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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Winona State University's Newspaper since 1919

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Michael Torres, author of An Incomplete List of Names, visits WSU

Elly Herrick
Michael Torres begins his reading with his favorite poem, “All American Mexican” from his book “An incomplete List of Names”.

On October 10th, Michael Torres, author of An Incomplete List of Names and English professor at Minnesota State University Mankato, visited Winona State University. Throughout the day, he visited multiple English classes, including ENG 312: Poetry Writing, where heled the class through a writing exercise focused on imagery. Students were able to revise their work, ask questions, and talk about their writing process with Torres. Students in ENG 312 had many positive things to say about An Incomplete List of Names.

“Michael Torres uses poetry as a medium of storytelling in a revolutionary way,” student Mawatta Dukuly said. “I’ve never seen it done before.”

Student, Samantha Berry- man, had similar thoughts. “Michael Torres used a storybook/narrative style of writing poetry that most authors don’t utilize which
makes his book more unique and adds the personality to his poems,” Berryman said.

Torres also hosted a meet and greet hour in Minne 364 from 2:30 to 3:30 where students were encouraged to ask questions, were able to get their copy of An Incomplete List of Names signed if they had it and of course talked about poetry and all things writing.

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Much of Torres’ work was inspired by his experience as a youth, growing up and creating graffiti in Pomona CA.

“What graffiti taught me was resilience, and how the realest thing an artist can do is be in service to the art,” Torres said. “I could paint something one night and come looking for it the next morning only to find City workers had already painted over or power-washed my name away. I think of this every time I submit poems that get rejected from literary magazines or book contests. Those things (publications) matter, but not as much as making the art look/read as best I can.”

Torres’ presence on campus brought forth positive examples for aspiring physical artists and poets, while contributing to Winona’s rich art scene.

The day concluded with a poetry reading. Torres read his poems, All-American Mexican and Elegy with Roll Call from An Incomplete List of Names. He also spoke of how his book came to be.

“When my book was still a graduate thesis, it was described to me as a love letter to home, but after I graduated and kept writing poems, it ended being a sort of break-up letter, which can (and did) include details of the kind of love I had for Pomona, my hometown,” Torres said. “Because I had moved away from home in California to “become a writer” in Minnesota there was this sense of guilt I carried around. To do right by the homies I grew up with, I wrote about experiences from those teenage years.”

Later, Torres read a series of poems he wrote after An Incomplete List of Names centered around his relationship with his father. He talked about how his book and this next group of poems led into each other and about the imagery that that transition created for him. The audience also had a chance to ask Torres questions, including how long he has been writing.

“I remember sitting out on the back porch and really focusing on trying to write a poem,” Torres said. “I looked up after a while and realized I could not tell if I had been writing for twenty minutes or two hours. Then I thought if I can do this for the rest of my life, I would like that.”

The event concluded with a meet and greet and book signing. Torres’ book can be ordered through the Beacon Press and many other places online.

You can check out his recent and upcoming publications at

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About the Contributors
Lucy Severson
Lucy Severson, News Reporter
Lucy Severson is an illustrator and news reporter for the Winonan. She is a second year at Winona State and is majoring in English: Writing and minoring in Film. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her cat, Zazu, attending concerts as much as humanly possible, and eating copious amounts of ramen.  Before working on the Winonan, she worked as a news reporter and illustrator for the Hamline University Oracle. She currently works for the Winona 7, where she enjoys watching movies and eating popcorn to her heart’s content.  When she graduates from Winona State University, she hopes to pursue a career as an author of YA fiction!
Elly Herrick
Elly Herrick, Online Editor
Elly Herrick (She/They) is currently the online/social media editor, business manager, features writer, and photographer. Try saying that five times fast. Herrick also works as the Communications Director on Student Senate, a 2023 Orientation Leader, and was newly added on a Tuesday 7-10p.m timeslot on KQAL. They are also the Social media manager for the WSU Pre-Athletic Training Club. Herrick is from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and is a second-year student at Winona State University studying Mass Communications: Public Relations with a minor in Advertising, Photography, and Creative Digital Media. They love following challenging and fulfilling stories. They also have a strong passion for writing and giving others a voice. Herrick loves to travel and over the summer, they traveled to Greece, Italy, and Barcelona. They are now saving up and planning on going to New Zealand this winter with their Aunt. Outside of school, they love taking the train and seeing live concerts with friends. They also love sharks and a good book!    

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