After coming from Peru almost 20 years ago, Roy Chavez Alvarado is making a name for himself in Carson City.
Alvarado competed against 85 writers from across the state to win the Nevada Arts Council's $5,000 literary art fellowship.
"I feel great. I never expected to be a winner," Alvarado said."It gives me the desire to do better."
Alvarado, 45, said he has been writing since he was 16, but stopped for 10 years. He began writing again about two years ago.
"People used to tell me not to quit my day job," Alvarado said. "It looks like I'm doing something right."
Fellowship panelists C. Travers Scott and Juan Felipe Herrera described Alvarado's poetry as "consistently creative, innovative and a fascinating cross-cultural experience."
The poems Alvarado sent to the council were about politics, society and women.
"I grew up with six sisters, so I have a lot to say about women," he said.
Alvarado works with a local literary organization called the Ash Canyon Poets and said his friends there encouraged him to apply for the fellowship.
"The people I work with at Ash Canyon were happy someone from the group got it. It benefits me and the people that surround me," Alvarado said.
When asked what he enjoyed about writing poetry Alvarado said, "I enjoy everything - every good line, every bad line."
Alvarado said he plans to buy more books and taking more classes to become a better writer.
Alvarado writes in both Spanish and English, but says he can't merely translate his poetry from one language to another.
"The two languages express emotions differently, so I have to do a lot of rewriting."
Fran Morrow, of the council's artist services, said the Artist Fellowship program was established in 1988 and is "highly competitive.
"The fellowship gives them (recipients) recognition and a lot of the time it helps them get published," Morrow said.
Recipients were chosen by panels comprising artists from western states who met at the Brewery Arts Center and reviewed 178 applications - 85 in literary arts, 27 in performing arts and 66 in visual arts.
Morrow said the $5,000 award is to support creative exploration and develop their artwork.
Recipients are expected to give a public presentation of their work within a year.
Honorable mentions went to Connie Voisine of Carson City for poetry and Cameron Crain of Virginia City for theater direction.
The street is a laugh
stolen from the day,
that has wounded us
cruel with its sting,
that exiles us from ourselves.
But the night is some lips
that search for other lips in a kiss
from all the loneliness
and they crowd together for the freedom,
under the lights of the city that welcomes them.
There, excited sidewalks
see the human kind pass in its essence.
While love rises,
like a sad star, falls, lost in a tear,
the flower that doesn't sprout.
Dec. 27, 2000