NMSU student turns memories of great aunt into award-winning poetry

New Mexico State University student Nicolás Cabrera won first and third place in the 2015 New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest this spring.

Nicolás Cabrera sits with his great aunt Maria Montiel de Trujillo, showing the poem he wrote about her on his tablet. The poem won first place in the 2015 New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest. (Courtesy photo)

Cabrera, a graduate student studying Spanish literature in the College of Arts and Sciences, won first place in the creative single verse poem category for his piece titled “La yerbabuena,” which means mint. 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.

His first place entry is now eligible to compete nationally. The National Federation of Press Women competition finalist results are expected at the end of June.

“Both my professors and editors have continuously given their feedback as they helped me become a better writer so I can continue telling stories that need to be told,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera is also a contributor to NMSU’s FronteraNorte Sur news service as a writer and photographer. His article, “The Kings and Queens of the Duke City Taco Truck Boom” won third place in the photographer-writer category. It chronicles the journey of immigrant entrepreneurs who have brought the flavors of Mexican street food north to Albuquerque.

“My professors have been outstanding mentors,” Cabrera said. “In addition to teaching, they have helped me prepare papers and secure funding when I’ve represented the university at regional, national, and international academic conferences.”

Cabrera had another poem “Los grillos sirven el café” and a short story, “La Llorona alburquerqueña” published this spring in a book called “More Voices of New Mexico.” He will be doing a book signing in Albuquerque on May 23.

Cabrera’s winning entries are available to read online:
La yerbabuena: http://www.acentosreview.com/August_2014/nicolas-cabrera.html
Taco Truck Boom: http://fnsnews.nmsu.edu/the-kings-and-queens-of-the-duke-city-taco-truck-boom/.


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