In this Paris Review interview, published in August 2018, José Olivarez discusses his poem, “There Are No White People in Heaven,” gentrification and the importance of writing poetry that speaks to his own generations. He states:
“A lot of the poems are about my family, my experience as a first generation Mexican-American Chicano, and I wanted to write poems that were not shameful, not ashamed. I wanted them to be poems that my brother wouldn’t be embarrassed to show his co-workers, that my mom could share with the family, with her co-workers, that my students would want to give to their friends. I didn’t want them to look at the poems and think wow, José is so ashamed of us, or, José is so sad to be a part of us. I am very proud of my people, where I come from, and my community. ”
The interview is titled after a poem by Olivarez, the first of two poems in The Adroit Journal, also featured on this OpenLab site.