Andrea Beltran.jpg

El Paso poet Andrea Blancas Beltran’s work is often inspired by her soul mate – her grandmother.

While studying at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, Beltran often thought of her grandmother, composing poems in her mind before putting them down on paper. Eventually she compiled them into her 2018 chap-book, “Re–.”

“I try to negotiate with the ineffable on the page,” Beltran said.

Recalling the words of poet Ralph Angel, “poetry is the language for which we have no language,” Beltran said she tries to pay attention to what is happening with language “and then attend to it all with the utmost care.”

A sales manager by day, Beltran also teaches a poetics class at the University of Texas at El Paso and gives writing workshops at El Paso Community College.

Her work was recently selected for publication in “Scalawag,” “About Place Journal,” “111O,” “A Dozen Nothing,” “Glass: A Journal of Poetry,” “Fog Machine,” “Gramma,” “Pilgrimage” and others.

'LEAVING AS A SECOND LANGUAGE'

the wisteria washed out weeks

ago, but I still want to talk 

about it, and oh what a privilege this is

 

in this landscape, these points

on the map, people cross

deserts cities-wide to feed

the lives they’ve created these

 

should be the acts of creation

I praise my grandfather rode a bus

every morning to pave a road the white

men in this city didn’t want

him to drive on years later

 

in the black 1930 Model A Ford truck

he converted from a chicken coop

in his neighbor’s backyard the only man

who’d rent to him for miles, called him

by his real name

 

now, in my backyard,

the paper wasps, too,

have abandoned their nests

 

'GEOGRAPHY'

On this wall, a map of various shades

of blue & a continent

 

named NostalgiaGrandma

always told me Nostalgia was

 

a phantom that found

you, so what is this

 

cart I’ve been wheeling 

aroundI never made

 

a down payment & if

Nostalgia is all grit

 

& kindled earth cradled by bodies

of deepening blue, why 

 

must it be so far 

from hereeven then, what

 

privilege to touch it

                            now, to feel

 

its raised letters under my

fingertips Nostalgia is

 

a placein this frame     I’m closer to the land

than I think       I’m a body

 

of water    everywhere I go    I hope to soon be

 

close enough 

 

to smell the fire, hear    the singe n

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