Award Winners

Student Poetry Award - 2024

Jenni(f)fer Tamayo

from DORA

my mother told me a story about a woman in her town that died after she was bit by a rabid dog and no one was able to help her

In the story, the woman was really a girl, Dora, and by no one helped her my mothermeant the family and the State

According to my mother, the town watched the womangirl foam at the mouth for hours and then she died, like her body turned into a buttery sheen and melted into the pavement never to be seen again

an oily spot shimmerwound, the womangirl just disappeared into the

I remember thinking this girlwoman was a hero and
                                                                                                                                                                        Que le pasó al pero

It was my first question I wanted to ask with my whole entire body, what happened to the dog what happened to the dog what happened to the dog the dog the dog

how did the dog

hold all that medicine inside her

I mean, its fucked cuz this story is really about poverty and fear and contagion and the State’s dispossession of its own citizenry

It’s about how we are trained to abandon each other

It’s about the failed fathers and the failed mothers and the failed families who can only watch from the sidelines when our bodies writhe and foam and turn

but what happened to the dog

what happened to the dog

what happened to the dog

Lucy Ives on Jenni(f)fer Tamayo

Toys are us, and at the same time they are no one. They are objects of corporate seduction and deception, tokens of power, sweeteners that circulate in the globalized world bringing what Chris Gifford, the creator of Dora the Explorer, apparently called “comfort” to “places that are having a lot of difficulty right now,” e.g., Iraq, North Korea, Ecuador.

Dora the Explorer is a toyetic entity. This is to say that “she” is at once a cartoon and a series of purchasable effigies. In this searing selection, Dora is also a figure who appears in dreams to interpret the Dream Act of 2011, Charles Baudelaire (who wrote memorably about toys in an essay on “The Moral of the Stuffy”), Ida Bauer aka “Dora” of Sigmund Freud’s Fragments of an Analysis of a Case of Hysteria, along with “this American Pastoral Doily,” a white item for protecting the home that that appears “merely” decorative but is in fact intently militarized and mired in sexual and racial violence.

A speaker meets Dora in dreams. They traverse the unsaid together. The unsaid is huge and comes with gruesome music. The unsaid is the story of a girl who may also be named Dora, a middle-class child living in Bogota whose community allowed her to die after she allegedly experienced a bite from a rabid dog. It is also the story of the speaker’s mother, who was assaulted as an adolescent. It is a story about how, as James Baldwin wrote, “Revenge is not among the human possibilities,” but that doesn’t mean the fantasy won’t replay incessantly, keeping us awake even, or especially, within our dreams.


Jenni(f)fer Tamayo (JT) is a poet and performer whose works reimagine the narratives about and politics of unruly, undocumented figures in the contemporary U.S. In their books, performances, and digital media, the “illegal” immigrant is recast as a punk figure that queers the norms of personhood and citizenship. They are the author of the visual art & poetry collections [Red Missed Aches] (Switchback Books), YOU DA ONE (Noemi Press), and to kill the future in the present (Green Lantern Press) Their most recent book is bruise/bruise/break. They are a formerly undocumented, uninvited visitor born on Muisca territory (Bogota, Colombia) and are currently building a temporary home/skool—wayward—on the stolen land of the Yesàh Confederacy.