© 2022 KALW 91.7 FM Bay Area
KALW Public Media / 91.7 FM Bay Area
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

As a child he crossed the border alone. Now, his poetry retells the story.

Ana Ruth Zamora, resized and recropped
Poet Javier Zamora


At age nine, Javier Zamora left his grandparent’s home in El Salvador and made the treacherous journey across the U.S.-Mexico border by himself.

He was looking to reunite with his parents. When he was little, they left El Salvador, fleeing the civil war that resulted in the deaths of 75,000 Salvadorans. It was a war that the United States was involved in — they helped arm and fund the right wing military.


Zamora is an accomplished poet and a Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University. His latest collection, Unaccompanied, chronicles his memories of El Salvador, his journey through the Sonoran Desert, and the difficulty of settling in a new land.


"With all the accolades that I've had, you may think that I am a 'good immigrant.' That this is what happens when the quote-unquote American dream is satisfied. I don't feel like I'm in no f—ing dream."

Javier Zamora will be reading at Alley Cat Books at 6:3o on Thursday, October 12, and at Litquake's Lit Crawl Saturday, October 14. 

Hannah Kingsley-Ma is a reporter and producer living in San Francisco.