Chicana Poet Returns To Central Texas Roots For Baylor Visit

April 17, 2001

by Lori Scott Fogleman

Chicana poet Teresa Palomo Acosta, a native of McGregor, will return to Central Texas on Thursday, April 19, when she visits Baylor University for an afternoon of classroom appearances and poetry reading with a focus on Tejana history.

Acosta will speak on "Re-imaging and Re-telling Las Historias Escondidas: A Chicana Poet from the Central Texas Homeland Talks Out Loud" at 4 p.m. Thursday in Bennett Auditorium on the Baylor campus. Her presentation is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the department of modern foreign languages, Latin American Studies and Gender Studies. She also will visit several Baylor classes Thursday afternoon.

Acosta earned her bachelor's degree in ethnic studies from the University of Texas at Austin and her master's degree in journalism from Columbia University. She continued her interest in ethnic studies by teaching various classes at both St. Edward's University and Texas, including a general writing seminar in Mexican American Studies and a writing seminar on Mexican origin women. Acosta also was the first director of minority student retention with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, where she created the first statewide effort to focus on the recruitment and retention of minority students in higher education. She is now a social sciences research associate with the Office of the General Faculty at UT Austin and also volunteers her time to work in literacy and poetry projects with minority children in Austin.

As a poet for 25 years, Acosta has published two collections of poetry, Passing Time and Nile & Other Poems, and won the Voertman award for poetry in 1993 from the editors of New Texas. In 1999, Girls Incorporated, a national organization that serves young people, published "Outside the Lines/Girls Write Poetry, A Writing and Literacy Enhancement Program for Girls," a manual that she wrote, based on her work in teaching poetry to bilingual elementary school students. A portfolio of new work will appear this year in Reflexiones, a publication of the University of Texas Press and the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT Austin. Acosta also is completing a book manuscript tentatively titled "Tejanas: Mexican Origin Women in Texas, 1700-2000," and her interviews with Hispanic women recalling the Central Texas cotton culture are part of the holdings of Baylor's Institute for Oral History.

For more information, contact Dr. Beth Willingham, assistant professor of Spanish, at (254) 710-6012 or Beth_Willingham@baylor.edu.

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