Cumpián’s Collection

Carlos Cumpián is the author of five books of poetry, including his most recent, Human Cicada

To find out more about his other books, visit here.

"There is a distinct and engaging voice in Human Cicada, one rooted in mythic history and contemporary street sensibilities. Whether wanderlust or trickster traveler, Cumpián reveals a magnificant world, one populated by Mayan gods, Amish hippies, and Chicano city slickers. Irreverent, impassioned, balanced with joy -- there's something deeply sacred going on in these poems."

~ Denise Sweet, former Wisconsin Poet Laureate 

“Cumpián’s (poetry) creates a persona merging barrio tough and intellectual. Like his rhythmic bilingual idiom, his representations switch classes and codes, cross borders and colonies of cultural conflict.”

~ Sheldon Silver-Letter Ex Chicago’s Poetry Newsletter


“Carlos Cumpián is a voice out of Third-World Chicano Chicago, filled with memories of a cumulative Hispano-American past…never forgetting the pre-Columbian richness of his heritage. Cumpián is also keenly aware of geopolitical imbalances between fat-cat First World and lean-cat Third World countries, and this awareness universalizes his voice into a syncretic force of far-reaching power.”

~ Choice Magazine


“Here are poems of the language leapers and syntax shakers, the bien crazy y muy cool, archangels of desire, forgotten wise and remembered foolish. Blessed are these, because here is their “gladiator-in-the-desert,” armed with magic markers and spray paint…neither hoity, ni siquiera toity, in the best tradition of the spoken word. In the beginning was la palabra, and brother, it was good.”

~ Sandra Cisneros author of The House on Mango Street and My Wicked, Wicked Ways


Carlos Cumpian’s poems are brave, funny and passionate tales of all our lives.

~ Achy Obejas, author of Memory Mambo


Carlos Cumpián’s poetry ennobles the Chicano people’s genius for survival by honoring the enduring spirits of the plants and animals that have given rascuachismo dignity and even its own aesthetics. The armadillo joins the nopal, las cucarachas, the brown buffalos and barrio derelict dogs that have sustained our people since the days of Chichimekas.

~ José Montoya- artist & poet RCAF, author of 20 years of Joda


Carlos Cumpián writes poems brimming with Chicano life, full of anger, humor and irony. The explosive energy of these poems flows into a vision of justice, gleaming from the page. Cumpián cares deeply, urgently, and so will the readers of this book.

~ Martin Espada, author of Imagine the Angels of Bread

Poetry Foundation Bio

Essay on Diana Solis for Poetry Magazine

ALA Booklist Human Cicada review

Human Cicada review by Highland Park Poetry

2017 Interview

Article about Carlos Cumpián

"Poetry Spoken Here" Podcast with Carlos Cumpián

Review of "14 Abriles/14 Aprils" poetry chapbook

"Human Cicada" poetry podcast

May 2022 Detroit/Chicago reading

Carlos Cumpián reads Chicago poet David Hernandez (YouTube)

Article (en Espanol) about Carlos 

Broadside of poem "The Circus" illustrated by Marcos Raya

Ana Castillo and Carlos Cumpián reading at Chicago Poetry Center

Wikipedia bio

When Jesus Walked reading

To contact Carlos: Send an email