Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing



First Reader/Committee Chair

John Chad Sweeney


La Llorona Don’t Swim The LA River is a collection of poems that explore the issues of growing up in East LA as a young, bilingual Chicana. These poems are an attempt to capture my experiences through story telling by blending Spanish, English, street slang, and the casual spoken diction. The speaker embodies several versions of the trickster figure: linguistic tricksterism, cultural tricksterism, gender tricksterism, and religious tricksterism. She navigates linguistic tricksterism through the code switching of English and Spanish, using Spanglish as her main dialect, and often blending in slang, creating Slanglish. In cultural tricksterism, she focuses on the experiences of the working class, the migrant workers, the bilingual speakers, and the overall generational changes in the Mexican culture. The speaker constantly searches for the meaning of what it is to be a woman and what it means to love through gender tricksterism. She looks to her mother, la Virgen De Guadalupe, and La Llorona to try and understand her complex identity. La Llorona Don’t Swim The LA River works to form a different type of spirituality through sacred humanism from the point of view of the religious trickster. These poems pose the question: where else can God be found other than church and the bible? The speaker seeks God in tattoos, in punk music, in the moshpit, in the city, and in people. She forms a new approach to tradition through the persistence of kind rebellion, her own personal version of love.

Included in

Poetry Commons