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Leo Romero Papers

Identifier: MSS-362-BC

Scope and Content

This collection contains the original donation made in 1981 and several subsequent additions. The materials consist primarily of publications of Leo Romero's work, manuscripts, typescripts with Romero's hand written corrections, and page proofs of Agua Negra. It also contains correspondence, news releases, reviews, one video tape of the play I Am Celso, and one audio tape entitled Six Poets.

Periodically, materials have been added to the collection. This includes an addition that was processed in April 2005, consisting of photocopies of poems, stories, critical evaluations, biographical sketch, and newspaper reviews which had not previously been published in Romero's books. All of these writings were given to Alexander Street Press for inclusion in their website. A bibliography of the included material is in Box 1, Folder 19.


  • 1981-2004


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research. Master videotape of I Am Celso may not be viewed. VHS copy is cataloged for use by patrons under the call no. ZIM CSWR PN2270 M48 I2 1985.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biographical Information

Leo Romero was born on September 25, 1950 in the house of his grandparents, Samuel and Adelaida Romero of Chacón, New Mexico. Chacón is a remote northern New Mexican village at the upper end of the Mora valley, seven miles north of Holman, New Mexico. Romero never knew his father and was given his maternal family name. At an early age, he moved with his mother, Ortensia, two brothers and a sister down the valley to Las Vegas, New Mexico where he attended public schools through high school.

In 1969, at the University of New Mexico, noted Native American poet Simon Ortiz encouraged Romero in some of his early writing. His first published poem appeared in a 1971 publication of New Mexico Magazine. The student literary magazine Thunderbird also printed many of his poems. He graduated in 1973 with a B.A. in English and in 1974 began work on a master's program in creative writing at New Mexico State University where he twice served as poetry editor of the magazine Puerto del Sol. Romero earned an M.A. in English in 1981.

In 1978 the Maguey Press of Tucson, Arizona published a chap book with Romero's first collection of poems, During the Growing Season. In 1980 Tonatiuh-Quinto Sol of Berkeley, California published a collection of poems entitled Celso as a special issue of the Grito del Sol series, and in 1981 Ahsahta Press, of Boise State University, published Romero's Agua Negra collection, which won the 1982 Pushcart Prize "Best of the Small Presses" competition. In 1985 Arte Publico Press in Houston, Texas published Celso, the definitive collection of Celso poems and in 1990 Ahsahta Press published Romero's book, Going Home Away Indian.

Romero's steadily growing reputation has brought him many fellowships and honors. His poetry has brought the "magic" of his regional culture to a national audience, not by merely describing its traditions, but rather by evoking the complex and lyrical orality which lies so close to its collective soul. His latest work is the 1995 publication of Rita and Los Angeles, a fictional account of the social life and customs of New Mexico and California, published by Bilingual Press, Tucson, Arizona.

As of 2005, Leo Romero owns and operates Leo's Books in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Source: Lomeli, Francisco A. and Carl R. Shirley, eds. Chicano Writers: Second Series. Detroit: Gale Research, Inc., 1992.


1 box (1 cu. ft.) + 1 oversize folder

Alternate Format

The video tape, I Am Celso is catalogued into CSWR general collection: CSWR PN2270 M48 I2 1985.

Related Material

Hispanic Writers Collection Center for Southwest Research, University Libraries, University of New Mexico

Processing Information

Additions were processed in October 1985, May 1995, and April 2005.


Finding Aid of the Leo Romero Papers, 1981-2004
Processed by D. Trujillo
©1999, ©2005
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 362 BC::Leo Romero Papers)//EN" "nmu1mss362bc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131