Poet Javier Zamora Wants Readers to Know What It’s Like to Be Undocumented

“The personal goal is just to be seen.”


Episode Notes

This week host Rumaan Alam talks to Javier Zamora about the truth-telling power of poetry. When Javier was 9 years old, he traveled to the U.S. from El Salvador without his parents. In his book of poems, Unaccompanied, Javier tries to make sense of his own experience and the experiences of his parents, who left El Salvador before him. In the interview, Javier describes the personal and political goals of his poetry and explains what it took for him to turn poetry into a career.

After the interview, Rumaan and co-host Isaac Butler discuss whether they think all art is political.

In the exclusive Slate Plus segment, Javier recommends some poets to check out and explains why he thinks so many people are intimidated by poetry.

Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to or give us a call at (304) 933-WORK. That’s (304) 933-9675.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.


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