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Former Cañada Student Wins Literary Prize

Former Cañada College student Gerardo Pacheco has been named the 2012 Joseph Henry Jackson Award winner, a literary award offered annually to promising young California writers. The award is sponsored by the San Francisco Foundation and administered by Intersection for the Arts. Recipients receive $2,000.

Pacheco will be honored on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the Mechanics' Institute Library and Chess Room, City Lights Bookstore, 57 Post Street, in San Francisco. As part of the event, he will be reading his poetry. The reading is free and open to the public but space is limited.

Pacheco, who has been an active poet in the group "Poets Responding to SB 1070," is a candidate for the Master of Fine Arts - Poetry at San Francisco State University, where he is an apprentice of the craft of creative writing. He has published poems at Cipactli Magazine and Transfer Magazine, El Tecolote Newspaper, LA BLOGA Online Magazine, the Amistad Howard University Journal and Spillway Magazine. He received the Smart Cookie Scholarship in 2006.

Pacheco was born in Huhi, Yucatan, Mexico. He is a Mayan and migrated to the United States when he was 15 years old. He is the first in his family to graduate from high school and college.

Pacheco's writing is influenced by his Mayan, Mexican heritage, and his experience in the United States. He uses their magic and history to bridge worlds that have been in conflict not only linguistically but culturally and politically as well. Pacheco's writing also deals with the social and cultural hardships immigrant face in this nation.

In addition, Pacheco is passionate about studying and using Western, traditional forms of poetry such as villanelles, sestinas and sonnets in order to understand his role as a Latino, immigrant writer in the Creative Writing community.

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