Skip to Content

‘The Poet Laureate of the Struggle’: Why Matt Sedillo is Considered One of the Best Political Poets in America

11:21 PM PST on December 5, 2018

[dropcap size=big]M[/dropcap]att Sedillo is a Chicano poet, writer, creative director, and public intellectual called “the poet laureate of the struggle” by Dr. Paul Ortiz and “the best political poet in America” by investigative journalist Greg Palast. He has been featured in over 80 colleges and universities and various media outlets including All Def Digital, Los Angeles Times, and C-SPAN.

Most of Matt’s work is politically dense due to his comprehension of U.S. history. “It helps me get a better grounding for things, while others just experience it but don’t know why. We only understand the slings and arrows we get in our day to day lives, but we don’t always understand the roots. For example John Pershing lead the Mexican Expedition against Pancho Villa. Yet people protest at Pershing Square, and don’t realize how offensive that is,” he says.

For Matt, it is not surprising to see someone like Donald Trump publicly characterize immigrants as criminals. However, he does caution against the suggestion that Trump is the only problem. He also opposes the idea that Trump isn’t a major issue.

RELATED: Support Stories Like This & Become a Member of L.A. Taco Today!

Matt says, “I do think Donald Trump is a hate-crime president. I don’t recall any president encouraging that kind of culture. The reason he took off is because more people in this country are becoming anti-Mexican and anti-Central American. Their political perspective is that too many brown people in America makes the United States, unamerican.”

[dropcap size=big]R[/dropcap]aised in El Sereno, Matt shares how the concept of a "wall" resonated with him even before Trump became president. “What I remember most is a frutería. I remember being a kid and my cousins throwing dirt rocks at these guys that were drinking out there. Over time they developed businesses and then they built a brick wall, and after that they put barbed wire to keep us from climbing over,” he notes. “It went from being a slice of Mexico to prison.”

Courtesy of Matt Sedillo.

When Matt turned five, he memorized every U.S. president’s name and by the age of seven, he was speaking in front of high school audiences. “At eight, my father told me I could never be president because I’m Mexican. It was hard for him to say that, but he thought it was something he was preparing me for,” Matt says.

He then decided to stray away from politics and aspired to become a writer instead.

In 2008, Matt visited an open mic in Pomona called a Mic and Dim Lights. This space moved him to infuse his two passions, politics and poetry. “I was like, ‘You know what? I can do this. I’m going to come back here and I’m going to do radical poetry. And they might not like me but they will respect me,’” he says.

Since then Matt has become a two-time national slam poet, a grand slam champion of the Damn Slam, and the Literary Director for the dA Center of the Arts. “By the time I’m 40, I want to be recognized as the poet laureate of history,” he adds. “I want to write in ways that feels like it was just always there, that doesn’t feel like it has an author. It just feels like, ‘of course.’”

For more information, visit Matt Sedillo’s website and blog. Below, an original poem:

RELATED: From a Stutter to the Tonight Show: How Rudy Francisco Became a Poetry Slam Champion

Already a user?Log in

Thanks for reading!

Register to continue

Become a Member

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

FBI, ATF, and LAPD Announce Crack Down on Drugs, Ghost Guns, and Crime Linked to Cartels in Harbor Area

The multi-agency investigation, which found the criminal activities stretching to associates in two counties in Northern California, yielded a total of 27 arrests, 30 firearms, 72,115 fentanyl pills, 1.7 pounds of fentanyl powder, 143 pounds of methamphetamine, 4.7 pounds of heroin, 1.9 pounds of cocaine, 1.7 of pounds PCP, and $44,000.

October 3, 2023

Exclusive: Top Film & TV Studios Spent Over $660 Billion on Stock Buybacks While Actors and Writers Live ‘Paycheck to Paycheck’

According to economist William Lazonick stock repurchasers like Apple could certainly use the tens of billions that they spend on buybacks to pay actors and screenwriters more. “The fact [is] they’re not paying them more,” and instead they’re making the rich richer.

October 3, 2023

Spot Check! Caviar Cakes, Champurrado Pot de Creme, Tamal Ice Cream, and Free Elote From Becky G

You can also party with L.A.'s first Black women-owned dispensary, enjoy a Lebanese legend past midnight, and pair quesabirrias with funnel cakes.

September 29, 2023
See all posts