NMSU graduate student wins national poetry award

NMSU graduate student wins national poetry award

New Mexico State University student Nicolás Cabrera was awarded first place in the 2015 National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest earlier this month.

Headshot of student in striped shirt
NMSU graduate student Nicolás Cabrera was awarded first place in the 2015 National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest for his poem, “La yerbabuena.” (Submitted photo)

Cabrera, a graduate student studying Spanish literature in the College of Arts and Sciences, won at the state level last spring, allowing him to compete nationally. 

For the national competition, Cabrera took home the top prize in the creative single verse poem category for his piece titled “La yerbabuena,” which means mint.

“I never imagined that a Spanish poem I jotted down years ago while reminiscing in a café in Spain would win a national award,” Cabrera said. 

The poem, written in Spanish, recalls a beloved childhood memory of his great aunt and great grandmother. It is dedicated to Cabrera’s 92-year-old great aunt María Montiel de Trujillo, who is originally from High Rolls but moved to Albuquerque during the Great Depression.

“I am proud of the poem and that it has been honored with state and national awards,” Cabrera said, “but the real honor goes to my great grandmother, Juliana Montes de Montiel and my great aunt, who made that day so memorable. They helped to craft this poem by talking to me in Spanish and keeping our language alive. I dedicate the poem and the award to both of them.”

Cabrera will be reading “La yerbabuena,” along with other poems he has written in English and Spanish, at a poetry reading from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Tony Hillerman Library in Albuquerque. This reading is free and open to the public.

Cabrera’s winning poem can be read online at http://www.acentosreview.com/August_2014/nicolas-cabrera.html.

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