The National Poetry Series is pleased to announce the 2018 Paz Prize for Poetry winner, Puerto Rican poet Johanny Vazquez Paz for her manuscript Ofrezco mi corazón como una diana. The book, selected by judge Rigoberto Gonzalez, will be published in both English and Spanish by Akashic Books.
“This collection of poems, strong and seductive, centers on the bewilderment created by the body, memory and history,” Gonzalez said. “By visiting these sacred spaces, Johanny Vazquez Paz offers solace for the conflicts that plague our interior and exterior sceneries. As violence diminishes the female spirit, this poet’s courageous, masterful command of language reunites fragments to make something whole.”
Paz was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Her books include Sagrada Familia, which won an International Latino Book Award in 2015; Querido Voyeur by Ediciones Torremozas (Madrid, Spain, 2012) and Streetwise Poems/Poemas callejeros (Mayapple Press, 2007), a winner at the 2008 International Latino Book Awards (California). In 2012, she won first prize in the poetry category and second place for her story “La muda” (The Mute) at the Consenso Short Story and Poetry Contest of Northeastern Illinois University. She co-edited the anthology Between the Heart and the Land / Entre el corazón y la tierra: Latina Poets in the Midwest (Abrazo Press). Her work has been included in many anthologies, including City of Big Shoulders; Ejército de rosas; En la 18 a la 1; The City Visible: Chicago Poetry for the New Century; and Poetas sin tregua – Compilación de poetas puertorriqueñas de la generación del 80. She currently teaches at Harold Washington College in Chicago, IL.
“It is an honor to receive the Paz Prize for Poetry and become the first Puerto Rican to obtain this distinction,” Paz said. “It’s also very special to receive a prize that carries my mother’s last name. With Ofrezco mi corazón como una diana, I hope to give a voice to the Puerto Rican diáspora and offer consolation to the victims and survivors of the violence we live in today. I’d like to thank Rigoberto Gonzalez for trusting my poems, the Natonal Poetry Series and Miami Book Fair for promoting and supporting Spanish-language authors in the U.S.”