Ruth Irupe Sanabria’s first collection of poetry, The Strange House Testifies (Bilingual Press), won second place (Poetry) in the 2010 Annual Latino Book Awards. Her second collection of poems received the 2014 Letras Latinas/Red Hen Press Award and will be published in 2017. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Women Writing Resistance and U.S. Latino Literature Today. Most recently, her essays, poems, and short stories have been published in translation in Argentina. She has read her poetry in libraries, prisons, schools, parks, bars, and universities across the USA, Argentina, Mexico, and Peru.
Sanabria’s poetry explores themes of human rights and injustice, children as witnesses to state terror, and the role of art in resistance. Her commitment to these themes stems from her personal experience during Argentina’s military dictatorship (1976 to 1983). In 2013, she had the opportunity to testify in the trials against the Fifth Army Corps in Bahia Blanca who kidnapped her parents in 1977. Though Sanabria’s maternal grandparents recovered her from a neighbor?s house, her parents remained “disappeared” in clandestine concentration camps where they were tortured for several months. She learned that they were still alive when news arrived that the military had transferred her parents to separate prisons and incarcerated them without trial.
On December 23, 1979, Ruth Irupe and her mother, author and human rights activist Alicia Partnoy, were reunited as political refugees in Seattle, Washington, where her father had been exiled to a few months earlier. She spent her childhood between Seattle and Washington D.C., surrounded by a cadre of activist tias and tios, grass-roots organizers, artists, and progressive thinkers. Sanabria credits her grandmother, painter and humanist Raquel Partnoy, for teaching her, during the years of censorship and terror, the liberating power of art and metaphor. Over the past decade, she has been fortunate to travel across the country giving readings with her grandmother and mother blending their essays, stories, music, poetry, film and visual art to raise awareness of genocide in Latin America.
After a brief stint as paralegal for Legal Services of New Jersey, Sanabria forewent law school for the pursuit of creative writing and education. She obtained her MFA from NYU and began teaching creative writing workshops in colleges and public schools. Currently, Sanabria teaches English literature to public high school students in New Jersey.