Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutiérrez is inspired by the silent and silenced voices of history and herstory. Her latest collection, Inlay with Nacre: The Names of Forgotten Women, was awarded the Willow Books’ 2018 Editor’s Choice Poetry Selection and a 2016 Oregon Literary Fellowship. Cindy was selected by Poets & Writers Magazine as a 2014 Notable Debut Poet for her collection, the small claim of bones (Bilingual Press/Arizona State University), which placed second in the 2015 International Latino Book Awards. She received the 2017 Oregon Book Award for Drama for her play Words That Burn.
Cindy's poems have appeared in Borderlands, Calyx, Crab Orchard Review, Harvard’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México’s Periódico de poesía, Portland Review, Quiddity, and ZYZZYVA. Her work has been anthologized in Basta: 100+ Latinas Against Gender Violence (University of Nevada) and Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace (Lost Horse Press).
Accompanied by pre-Columbian musican Gerardo Calderón, Cindy has performed her Aztec-inspired poems at the 2009 Associated Writers Program (AWP) Conference in Chicago as well as at Northwest libraries, colleges, and museums through the Humanities Washington Inquiring Mind series as well as Multnomah and Clackamas County Library community programs. Her poems have been exhibited in the Confluence Gallery in Twisp, Washington; the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington; the Newport Visual Arts Center in Newport, Oregon; and the Tillamook Forest Center in Tillamook, Oregon.
Cindy's dramatic work In the Name of Forgotten Women enjoyed a sold-out run at CoHo Productions in Portland, Oregon in 2022. Dramatizing poetry accompanied by live music, movement and projection, this dynamic "choreopoem" explores the global oppression of women and testifies to their resilience in 15 countries around the world. Her award-winning play Words That Burn premiered at Milagro Theatre in Portland, Oregon in 2014. Words That Burn was recorded by OPB for Literary Arts' Archive Project in 2018 and was produced at the Linkville Playhouse in Klamath Falls, Oregon and at the Merc Playhouse in Twisp, Washington in 2017. Her play A Dialogue of Flower & Song was featured in the 2012 GEMELA (Spanish and Latin American Women’s Studies—pre-1800) Conference co-sponsored by the University of Portland and Portland State University.
Cindy earned an MFA from the University of Southern Maine Stonecoast Program with concentrations in Mesoamerican poetics, drama, and creative collaboration. A passionate educator, she has taught creative writing to youth in every grade from K-12 through the Bernstein Artful Learning Program, Methow Arts Alliance, Portland Art Museum, Right Brain Initiative, Wordstock, and Writers in the Schools. She has facilitated adult poetry workshops and seminars through Annie Bloom's Books, the Attic Institute, Literary Arts' Delve Seminars, the LiTFUSE Poets’ Workshop, the Oregon Council for Teachers of English, the Oregon Poetry Association, USM’s Stonecoast MFA Program, and the Washington State Poet Laureate's One River, Many Voices project. Cindy is a founder of Los Porteños, Portland’s Latino writers’ collective; Confluence Poets, a poetry cohort in Washington's Methow Valley; and El Grupo de ’08, a Lorca-inspired, Northwest collaborative-artists’ salon.
Photo: © Russell J Young