The Power of Poetry
Award Winning Poet Empowers Students at Alderete Middle School
Posted on 01/20/2023
This is the image for the news article titled Award Winning Poet Empowers Students at Alderete Middle SchoolA group of female students at Jose J. Alderete Middle School (AMS) were empowered by the written word when award-winning poet and teacher Alessandra Narváez Varela stopped by to pay them a visit.

The group took part in the Empowerment Writing Workshop led by Narváez Varela aimed to garner an appreciation of poetry amongst young girls and demonstrate the accessibility of the genre.

The AMS students were inspired to access their own bodies, emotions and voices to interpret poetry in their own unique way.

“Poetry is for everyone and anyone can write it. It's just a matter of reading, becoming comfortable with it and voicing your discomfort with it,” said Narváez Varela. “My book deals with topics of self image, girlhood, and mental health. I want to empower these students by actually talking about some of these difficult topics. I see that they are thinking about these topics already and have a lot to say.”

Narváez Varela was born and raised in Juárez and now lives in El Paso, where she is a lecturer at the University of Texas at El Paso. Her poetry has been published and featured in numerous publications and platforms. She has been highlighted in the New York Times Education Life section, in an article about her experience as a bilingual poet who writes mostly in English, instead of Spanish, her native tongue.

In Narváez Varela’s first book, “Thirty Talks Weird Love,” a young-adult novel in verse, a 13-year-old girl growing up in Mexico is visited by her 30-year-old future self. The book provides readers with a message of self love and acceptance and was the winner of the 2022 Southwest Book Award by the Border Regional Librarian Association.

“We appreciate Alessandra Narváez Varela coming out to spend time with our group of girls and share an inspiring message of empowerment through reading and poetry,” said AMS Principal Nidia Avila. “It is always great to provide our students with a chance to engage and learn from a relatable figure who can inspire and open them up to fresh perspectives.”