's poem "l(a" – a video aimed at helping students "decode" and understand a notoriously difficult poem.


Gotera has won international, national, and local awards for his writing and teaching. In 2004, Gotera won the Global Filipino Literary Award in Poetry, an international award sponsored by the journal Our Own Voice. His national awards include a Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts (1993), The Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry from The Madison Review (1988), the Mary Roberts Rinehart Award in poetry (1988), and an Academy of American Poets Prize (1988). He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times. At the University of Northern Iowa, Gotera won a Faculty Excellence Award from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (2006).[5]



  • Dragonfly. Pecan Grove Press. 1994. ISBN 978-1-877603-25-9. (Poetry).
  • Radical Visions: Poetry by Vietnam Veterans. University of Georgia Press. 1994. ISBN 978-0-8203-1510-2. (Literary Criticism).
  • Ghost Wars. Final Thursday Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0-9742764-0-3. (Poetry).
  • Fighting Kite. Pecan Grove Press. 2007. ISBN 978-1-931247-23-8. (Poetry).


Selected poems, online


Selected stories, in print

  • "Manny's Climb." Tilting the Continent: Southeast Asian American Literature, ed. Shirley Geok-lin Lim and Cheng-Lok Chua, New Rivers Press, 2000. Reprinted in Growing Up Filipino: Stories for Young Adults, ed. Cecilia Manguerra Brainard. PALH, 2003.
  • "Returning Fire." Into the Fire: Asian American Prose, ed. Sylvia Watanabe and Carol Bruchac, Greenfield Review Press, 1996. Reprinted in Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America, ed. Cecilia Manguerra Brainard. Anvil Publishing, 1998.

Creative Nonfiction[edit]

Selected essays, online


Selected anthologized pieces, online


Selected videos, online


Selected interviews, online


  1. ^ Nick Carbó, "Lifting the Filipino Veil: English in America and from the Homeland." Forkroads: A Journal of Ethnic-American Literature. Winter 1996, p. 83.
  2. ^ Nick Carbó, "Introduction." Pinoy Poetics: A Collection of Autobiographical and Critical Essays on Filipino and Filipino American Poetics, ed. Nick Carbó. Meritage Press, 2004, p. x.
  3. ^ a b Blog: The Man with the Blue Guitar, "Autobiography (1.0)." Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  4. ^ a b Online faculty bio, English Language and Literature, University of Northern Iowa. Retrieved 2009-09-28. Archived June 28, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c FiledBy webpage. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  6. ^ a b Facebook page (writer's business page). Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  7. ^ FLIPS listserve homepage. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  8. ^ Author page at Pecan Grove Press. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  9. ^ Post by Emma Trelles, "Big Love, Little Books," The Best American Poetry blog (2009). Retrieved 2009-10-01.
  10. ^ Author page at Final Thursday Press.[dead link] Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  11. ^ "Final Thursday Press: Gotera's Ghost Wars Wins Global Filipino Literary Award for Poetry". Archived from the original on October 21, 2009. Retrieved October 12, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link). Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  12. ^ Our Own Voice journal: 2004 Global Filipino Literary Award winners. Archived October 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  13. ^ Book review by Matthew Hundley, "Iowa Author Set’s Ghosts Free," Kinetic Eye: Online Issue (2004). Retrieved 2009-10-01.
  14. ^ Book review by Will Hochman, "Soul Surgery," Small Press Review (1995). Reprinted online by Philippine American Literary House. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  15. ^ Author page at University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 2009-09-28.[dead link]
  16. ^ Blog: The Man with the Blue Guitar. Retrieved 2009-09-28.
  17. ^ "Spiderman Speaks," James W. Hall's Blog (2009). Retrieved 2009-10-01.

External links[edit]