15th Annual Berkeley Poetry Festival on Saturday, August 26, in the 5th floor Student Lounge – 11:30am to 4:30pm

Dr. Naomi Quinonez

Join us at the 15th Annual Berkeley Poetry Festival on Saturday, August 26, 2017. Councilperson Kriss Worthington will present a Lifetime Achievement Award to Dr. Naomi Helena Quiñonez (pictured above, photo credit: Michelle Guttierrez). Read more about Dr. Quiñonez below. We will have a small book fair, an open mike, five Milvia Street poets, and several readers. 

Poster for 15th Annual Poetry Festival

The festival is co-directed by Sharon Coleman (BCC instructor) and MK Chavez (BCC alumnus.)



Dr. Naomi Helena Quiñonez is a Chicana poet, educator and cultural advocate.  Author of three collections of poetry and editor of award winning publications, Quiñonez lectures throughout the U.S. in the areas of ethnic, gender and cultural Studies and is a featured speaker and poet at readings and festivals throughout the country and Latin America.  She received her PhD from Claremont Graduate University in History and she also holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.  She also received a B.A. in English from San Jose State.   Among her achievements are the American Book Award, the Rockefeller Fellowship and the California Arts Council Award.  She is featured in Notable Hispanic Women and the Dictionary of Literary Biography. Her poems and essays have appeared in noteworthy collections such as the Colorado Review, the Library of Poetry Anthology and the Encyclopedia of Latinas in the U.S.  She is co founder of the Bay Area Librotraficante network, a founding member of the Los Angeles Barrio Writer’s Workshop and she offers poetry and literacy workshops to diverse communities throughout California.


Quiñonez’ books include Hummingbird Dream/Sueño de Colibri, The Smoking Mirror and The Exiled Moon.   She co-edited Invocation L.A: Urban Multicultural Poetry, which won the American Book Award, and she also co edited a highly regarded critical anthology Decolonial Voices: Chicana and Chicano Studies in t 21st Century. Quiñonez has also edited journals and magazines such as Caminos Magazine and Chiseme Arte Revista.  Her next critical book Hijas de la Malinche is a historiography of of Mexican origin women writers in the U.S.  Quiñonez’ creative and critical works are referenced in numerous articles, essays, journals, and theses throughout the world. 


Quiñonez is part of a larger community of U.S. ethnic writers, and she has shared the mic with Quincy Troupe and Octavia Butler to name a few.  Her work has appeared in literary anthologies such as From Totems to Hip Hop, Under the Fifth Sun, Chicana Creativity and Criticism, Renaming Ecstasy, In Her Own Words, Aztlan and Vietnam, Paper Dance, After Aztlan, and The Southern California Anthology to name a few.


Profoundly influenced by the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, which generated the Chicana/o movements, Quiñonez devotes herself to social justice issues.  She founded and coordinated the Ethnic Pride Program and the Student Community Learning Center at San Jose State University and worked as a community organizer in Watsonville, California where she helped to found a social advocacy program for migrant families.  She was appointed to the California Mexican American Advisory Commission for the State of Department of Education and served as a member of the Migrant Education Council.  As an administrative assistant to a Watsonville county supervisor, she organized public forums to address race, class, and gender discrimination.  She also served as director of the California Literacy Campaign in Los Angeles and the West Virginia Cultures Institute. She co founded the United Latinos in the Arts and helped produce the Los Angeles Poets and Playwrights Festival.  Quiñonez received a Los Angeles Arts Council Award to produce Mestizo Voices as a healing action after the Rodney King unrest.


Currently Quiñonez lives in Oakland where she is very active in teaching and cultural and political community action.  She lives with her husband John Saenz, who is also a writer and educator.