First Person: East Palo Alto council member Antonio Lopez on Poetry and Politics

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27-year-old poet and East Palo Alto City Councilmember Antonio Lopez published a debut book that reflects on growing up in the shadow of Silicon Valley's power and privilege.  (Briana Chazaro)

Antonio Lopez is many things. He’s an East Palo Alto native and, at 27, he’s its youngest serving city council member. He’s a doctoral student in Modern Thought and Literature at Stanford. And he’s an award winning poet, with a recently published book titled “Gentefication”an invented word he defines in part as, “when gentrification becomes personal, and the poet as native subject must invade language itself, when mobility just isn’t enough, and the poet must populate the canon itself from within”.   We talk with Lopez about politics, poetry and advocating for residents of a city that is simultaneously in the middle of, and outside of, Silicon Valley. It’s part of Forum's First Person series, which profiles local leaders and change-makers who make the Bay Area unique.


Antonio Lopez, city council member, East Palo Alto; author, collection of poems, "Gentefication"