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Some Latino poets like Willie Perdomo dish out the grit of living on the margins with superb poetical musical cadence in his 2014 The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon: Poems. Other writers like Daniel Borzutzky—a 2016 National Book Award Winner for The Performance of Becoming Human—immortalize the monumental horror of terror and torture of being “Othered.” What makes David A. Romero’s book My Name Is Romero a good addition to the Latin@/x canon is the honesty of the subject matter. The title of the book is not simply what it implies—the centering of the “Self”—of one Latino. Instead, it’s an informed, intrepid, and at times, painful revelation of thoughts and dialogue that lie unspoken in our brains and amongst many Latin@/xs, and in Latin@/x communities.
David A. Romero presents us with a contemporary, vibrant, unafraid vision of his experience as a Mexican American living in the United States today. The opening poem ‘My Name Is Romero,’ the namesake for the entire anthology, is a poem that sets the tone and style Romero employs. The issues he talks about are personal, not that which you would regularly see on the news or in the statistics, but ones that you would only know about by experiencing them yourself. Romero isn’t spiteful, however, instead using his experiences and pouring everything about himself which is ‘different’ from what the Eurocentric norms dictate into a powerful expression of self-love and pride for his heritage.
There are many occasions that prompt us to introduce ourselves: over the phone, in an email, at a business meeting, for a friendly get-together, on our first day at a new job. The typical introduction requires that we share our names with others, and sometimes this is as far as it gets before it gets uncomfortable, whether that’s because of mispronunciation or mistaken assumption. David A. Romero uses this collection to introduce himself, and he does so with care and intentionality. He wants you to know that he is “just one of many Romeros” (read his pen name again – you’ll get it).
Sari Fordham: What are a couple of your favorite poems from your collection “My Name Is Romero?”
David A. Romero: “My Name Is Romero” pays homage to Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzalez’s seminal work, “I Am Joaquin.” “My Name Is Romero” succeeds because it’s something that people from almost every culture can relate to: responding to the ignorance of others, and having pride in one’s family and culture. My Name Is Romero discusses racism in a way that is humorous, and celebrates Mexican heritage and our accomplishments, all the while promising greater things to come.
In his new collection, David Anthony Romero, a spoken-word Mexican American artist and slam award winner, traces the journey of his search for an identity, starting with his name: Romero. He is not Romeo and is not Italian but Spanish or, more precisely, Mexican; his name is a reminder of the archbishop Oscar Romero and the artist Sonia Romero. The name identifies a person in a multiracial environment where being Mexican is considered a stigma. The author is opposed, taking pride in his Latino heritage, his ancestors’ language that he has to learn again, and his family relations. This gives him strength and motivates him to voice the discrimination and injustices that people with an ethnic minority background endure.
Gustavo Arellano calls David A. Romero “a vibrant Southern California writer,” and he’s right. For the last 15 years, Romero has pounded the pavement from San Diego to Santa Barbara, shouting poems grappling with history, identity, etymology, and politics. This new collection contains many of his best-known poems, along with stories from his grandfather. Romero presents an alternative history of the Southwest and writes raw open letters to Donald Trump, Katt Williams, and Edward James Olmos. Above all, he states: “Remember those who have come before / those we know / and those lost to history.”
While reading My Name Is Romero I found my journey through the book to be tumultuous, parts I loved and parts that didn’t necessarily sit right with me. One of the great by products to this, however, was I found myself engaging in really great conversations with those around me because of this book. It opened up a dialogue that I otherwise might not have had the opportunity to have. I then was able to ask David some questions which I feel gave me better insight into the book and some of the sections I might have originally struggled with.
In this interview we are able to discuss some intricate aspects of being Latinx and My Name Is Romero.
Today we’d like to introduce you to David A. Romero.
David, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My experience with spoken word poetry started with my college roommate Eduardo Virgen my freshman and sophomore years of college at USC.
In a world mispronouncing his name, or trying to define it for him, David A. Romero digs through his family history, his childhood memories, and stories of working people, to create his own meaning for his family's name. The result: his third full-length collection of poetry, My Name Is Romero, published by FlowerSong Press of McAllen, Texas.
The book features cover art by artist Sonia Romero, David A. Romero's cousin, known for her printmaking, mixed media linocut prints, murals, and public art based in Los Angeles.
30 states and nearly one hundred campuses many return visits. David A Romero is hands down one of the most successful traveling poets on the college circuit today. Whether its a performance, a workshop or a keynote, David A. Romero may just be your man. His accolades are numerous, his craft immense, his legend grows by the day.
We here at Tele-Jaguar had the opportunity to chop it up with the great David A. Romero and pose 5 questions. Here are his answers. Enjoy.
Jan 30, 2020, by Valerie Martinez, Lauren Creiman
Edgewood High School senior Yuriko Chavez’s poetic perspective on social justice won her the 2019-20 Romero Scholarship for Excellence in Spoken Word on Jan. 20. Chavez’s poem submission “Mission First, Mission Always” was ranked No. 1 on four out of the five judges’ score cards“The poem is about toxic partying and assault, and how women are not portrayed as victims,” Chavez said. The scholarship is funded by David A. Romero, a Mexican-American spoken word artist, and is given to one high school senior in the United States each year.
Feb 6, 2019, by Debbie Kellie
Imani Lige-Crenshaw, a senior at Sierra High School in Harrison School District 2 and co-editor of the high school newspaper, The Sentinel, has won “The Romero Scholarship for Excellence in Spoken Word.”
The is the second time David A. Romero, a spoken-word artist from Diamond Bar, Calif., has presented the $500 scholarship to a graduating senior. The prize recognizes original poetry on the topic of social justice.
September 26, 2017, Kayla Bonar
The mood was solemn as WSU students listened to David Romero perform his spoken-word poem, “Open Letter to Donald Trump.” Romero rebuffed a statement from U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement of candidacy and led a group of over 80 students in writing their own written responses in a workshop held at the Elson S. Floyd Cultural Center on Monday evening.
April 19, 2018, By Abby Wargo
On Wednesday, April 11, David Romero, a spoken word artist, poet, and activist from California, came to Washington College to host a cultural appropriation workshop. The workshop, sponsored by the Black Student Union, discussed identifying cultural appropriation, the difference between appropriation and appreciation, and how to prevent cultural appropriation.
January 25, 2018, By LatinoLA Contributor
Sonia Arreguin, graduating senior at Theodore Roosevelt High School, and resident of Central-Alameda, Los Angeles, is the winner of the inaugural "Romero Scholarship for Excellence in Spoken Word." The scholarship was created by spoken word artist and poet David A. Romero to recognize graduating seniors for their creation of poems dealing with social justice.
October 6, 2017, By Kami Gothard
“We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us,” is the slogan of the immigrant rights movement. David A. Romero, a Hispanic spoken word artist, used this quote during his poetry reading on Sept. 19 in the University of Montevallo’s own Farmer Hall to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Romero performed his work ranging from a humorous poem entitled “Cheese Enchiladas” to a political commentary piece entitled “Open Letter to Donald Trump.”
October 4, 2017, Camilla Luo
David A. Romero, a Mexican-American spoken word artist, poet, and activist came to UIS Sept. 26 to give his performance entitled “The Latinx Giant”. Romero is a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) and the second spoken word artist to be featured on All Def Digital, a YouTube channel by Russell Simmons.
March 2017, By June Martinez
Romero is a professional spoken word artist from Diamond Bar who originally became familiar with spoken word poetry via Youtube videos of various performers on HBO's Def Poetry while in college. Romero now travels around the country in hopes of bringing awareness and creating a dialogue about social and political issues that face the people of America.
March 2017, By College of Arts and Sciences
BIDDEFORD, Maine - On March 2, UNE’s English Club sponsored a workshop, titled “Self-love and Beauty,” by David Romero, a Mexican-American spoken word poet and activist. Romero performed pieces of his own poetry on the topic of self-image. He then led an exercise in which the students worked as a group to collectively create a poem that represented their concepts of self-love.
October 2016, By Jimmy Calderon
The Hispanic-Latino Alliance, in collaboration with the Office of Student Diversity & Inclusion, hosted spoken word artist David A. Romero on the evening of Sept. 27 in McDaniel Lounge. Romero brought the audience an evening full of laughter, awe, and information.
September 13, 2016, by Christi Mathis
CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month at Southern Illinois University Carbondale is a time to celebrate a diverse group of peoples and their cultures and promote inclusiveness. The theme of this year’s festival, which begins on Wednesday, Sept. 14, is “Intersecciones – Building Bridges in the Face of Intolerance” and it includes poetry, dancing, discussion panels, a potluck and much more over a four-week period. Some events are informative while others are more social in nature, but all are free and open to the public.
April 27, 2016, By Mario Granados
California Lutheran University invited David A. Romero, a Mexican-American spoken-word artist, hosted a slam poetry competition at the William Rolland Gallery of Fine Art on April 21. The event allowed students and the surrounding community to showcase their written talent, experience Romero’s own work and win gift cards based on the scores from a panel of judges.
APRIL 12, 2016, By Jakayla Phillips
Anticipation filled the quiet, dim-lit room of nearly 20 people as David Romero stood before the crowd with the mic in his hand. Romero has opened for many musical acts and performed at several locations prior to UW-Milwaukee, such as the University of Central Florida, Champlain College, University of California at San Diego and more.
February 7, 2016
Duke Energy Auditorium, Rogers Hall, Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Ave. Monday, 9 p.m.: Romero is a Mexican-American spoken word artist from Diamond Bar, Calif., and the second poet to be featured on All Def Digital, a YouTube channel from Russell Simmons. Free.
April 16, 2015, By Lee Bivens
On April 2, Washington State University Vancouver’s Salmon Creek Journal (SCJ) hosted a large party on campus in celebration of their 2015 edition. The event opened with refreshments provided by Freshi, a local Vancouver restaurant, accompanied by a photo booth for attendees to capture the moment. There was a performance by David Romero, a spoken word artist, and the event closed with the recognition of those who were published in the journal.
October 2015, By Laney_Edits
FORT KENT, Maine - As seen on Russell Simmons' All Def Digital, Latino spoken word artist David A. Romero travels from Los Angeles, California to perform poetry and share his stories about food, family, social justice issues and Latin culture at UMFK's Fox Auditorium on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7:30 p.m.
September 29th, 2015, By Kelly Shanahan
On April 16th, the Student Life Office sponsored a workshop event with spoken word artist David Romero. Romero travels around the country hosting workshops and performing his poetry, and I was able to speak with him before our workshop event to find out more about his creative process and his personal relationship to spoken word performance:
March 25, 2015, By Anthony Orona
Opening for Latin Grammy winners Ozomatli certainly makes David A. Romero, 30, more of a rock star than he likes to admit. While the stark contrast of his glaring Mohawk and fine pressed suit doesn’t help him look any less the part, the widely acclaimed Latino “lover” vehemently self-identifies as a poet.
January 30, 2015, By Marshall Terrill
Arizona State University's Project Humanities is launching “Cultural Appropriation: Exploiting or Paying Homage?”, a one-day symposium on Feb. 7. The event runs from from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Discovery Hall, room 250 on the Tempe campus. Taking into account American history, current events and the realities of the social climate at ASU and across the country, this critical dialogue will explore notions of “political correctness” versus cultural (in)sensitivity, “blackface” and school spirit, indigenous stereotypes in sports, hip-hop culture, Day of the Dead and Cinco De Mayo, and other types of cultural appropriation and stereotyping.
September 16th, 2014, By Grace Wong
DIAMOND BAR >> David Romero is engaged in cultural warfare. As a 29-year-old spoken word artist from Diamond Bar, Romero talks about issues like Latino identity, class and gender in his work. This fall, he’s embarking on his first national tour across four college campuses to challenge students to think more deeply about social issues.
October 23, 2014, By Samantha Nitz and Eddie Solis Jr.
“What do I want? To have an identity. What do I want? To feel accepted. ¿Cuando? Ahora. ¿Dónde? Aquí. Right here, right now.” Spoken word artist David A. Romero explored his cultural identity using poetic words to guide the expedition last night in the Bronco.
October 3, 2014, By Kelly Trom
Put some corn tortillas in oil. Set them at a low boil. Hear them sizzle. Spoken word artist David Romero kicked off this year’s first Another Type of Groove (ATOG) on Wednesday night with a “delightfully cheesy” poem teaching the audience how to make cheese enchiladas in the name of fighting racism.
October 3, 2014, By LatinoLA Contributor
David A. Romero, writer of the nationally-recognized spoken word poem, "Undocumented Football," prepares to travel the country performing poetry and speaking on social issues. In Philadelphia, with Drexel University, and in New York with Russell Sage College, Romero performs as the featured performer for student poetry competitions known as "poetry slams."
July, 2014, By Darren Cifarelli
David Romero is a poet, activist, charity worker, teacher and a real human being who reminded me that the little things we do matter. Yeah, he’s a poet. Yeah, he’s an activist. Yeah, he teaches a workshop called Marginalized Voices as a part of his job as a poet. In the workshop, co-facilitated by poets Matt Sedillo and Yazmin Monet Watkins, participants learn about instances of police brutality; then write poems in the voice of the victims: “Last Words: Giving Victims a Voice.”
The following is an interview with three visionary artists: two-time national slam poet Matt Sedillo, professional spoken word artist David A. Romero, and punk/folk singer-songwriter Marlon Stern.
People’s Tribune: Please speak to what kind of new society you would like to see.
January 29, 2014, By Maral Tavitan
On Tuesday evening, USC students and faculty gathered at Ground Zero Performance Café for an Open Mic Night focused on race, culture and identity. The event was an installment of Project ReMix, an interactive discussion series coordinated by Asian Pacific American Student Services, the Center for Black Cultural and Student Affairs and El Centro Chicano.
L.A. is full of poets. Two of the hottest in the scene are the Mexican-American spoken word artists Matt Sedillo and David A. Romero. Recently chosen by Russell Simmons to be some of the first spoken word artists featured on his new YouTube channel All Def Digital, these two poets have made it their mission to represent Los Angeles worldwide.
April 2, 2015, By Karla Martinez
USC students and neighborhood residents filled Bovard Auditorium for a spirited performance by Contra Tiempo, an urban Latin dance company that shines a light on social issues. “Full. Still Hungry” fused elements of salsa, rumba, Afro-Cuban, urban and contemporary dance, highlighting “the search for nourishment inside the all-consuming American capitalist juggernaut.”
October 2013, from staff reports
Education is being cut. Racial profiling is running rampant. Wars wage abroad, seemingly without end. There is an endless attack on our civil liberties. Poverty and hunger increase daily. What can we do in the face of such problems? How can we, the people, ensure that our voices are heard?
By ink 2012 Staff, Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High School, Miami, FL
ink: What is your idea of the perfect setting as inspiration to write?
I imagine the perfect setting as somewhere out in nature: a secret beach, an unexplored cove, the foot of a roaring, crashing waterfall, etc. I have always been something of a transcendentalist and Dharma Bum in thought, if not in practice.
October 2011, By Khayla Golucke
Most LMU students are familiar with Mane Entertainment's (ME) Monday night staple, Open Mic Night. But next Wednesday, the student-run organization is trying a new twist on its old classic. Partnering with the Office of Black Student Services, ME is hosting a Poetry Lounge in The Living Room, swapping the normal music of Open Mic Night with spoken word.
February 2011, By Mina Ynzunza
Since I began writing my spotlight, I have been awed and surprised, to find that Diamond Bar is filled with talented, intellectual and self-giving individuals. You would think that at some point, it would be difficult to find more. That is not the case. I am fortunate to have such an array of people to introduce to the residents of our city through The Windmill.
May 2008, By Maritza Velazquez
When 23-year-old David Romero was growing up, he didn't have an outlet for artistic expression. As a passionate poet, this Diamond Bar resident flocked to the Los Angeles poetry scene to get his kicks. Now Romero is providing a venue for performing artists as well as free entertainment for those seeking something different through a new Diamond Bar Open Mic every Saturday night.