Excellence in the Arts Award: Ricky Rodriguez


Photo Courtesy of Ricky Rodriguez

Aaron Chin, Satire Co-Editor

Ricky Rodriguez 23 has truly excelled in the arts during their time at Bucknell.

Entering Bucknell as a history major, it wasn’t until Rodriguez was exposed to the Creative Writing faculty at the university that they decided to become a Creative Writing major at the end of their sophomore year.

Through their passion for the arts, Rodriguez has also striven to build community on campus by sharing their stories of identity through their poetry. Throughout their career at Bucknell, Rodriguez has written several chapbooks and read at open mics both on and off campus. For example, earlier this year they opened for Denice Frohman, a highly acclaimed spoken word poet and performer.

Frohman said, “what draws me to poetry is that it allows for multiplicity; it’s a form meant to hold more than one thing at one time,” and it’s clear that Rodriguez is also interested in this multiplicity.

They stated that through poetry, “you are able to build community… but you are also able to explore yourself,” and that “other people can end up connecting with whatever you’re writing… and you can build really beautiful connections with that.”

This sentiment can be seen through their recent chapbook, “And I Still Feel Pleasure,” which was just released this past April. When writing the chapbook, Rodriguez thought heavily about what it means to pursue pleasure despite having feelings of grief, depression, and despair. They also thought about the dilemma of pursuing and allowing yourself to experience joy in difficult circumstances.

They also spoke about the difficulties of writing poetry despite their love of the craft. Poetry is a vulnerable art form that can be subject to harsh criticism. “If you’re gonna share some poems, you need to be really sure that you want to share those poems because they’re gonna be out in the world… because once they’re out there, they’re subject to scrutiny, they’re subject to conversation – both good and bad.”

Throughout their time at Bucknell, Rodriguez has also explored the boundaries of poetry by using contemporary language to explore uniquely contemporary issues such as race, sexual orientation, and overall identity. They also claimed that releasing their chapbook allowed them to gain support from people that they never expected.

“It made me hopeful that more people are going to tune into poetry and not be afraid of it… I really want to remind people that anything they write is poetry if they want it to be,” they said.

Ricky Rodriguez has displayed immense talent and dedication to the arts while at Bucknell through their commitment to writing beautiful, bold poetry that strives to build community and put beauty into the world.

After graduation, Rodriguez will continue to write poetry and work with queer and trans poets while pursuing an MFA at NC State. They are also interested in exploring first-generation identity through poetry. If you would like to purchase a copy of their chapbook, you can email [email protected].

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