One of The University of Texas-Pan American's undergraduate student poets was selected to have four poems in a forthcoming publication edited by award-winning poet and writer Naomi Shihab Nye.
Lauren Espinoza, a senior at UTPA majoring in English, was chosen as one of 25 young poets in the nation to be featured in the anthology titled "Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25."
"I was so excited to find out that my poetry had been selected," Espinoza said. "I immediately called Emmy Perez, my poetry professor, and thanked her so much for all her help. I'm also grateful to Rob Johnson who told me about the submission opportunity. Finding out my poetry was going to be published really humbled me and made me feel like what I was doing was worth it."
Dr. Emmy Perez, assistant professor of English, said the selection was a great honor for Espinoza and all of the poets across the nation.
"I have been impressed with Lauren's poetry since I first became aware of it a few years ago. As a student, Lauren often elevates class discussion in my courses because she is an astute reader and thinker," Perez said. "She also cares very much about excellence and complexity in her poetry and performances. She has performed, studied and collaborated with graduate student writers in the community, campus and conference presentations."
The 24-year-old McAllen native said she felt very fortunate to have the opportunity to take graduate courses as an undergraduate student, which she feels helped her in her writing.
"The professors and my classmates that were involved in these (graduate) classes really pushed me to reach for a higher level of proficiency in my poetry. By taking these classes and sometimes auditing them, I was able to make a great group of friends - sort of like a poetry support group," Espinoza said.
Perez said the accomplishment is evidence of Espinoza's talent and the quality of students at UTPA.
"It isn't very often that work by such young writers is selected for publication by such a well-accomplished editor/poet at a major publishing house," Perez said. "Lauren's forthcoming poem publications are a testament to her love of her craft and her continued potential."
Nye is a poet, essayist and novelist. She has received a Lannan Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and four Pushcart Prizes. Her collection "19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East" was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is the author of two acclaimed novels for teens, "Habibi" and "Going Going," and her essay "Maintenance" appeared in "The Best American Essays," 1991, edited by Joyce Carol Oates.