Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Frank Varela  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Poetry

Audience: Adult;

Born: Brooklyn, New York

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Illinois Connection

*Lived in Oak Park and Chicago, Illinois

Biographical and Professional Information

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Serpent Underfoot
ISBN: 1877636118

MARCH/Abrazo Press. 1993

Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. "A Boricua poet now rooted in Chicago, Frank Varela is a strong voice offering testimony to the resilience of the Puerto Rican diaspora. These are poems that pay homage, to Crazy Willie, to the doomed Paulina, to his Korean War veteran uncle, in the language of real, lived experience. This is a poet who wants to send Willie Colon and his salsa into outer space, who tells us of forgotten African gods and the 'spics banished to Chicago' for forgetting. For his passion and his clarity, his humor and his memory, I welcome Frank Varela"—Martín Espada.

Bitter Coffee
ISBN: 1877636215

MARCH/Abrazo. 2001

Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. Bilingual edition. "Frank Varela's BITTER COFFEE is a unique, well-crafted and powerful book. With words that are accessible and at the same time sublime, the writer allows us to feel his grief while celebrating his Latino heritage. He brings his past to life"-Nilda Cepero, editor of The Latino Stuff Review. This volume also features Johanny V zquez Paz's Spanish translations of selected poems. "There's a wealth of cultural imagination and experience in each stanza that insures his poetry will resonate with readers seeking lucid words that refresh both mind and soul"-Carlos Cumpi n, Coyote Sun.


  • His writing has earned him grants and recognition from the Illinois Arts Council
  • Named Hispanic Librarian of the Year in 1997 by Illinois Secretary of State

    Speaking Engagements

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