Darrel Alejandro Holnes Receives Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize for “Stepmotherland”

By Kathryn Pitts

The University of Notre Dame Press is proud to announce that Darrel Alejandro Holnes received the 2022 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize for his first full-length collection Stepmotherland. Named after the late California native and author of the award-winning book The Iceworker Sings, the prize supports the work of emerging Latino/a poets and has as its goal to nurture the various paths that Latino poetry is taking in the twenty-first century. The judge for this year’s award John Murillo calls Holnes a poet of promise and vision. “In Stepmotherland,” Murillo says, “war, family, sex, politics, love, culture, language, all come together to create a world as compelling as it is wondrous.”

The poems in Stepmotherland chronicle and question identity, family, and allegiance. This Central American love song takes us on a lyrical and sometimes narrative journey from Panamá to the USA and beyond. The driving force behind Holnes’s work is a pursuit for a new home, and as he searches, he takes the reader on a wild ride through the most pressing political issues of our time and the most intimate and transformative personal experiences of his life.

Holnes is an Afro-Panamanian American writer and is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship in Creative Writing, Poetry. His poems have previously appeared in the American Poetry ReviewPoetryCallalooBest American Experimental Writing, and elsewhere. Currently living in New York City, he is an assistant professor of creative writing and dramatic writing at the City University of New York, Medgar Evers College, and teaches at New York University.

Stepmotherland will be available from the University of Notre Dame Press on February 1, 2022. We encourage you to buy the book at your local independent bookstore either in person or online at: undpress.nd.edu


News, information and advocacy for Latinos in the Midwest. LatinosInTheMidwest is a digital publication by El Puente, LLC. Noticias, información y defensa de los derechos de los Latinos en el Medio Oeste de Estados Unidos. LatinosInTheMidwest es una publicación digital de El Puente, LLC.