Sandra Cisneros
Writer
Born: Chicago, Illinois

Author of The House on Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek, Caramelo, and several poetry collections, Sandra Cisneros has emerged as one of the most influential Latina writers of our time. Her works explore feminism, religion, poverty, and oppression in mainstream society.

“The greatest influences on me were the Chicago Public Library and my mother who made sure we had library cards before we even knew how to read.”

Cisneros’ childhood was beset with ires y venires (comings and goings) between Mexico and the United States. Consequently, she often felt lonely and displaced. Years later, at graduate school in Iowa, Cisneros experienced more alienation and culture shock.

“I found my writing voice after I realized I didn’t want to write like my classmates and teachers. I wanted to create literature that would be enjoyed by everyone, by laborers like mi padre, by taxi drivers, even children.”

“I always tell my writing students that they need to write as if they were wearing their pajamas. To write as if they were talking to the one person they wouldn’t have to get dressed for. That’s their writing voice, and they should write from that place first.”


 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

Sandra Cisneros, writer. Photograph by Celia Alvarez Muñoz, taken at the Cisneros residence, San Antonio , Texas

Sandra Cisneros, writer. Photograph by Celia Alvarez Muñoz, taken at the Cisneros residence, San Antonio, Texas

Cisneros also gives a voice to those who are straddling two worlds, two loyalties.

“I feel as much Mexican as American. I think of it this way: we’re all products of a mother and a father, and loving one does not negate our love for the other.”

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Copyright© 2004 Smithsonian Institution