go home


Carlos Hernández Peña was born and reared in Mexico City. He has lived in various U.S. cities over the past twenty years. He was a co-editor of the U.S.1 Worksheets magazine and from 2005 to 2008 organized Voices at the Princeton Public Library, a multicultural biannual program of poetry from around the world . Carlos was the recipient of a scholarship to the Prague Summer Seminar in 2008.

To write poetry, Carlos Hernández Peña gives up his native Spanish and uses English—this "alien language." This otherness of his English allows him to write, as he says, "from another side of the world," aquellos ojos verdes, where tarantulas are amicable drunks and bottles are bruised. His second tongue makes him puzzle the cold walrus and send the "quetzal morning" flashing before our eyes. Hernández Peña retells the old riddles in a new world: The "Mobius strip confection" becomes the "giant waves" that "spin a riddle between birth and death." We recognize his other world in our own mouths, and taste it new as "sparks of snow."

—Lois Marie Harrod, author of Put Your Sorry Side Out


[Hernández Peña] searches for a new mask for his labyrinth of many languages and bloods. His poems are about Quijote and Malinalco, the opera and the ancestors. His journey reminds me of the great Alfonso Reyes poem, "When the Tarahumaras come down from the Mountains." I say, welcome Carlos, to being continually misunderstood and underrated as an educated macho Mexicano Tzentzontle in Gringolandia.

—Lisha Adela (goodreads.com)




Charm for our ancestors--moonmilk, healed their livestock
It appears, I believe, when we are asleep.

Cave deposits

Soft whiteness sculpted over ceiling and walls
Dripping water and microbes crystallized in calcite silence
Harvested mud-like cream, cleanse these wounds--

touch me
From Moonmilk and Other Poems. Copyright Carlos Hernández Peña.

© Ragged Sky Press