Veronica Reyes

Veronica Reyes is a Chicana feminist jota poet from East Los Angeles, California. She earned her BA from California State University, Long Beach and her MFA from University of Texas, El Paso. She scripts poetry for the people. Her poems give voice to all her communities: Chicanas/os, immigrants, Mexicanas/os, and la joteroa. Reyes has won AWP’s Intro-Journal Project, an Astraea Lesbian Foundation Emerging Artist award, and a Finalist for Andres Montoya Poetry award. She has received grants and fellowships from Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Ragdale Foundation, and Montalvo Arts Center. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Feminist Studies, ZYZZYZVA, The New York Quarterly, Ms. Magazine (Online), and The Minnesota Review. She is a proud member of Macondo Writers’ Workshop.

Her first poetry book, Chopper! Chopper! Poetry from Bordered Lives (Arktoi Books/Red Hen Press 2013), has won Best Poetry from International Latino Book Awards 2014, Best Poetry from Golden Crown Literary Society Awards 2014, the Goldie award, and Finalist for Lesbian Poetry from Lambda Literary Awards 2014.

All Books

Chopper! Chopper! Poetry from Bordered Lives

Veronica Reyes

Publication Date: October 1, 2013

$18.95 Tradepaper

ISBN: 978-0-98903-610-8


Chopper! Chopper! reflects the lives of Mexican Americans, immigrants, and la jotería–malfloras, jotos, and other rainbow communities–across many generations. As vividly as Mexican Technicolor, these poems capture life in the barrio: vendors hauling carts with elote, raspados, botes y más. Vatos fighting to exist. Summer evenings, children playing in the calles of East L.A., El Paso, Toronto, of bordered tierras everywhere. Reyes’s work exudes the pride, strength, turmoil and struggle of neighborhoods brimming with tradition and invention. These homegrown verses reveal the barrio in all its intricate layers. Reveling in difference, they fight to make room for something new: marimacha poetry

Praise for Chopper! Chopper!:

“In this book there is no time to run home chillando or licking your wounds–the gente in Reyes’s recollections pull you into a world where crooked tortillas and marimacha swagger are less the image of otherness, but a symbol of nosotros’ness. Through Reyes’s barrio lyricism, we, the others, do not cross over to become the norm, but come together as strands of hair, distinct, yet slicked together by the force of love, coraje, and Tres Flores.”—Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano

Chopper! Chopper! replenishes the landscapes of East L.A. and the lives that give it shape. Reyes resurrects old-time shops and hangouts. They memorialize the land alongside edifices of refuse, sterile towers, man-made deserts and rivers, machines that suffocate the sky, fields locked in the historical cycle churning out the fieldworker’s woe. Queers, dandies, cholos, mariachis the same as ‘Chumash, Pomo, Modoc’ ramble these streets. In these dramatic monologues, the perfect poetic mode to retool history, Reyes’s wit leaves a mark. Her young self marvels at ‘old coors or budweiser botes, tab, aspen soda cans…tossed by the lake at Lincoln Park, half buried in the sandbox just like the statue of liberty in planet of the apes.’ In this cool, sad, funny collection, East L.A. startles us like ‘a pinche far, faraway land’ it really is.”—Kristin Naca, author of Bird Eating Bird


Daniel Olivas Tweets the Praises of Verónica Reyes

Chicano author and journalist, Daniel Olivas, heaped praise upon Verónica Reyes' poetry collection Chopper! Chopper! on Twitter, proclaiming it to be "powerful, heartbreaking, hopeful." View Olivas' tweet


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Veronica Reyes Featured on!

Poet Veronica Reyes’ collection, Chopper! Copper! was recently featured on’s list of “10 Great LGBT Summer Reads.” Check out the full list and Veronica’s feature here!