Illinois Authors

The Illinois Center for the Book banner

Carlos Cumpian

Born: San Antonio, Texas August 22, 1953
Connection to Illinois: Cumpian lives in Chicago. He has taught at Columbia College Chicago and teaches high school English in Chicago.

Biography: Carolos Cumpián is a Chicagoan originally from Texas. He has been included in more than thirty poetry anthologies, including the Norton Anthology Telling Stories. Before becoming a teacher, he worked with various social service organizations such as ASPIRA and public relations for the Chicago Public Library. Cumpián has taught creative writing and poetry through community arts organizations including the National Museum of Mexican Art, Urban Gateways and as a writer-in residence funded by the Illinois Arts Council. Cumpián taught in the English Department of Columbia College Chicago and in the Chicago Public School and Charter school system. In addition, he has hosted live readings with Galeria Qui Que & La Palabra Series and published over 20 poets/writers with MARCH ABRAZO PRESS between 1978-2015. His most recent essay, “Learned to Read at My Momma’s Knee,” appears in With a Book in Their Hands: Chicano/a Readers and Readerships Across the Centuries (University of New Mexico Press, 2014). His first in a series of true supernatural accounts, “A Chicago Premonition” was published in Hombre Lobo #2, True Xicanax Spooky Stories, (Ponte Las Pilas Press, Los Angles, Ca. 2021)

  • Gwendolyn Brooks Significant Illinois Poet Award, 2000

Primary Literary Genre(s): Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers; Children


Selected Titles

14 Abriles: Poems
ISBN: 1877636231 OCLC:

MARCH/Abrazo Press April 1, 2010

Poetry. Latino/Latina Studies. A new chapbook of fourteen poems by veteran Chicano poet Carlos Cumpián.

Armadillo Charm
ISBN: 1882688090 OCLC: Chicago :

Tia Chucha; 1st edition Chicago : June 3, 1996

Poetry encompassing Chicano life by Chicago publisher of MARCH/Abrazo.

Coyote Sun
ISBN: 1877636088 OCLC:

MARCH/Abrazo; 1st edition January 1, 1990

Poetry. " Cumpian's (poetry) creates a persona merging barrio tough and intellectual. Like his rhythmic bilingual idiom, his representations switch classes and codes, cross borders and colonies of cultural conflict"-Sheldon Silver, Letter eX.

Emergency Tacos: Seven Poets Con Picante
ISBN: 187763607X OCLC: Chicano [i.e. Chicago], Ill. :

Chicano [i.e. Chicago], Ill. : Today you hear a lot about emergencies: emergency shelters, emergency medicine, emergency maneuvers, emergency pantries. Now emergency tacos...simon, que si, emergency tacos are what we ordered! <p /> Who are we? We're the poets and participants from some of Chicago's diverse communities who blended time and energy to make homegrown cultural parrandas, under the banner of Galeria Quique. <p /> ...Entonces, "this is not a test." What you're holding is an actual emergency taco. Ojala, you'll savor the seven poetic flavors within and find them bien picoso.

Human Cicada
ISBN: 1889568104 OCLC:

Prickly Pear Publishing & Nopalli Press March 10, 2022

Human Cicada is the latest poetry collection by Carlos Cumpián. Cumpián was born and raised in Texas and now lives in Chicago. He is the author of the poetry collections Coyote Sun (1990), Armadillo Charm (1996), and 14 Abriles (2010), as well as the children's book Latino Rainbow: Poems About Latino Americans (1995, illustrated by Richard Leonard). His poems have appeared in many anthologies, including Emergency Tacos: Seven Poets con Picante, With a Book in Their Hands: Chicano Readers and Readership Across the Centuries, Hecho en Tejas: An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature, Dream of a Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology, and El Coro: A Chorus of Latino and Latina Poetry.

Cumpián travels and sings cantos that bring together the condor and the eagle, calling the Indigenous people of the Americas together, as he teaches in an imagined kapulli of a Chicago high school and through this collection's pages.

Latino Rainbow: Poems About Latino Americans (Many Voices, One Song)
ISBN: 0516051539 OCLC: Chicago :

Childrens Pr Chicago : January 1, 1994

Poems about Latino Americans such as Cesar Chavez, Linda Ronstadt, Henry Cisneros, and Roberto Clemente.