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Donato Martinez

Donato Martinez was born in in small pueblo, Garcia de la Cadena, Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated into the USA at six years old. He teaches English Composition, Literature, and Creative Writing at Santa Ana College. He has also taught classes in Chicano Studies. He has been a co-coordinator of the Puente Program for 25 years. He hosts and curates many artistic events that feature poetry and music at his campus or in the community. He is also a poet and writes about his barrio experience, his community, his Chicano culture, bilingual identities, and other complexities of life. He is influenced by the sounds and pulse of the streets, people, music, and the magic of language. He has a self-published collection with three other Inland Empire poets, Tacos de Lengua. His work has been published by City Works, East Side Rose, The Acentos Review, San Diego Poetry Annual, Ofrenda Magazine, The Mixtape Literary Journal, Latin@ Literatures, and La Raiz Magazine. He loves the outdoors and is inspired by books, music, and his children, Gabriel and Abigail.

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"There are magical moments and poetic turns in these big wonderful poems that sing of family, of barrio, of dirt, of work, of play, of celestial dreams… of what it is to be Mexican in the United States—ni de aqui , ni de alla, but always landing on solid ground, proof we belong anywhere. Donato Martinez has concocted an expansive and rich collection.”

—Luis J. Rodriguez, author of Always Running: Mi Vida Loca/Gang Days in L.A., Borrowed Bones, and From Our Land to Our Land

“Through his palabras, Donato Martinez presents and pays homage to the many men and women who often are excluded from our history books. He acknowledges their being, their presence, and the many contributions they make to our everyday life. Donato’s poems make sure that we recognize their sudor, their hours of excessive work, and understand that they keep our cities in motion.”

—Angelina F. Veyna, Emeritus Professor of History, Santa Ana College

“Donato Martinez’s poems bring me joy. Like sitting on a porch hearing your elders tell tales, like relaxing with friends shooting the shit, like the best hip hop of the 90s, like family breakfast on Sunday morning. Pull up a chair and treat yourself."

—Tomas Moniz, author of Big Familia

“Donato Martinez successfully gives us back the essence of poetic flow that's been missing from our lives during these uncertain times. His unique style, rhyme and cadence pull me back into the days of giving a damn and living life freely at the same time. Each metaphor serves to bring the reader into Martinez's world of cultura, familia, and comunidad that made him into who he is today. If you've never had days filled with wonderment, fear, laughter, and a sense of urgency all balled into one moment, do yourself a favor and float through his home-grown narration intentionally without pause.”

—Dr. Jessica Ayo Alabi, Professor at Orange Coast College, Founder and CEO of Alabi Community Consulting

“In this debut collection of poems, Donato Martinez continues to captivate and inspire. Recalling memories from childhood, he places us in the middle of the lives of a Mexican immigrant family attempting to carve out their little piece of the “American Dream.” I could visualize scenes of the barrio where he grew up and feel a close connection to the people who called it home.”

—Obed Silva, Professor of English at East Los Angeles College, writer of the memoir, The Death of My Father the Pope

“Touch the Sky is a collection of silent prayers told over the beds of sleeping children, dreams of blacktop crossovers, Doritos sandwiches, and the return of Aztec gods. At once modern and ancient, urban and sacred, Donato Martinez’s debut book Touch the Sky mines the everyday for the profound. Martinez turns his eye just outside the window and finds heaven in the streets and alleys. This is Chicano city writing. And it's damn good.”

—Matt Sedillo, author of Mowing Leaves of Grass and City on the Second Floor

Buy Touch the Sky

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To inquire about booking Donato Martinez for a paid reading or workshop:

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