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Author Spotlight: Jean-Pierre Rueda

Amor entre aguaceros/Love between downpours | $20 | Alegría Publishing |

November 2023

DM author through @poetatico on Instagram for signed copies.

Copies available through publisher here.


What is poetry for you?

Poetry is a window and a mirror. It enhances our senses through the challenge and invitation of reading someone else’s life experiences. It is a door leading to empathy and understanding.

Poetry gave me a voice when I was undocumented, helped me speak from such place of adversity and armed me with opportunities to learn from my immigrant experience.

What are some key themes present in your book?

The key themes in my book are nostalgia, homesickness, family, memory impressions, and identity.


What was the impetus for this body of work?

My friend and poet, Adrian Ernesto Cepeda, brought up the topic of memory migration during one of our conversations about poetry. He mentioned the power memories have to shape our imagination and how poetry feeds from this intention.

I kept thinking about my reliance on objects, photographs, family, stories and nature reinforcing memories that keep me close to Costa Rica. I found myself traveling back in time with the intention of piecing together as much of my past as my memory allowed and my poetry could show. Throughout my collection, the rain is used as a catalyst for some of my deepest moments of contemplation.


What was your writing process? Your editing process? Did you adopt a unique process for this book, or do you have a “go-to” approach for all your writing?

Some poems came to me after speaking with my family members, remembering through them and some others arrived during instances where an object, such as the coffee mug in my first poem Time in a coffee mug/El tiempo en una taza de café, took me on a journey of introspection similar to Proust’s madeleine.

I wrote some shorter poems as prologues to longer pieces and included photographs that I took during my writing process. I wanted the reader to have more windows to look at my book from and share places that inspired my writing directly.

One of the most important decisions for this book came with making it truly bilingual. I would write one version in Spanish and then approach the same idea in English. While they are presented in both versions and translated, each poem is its own experience once read. I want my poetry to be as inviting to those readers who speak one language and to those who can speak both.

How did writing this book transform you?

English is my adopted language and sometimes I feel like there’s glass between my words and my voice. Writing this book definitely helped me face that feeling and embrace the fact that such vulnerability leads to authenticity.

I’ve performed poetry from this collection live in different environments, from film festivals to open mic events, and there’s this feeling of community when I hear a snap from someone’s fingers after a line in Spanish and then another one when I read an English one. I feel like the glass is gone when I read in front of people and I let poetry translate what I’ve experienced.


What are your favorite lines from your book?

“The moon has brown eyes

and they look at summer

with curious delight”


“My teacher molds

a tiny copper bird

with clay of words”


“Antes de retirarme, Nostalgia abre sus manos

y me muestra el corazón de mi infancia

diciéndome que seguramente se me cayó

en algún lugar entre California y de donde vengo”


“Y le otorgaré un anillo de agradecimiento a la melancolía

que le permite a mi país ser un colibrí esmeralda de cola blanca

mariposeando en el bosque lluvioso de mi corazón”


Jean-Pierre Rueda is a Costa Rican poet and writer based in Compton, California.

Jean-Pierre released his first Spanish poetry collection Herencias through Alegría Publishing

in 2021. His book discusses love, family, heritage and celebrates historical Latinx figures as monuments of artistic and cultural success.

Jean-Pierre released Amor entre aguaceros/Love between downpours on November 2023 through Alegría Publishing.

Jean-Pierre Rueda writes poetry to build bridges between his experiences as a Costa Rican immigrant growing up in California and the importance of art in the Latinx community to maintain their heritage alive.

Photo credit: Juan Escobedo


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