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Official Website of Poet, Essayist, Editor, and Educator

Poetry Collection TRACE: Poems

April 18, 2023
Red Hen Press
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About
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about brenda

Brenda Cárdenas is the author of Trace (Red Hen Press, 2023); Boomerang (Bilingual Press, 2009); and the chapbooks Bread of the Earth / The Last Colors with Roberto Harrison, Achiote Seeds/Semillas de Achiote with Cristina García, Emmy Pérez, and Gabriela Erandi Rico; and From the Tongues of Brick and Stone. She also co-edited Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance (Spuyten Duyvil Press, 2017) and Between the Heart and the Land: Latina Poets in the Midwest (MARCH/Abrazo Press, 2001), which won the Chicago Women in Publishing first place award for excellence in editing. Her poems and essays have appeared in an array of anthologies and journals, including Braving the Body; Latinx Poetics: The Art of Poetry; POETRY; TAB: Journal of Poetry and Poetics; Kinship: Belonging in a World of Relations; Grabbed: Poets and Writers on Sexual Assault, Empowerment, and Healing; Court Green; Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Anthology, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, Through This Door: Wisconsin in Poems, and many others. 

Cárdenas has enjoyed collaborating on inter-arts projects with musicians, visual artists, and choreographers. Composer Daniel Afonso (California State University) wrote a choral score to her "Poema para los Tin-Tun-Teros," which was recently published by Hal Leonard, the largest U.S. music publisher. It will also be part of a series of choral works curated by Dr. Eugene Rogers (University of Michigan) and will be performed on March 12, 2024 at Carnegie Hall. Cárdenas and artist Cynthia Lollis contributed to Mind the Gap, an ekphrastic portfolio of print/poem exchanges edited by Tim Abel and Sara Parr in 2013. In 2009, Kyle Jenkins created a film animation of Cárdenas’ poem “Song” for Poetry Everywhere sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, and in 2008, Kelly Anderson choreographed a dance to her poem “Sonnet for Thunder Lovers and Primary Colors” for Dance Works Performance Company’s The Bra Project. In 2001, with the band Sonido Ink(quieto), Cárdenas recorded the spoken word and music CD Chicano, Illnoize: The Blue Island Sessions.


Brenda Cardenas served as faculty for the 2021 CantoMundo writers’ retreat and as the 2010-2012 Milwaukee Poet Laureate. In 2014, she co-designed and co-taught the inaugural master workshop for Pintura:Palabra: A Project in Ekphrasis sponsored by the Smithsonian American Art Museum and Letras Latinas (Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame). She currently teaches Creative Writing and U.S. Latinx Literatures at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she has won a University of Wisconsin System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award and the English Department’s Faculty Graduate Teaching Award. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband, the poet Roberto Harrison and their dog Maya.

BOOKS & Edited Anthologies
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Trace: Poems

Boomerang: Poems

From the Tongues of Brick and Stone

Between the Heart and the Land: Latina Poets in the Midwest

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Resist Much/Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance

My Books
IN THE PRESS + praise

“This book [TRACE: Poems] is an ofrenda. With an astonishing awareness of the particular and the everlasting, Trace by Brenda Cárdenas plunges us into the mythic through tales of what is utterly real. These poems take on the healing of soul and the meaning of home. The poetry of Cárdenas is nothing less than the intermingling of the traces of what is spiraling around us and what lay beyond. I highly recommend it.”


—Robin Reagler, author of Night Is This Anyway, Into The The, and Teeth and Teeth

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  • Ae Hee Lee Book Release Reading for ASTERISM
    Ae Hee Lee Book Release Reading for ASTERISM
    Sat, Mar 09
    Woodland Pattern Book Center
    Mar 09, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
    Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E Locust St, Milwaukee, WI 53212, USA
    Mar 09, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM
    Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E Locust St, Milwaukee, WI 53212, USA
    Opening for Ae Hee Lee at her book release reading for ASTERISM
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  • National Concert Chorus at Carnegie Hall Sings Para Los Tin-Tun-Teros by Daniel Afonso and Brenda Cárdenas
    National Concert Chorus at Carnegie Hall Sings Para Los Tin-Tun-Teros by Daniel Afonso and Brenda Cárdenas
    Tue, Mar 12
    Carnegie Hall
    Mar 12, 2024, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT
    Carnegie Hall, 881 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019, USA
    Mar 12, 2024, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM EDT
    Carnegie Hall, 881 7th Ave, New York, NY 10019, USA
    My poem set to a choral composition by Daniel Afonso to be performed at Carnegie Hall, NYC
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  • Poetry After Dark: Latinx Ekphrasis--Poems Inspired by Visual Art Workshop
    Poetry After Dark: Latinx Ekphrasis--Poems Inspired by Visual Art Workshop
    Thu, Mar 21
    Menasha Public Library
    Mar 21, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM CDT
    Menasha Public Library , 440 1st St, Menasha, WI 54952, USA
    Mar 21, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM CDT
    Menasha Public Library , 440 1st St, Menasha, WI 54952, USA
    Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop for the Fox Cities Book Festival, NEA Big Read
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  • United We Read Graduate Student/Faculty Reading Series
    United We Read Graduate Student/Faculty Reading Series
    Fri, Apr 19
    Woodland Pattern Book Center
    Apr 19, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM CDT
    Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E Locust St, Milwaukee, WI 53212, USA
    Apr 19, 2024, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM CDT
    Woodland Pattern Book Center, 720 E Locust St, Milwaukee, WI 53212, USA
    My last United We Read with UWM graduate students before I retire in May.
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