Bienvenido a Camilo Garzón

Not even a week after the unjust murder of George Floyd last year, a 22-year-old Latino man was killed by a police officer in nearby Vallejo, Calif. His name was Sean Monterrosa.

Colombian American writer Camilo Garzón wrote a beautiful poem in his memory, A Carpenter with a Hammer, that we are delighted to perform as part of our virtual show, Our Stories, Ourselves, June 17 with the San Jose Museum of Art.

Camilo (b. 1993, Bogotá, Colombia) is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, and poet based in the San Francisco Bay Area. He graduated from Rollins College with Bachelor of Arts degrees in Philosophy and Religious Studies. He is currently a managing editor for Poets Reading the News. His poetry, prose, crónicas, and essays have been featured – or are forthcoming – in on-off.site, Nomadic Press, Rollins College’s Brushing Art and Literary Journal, Rollins College’s The Independent, Revista Cultural Días Temáticos, among others. His work has been read to an audience at LITEROCALYPSE and The Emperor’s New Prose. And his proetry has also been published in two self-published works, Entombed: A proem in five stages and Ontologies: Ten Proems. He recently won one of the inaugural San Francisco Foundation/Nomadic Press Literary Awards for poetry.

In June, Camilo will become an artist-in-residence for Bay Area digital collective, on-off.site. His work will heavily feature interactive elements and openings for the public to participate in the co-creation of a communal poem.

Camilo Garzon. Photo by Claire Breen.

How did you hear about Play On Words? 

By scouting for Bay Area and California literary series and community events.

How has your creative practice changed during the pandemic? 

Fully. My creative practice was something that I was coming back to, but not something where I was coming from. Now it’s part of most projects I am a part of or want to become involved with. I am connecting more fully with myself, others, and where I am and the timeframe I live in. 

What does “immigrant heritage” mean to you? 

It means understanding accidents and happenings as something that I can subvert on a daily basis. I am a first generation immigrant to the United States from Colombia. My heritage is not only from the geographic and historical accidents that I happen to have associated with my name, this heritage is also within what I do, what I keep discovering, and how I enact selfhood in all its multiple and hybrid presentations. 

What else should we know about you? 

I am working at the moment as a managing editor for Poets Reading the News, as a contributing arts and science writer with publications like the American Geophysical Union’s Eos and The Creative Independent, as a freelance Spanish teacher and tutor, as a bilingual translator and interpreter, and as the lead audio producer and oral historian for the SFMOMA IMLS-funded arts and community-based initiative “Mission Murals Project.” In the past, I worked as a digital content editor, multimedia producer, and contributing writer with the National Geographic Society, as an audio producer and arts contributor with NPR, have led a conference at the United Nations Headquarters, and have given a TEDx Talk on narratives and the self, among others.

join us june 17 to hear camilo’s work performed.

Intrigued? So are we! Join us at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, to hear one of our actors perform Camilo’s poem.

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