Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Letras Latinas & Poetry Society of America are pleased to present:

At its core, Latino literature is about the tension between double attachments to place, to language, and to identity.

Thus wrote Ilan Stavans in his preface to The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (W.W. Norton & Company, 2011). This “double attachment” he refers to indeed plays itself out among a number of the poets who agreed to tackle the questions (and probing follow-ups) posed by Maria Melendez—curator, convener and moderator of what I’ll venture to call a seminal moment in the conversation surrounding Latino poetry, what “Latino poetry” might mean in the 21st century. [...]

Read and explore the rest of this five-part feature here:


Javier said...

"And yet, yes: language. Though I am a life-long speaker (and long-time translator) of Spanish, I do detect within me a tension in my crusade to champion poetry by U.S.-born Latinos and Latinas who write in English."

Is that why both the Andres Montoya Prize and the new Letras Latinas Red Hen Prize are English Only?

Francisco Aragón said...

When the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize was founded (2004), the UC Irivine Chicano/Latino Literary Prize was still in existence: that prize, which rotated genres (therefore getting to poetry every four years) accepted manuscripts in English and Spanish. When Tino Villanueva chose Las Bicicletas de Boulder as the winner, Arte Público Press declined to publish it. It was eventually published in Mexico and Latino Poetry Review commissioned a review of that book, but it never materialized.

As far as the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, it is a partnership. The goal is to provide a space that will support a second or third book of poetry (yes, in English) in a climate where it is difficult to publish a book. That Red Hen Press has agreed to publish a winning manuscript is an opportunity not to be passed up.

Having said all that, Letras Latinas is in conversation with a private funder in the DC area and a publisher in the midwest whose mission is to support literature written in the United States in Spanish. IF things go as planned---one takes one step at a time---Letras Latinas will eventually administer a poetry book prize that will support the publication of a book in Spanish.