November 25, 2015//
Meet Natalia Treviño '90, MA '93. She's an acclaimed poet looking to use her creativity to shine a light on people in the shadows.
My professors were absolutely brilliant beyond my imagination. They completely expanded my idea of what literature is and how we can all be connected by it.”
– Natalia Trevino
When Treviño first arrived at UTSA in the late 1980s, she thought it was just a "starter school," where someone could complete their first two years of college before transferring to another school. But she found that nothing could be further from the truth. She fell in love with art and learning in UTSA's English department, where she began her studies in fiction writing.
"My professors were absolutely brilliant beyond my imagination," she said. "They completely expanded my idea of what literature is and how we can all be connected by it."
Treviño was drawn to poetry because she was fascinated by the challenge of compressing language and the opportunity to reach a broad audience using metaphors.
Her experience at UTSA was so valuable that she decided to stay to pursue an MA in fiction.
"Poetry crosses socioeconomic boundaries," she said. "Poets are the voices of the world."
Since Treviño's first years at UTSA, her mentor has been Wendy Barker, Pearl LeWinn Endowed Professor of Creative Writing. Treviño credits the long mentorship to simply "getting each other." As she celebrates the release of her first book of poems, Barker has released her sixth poetry collection.
"The reason I did it was Wendy," Treviño said. "She took me so far into poetry. Without her, I wouldn't have been able to reach where I wanted to be as a poet."
Originally from Mexico City, Treviño became a naturalized American citizen at 15 after living in San Antonio for 11 years. She's currently working on her first novel, Drinking the Bee Water, which tells the story of an immigrant mother in the U.S. Much of her work focuses on the immigrant experience, and she counts among her heroes Luis Urrea, who penned The Devil's Highway, a nonfiction book about a group of men who died attempting to cross the border.
"He documented the lives of the each one of those people," she said. "For the personal effort he made to recognize these people who otherwise would have just disappeared, he transformed my writing goals."
Treviño is an associate professor of English at Northwest Vista College, and a mother to a young son. She said that for her, like most writers, it's difficult to find the headspace to be creative.
"Our lives are so busy and complex on every level," she said. "I really get my inspiration when I calm down and experience gratitude. Then I can reach insights that give me nourishment to work out something in an artistic space."
Do you know someone at UTSA who is achieving great things? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we might consider your submission for an upcoming installment of Meet a Roadrunner.