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March 4, 2024

Gilroy native releases poetry collection

‘My Nana’s Hands’ filled with local references

Elodia Benitez has fond childhood memories of birthday parties at San Ysidro Park, while also admiring the rows of trees on Miller Avenue and grabbing a bite to eat at Pinocchio’s Pizza.

But above all, it’s the time she shared with her grandmother that she cherishes the most, and those memories are captured in Benitez’s recently released collection of poetry, “My Nana’s Hands.”

Elodia Benitez

“It’s as much as a love letter to the relationship with my Nana as a love letter to Gilroy,” she said. “It’s a place that grew and raised me. All the little dedications in there are very personal.”

The Gilroy native has filled her first full-length collection of poetry with many references locals will recognize, with poem titles such as “San Ysidro Park,” “Semillas for Gilas,” “Views from the Number 68 Bus” and “On Ronan Street.” 

Benitez said the poems touch on themes of family, Latino culture and coming of age in the area.

“It’s a collection with a lot of heart, and I’m very proud of it,” she said.

The Mount Madonna High School graduate, an avid reader who has been writing for most of her life and has had works printed in various publications, said writing was a way for her to express herself, as she had difficulties doing so verbally.

She took to poetry as a way to grieve for her grandmother who passed away a couple of years ago.

Benitez shared the title poem, “My Nana’s Hands,” with close friends and family, who encouraged her to pursue a collection of works.

“I found that the more I sat down and wrote about and reflected on the experiences that I had growing up here, the more I had to say,” she said.

An event celebrating the launch of “My Nana’s Hands” is scheduled for March 30 from 6-8pm at The Neon Exchange, 7365 Monterey St. It will feature poetry, music and art, with hors d’oeuvres and refreshments served.

“My Nana’s Hands” is available through publisher Riot of Roses, Amazon and online at Barnes and Noble.

Staff Report
Staff Report
A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.

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