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Diaries of a Terrorist – Christopher Soto’s debut poetry collection

  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm | Friday May 06, 2022
  • Liberty Hall |
  • Free

Join us in celebrating the launch of Diaries of a Terrorist, Christopher Soto’s debut poetry collection being published on May 3, 2022 by Copper Canyon Press.

This debut poetry collection demands the abolition of policing and human caging. In Diaries of a Terrorist, Christopher Soto uses the “we” pronoun to emphasize that police violence happens not only to individuals, but to whole communities. His poetics open the imagination towards possibilities of existence beyond the status quo. Soto asks, “Who do we call terrorist—and why”? These political surrealist poems shift between gut-wrenching vulnerability, laugh-aloud humor, and unapologetic queer punk raunchiness. Diaries of a Terrorist is groundbreaking in its ability to speak—from a local to a global scale—about one of the most important issues of our time.

Christopher Soto will be joined for a reading by Ocean Vuong and Ryan Lee Wong.


Christopher Soto is a Salvadoran poet and abolitionist based in Tovaangar (Los Angeles, California). He currently works as the Assistant Director of Development for UCLA’s Ethnic Studies Research Centers, and he also teaches at UCLA’s Honors College. He has previously taught at NYU where he received his MFA in Poetry and was a Goldwater Hospital Writing Fellow, Columbia University as a June Jordan Teaching Corp Fellow, and at Occidental College as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing. He previously interned with the Poetry Society of America and he served on the Board of Directors with Lambda Literary. He is the editor of Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books, 2018) and the author of the limited-print chapbook Sad Girl Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2016). He co-founded the Undocupoets Campaign, which successfully lobbied numerous poetry publishers in the United States to remove proof of citizenship requirements from first-book contests. He cofounded Writers for Migrant Justice to protest the detention and separation of migrant families in the U.S. He has also organized with the Cops Off Campus movement and he has worked at Equal Justice USA to end the death penalty. His poems, reviews, interviews, and articles can be found at The Nation, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, The American Poetry Review, Literary Hub, and Tin House, among others. He identifies as nonbinary and also uses “they” pronouns.

Ocean Vuong
is the author of forthcoming poetry collection, Time is a Mother, out from Penguin Press (2022), and the The New York Times bestselling novel, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin Press 2019) which has been translated into 34 languages.  A recipient of a 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant, he is also the author of the critically acclaimed poetry collection, Night Sky with Exit Wounds, a New York Times Top 10 Book of 2016, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize, the Whiting Award, the Thom Gunn Award, and the Forward Prize for Best First Collection. A Ruth Lilly fellow from the Poetry Foundation, his honors include fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Academy of American Poets, and the Pushcart Prize. Born in Saigon, Vietnam and raised in Hartford, Connecticut in a working class family of nail salon and factory laborers, he was educated at nearby Manchester Community College before transferring to Pace University to study International Marketing. Without completing his first term, he dropped out of Business school and enrolled at Brooklyn College, where he graduated with a BA in Nineteenth Century American Literature. He subsequently received his MFA in Poetry from NYU.


Ryan Lee Wong is author of the forthcoming novel Which Side Are You On. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, the son of a fifth-generation Chinese American father and a Korean immigrant mother. Ryan organized the exhibitions Serve the People at Interference Archive and Roots at Chinese American Museum, both focused on the Asian American movements of the 1970s. He has written extensively on the intersections of arts, race, and social movements. He holds an MFA in Fiction from Rutgers-Newark and served on the Board of the Jerome Foundation. He lived for two years at Ancestral Heart Zen Temple and is based in Brooklyn.