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
• "Raza y Rolas" Radio Xicanismo Interview & Mini DJ Set w/ Xico González. FEB 2021
• “Love Came Here and Never Left” WFMU.org Radio Show. FEB 2021
• “Missing My Muertos” WFMU.org Radio Show. NOV 2020
• Bubble Fest at Home: Backyard DJ Set. 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: A Zine Altar to “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.” 20
• 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.
• Altar-ing: A Latinx Memoir Workshop Series, Latino Collection and Resource Center @ San Antonio Public Library.
• Border/Bordad: Writing, Embroidery, Creating Autohistoria in San Antonio, Latino Collection and Resource Center @ San Antonio Public Library w/ Laurie Ann Guerrero & Sarah Castillo.
• Chingona Fest. La Botánica, San Antonio, Texas. Workshops, DJs, Vendors, Poesia. w/ Denise Hernández, Cristina Martinez, Rebel Mariposa.
• Sandra Cisneros Archive Committee. Wittliff Collections, Texas State Univeristy, San Marcos, Texas. Archive Grand Opening and La Botánica Celebration.
• Dr. Carmen Tafolla Rebozos Publication Celebration. Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, San Antonio, Texas. Co-coordinated Event.
• Dr. Carmen Tafolla. San Pedro Springs Event. Co-coordinated event and Original Poem Performed by Dr. Tafolla.
• Noche de Poesia, Día de los Muertos Barrio Procession, Huevos Rancheros Gala. San Anto Cultural Arts. Co-coordinated events.
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
I adapted my NALAC-funded MAS curriculum for a community workshop that filled up quickly, and at one point had a waiting list of 20+ más o menos.
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 © 2021 Bonnie Ilza Cisneros - All Rights Reserved.