Christopher Soto (b. 1991) is a poet based in Los Angeles, California. He works at UCLA with the Ethnic Studies Centers and sits on the Board of Directors for Lambda Literary. He is currently working on a full-length poetry manuscript about police violence and mass incarceration
In 2015, Christopher Soto completed his MFA from Poetry at NYU, where he was a Goldwater Hospital Writing Fellow. He interned with Poetry Society of America.
In 2016, he published the chapbook Sad Girl Poems (Sibling Rivalry Press) and co-founded the Undocupoets Campaign with Javier Zamora and Marcelo Hernandez Castillo. The Undocupoets campaign successfully lobbied numerous poetry publishers to remove a proof of citizenship requirement from first-book contests, allowing undocumented poets to participate. He then worked with Amazon Literary Partnerships to establish grants to support the work of undocumented writers. Poets & Writers honored Christopher Soto and the Undocupoets with the “Barnes & Nobles Writer for Writers Award.”
In 2017, he was awarded “The Freedom Plow Award for Poetry & Activism” by Split This Rock and he was invited to teach a “Poetry and Protest Movements” course at Columbia University, as part of the June Jordan Teaching Corp. He also began working with Equal Justice USA, to end the death penalty.
In 2018, Christopher Soto published Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (Nightboat Books). This is the first major literary anthology for Queer Poets of Color in the United States. He had edited an online journal, of the same name, with Lambda Literary since 2014.
In 2019, he moved to Los Angeles and began working with the Ethnic Studies Centers at UCLA. He joined the Board of Directors for Lambda Literary. He co-founded the campaign “Writers for Migrant Justice” with Javier Zamora, Jan-Henry Gray, and Anni Liu in order to protest the detention / separation of migrant families. This campaign (set for September 4) will join 31 cities nationally to raise money that will post bail and provide support for detained migrants. He also became a CantoMundo Fellow.
Christopher Soto’s poems, reviews, interviews, and articles can be found at The Nation, The Guardian, Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tin House, and more. His work has been translated into Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, and Thai.
Christopher Soto was raised, in the outskirts of Los Angeles, by a large Salvadoran family that came to the United States undocumented. His father’s side of the family is Puerto Rican. He identifies as non-binary and often uses the name “Loma” and “they” pronouns. He is a survivor of domestic violence, who cares about victims rights, and he speaks openly about struggling with PTSD in the aftermath of abuse. He grew up in a latinx punk scene, which is vital to his literary style.