Sasha Pimentel

Photo by Jorge Salgado.


Sasha Pimentel is the author of two collections of poetry: For Want of Water (2017, Beacon Press), winner of the National Poetry Series (selected by Gregory Pardlo), winner of the Helen C. Smith Award, and longlisted for the PEN/Open Book Award; and Insides She Swallowed (2010, West End), winner of the American Book Award. She has published poems and essays in The New York TimesPBS News Hour, ESPN, The American Poetry Review, New England Review, and Literary Hub, and other literary publications. In 2015, Pimentel was chosen by U.S. Poet Laureates Charles Wright, Philip Levine and Mark Strand as a finalist for the Rome fellowship (Academy of Arts and Letters). She is the 2018-2019 Picador Guest Professor in Literature at Institut für Amerikanistik at Universität Leipzig in Germany.

Born in Manila, Philippines and raised in the United States and Saudi Arabia, Pimentel is an Associate Professor in the bilingual Department of Creative Writing, and associated faculty in the [Chicanx] Studies Program, at the University of Texas at El Paso. 

Winner of the University of Texas System’s Board of Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award, Pimentel teaches contemporary poetry, poetry writing and creative nonfiction writing, with research foci on the poetics of immigration, ethnicity, gender, class and migration.

She lives (more permanently) in El Paso, Texas with her husband, the historian Michael Topp, on the border of Ciudad Juárez, México.

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  • Immigration, Ethnicity and Citizenship: Contemporary Poetries That Sing from U.S. Histories and Ahistories

  • Poetic Voice and Sight in Race, Class, Immigration and Gender

  • Studies of Tension and Momentum in Class and Form in the Works of Truman Capote and Philip Levine

  • The Harlem Renaissance as Root and Flower


  • "Bodies, Borders, and Our Spaces Between Boundaries"

  • "Patricia Smith’s ‘Sagas of the Accidental Saint’: The Sequence Poem, Docupoetics and Histories of Racial Violence" 

  • "Acts of Resistance and Intersections of Border"

  • "The Undersong in Poetry"

  • "Becoming a Poet and Committing to a Life in the Arts"


  • "Edward Hirsch’s Gabriel and the Weight of Elegiac Song"

  • "The Mercy: Our Long Autumn Journey After Philip Levine"

  • "Crossing [American Pacific Islander American] Boundaries" 

  • "¡Bi, Bi, Monolingualism!"