Moncho Alvarado, MFA ’15

Moncho AlvaradoMoncho is a Cihuayollotl trans woman Xicanx poet, translator, visual artist, and educator.

She is the author of Greyhound Americans (Saturnalia Books, 2022), which was the winner of the 2020 Saturnalia Book Prize, selected by Diane Seuss. She has been published in Meridian, Foglifter, Lunch Ticket, 2018 Emerge Lambda Fellows Anthology,, and other publications. She is a recipient of fellowships and residencies from The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Lambda Literary, Poets House, Troika House, and the Summer Seminar at Sarah Lawrence College, and won the Academy of American Poets’ John B. Santoianni Award for Excellence in Poetry. She has been awarded the Thomas Lux Scholarship for dedication to teaching, demonstrated through writing workshops with youths in Sunnyside Community Services in Queens, New York. 

Can you describe your first inklings that you were a writer? How did you know?

When I was a kid, I would hear my family members tell cuentos that were small and big tales, while others were outright mentiras. I wanted to write their stories, those of a hard-working immigrant family dealing with issues of racism, xenophobia, discrimination, loves, heartbreak, and the joy of being in community.

Can you tell us about yourself and your background before you joined the MFA in Writing program at Sarah Lawrence?

I came from a hard-working immigrant family who lived in the projects and neighborhood of Pacoima, CA. I was a recent graduate with my BA, and I was working full time as a medical records clerk. I wanted to keep pursuing my dreams of being a writer and artist.

What made you choose to pursue your MFA at Sarah Lawrence?

It was the professors that taught there and the visiting writers.

Describe the MFA in Writing program using a simile.

The MFA program was like learning how to build a studio room in a garage.

Who influenced you most during your time in the program? Do you have a favorite professor, mentor, or class?

Tina Chang, Aracelis Girmay, Cathy Park Hong, Marie Howe, and Monica Youn.

Do you have any advice for current or prospective students?

Make sure to use your time wisely and remember why you chose to pursue your MFA.

Describe your career trajectory and what you are doing now.

I am looking to get my PhD and teach in the future. At the moment I am working full time for The Laundromat Project and prepping for the release of my first book that won the 2020 Saturnalia Book Prize judged by Diane Seuss.

Where can we find examples of your writing or purchase your books?