When We Were Seeds:
Poetry for Current Times

with Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo in Highland Park

Highland Park
7:00 to 9:00 pm
July 22 to September 16, 2019
(with no class on September 2)

“They tried to bury us, but they didn’t know we were seeds.” – Mexican proverb

Poets will read, analyze, and discuss contemporary poetry from women, people of color, and queer writers as models and inspiration for cultivating their own poems of resistance, persistence, and celebration. During this eight-week workshop, each meeting will begin with a short lesson on a poetry tool such as line, imagery, or metaphor before workshopping original pieces from the group. Each session will also include a writing exercise poets can experiment with at home. 

This class is open to students at all levels and will take place at Book Show in Highland Park, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.

Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 for new students; $380 for returning students.
(Payment plans available to returning students.)

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Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and the author of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications 2016). A former Steinbeck Fellow, Poets & Writers California Writers Exchange winner, and Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grantee, she’s received residencies from Hedgebrook, Ragdale, National Parks Arts Foundation and Poetry Foundation. A Macondo Writers’ Workshop member, she has work published in Acentos Review, CALYX, crazyhorse, and American Poetry Review among others. A dramatization of her poem "Our Lady of the Water Gallons," directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño, can be viewed at latinopia.com. She is a cofounder of Women Who Submit and a member of Miresa Collective.  


“Taking a class with Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo was inspiring. Xochitl is able to create a supportive space so each student pushes past their comfort zone to write meaningful work. The poems she uses to teach her classes are very compelling: she knows the poets and their backgrounds well. It gave me a picture of what a writer is, and thus, who I am as a writer. I am really grateful to have found a teacher who is simultaneously supportive and challenges me to do better and better work.” —Cybele Garcia Kohel

“Poetry II was my first workshop at WWLA and my first time working with Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo. Xochitl's vision and direction for the class were right up my alley—as a teacher, she is open yet directed, stimulating and positive. I hope to take more classes with her at WWLA.” —Helena Lipstadt

“Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo's Lyricism from Chaos seminar was an eye-opening look at what poetry can do. Xochitl offered so many wonderful poems and ideas for us to discuss, and her facilitation style is warm and welcoming. We got time to write and share as well, so it was very productive! I highly recommend any class with Xochitl!” —Hazel Kight Witham

Reviews of Posada: Offerings of Witness and Refuge


"I am moved by Xochitl-Julisa's work, her embrace of familia, of places long gone and present, of abandoned things too, near or in a neighborhood house yet filled with luminous power as a 'black lava molcajete,' a 'mano,' and many kinds of cacti-enduring, inscrutable, fierce, & makers of nectar. Perhaps her verses are gazing at the border-crosser—perhaps at you and me. I found joy in Bermejo's work, her caring journeys, places I have traveled. Her touch is that of an artist. Unique, light, and expansive in its humanity. Bravissimo, Xochitl-Julisa!" —Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States

"Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo's poems are a haunting vortex from Mexican America, detailed with the items we share, the stories, the names, the old country memories, and also deserts, many, many deserts. Her voice is formidable, her language clear and complex at the same time. Here's a millennial poet that goes beyond the millennium." —Luis J. Rodriguez, Poet Laureate of Los Angeles and Founding Editor of Tia Chucha Press

"Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo's poems rattle the heart, jolt the mind. Moving from the 'tender emerald bites' of nopales shared around a table to the brutal desert terrain crossed by immigrants, she interrogates the intimate and the political. Inventive, glimmering with Spanish, her language punctures silence and makes visible resilience. Her language is also curious; it's shaped by the work of Georgia O'Keeffe and Frida Kahlo, and it cruises through the city of Los Angeles. These poems weren't written to provide solace. These poems will break you in a thousand beautiful ways." —Eduardo C. Corral, 2011 Yale Younger Poets Prize winner for Slow Lightning