Poetry Speaks: Poets / Poetas Bios

Marty Lopez

Marty holds an MFA from American University, where he studied with Edward P. Jones and Alice McDermott. He has also studied as a doctoral student in the University of Houston Graduate Creative Writing Program, where he won the Donald Barthelme Memorial Fellowship. He has published fiction and nonfiction in Writers’ Forum, The Red Hen Press essay anthology Fake-City Syndrome, and beer essays on the beer blog, Moblog. Marty lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin.

Poem: American Dreams

Artwork: J. Leigh Garcia. El Sueño Americano, 2016.

Dana Maya

Poet/poeta, public writer, educator, and editor Dana Maya comes from a matriarchy of single Mexican mothers. Her homeland is the Mexican diaspora, which includes Colorado, Veracruz, Texas, California, and Wisconsin. She has taught literature and writing at Madison College, the University of Texas-Austin, and the Grassroots Leadership College. She has a research background in Chicanx Literature and Culture and race, gender, and sexuality studies. She has collaborated with artists and activists transnationally on projects for social change for almost three decades & written with the Spontaneous Writing Booth Collective for over 15 years. Her work has appeared in numerous journals & anthologies, & on buses, memorial sites, stages, museums, the sides of buildings, & other public spaces.

Poem: For the Mexican Printmakers


  • Manuel Alvarez Bravo, 1928
  • Leopoldo Mendez, 1948
  • Roberto Torres Mata, 2020
  • Abelardo Avila, 1940
  • J. Leigh Garcia, 2018

Oscar Mireles

Oscar Mireles is the Executive Director of Omega School, where he has been employed for the past 25 years. Omega School provides GED preparation and adult basic education services to Dane County young adults, who do not possess a high school diploma. During his tenure he has personally assisted thousands of students with earning a GED/HSED credential.

Oscar Mireles is a published poet and he is also the Editor of three anthologies titled I Didn’t Know There Were Latinos In Wisconsin. He has also published a children’s book titled Why did you name me Javier Dad, and a chapbook of poetry titled Second Generation. Mr. Mireles was recently reappointed the Poet Laureate of the City of Madison for 2018-2020 after serving his first term in 2016-2018. He is one of the co-founders of Art Party, an arts networking monthly gathering.

Mr. Mireles has served on the Board of Directors of the regional arts organization Arts Midwest (1988 to 1994). He served on the Board of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater (1988-1994). He was a founding member of the City of Milwaukee Arts Board (1988-1992). Mr. Mireles has served on the City of Madison Cultural Planning Committee from 2011-2013. He has served on grants panel for Madison Arts Commission, Dane Arts, Wisconsin Arts Board, Arts Midwest and Intermedia Arts.

Oscar Mireles currently serves on the board of directors for the following organizations:

  • Boys and Girls Club of Dane County
  • Latino Consortium for Action
  • Chair Families and Schools Together (FAST)
  • Madison Museum of Contemporary Arts (MMOCA), Vice President
  • Grants Committee for the Madison Public Library Foundation
  • Isthmus Montessori Academy, President
  • Madison Symphony Orchesta

Mr. Mireles’s term on the following boards ended in December 2019:

  • Historic Preservation Planning Committee for the City of Madison
  • Madison Network of Black Professionals, Treasurer

He recently left the Boards of Directors of the following organizations:

  • One City Learning Centers (2014-2017)
  • Rotary Club of Downtown Madison (2016-2018)

Mr. Mireles has received numerous awards and recognition for his service to the greater community. These acknowledgements include:

  • “Man of the Year” League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) (1979)
  • “Man of the Year”, United Migrant Opportunity Services (UMOS) (1986)
  • Alumni of the Year, Future Milwaukee Leadership Program (1989)
  • “Dane County Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award”(2009)
  • Service Award, State of Wisconsin Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration (2010)
  • Literacy Advocate of the Year from Wisconsin Literacy (2011)
  • Friend of Education Award from State Superintendent Tony Evers (2012)
  • Roberto Sanchez Education Award from Centro Hispano of Dane County (2012)
  • Leadership Award from the Young Professional Group of the Urban League of Greater Madison (2013)
  • “Believe and Succeed Award” from the Hispanic Leadership Luncheon (2015)
  • “Outstanding Educator Award” from the 100 Black Men of Madison (2016)
  • The “M” List for Mentors and Teachers, Madison Magazine (2016)
  • Distinguished Community Service Award from the Madison Chapter of The Links (2017)
  • Madison Magazine for its Arts Legacy Award (2018)
  • Leadership Greater Madison Legacy Award (2018)

Poem: Crossing the border

Artwork: Poems respond to the entire exhibition. For chapbook, picture the artwork of Diego Rivera

Dominique Salas

Dominique Salas is a poet born and raised in El Paso, Texas. As a PhD candidate in rhetoric, politics, and culture in UW-Madison’s Communication Art department, her work focuses race, settler colonialism, and on Chicanx claims to Indigeneity. Her first collection, Unoriginal Danger, was published by Trembling Pillow Press in 2019.

Poem: The Mexican Comic

Artwork: Jesus Escobedo. La Sombra (The Shadows), 1939.

Angie Trudell Vasquez, Madison Poet Laureate

Angie Trudell Vasquez is a Mexican-American writer, editor, teacher, and the current poet laureate of Madison. She holds an MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. Finishing Line Press published her third collection of poetry, In Light, Always Light, in 2019, and recently accepted her fourth collection, My People Redux, for publication in 2022. Her poems have appeared in the Yellow Medicine Review, The Slow Down, the Raven Chronicles, The Rumpus, on the Poetry Foundation’s website, and elsewhere. Her website is angietrudellvasquez.com and her small press is artnightbooks.com which has a social justice focus.

Angie wrote a new ekphrastic poem, “The Darker Sister Speaks,” based on a piece by Pancho Vásquez (b. 1904 Ticul, Mexico) titled Autorretrato [Self-Portrait] (1947) from the Collection of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Bequest of Rudolph and Louise Langer.

Poem: The Darker Sister

Artwork: Pancho Vásquez (b. 1904 Ticul, Mexico)