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“Latino/a Poetry Now” tour launches today
Today marks the start of “Latino/a Poetry Now,” a national tour that will showcase the work of emerging Latino/a poets around the country. Beginning tonight at Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room — where Rosa Alcalá, Eduardo C. Corral, and Aracelis Girmay will read — and concluding with an event at the University of Notre Dame in October 2013, the two-and-a-half year venture is a collaboration between Letras Latinas at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies and the Poetry Society of America.
Alcalá, Corral, and Girmay recently participated in a wide-ranging round-table discussion about their work, which touched on latinidad, but focused even more on language, craft, and poetic purpose. Here’s a sample, from Girmay:
Probably a lot of poets have this in common: a commitment to what the cultures have taught us (me) not to love or think of as beautiful. I often move toward what has been monstered—the anomaly, the stranger, the one standing on the cusp of things. & so, often, suspicion of difference or disregard for that which is different, sets off alarms in me. I want to explore what has been discarded… when I am conscious of it… but, god, as I’ve mentioned above, how often I’m not conscious.
The process of writing a poem can make me more aware of my own relationship with taboo, wonder, my mine fields. In my anxiety over a word or a turn in a poem, I realize what I’ve been afraid to say or what I’ve been shying away from. Usually, I move (with great time) towards an engagement with the discarded or quieted thing. But the poems I’m writing, lately, are steeped in an engagement with loss, home, family, the absent or changing or disappearing body of a person, a place—which moves me into the land of personal history—&, eventually, questions of privacy… which may or may not be the same as questions of silence. (What do you think?)