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The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Graduate student seeks to help others overcome grief through poetry


Texas State creative writing graduate student SG Huerta holds their chapbook titled “Last Stop,” Monday, Feb. 27, 2023, in front of Flowers Hall. The book’s poems were written during a time when Huerta was dealing with the grief of losing their father to suicide.

Trigger warning: This article contains discussion of suicide.
In the midst of the pandemic in 2020, SG Huerta, a creative writing MFA student, moved to San Marcos to pursue their love of writing poetry. Coming from Texas Tech, Huerta didn’t have any friends in town and resided in a single-bedroom apartment with their cat. Not long after moving, Huerta received the news that their dad had died by suicide.
As Huerta traveled from South Texas to San Antonio for their father’s funeral, their mom made a stop at a Valero gas station, and on their way to the bathroom, Huerta ran into the funeral director who was transporting their dad’s body.
“I walked out and it just kind of freaked me out to see her in there and I was just like ‘this is a horrible situation all around,’ and when I got back in the car with my mom, I just started writing,” Huerta said.
“Last Stop” is a poetry chapbook, a collection of poems, written by Huerta throughout their time discovering and unmasking the grief and loss of their dad, that will be released on March 1. The title is in reference to that last stop at the Valero gas station that Huerta made before saying goodbye to their father.
The cover of the chapbook is a low-angle photo of a Valero gas station in a blueish tint, the gas station sign glowing and lighting up the in-focus foreground of the pavement.
“I wasn’t planning on making it a chapbook, Huerta said. “I just kept writing and writing and writing about my dad and I couldn’t stop which I think is another reason why I write and why is it so important [to me] is because it really helped to heal.”
“Last Stop” was one of two hundred submissions to a contest for Defunkt Magazine, a Houston-based nonprofit fiction journal. The contest had three categories: fiction collection, hybrid collection and poem collection. Huerta won for poem collection.
Diamond Braxton, a creative writing MFA student and editor-in-chief of Defunkt Magazine, was part of the construction of “Last Stop” from beginning to end. Braxton formed a contract with Huerta, created the book layout, designed the cover and sent the finished design and layout to Defunkt’s book distributor to be printed. As a friend under the same graduate program, Braxton has had the opportunity to read Huerta’s work before and strongly believes that Huerta is a talented poet with a unique and beautiful writing style.
“SG’s writing poetic style is very honest, it’s very raw,” Braxton said. “You don’t have to work too hard to understand the messaging that they’re trying to put across and they just have such finesse with their words and their lyricism, and they’re just a really talented poet, and in ‘Last Stop’ you really get that because it’s an immersive grief.”
Huerta’s love for literature was sparked by their dad. When Huerta was in middle school, they and their dad created a book club with extravagant rules. They had to read the same book, drink tea and wear yellow cardigans. Huerta’s dad was not a published writer, but it was one of his favorite things to do. “Last Stop” features a poem that is a combination of Huerta’s words and their father’s writing from one of his half-written poems. Huerta is proud to get some of their father’s words out there too.
For Huerta, writing is their whole life. They remember writing their first poem in fourth grade and they have an old notebook in which middle school Huerta wrote of their dream of becoming a writer.
Huerta hopes that sharing their grief journey in “Last Stop” will help others to navigate their own after the loss of a close friend or family member, especially those lost to suicide.
“I think it’s something that we don’t really talk about a lot in the U.S., at least. Especially because my dad died from suicide. It’s a very stigmatized thing,” Huerta said. “And so, since that happened, I’ve been very vocal about it…I think it’s so important to prevent that from happening…So I’m just really grateful that I can put this out in the world I hope it does the topic justice. I just hope, you know, I’m doing a justice and doing his memory justice.”
Molly Yingling, Porter House Review’s managing editor and a creative writing MFA student, believes that “Last Stop” can be a beacon of hope for those experiencing grief from the loss of a loved one. Yingling, who is a close friend and former colleague of Huerta, is proud of Huerta and excited that others are going to read their work.
“I think that there is definitely a sense of hope in the fact that SG has taken something that…stopped their life, and [they] created something, you know, put all of that into their poetry, into their writing,” Yingling said. “And I think that there’s something really hopeful about that, so I hope that that’s something that people reading [‘Last Stop’] take away from it that like yes these are these are really sad poems, but the fact that they exist and that they’re out there for someone to read, I think that that’s very helpful.”
To purchase “Last Stop” visit https://www.defunktmag.com/product-page/last-stop
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.

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  • The front cover of “Last Stop” by SG Huerta, which comes out March 1.

  • SG Huerta and their father on the first day of school in 2003. 

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