Martin Farawell, Program Director, Poetry
The youngest poet to appear at the Dodge Poetry Festival, Ekiwah Adler Beléndez was nineteen years old when he read “Topography,” “Haiku” and “Coyote’s Trace” during the Friday Afternoon Poetry Sampler in 2006.
The son of a North American father and a Mexican mother, Ekiwah is from Amatlán de Quetzalcoalt, a small town surrounded by mountains an hour south of Mexico City. Born ten weeks prematurely and weighing barely two pounds, he was diagnosed shortly thereafter with cerebral palsy and paralytic scoliosis.
Of the physical challenges he has faced, Ekiwah has said, “Having cerebral palsy is both a curse and a blessing because it has allowed me to be directly in contact with my creativity. I’m sure I was born a poet, and not being able to walk made me find different ways of entertaining myself; this made it easy for me to tune into my inner world, where I discovered words and poetry.”
He discovered words and poetry at a very early age, composing poem fragments aloud by the time he was three years old. He studied and composed poetry throughout his childhood and his first poetry collection, Soy (I Am), was released when he was twelve. His other poetry collections include: Palabras Inagotables, (Never-ending Words); Weaver, his first book in English; and The Coyote’s Trace. Fluent in English and Spanish, Ekiwah has given readings in schools and colleges across Mexico and the United States.
Be sure to return for upcoming Poetry Fridays, when we will feature many poets from past Dodge Poetry Festivals in the weeks ahead, including Jorie Graham, Tony Hoagland, Taslima Nasreen and others.