By Desirae Contreras |Staff Writer|
English professor and published poet Juan Delgado has dedicated himself to inspiring others through his writing.
The CSUSB Alumnus has published books: “Green Web” (1994), “El Campo” (1998), “A Rush of Hands” (2003) and his soon-to-be released “Vital Signs and Lavish Weeds.”
Delgado has learned to appreciate the inner beauty of life’s simplicities through his poetry. “I’m writing about the things that matter to me and the context and culture in my history. I am affirming and acknowledging my past with poetry,” said Delgado.
Delgado was born in Guadalajara, Mexico and came to the United States with his family when he was 6 years old. He received his citizenship when he was 28-years-old. He then graduated from CSUSB with a degree in English and received his master’s degree from the University of California at Irvine.
Today, Delgado has recited his poetry across the country and has spoken to universities rounding up an estimated fifteen showcases per year.
“It’s always touching when a student or writer comes up and shares his or her experience and enjoys the work. It is always good when they come and talk to you after a reading. It inspires me to keep doing what I do,” said Delgado.
Delgado appreciates student feedback. This is one of the things that inspire him to create and publish more books. Each published book has its own essence. All three books tell a story and create a vision of what he hopes is appreciated and acknowledged in the world.
“Green Web comes from a poem of the book that had to do with the death of my father and the right of passage to becoming a man,” said Delgado. “El Campo was my second book with artist Simon Silva, a combination of paintings and poems that had do with labor and farm workers who [undergo] the prisms of family life and [social standards]. ‘A Rush of Hands’ deals with immigrants and people transitioning between two states and countries.”
Delgado’s poetry represents the everyday situations immigrants encounter, the shadowed artwork that goes unnoticed and local murals and landmarks that ignite the spirit of the Latino community.
His new book, “Vital Signs and Lavish Weeds” a collaboration with photographer and art professor Thomas McGovern, focuses on San Bernardino’s murals, landmarks and homemade signs that have been forgotten in today’s ever changing society.
“It’s all about looking at the murals and homemade signs in San Bernardino,”said Delgado. “It’s beautiful and unique because of the vivid colors and passion that goes into a street side mural. They create a landmark that is familiar for natives who come back into town. It is a city worth celebrating for its culture and art.”
“Vital Signs and Lavish Weeds” is simply a working title for his new book but the beauty beneath his poems is to be praised.
Many individuals would view weeds as something to look down upon, but Delgado views weeds as something worthy. According to him, they are a metaphor for prosperity within the Latino culture.
Delgado uses verdolaga as an example. Commonly called purslane and considered a weed, his mother used it as a “poor man’s spinach” to create healthy, delicious egg dish.
Delgado’s passion has encouraged him to create beauty in the world and turn something that was once a negative into a positive.
“I grew up with people who didn’t have a voice and it [has led to] an ethical and political side of writing that [has become an] important asset to me.”
Delgado’s poetry encourages appreciation for life’s simplicities, culture and everyday surroundings.
“Even [if] we take art for granted, there is probably [a] local artist that has painted local walls that has gone unappreciated but it helps … when you can recognize that mural from any other city or state when you come back home,” said Delgado.