Interview with Jose Hernandez Diaz by Morgan Whitney and Tara Bromfield

Did you have a favorite tall/fairy tale growing up?

I don’t think I had a favorite fairy tale growing up. I liked the three little pigs story. The Billy Goats Gruff. The Jack and the Beanstalk tale. I was into Bible stories a lot, too, as a child growing up in a fairly religious, traditional Mexican American household. 

I also remember really loving the imagination and spontaneity of “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein in elementary school. I remember checking that book out quite often. I remember running to its spot in the library and that relieved feeling when I realized it was still available.

Do you have any favorite poets or authors whose works you read often?

Some of my favorite poets/authors are: James Tate, Octavio Paz, Marosa di Giorgio, Heather Christle, Ray Gonzalez, Claudia Rankine, Ada Limón, Russell Edson, Alberto Ríos, Eduardo C. Corral, Rosario Castellanos, Charles Simic, to name a few. I wouldn’t say I read them often right now as much of my current reading centers on work-related material, but they played a key role in my formative years as a young writer, figuring out my tastes, styles, and just general admiration.

Your three pieces deal in varying degrees of flight and movement. Is this common thread intentional, or something that came about individually in these specific pieces? 

I guess you could say flight is a common theme in my work. I’m interested in flight, escape, space, ether, the unknown, Mars, the stars, the sun, the moon, all of it.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I am deciding the cover for my forthcoming collection, Bad Mexican, Bad American with Acre Books, 2024. The pre-order link should be ready by October, and the book will be published around February 2024 in time for AWP 2024. Besides that, I have another collection, The Parachutist, which I have already picked the cover image for and which will be published at AWP 2025. I have two additional full manuscripts after that.

Other than that, I have been teaching online creative writing workshops with writing orgs like The Writer’s Center, Hugo House, Lighthouse Writers Workshops, and other places. I have been teaching workshops on surrealism, prose poetry, submissions, revision, Latinx poetry, and other topics. 


Jose Hernandez Diaz’s poems, “The Moon, 2050,” “Meeting James Tate in Heaven,” and “The Man and the Dragon” appeared in hex on March 7, 2022.