José Olivarez — No Time to Wait

Poetry Unbound

May 26 2023 • 11 mins

In a church there are liturgies and prayers and statues. But in José Olivarez’s poem, there are more urgent things taking place, things that have “no time to wait.”

José Olivarez is the son of Mexican immigrants.  He is the author of Promises of Gold, a collection of poems. His debut book of poems, Citizen Illegal, was a finalist for the PEN/Jean Stein Award and a winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize. It was named a top book of 2018 by The Adroit Journal, NPR, and the New York Public Library. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he co-edited the poetry anthology,The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT. He is the co-host of the poetry podcast, The Poetry Gods. In 2018, he was awarded the first annual Author and Artist in Justice Award from the Phillips Brooks House Association and named a Debut Poet of 2018 by Poets & Writers. In 2019, he was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. His work has been featured in The New York Times, The Paris Review, and elsewhere

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We’re pleased to offer José Olivarez’s poem, and invite you to connect with Poetry Unbound throughout this season.