Updated: May 9
By Chris Ramos
When poet Carlos Rodriguez mentors young poets he tells them, “Don’t deny the creative side — embrace it and let it flourish.”
Rodriguez, a San Antonio Poet Laureate nominee, gave a poetry reading April 19 hosted by the University Library. The poems, Rodriguez said, are based on real life experiences. Topics ranged from positive and negative life experiences such as a friend’s experience with cancer, a trip to the Mexico/U.S. border and light heartfelt poem titled “GI Joe’s marriage to Barbie.”
Rodriguez, who is employed as a helpdesk assistant at Texas A&M-San Antonio and publishes under the pen name Rod C. Stryker, is the author of “Exploits of a Sun Poet” published by Pecan Grove Press in 2003.
The work has been locally recognized; he is the recipient of the San Antonio Current best book 2005 and Barnes and Noble author of the month February 2003.
The San Antonio Laureate selection process was made up of a selection committee comprised of four accomplished and nationally recognized poets from across the country who reviewed the nominations and made the unanimous selection.
On April 3, Mayor Julián Castro appointed Dr. Carmen Tafolla as San Antonio’s Inaugural Poet Laureate. Tafolla, an internationally published poet and writer, has written more than 20 books, including five books of poetry. The responsibility of the San Antonio Poet Laureate includes hosting events to promote poetry and the literary arts in along with organizations such as Gemini Ink and City of San Antonio Departments.
Rodriguez was informed through a letter from the office of Cultural Affairs that he was nominated for San Antonio’s first poet laureate.
“I was just honored to be nominated,” Rodriguez said.
The San Antonio poet laureate nomination process opened in November of 2011 and ended January 17. Fifteen eligible poets were nominated.
About 30 students, faculty and staff, seated in the shade outside the library doors, listened to Rodriguez’s poems.
A lectern with microphone were ready for use, but Rodriguez strayed from the formality, projecting his voice instead.
English graduate student Erika Rendon said she enjoyed that the reading came from true events in Rodriguez’s life.
Rodriguez began writing poetry 30 years ago when he was 15 years old. He said he was inspired by the poem “In memory of radio” by Amiri Baraka, an American Poet.
In high school, he said he liked computers and enjoyed fixing things. He attended San Antonio college and learned computer programming and networking. His passion to write poetry remained the same.
Rodriguez is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from University of Texas at San Antonio and an associate’s in server administration from Northwest Vista College.
Rodriguez founded the Sun Poet Society, a local poetry organization, which holds open mic poetry readings every Tuesday and workshops every second Thursday of the month at Barnes and Noble, 321 NW Loop 410.
English senior Teresa Ruiz, who also writes poetry, said she felt inspired by the performance.
“You have to listen to your muse,” Ruiz said.
Knight in Shining Chanclas
of El Ranchito,
forehead on his knees,
knows the importance
of love unconditional,
the pain of
iron chanclas rusting
in the closet;
the frustration it brings.
Still he remains seated,
knees to forehead
waiting for his unconditional
love to return.
baking in the
Texas triple-digit blues.
He fools himself
into believing he’s tricked
persuaded the lie
of polished chanclas
and authentic happiness.
But look under
the wide-brimmed hat,
into the tear-stained
and know the truth,
feel the loss.
if it’s yours to spare,
by Rod C. Stryker
For more information on Poetry Month, visit University Library events.