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PSA’s Latino/a Poetry Now Roundtables

By Harriet Staff

The Poetry Society of America’s latest installment in their Latino/a Poets Roundtables features poets William Archila and Ruth Irupé Sanabria in a discussion on how their countries of origin, El Salvador and Argentina respectively, resonate within their poetry. Moderated by Lauro Vazquez of Letras Latinas, the conversation explores how the poets have created a “new language” from English, rather than Spanish, to explore the concepts of homeland, political crisis, and exile in their work.

Here are some of their thoughts on political poetry and the language of identity:

Ruth Irupé Sanabria: Poetry, on occasion, emerges as a simple tool  for very real survival…it doesn’t have to be a lasting masterpiece to be good medicine at the time.

William Archila:
Poems written before or during war tend to have a documentary feel to them. They become political pamphlets trying to push a particular methodology…If poetry arises out of the need to embrace humanity, then poets will leave political poetry aside and find a more perfect poetry that can last.

RIS: For  so many of us, our tongues are fragmented, injured, hiding, and performed, in defiance and self-defense, and/or in order to remain functional if not sane. If language is homeland, for many of us it is homeland from which we run away.

WI: This sense of isolation and displacement is permanent and I’ll be struggling with it for a long time. I know there’s no homecoming. Home is in the writing, in the imagination.

Be sure to check out the rest of the discussion, including the poets biographies, here.

Posted in Poetry News on Friday, March 16th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.