Roberto Tejada is the award-winning poet and author of art histories that include National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment (Minnesota, 2009) and Celia Alvarez Muñoz (Minnesota, 2009); a Latinx poetics of the Americas, Still Nowhere in an Empty Vastness (Noemi, 2019), and catalog essays in Now Dig This!: Art and Black Los Angeles, 1960-1980 (Hammer Museum, 2011) and Allora & Calzadilla: Specters of Noon (The Menil Collection; Yale, 2021). His poetry appears in the collections Why the Assembly Disbanded (Fordham, 2022), Full Foreground (Arizona, 2012), Exposition Park (Wesleyan, 2010), Mirrors for Gold (Krupskaya, 2006), and Todo en el ahora (Libros Magenta, 2015), selected poems in Spanish translation. Tejada’s writing spans method, discipline, and form to address the political imagination and impurity of time in shared image environments; configurations of art, life, and language inclined to the future. He was awarded The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in Poetry (2021).
Tejada lived in Mexico City (1987-1997) where he worked as an editor of Vuelta magazine, the cultural monthly published by the late Nobel laureate Octavio Paz, and as executive editor of Artes de México, a quarterly detailing pre-conquest to contemporary Mexican art. He founded the multi-lingual literary journal Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas. Co-edited with Kristin Dykstra and Gabriel Bernal Granados, the publication featured innovative writing in its original language—English or Spanish—and high-quality translations of existing material, together with visual art and other forms of critical inquiry. All sixteen issues of the journal, together with a compilation of photographs, letters, and other related materials, are available in digital form at Northwestern University’s Open Door Archive.
He has taught at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), Dartmouth College, University of California San Diego, University of Texas Austin, SMU Meadows School of the Arts, Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, and the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College. Committed to poetics and open sites of cultural inquiry—regional, transnational, and diasporic—Tejada’s research and creative interests involve the language arts and image worlds of Latin America, especially Mexico, Brazil, the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, and other sites of U.S. Latinx cultural production. He is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor at the University of Houston where he teaches Creative Writing and Art History.