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Author Spotlight: Gume Laurel III

| May 2024 | Mouthfeel Press |

ISBN: 978-1957840246 | 82 pp. } $ 18.00

What are some key themes present in your book?

Something I was completely unaware of until sending my book out for blurbs was how heavy the theme of grief is in it. Grief being a key theme wasn’t my intention at all, but after going over the book with that in mind, I do see much of it, especially in the first half of the book. I believe this is due to the forced assimilation and indoctrination resulting in the subsequent loss of identity referenced throughout the book. From broken Spanish, to broken family trees. Much is to be grieved, but, as the resolution portion of the book shows the reader, much is to be celebrated and embraced in reclaiming one’s identity, especially in the face of opposition.

Can you describe the environment(s) where you wrote your book? This could be the room, the desk, the city, an MFA program, a fellowship, or any other environmental factor (you only wrote when it rained, you always wrote with fresh flowers in the room, etc.).

These are poems I wrote over the course of several years. All started out as rough drafts in the Memos App on my phone. Many poems were written during unexpected moments:  while gassing up my car on a road trip, a bench along the San Antonio Riverwalk, the dark corner of a warehouse rave at 3am. Poems decide when they want to be born. It’s a poet’s duty to deliver them.

What’s your favorite line(s) from your book?

“I have a heart of rose gold.” …I feel this perfectly expresses the balance of masculine and feminine energy I carry.

Is there a connection to your past in your book?

The book is a deep-dive into identity, which in this collection of poems suggests to be the sum of my experiences and the experiences of those I descend from echoing in me. Be it joys, traumas, tastes, or dreams, each moment leading up to where I stand now are the pieces of my identity.

You can often tell a lot about a book by how it begins and how it ends. What is the first line and last line of your book?

First line: I am not first generation American. I am third.

Last line: Never forget.

How did you get into writing? Can you pinpoint a memory where it all began for you?

I’ve been a storyteller since before I could write. I remember drawing (let’s say, abstract) cartoon characters and telling detailed stories about the characters to whoever was around to listen. As I grew up, storytelling for me manifested through writing. During high school, it also manifested through film production. Ultimately, writing has become my preferred method for storytelling. Being able to take words and paint pictures with them is a fun and challenging artform.

Do you have any advice for new and emerging writers? Is there anything you wish you knew?

Self-doubt is normal. Pain from others rejecting your work is normal. Wanting to quit is normal. Quitting is normal… so long as you stop being overly dramatic about it and get back to writing when you’re ready to. Pausing to reflect on, and work your way out of, these painful emotions is normal. Many folk think that writers write no matter what. And this is true. But the other half of that truth is the space in which writers pause to deal with the negative emotions that come with creating art and sharing that art with the world.

Do you have a new project that you’re working on? Could you tell us a bit about it?

My next publication will be August 1, 2024, titled The Brujos of Borderland High, published by West 44 Books. It’s a young adult urban fantasy hi-lo verse novel heavily influenced by growing up in the Rio Grande Valley, with a magical twist. The story takes place in an alternate version of Texas, along the border.



Here’s the synopsis: High school is rough for a gay teen brujo going through his first breakup. And Alejandro’s supernatural ability to see the past with the use of his tarot cards makes it so the past is all he ever really focuses on. Alejandro would like to pour his passion into piano to prepare for the upcoming winter recital, but bizarre supernatural forces seem out to get him. When a time-traveling demon arrives with a mission to stop the upcoming high school winter recital from taking place, Alejandro must focus on the future to slay the demon, save the recital, and maybe get a second chance at love.


Book cover:


Gume is a Texan, native to the Rio Grande Valley on the southernmost border. For the past decade, he has dedicated himself to crafting literary works that promote inclusion and showcase diverse characters with intersectional identities. The bulk of Gume’s writings are focused on underrepresented groups, especially those from the communities he is a part of: Latine and queer. When he isn’t writing, Gume can be found getting lost on a hiking trail with his dogs Blu and Mouse. 


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