By Joaquín Zihuatanejo
Occupy Whiteness is a collection of hybrid erasure poems from inaugural Dallas Poet Laureate and multi-World Poetry Slam Competition winner Joaquín Zihuatanejo.
Publication Date: 02/13/2024
Starting from long-form works of literature by straight, white men, Joaquín Zihuatanejo occupies their pages, erasing words and sections, leaving only his poetry behind — the white space that remains becoming colonized Brown verse.
Occupy Whiteness is an act of rebellion that reclaims spaces and highlights a history of erasure of Brown life. An unflinching look at the present day, the collection is haunted and blessed by the image of ancestors who braved the river and desert to travel into border states for the opportunity of freedom. These are poems meant to agitate and create unease, to make the reader realize that neither their author nor the immigrant children he describes are Other. Through poems and interspersed photography from the border, Zihuatanejo poignantly depicts this equally beautiful and brutal place we call home.
Joaquin Zihuatanejo is a poet, spoken word artist, and award-winning teacher. Born and raised in the barrio of East Dallas, in his work Joaquín strives to capture the duality of the Chicano culture. He’s been called, “one of the most dynamic and passionate performance poets in the country, melding equal parts comedy, poetry, and dramatic monologue into a crowd-pleasing display of verbal fireworks… always thrilling, Joaquín’s hilariously manic presentation is full of compassion and nuance, never sacrificing substance for style.” Joaquin was a National Poetry Slam Finalist, a Grand Slam Spoken Word Champion, and HBO Def Poet, performing at universities, conferences and poetry slams all over the North America and Europe.