Essays and Articles: Inspiring Change

Spreading the Word, Inspiring Change

I have always been writing to inspire change. When San Francisco poets responded to the world Poetry Movement Call to “Leap Forward” with a reading at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, I participated in the event and reported on it for El Tecolote (in English and in Spanish). In response to this crucial time for humanity and justice, poets from over 160 countries came together to hold local poetry events on Feb. 29, called “Leap Forward” for the Leap Year of 2012. We dedicated our local inter-generational event to our fallen artivista (artist+activist) companeros, Piri Thomas and Daniel del Solar.

Nina at SF City Hall, Ending Violence Against Women and Girls. Photo by Daniel del Solar

Nina at SF City Hall, Ending Violence Against Women and Girls. Photo by Daniel del Solar

When Cuban poet Pablo Armando Fernandez visited Lawrence Ferlinghetti in San Francisco in March of 2000, I wrote about it in collaboration with photographer, Daniel del Solar, resulting in an essay with photos, we called, “The Visit” and included my poem about Ferlinghetti and Anais Nin, “Poets in San Francisco”. Both poets’ stories emerged during the visit as they reunited at City Lights Book Store and then retired to one of Ferlinghetti’s favorite haunts for coffee and more conversation. I think this piece captures the historic poetic moment when two iconic poets met.

When In 2005, a group of local Salvadoran immigrants in San Francisco invited me to participate in a homage to the national poet of El Salvador, Roque Dalton, I jumped at the opportunity. It coincided with the Dalton family’s international campaign for restorative justice with an investigation into Dalton’s murder and the demand for the return of his body. It seemed an appropriate event to further this cause. My autobiographical piece was later published online in Counterpunch, describing my friendship with Roque, his history and his role in my life. This piece also contains my first published poem in 1969 “ To Roque, Before Going off to Fight in Unknown Terrain.” When I first wrote the poem, I could only use his initials, because of the clandestine nature of his journey. I am happy to report that this year we had two local poetry events to honor Roque Dalton.

About Nina Serrano: Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 82 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.comor contact her publisher at For more detailed information about Nina see About Ninaon her website.

About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, or visit for more details.

MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577;



World Poetry Movement: Leap Forward

Poetry Reading for Action on Leap Year, 2012 When San Francisco poets responded to the “World Poetry Movement Call” to “Leap Forward” with a reading at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts, I participated in the event and reported … Continue reading

Assassination of a Poet: Memories of Roque Dalton

My Friendship with Roque Dalton By NINA SERRANO (First Published in Counterpunch, 2007) I first met Roque Dalton in 1968 when I was in Havana working on a documentary film about Fidel with my then-husband, Saul Landau, and our two … Continue reading