Yosimar Reyes

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Yosimar Reyes
Yosimar Reyes.jpg
Reyes in 2015
Born (1988-09-22) September 22, 1988 (age 29)
Guerrero, Mexico
Occupation Poet, Performer, Public Intellectual
Language English, Spanish
Alma mater San Francisco State University
Notable works For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly, Prieto
Years active 2004 - present

Yosimar Reyes (born September 22, 1988) is an undocumented immigrant poet and activist, who was born in Guerrero, Mexico and raised in East San Jose, California. He has been described as "a voice that shines light on the issues affecting queer immigrants in the U.S. and throughout the world."[1]

Reyes uses spoken word poetry to empower queer, working class, and immigrant people to tell their stories. He has been a guest speaker at universities, community organizations, and cultural institutions across the United States including Stanford University, UCLA,[2] Princeton University,[3] the San Francisco Public Library,[4] the Park Avenue Armory,[5] and the Aspen Institute.[6]

As of 2016, Reyes serves as Arts Fellow at Define American,[7] a media and culture organization founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas which "uses the power of stories to [...] shift the conversation around immigrants, identity and citizenship in a changing America." He previously served as Public Programs Coordinator at La Galería de la Raza[8] in San Francisco.

Early life and education[edit]

Reyes was born on September 22, 1988 in Atoyac de Álvarez, Guerrero, Mexico.[9] At age 3, he migrated to the United States with his family.[10] Raised in East San Jose,[11] he “came out” to his family and community at the age of 16,[12] the same year he began to share his poetry publicly.

Reyes attended Latino College Preparatory Academy, where he was awarded his high school diploma in 2006. After briefly attending Evergreen Valley College, he received a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University in 2015.


Reyes performing in San Francisco, June 2016

Reyes began writing poetry in middle school, upon realizing the power of language after first being called “joto,” a derogatory Spanish term used to refer to gay men.[13]

Reyes' first publication was the result of his winning first place in a writing competition in San Jose.[12] At age 17, he won the title for the 2005 South Bay Teen Grand SLAM Champion, repeating his win in 2006.[12] In 2007, he was featured in a Youth Speaks documentary titled 2nd Verse: the Rebirth of Poetry.[14]

In 2009, he self-published his first chapbook, For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly, which garnered national and international acclaim.[1] Musician Carlos Santana provided support for Reyes' first volume.

His work has been anthologized in the collections Mariposas: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry (Floricanto Press); Queer in Aztlán: Chicano Male Recollections of Consciousness and Coming Out[15] (Cognella Press); and Joto: An Anthology of Queer Xicano & Chicano Poetry (Kórima Press).[16] He and his work have also been featured in The Atlantic,[17] the Huffington Post,[18] Medium,[19] Remezcla,[20] and Teen Vogue.[21][22]

In June 2016, Reyes premiered a staged reading of Prieto, his first autobiographical solo show, in collaboration with Guerrilla Rep Theater, Galería de la Raza, and Define American.[23]

In addition to his literary practice, Reyes has curated multidisciplinary art exhibitions, including Homegirrlz: Demos and Remixes, Migrating Sexualities: Unspoken Stories of Land, Body and Sex,[24] We Never Needed Papers to Thrive[25] and #UndocuJoy.[26]

He is the co-founder of La Maricolectiva,[27] a community-based performance group of queer undocumented poets. He is also associated with Dreamers Adrift.[28]

Reyes has been recognized as one of "13 LGBT Latinos Changing the World" by The Advocate[29] and a member of the OUT100[30] by Out Magazine.


  • [Anthologized in] Xavier, Emanuel. MARIPOSAS: A Modern Anthology of Queer Latino Poetry. Floricanto Press. 2008. Print.[31]
  • Reyes, Yosimar. For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly, Self-Published, 2009. Print.[32]
  • [Anthologized in] Pinate, Marc David. La Lunada: An Anthology. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. 2010. Print.[33]
  • [Anthologized in] Del Castillo, Adelaida R, and Guido Gibran. Queer In Aztlan: Male Recollections of Consciousness and Coming Out, Cognella Academic Publishing, 2013. Print.[34]
  • [Anthologized in] King, Nia. Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives. CreateSpace Independent Publishing. 2014. Print.[35]
  • [Anthologized in] HerrerayLozano, Lorenzo. Joto: An Anthology of Queer Xicano & Chicano Poetry. Korima Press. Forthcoming. Print.[36]
  • Prieto. By Yosimar Reyes. Dirs. Kat Evasco, Sarita Ocón. Galería de la Raza, San Francisco. 16–18 June 2016.[37]


  1. ^ a b For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly Archived September 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine. by Yosimar Reyes (Evolutionary Productions, August 13, 2011)
  2. ^ Yessica Frias [1] “Guelaguetza” ‘’Student Event Finder’ June 2, 2013
  3. ^ "Documenting Joy: Shifting Narratives in Undocumented Storytelling with Yosimar Reyes". LGBT Center — Princeton University. Retrieved 2017-09-13. 
  4. ^ San Francisco Public Library (2016-06-13), Yosimar Reyes at Radar Reading Series, retrieved 2017-12-07 
  5. ^ "2017 Conversation Series : Program & Events : Park Avenue Armory". Park Avenue Armory. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  6. ^ "Yosimar Reyes | Aspen Ideas Festival". Aspen Ideas Festival. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  7. ^ "Our Team". www.defineamerican.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  8. ^ "Galería de la Raza: Rentals". galeriadelaraza.org. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  9. ^ Webostvalire (2011-05-17), Yosimar Reyes en entrevista para Rutas Creativas, retrieved 2016-04-01 
  10. ^ "The Immigration Ruling Is Another Hit Against Queer Latinos". 2016-06-27. Retrieved 2016-06-27. 
  11. ^ "A Barrio dreamer's poetry: S.J. man's verse has caught attention, but can it pay bills?". San Jose Mercury News. April 21, 2009. Retrieved 10 June 2013. 
  12. ^ a b c Yosimar Reyes entrevista para Rutas Creativas (YouTube, May 17, 2011)
  13. ^ http://www.siliconvalleydebug.org/articles/2011/11/09/proud-be-joto “ Proud To Be A Joto” Yosimar Reyes, November 9, 2011
  14. ^ "2nd Verse, the rebirth of poetry". 2ndversefilm.com. Retrieved 2018-03-15. 
  15. ^ Del Castillo, Adelaida R; Güido, Gibrán (2014-01-01). Queer in Aztlán: Chicano male recollections of consciousness and coming out. [San Diego, CA]: Cognella Academic. ISBN 9781621318057. 
  16. ^ "Yosimar Reyes Bio". Things I'll Never Say. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  17. ^ O'Donnell, B.R.J. "What Mentorship Can Mean to Undocumented Immigrants". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  18. ^ Herreria, Carla (2017-09-03). "This Spoken Word Poem Is A Beautiful Love Letter To 'Undocumented People'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  19. ^ Reyes, Yosimar (2016-09-02). "Goodwill Trucks". Yosimar Reyes. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  20. ^ "10 Up and Coming Latinx Poets You Need to Know". Remezcla. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  21. ^ Reyes, Yosimar. "Undocumented People Are MUCH More Than the Stories You're Told About Them". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  22. ^ Reyes, Yosimar. "In a "Nation of Immigrants," Who Chooses Who Belongs?". Teen Vogue. Retrieved 2018-03-15. 
  23. ^ "Galería de la Raza | globalgalleryguide.saatchigallery.com". www.saatchigallery.com. 2016-06-15. Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  24. ^ "Galería de la Raza: Exhibition: Studio 24 - Migrating Sexuality: Unspoken Stories of Land, Body and Sex". www.galeriadelaraza.org. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  25. ^ Saldivar, Steve (2017-03-05). "At Boyle Heights arts show 'We Never Needed Papers to Thrive,' immigrants are the focus — and the stars". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  26. ^ "Flipping the Narrative of the Undocumented from Pain to Joy". KQED Arts. Retrieved 2018-02-16. 
  27. ^ "La Maricolectiva | Student Of Color Conference 2010". Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  28. ^ ""The Ashes" by Yosimar Reyes | DreamersAdrift". dreamersadrift.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  29. ^ "13 LGBT Latinos Changing the World | Advocate.com". www.advocate.com. 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  30. ^ "OUT100 2017". 2017-11-08. Retrieved 2017-12-07. 
  31. ^ "Mariposas". www.floricantopress.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  32. ^ "For Colored Boys Who Speak Softly". Goodreads. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  33. ^ Depository, Book. "La Lunada : Marc David Pinate : 9781451577310". www.bookdepository.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  34. ^ "Queer in Aztlán". Cognella. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  35. ^ King, Nia (2014-06-05). Mikalson, Terra; Glennon-Zukoff, Jessica, eds. Queer and Trans Artists of Color: Stories of Some of Our Lives. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN 9781492215646. 
  36. ^ "Amorcito Maricon Author - Kórima Press". korimapress.com. Retrieved 2016-03-31. 
  37. ^ ""Prieto", Autobiographical Solo Show by Yosimar Reyes". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2016-06-20.