September 21, 2023
The Academy of American Poets awarded the 2023 Ambroggio Prize to Margarita Pintado Burgos for Ojo en Celo / Eye in Heat. Alejandra Quintana Arocho translated the collection. The is $1,000 prize is given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. The winning manuscript is published by the University of Arizona Press, a nationally recognized publisher of award-winning works of emerging and established voices in Latinx and Indigenous literature, as well as groundbreaking scholarship in Latinx and Indigenous studies. Established in 2017, the Ambroggio Prize is the only annual award of its kind in the United States that honors American poets whose first language is Spanish. This year’s judge was Achy Obejas.
Obejas commented on the work: “The phrase ‘eye in heat’ can have a few different meanings. It can refer to a state of intense sexual desire, but it can also refer to a heightened awareness and excitement. Here, the phrase is used to describe the speaker’s state of mind as they try to make sense of the world around them. The speaker is both attracted to and repelled by the world. The poems here capture the poet’s intense desire to find meaning in this paradox.”
Margarita Pintado Burgos, a professor, poet, and essayist, was born on January 16, 1981, in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. She was raised in this municipality’s barrios of Cerro Gordo and Braulio Dueño. She studied journalism at the University of Puerto Rico and completed her doctorate in Spanish at Emory University.
Pintado Burgos’ published books include Simultánea, la marea (Blurb, 2022); Una muchacha que se parece a mí (Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 2016), for which she received the poetry award in a contest held by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 2015; and Ficción de venado (la secta de los perros, 2012). With Cuban poet Lorenzo García Vega, Pintado cowrote the experimental novel Ping-Pong Zuihitsu, published by Indiana University Press. She edited the bilingual (Spanish-Portuguese) anthology of García Vega poems, Palabras que repito (Ed. Lumme, 2017). Pintado Burgos’s poems have also been published in multiple anthologies and magazines.
Pintado Burgos is a professor of language and literature at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. She is also a reviewer for the blog El Roommate and co-director of a poetry space called Distrópika. In 2022, she was named an inaugural Letras Boricuas Fellow by the Flamboyan Foundation.
We are thrilled to be publishing this award-winning collection. Congratulations, Margarita!