At Age 9, Poet Javier Zamora Migrated from El Salvador Alone. In 'Solito,' He Tells that Story

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Author Javier Zamora poses for a portrait.  (Gerardo del Valle)

When he was 9, poet Javier Zamora traveled 3,000 miles by bus, boat and on foot, without family or friends, from El Salvador to the United States. The trip was supposed to take two weeks. It took nine. Along the way, Zamora was embraced by fellow migrants and folded into a makeshift family. With them, Zamora encountered corrupt police officers and was robbed of the little money he had. He scrambled over mountains and under barbed wire fences that laced the desert border, all so he could be reunited with his parents who lived in Marin and who he had not seen in years. Thousands of immigrants, including children, have experienced similar journeys, but few have described them as eloquently as Zamora. We’ll talk to Zamora about those nine weeks to the border, which he recounts in his new memoir “Solito,” and his experience as an immigrant growing up in San Rafael.


Javier Zamora, Author of the memoir "Solito," Zamora has been a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University and a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts. His debut poetry collection, which focuses on the impact of war and immigration on his family, is titled "Unaccompanied."