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Rosa Alcalá was born and raised in Paterson, New Jersey. She received an MFA from Brown University and a PhD from SUNY Buffalo.
Alcalá is the author of the poetry collections MyOTHER TONGUE (Futurepoem, 2017); The Lust of Unsentimental Waters (Shearsman Books, 2012); and Undocumentaries (Shearsman Books, 2010). Of her work, Carmen Giménez Smith writes,
Rosa Alcalá’s poems dwell in the liminal space between the personal and the political—poems built on the idea that ‘the world exists,’ and that work to define the metaphysical and ephemeral architectures of origin, migration, nationalism, and loss.
The recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship and a runner-up for a PEN Translation Award, Alcalá is the editor and co-translator of New & Selected Poems of Cecilia Vicuña (Kelsey Street Press, 2018). Her poems have been translated into Spanish and Portuguese, with Montenegrin translations forthcoming. She is a professor of creative writing at the University of Texas at El Paso, where she teaches in its Bilingual MFA Program. Alcalá was the Guest Editor for Poem-a-Day in September 2021.