Originally from Galveston, TX, Lupe Mendez (Writer//Educator//Activist) is the author WHY I AM LIKE TEQUILA (Willow Books, 2019), winner of the 2019 John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry from the Texas Institute of Letters. He is the founder of Tintero Projects which works with emerging Latinx writers and other writers of color within the Texas Gulf Coast Region, with Houston as its hub. Lupe earned his MFA from the University of Texas @ El Paso. Mendez has received fellowships from CantoMundo, Macondo and the Crescendo Literary/Poetry Foundation’s Emerging Poet Incubator. Mendez’s work can be seen in print and online formats which include the Kenyon Review, Gulf Coast Journal, the Texas Review, Poetry Magazine and Poem-A-Day from the Academy of American Poets.
Mendez has close to 20 years of experience as a performance poet – early on, having opened up for such notable writers as Dagoberto Gilb, Esmeralda Santiago and the late Raul Salinas. He has shared his poetry across the country in places like the Holocaust Museum Houston, the Jung Center, MECA (Houston, TX), the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (San Francisco, CA), the National Hispanic Cultural Center (Albuquerque, NM), the Mexican American Cultural Center (Austin, TX), and Columbia University (New York, NY). Mendez has served as a keynote speaker/poetry performer all across Texas. He has hosted writing workshop opportunities across the country, most recently as a teaching artist for the Poetry Foundation (Chicago, IL) as it hosts its Teacher Poetry Summits in Miami, FL and Chicago, IL.
Lupe is an internationally published writer, in book and online formats, including prose work in Latino Rebels, Houston Free Press, Aster(ix) Journal, the Kenyon Review, Norton’s –Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories From The United States and Latin America, and Flash (University of Chester, England)- the international forum for flash fiction, as well as poetry that appears in the Texas Review, Glass Poetry Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Hunger Mountain, Green Mountains Review, Poetry Magazine, Gulf Coast Journal, Split This Rock’s Poem a Week and the Academy of American Poet’s “Poem-A-Day,” among others.
Mendez’s latest collection, WHY I AM LIKE TEQUILA won the 2019 John A. Robertson Award for Best First Book of Poetry. He has been honored as one “Houston Press’ Creative 100s” – and, along with the rest of the Librotraficante organizers, was also awarded the Downs Intellectual Freedom Award 2012 for the defense of Mexican American Studies and literature across the Southwest United States. He continues to work on submissions, creating more writing workshop opportunities and continues to share his poetry with local high schools, colleges and community/arts centers.
Lupe’s work reflects his roots in Texas and the Mexican state of Jalisco (specifically, Atotonilco El Alto, San Jose del Valle, San Juan de los Lagos, Guadalajara, Los Cuates, La Pareja). Mendez is the son of an undocumented Mexicano and a Southern Tejana and his work remarks on issues from the political to the emotional in a way that intends to connect with both the novice reader to the pro poetic writer.