Bonnie Ilza Cisneros is a fourth-generation Tejana educator in a line of South Texas teachers.
Bonnie holds a Creative Writing MFA from Texas State University, is a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop, and was awarded a NALAC artist grant in 2018.
Moonlighting as DJ Despeinada, she spins all-vinyl soundscapes of the borderlands and consciously centers women and BIPOC musicians in her sets.
Bonnie’s poems and essays appear in El Retorno, Chicana/Latina Studies, Porter House Review, Buckman Journal, River Teeth: A Journal of Nonfiction Narrative, and El Placazo Barrio Newspaper.
Her essay, “The Ana Files” was anthologized in Contemporary Creative Nonfiction, and she led a series of memoir workshops entitled Altar-ing at the San Antonio Public Library. She edited a collection of Altar-ing participants’ home altars, ancestral recipes, and personal playlists in a zine published by the Latino Collection and Resource Center.
Recently, she has been curating Siempre Verde, a quarantine DJ residency and art project at Evergreen Garden, recording radio shows for WFMU.org, and trying to stay healthy and creative in San Antonio with her partner, two m’ijas, and a flock of four gallinas.
University of the Incarnate Word, BA Interdisciplinary Studies, Concentration in English, 2000.
Portland Community College, 24 hours English/Screenwriting/ Film Studies, just for fun, 2006-2008.
Texas State University, MFA Creative Writing, Creative Nonfiction Thesis, 2017.
Texas Certified Teacher, Grades 1-8,
English Specialization, 2000 - always, hopefully.
Nathaniel Hawthorne Academy,
San Antonio Independent School District,
7th and 8th Grade ELA/Social Studies Teacher,
2003-2006 & again from 2009-2011.
El Placazo Barrio Newspaper Coordinator & Editor
2011 - 2012
Six issues of the publication with themes including Urban Farming, Ancestral Knowledge, Domestic Violence, Día de los Muertos, La Pinta, Sustainability, School to Prison Pipeline, Youth Empowerment, Graphic Design, Poesia y Performance, Oral History, Mural Projects.
2011 - now
Vinyl Me, Please brand ambassador,
coordinator of The Spins, a worldwide vinyl listening party
@ La Botánica & Luchador Bar
2017 - 2019
• "Altar-ing Con Nuestro Poder" Zine Workshop Series for Latinx Heritage Month 2021 at Chicago Public Library in collaboration with Daylily Alvarez & Jaime Bravo, Independence Branch. Zine Release March 2022.
• "Emergency Dance Break" Spotify playlist commissioned by radical joy coach Jordan Maney's Emergency Break Slumber Party, 2021.
• Bubble Fest at Home, 2021. Backyard DJ set filmed by Santiago Lopez IV/GIV Productions in San Anto, Texas for Ruby City + Spare Parts. JULY 2021
• "Take a Trip, but Come Home Soon." WFMU Radio Row Guest Spot #3, JULY 2021
• "Aretes in the Alley" for Centro San Antonio Peacock Alley Friyay Activation: DJ, concept & coordination. July 2021.
• "Boca Chica Beach, Texas: The Soundtrack." Spotify Mix for Our Ancestral Beach with Great Love for the water, the living beings, and all our stories. APRIL 2021
• "Raza y Rolas" Radio Xicanismo Interview & Mini DJ Set w/ Xico González. FEB 2021
• “Love Came Here and Never Left” WFMU.org Radio Row Guest Spot #2,. FEB 2021
• "The Beauty That Has Always Been Here: Tejana Rebirth, San Anto Style." Mixcloud Radio Show for Manny Castillo & All Who Loved Him. DEC 2020
• “Missing My Muertos” WFMU Radio Row Guest Spot #1, NOV 2020
• Bubble Fest at Home: Backyard DJ set filmed on a iPad taped to a shovel by Carlos Sanchez De La Garza in San Anto, Texas for Ruby City & SpareParts. SEPT 2020
• Altar-ing: A Latinx Memoir Workshop Zine. Editor, SA Public Library. SEPT 2020
• "Que Florezca la Luz, San Antonio" Luminaria 2018 Festival Catalogue & La Voz Vol 33, Issue 7.
• Porter House Review. “Bienvenidxs a San Anto: A Literary Guide to My Beloved City.” MAR 2020
• Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: An Anthology. Debra Monroe, Ed. In which “The Ana Files” is anthologized amongst the greats. 2019
• Grunge Tejana: An Altar of Artifacts for “The Ana Files.” Plancha Press. 2018
• River Teeth Journal, Vol. 19, No. 2 “The Ana Files.” 2018
• Buckman Journal. “South Texas Gift de Thrift.” 2018
• Deep in the Corazón. Master's of Fine Arts/Creative Writing Thesis, Texas State University. San Marcos, TX / 2018.
• Front Porch Journal. “Resilient Como Nopales.” 2016
• Front Porch Journal. “Preguntas for Ana Castillo.” 2016
• Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of MALCS. “How the Sábado Gigante Dancers Changed.” 2013
• Kuikatl: The Magazine of Aztlan Libre Press. “El Corrido de Azeneth y Esteban.” 2013
• El Retorno: Our Serpent’s Tongue. University of Texas RGV Press. “Ciudad Hermana / Sister City.” 2013
• Style Files: Ancestral Aesthetics of South Texas---Ayer, Hoy, y Siempre Teaching to Power Speaker Series, Dr. Sylvia Mendoza, UTSA Women's History Month, March 9, 2022.
• Nicho Sonido: Música for Grieving & Healing at Muertos Fest in Hemisfair Park October 23 & October 24, 2021.
• "Siempre Verde: Feeling & Healing in a Creative Mutual Aid Ecosystem in San Antonio, Texas During the Pandemic & Beyond." Field-Wide Conversation, National Association for Latino Arts and Culture: National Latin Summit. October 2, 2021.
• Save As: San Anto Archives, Altars, Arts, & Autohistoria in the Digital Age y Después. Guest Lecture at Dr. Sylvia Mendoza's Mexican American Studies Research / Feminist Research Methodologies class. April 1, 2021. UTSA.
• Tejanas Behind the Turntables: Spinning Cultural Context & Curating Selections. Presentation and Playlist, Northwest Vista College. 2020.
• Altar-ing: A Latinx Memoir Workshop Series, Latino Collection and Resource Center @ San Antonio Public Library. 2019.
• Border/Bordad: Writing, Embroidery, Creating Autohistoria in San Antonio, Latino Collection and Resource Center @ San Antonio Public Library w/ Laurie Ann Guerrero & Sarah Castillo. 2018.
• Chingona Fest. La Botánica, San Antonio, Texas. Workshops, DJs, Vendors, Poesia. w/ Denise Hernández, Cristina Martinez, Rebel Mariposa. 2016.
• Sandra Cisneros Archive Committee. Wittliff Collections, Texas State Univeristy, San Marcos, Texas. Archive Grand Opening and La Botánica Celebration. 2015.
• Dr. Carmen Tafolla Rebozos Publication Celebration. Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, San Antonio, Texas. Co-coordinated Event. 2012.
• Dr. Carmen Tafolla. San Pedro Springs Event. Co-coordinated event and Original Poem Performed by Dr. Tafolla. 2012.
• Noche de Poesia, Día de los Muertos Barrio Procession, Huevos Rancheros Gala. San Anto Cultural Arts. Co-coordinated events, 2010-2011.
• Love Lost and Found. Fiesta Me Molesta, Ugly Sweater Party at Saluté International Bar, N. St.Mary's Strip, San Anto, Texas. 2009-2011.
James E. Tilton Creative Writing Award, University of the Incarnate Word, 1999.
One-Act Play Festival. “The Ballad of Sad Antonio.” Portland Community College. 2009.
Macondo Writers Workshop, 2015.
National Association of Latino Arts & Culture, NFA Grantee, 2018.
by Josh Feola October 18, 2020
by Andie Mau March 31, 2021
In this two-part workshop series that culminates with the publication of a collaborative zine, we will learn the history of altars, the science of remembering, how creative nonfiction writing and Latinx music activates ancestral/cultural healing, and how we can archive ourselves digitally and in real life as an antidote to erasure.
We will document memories, build musical soundtracks for our muertos, create an altar, and collect our work in an archival zine published by Chicago Public Library.
From San Antonio to Chicago, and all around the world, /a cultura cura. Our cultural traditions, ancestral knowledge, and creative resilience is worth celebrating, honoring, and remembering.
I was asked to write about San Antonio for Porter House Review, and felt wary about putting all my sacred favorite spots on a platter for people coming to AWP 2020, so I found a way to offer suggestions, weave in backstory, and comment on the on-going erasure of SA cultural landmarks. I've received so much beautiful energy over the essay. It's been a dream:
Copyright © 2022 Bonnie Ilza Cisneros - All Rights Reserved.