Amalia Ortiz


Tejana poet and playwright Amalia Ortiz appeared on three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO. Amalia was awarded the 2020 American Book Award for Oral Literature. NBC Latino named her book Rant. Chant. Chisme. one of “10 Great Latino Books of 2015.” It won the 2015 Writers’ League of Texas Poetry Discovery Prize. Amalia was chosen to speak at TEDx McAllen 2015. She won an Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral Award and a writing residency at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. She is a CantoMundo Fellow, a Hedgebrook writer-in-residence alumna, and she was the inaugural performing-artist-in-residence at ArtPace in 2018. She was awarded a NALAC Fund for the Arts Grant to film music videos for her latest book The Canción Cannibal Cabaret & Other Songs (Aztlan Libre Press). Amalia received her MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. 

Artist Statement

As a Chicana feminist raised in the Rio Grande Valley, I express my heritage and politics through performance-poetry. My experience growing up on the border permeates my work. My roots are planted in Mexico, yet I am also completely American. My own hybridity compels me to mix distinct cultural forms in search of new areas of confluence. I utilize code-switching and Spanglish as well as US counter-cultural expression such as spoken word, punk rock, and hip-hop to craft narratives of the oppressed. My art is my activism aimed at galvanizing and inspiring civic action.

Culturally Specific Art Category

Select Culturally Specific Art Category:: Latino/a Art, Native American Art, Ethnically/Culturally Specific Art



  • NALAC Sponsored Videos from The Canción Cannibal Cabaret

Contact information



  • Black Men from The Canción Cannibal Cabaret

  • Bullets for the Truth - Third Root (featuring Amalia Ortiz & Queen Yonasda)