Montoya, who died of leukemia in 1999, is the author of two books of poetry: a jury of trees, published posthumously in 2017 by Bilingual Press, in conjunction with Letras Latinas; and the ice worker sings and other poems, published in 1999 by Bilingual Press and winner of an American Book Award in 2000. Montoya’s writing is published widely in anthologies and journals.
More than 30 published authors from all over the country, including U.S. Poet Laureate Emeritus Juan Felipe Herrera, will gather in Fresno on April 13 and 14 for a national poetry symposium, “Together We’ll Be a Song: A Celebration of Andrés Montoya.”
The symposium — co-hosted by the Fresno State Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, in collaboration with Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies — will honor the life and work of Montoya, the late poet, educator and Fresno State alumnus.
Day 2 of the symposium will include four panel discussions. Topics include the poetics of Montoya’s work, the teaching of his poetry, personal testimonials and the ongoing influence of his poetry and writings.
The closing celebration will feature remarks from the Montoya family and readings of select poems by community members. The closing will also include readings from the winners of a student poetry contest, featuring the poems of three Central Valley high school and college students who have been inspired by Montoya’s works.
The full symposium schedule is available online. The opening night celebration is free. Registration for the symposium costs $20 general admission and is free for students.
The event co-sponsors include the College of Arts and Humanities and the Henry Madden Library at Fresno State, Arte Américas and the Poetry Foundation, which contributed to help fund the symposium attendance of up to 50 local educators.