Francisco X. Alarcón

American poet and faculty at the University of California, Davis (1954-2016)

Francisco Xavier Alarcón (21 February 195415 January 2016) was a Chicano poet and educator.

Francisco X. Alarcón in 2011


  • I believe that I became a poet, a writer, when I was transcribing my grandma's songs in Mexico. I was about 15 years old. And my grandma used to sing with the mandolin a beautiful song that she used to play, and I thought at that point that she was basically singing from the old tradition of Mexico. But then I became aware that those were her own songs, but she had never written down the songs herself. So I decided to then transcribe the songs, and I would listen to her, and then write down the songs. They were very beautiful songs, in the Hispanic tradition of Guatecos and the ballads and so forth.
  • For me, a poem is not about ideas. It's never an idea that I have. It's basically an image or a sense, mostly images, that have to do with the senses, and so the five senses, and then from the image, then, you know, I have to write it down. And so, once I start writing, it's almost automatic, you know, the next line follows. It's not planning, I don't plan collections of poetry.
  • I will be reading the poetry and I will read it aloud because I will be, you know, whispering the poetry, because poetry, I really believe, has to do with a sense of communicating and the idea of reading the poem, giving life to the poem, is important, and so the old tradition is very important.

Quotes about Francisco X. Alarcón

  • The (Chicano) movement to me is now like a mosaic with all these little pieces. The little pieces are the ones that are now being activated so that a poet like Lorna Dee Cervantes is her own little miniature movement. Francisco Alarcón, Norma Alarcón, José Limón, all the people who are writing are carrying out the struggle against domination and subordination in the kinds of things they focus on-language, folklore, just anything.
    • Gloria E. Anzaldúa 1990 interview in Conversations with Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Writers edited by Hector A. Torres (2007)
Wikipedia has an article about: