Monday, February 11, 2013

"US Latino Poets en español": a new collaboration

Translating is learning about other paradigms and learning about ourselves
--Xánath Caraza

About a year after moving to the Washington, D.C. area, Dana Gioia introduced me to Pedro Serrano. It was at an event at the Aspen Institute on Dupont Circle.  Serrano had been included and was among the more visible promoters, in the U.S., of a bi-national initiative that resulted in twin dual-language anthologies of Mexican and American poetry, published by Sarabande Books: Connecting Lines: New Poetry from Mexico (2006) and Líneas conectadas: Nueva poesía de los Estados Unidos (2006). The NEA and the Mexican government partnered on this special project. I remember attending the DC launch of those attractive blue and red tomes and seeing and hearing (though not yet meeting) Serrano. The event was held at the Mexican Cultural Institute.

Fast forward to March of 2012: Serrano was gracious enough to attend the second installment of Latino/a Poetry Now, held at Georgetown University, where he has taught. At the reception after the reading, he made a pitch. He thought that the Spanish-language, poetry reading public needed to start reading and exploring the world of English-language, Latino poetry.  The idea was fairly straightforward: a regular “column” that would introduce a US Latino poet—in Spanish: maybe one or two translated poems, a brief prose headnote, and a bibliography. The venue would be Periódico de Poesía—an ambitious, online magazine that Serrano founded and directs.

Letras Latinas said Yes. 

After some thought, we were lucky enough to count on the crucial collaboration of Xánath Caraza to bring this idea to fruition. Indicative of Pedro’s continued support and interest in US Latino poetry, he attended Eduardo C. Corral’s reading at the Folger library last September. By then, Xánath and he were in touch—in short, the ball was rolling. We wanted to take our time had our sights set on an early 2013 launch. Periódico de Poesía comes out approximately ten times a year. Here is our projected first slate of 2013 poets, in no particular order:

Lorna Dee Cervantes
Brenda Cárdenas
Maria Melendez
Raina J. León
Emma Trelles
Victor Hernández Cruz
Maurice Kilwein Guevara
Rigoberto González
John Murillo
Tino Villanueva

We are inaugurating this project with Tino Villanueva—a sort of prelude to the homage we will be offering up next month at CON TINTA in Boston.

Without further delay

first installment of

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