Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Steven Cordova at Notre Dame

O'Shaughnessy Hall

Next up: Steven Cordova. Here's an excerpt from the Oral History Video Interview students were assigned to view, as well as an excerpt of the essay we'll be discussing to frame Steven's poems. After tomorrow, five class meetings left: David Hernandez, Emmy Pérez, Rosa Alcalá, Carmen Giménez Smith, and Roberto Tejada. It's been fun. 

“Constantine Cavafy, James Merrill, W.H. Auden…are all very important to me because there’s always an air of restraint and polite address to the reader. Everything is understated, kept very mannered, and I sit well with that tone, and I think it has something to do with growing up gay which is, I think, the other thing about my background in growing up. You know, for a good deal of my life I had to be reserved, hold back a little bit, not fully reveal myself…If you’re going to reveal your feelings on the page, don’t kind of splatter it out, just kind of pace it along…”

Steven Cordova, April 5, 2007
Oral History Interview, conducted by Maria Melendez

Julian Samora Library
Institute for Latino Studies
University of Notre Dame

 "My first home—the city where I grew up—is San Antonio, Texas. I was a recent college graduate, only twenty-two years old when I left Texas. And since I’m now forty-four, my life is equally divided into equal parts: one part San Antonio of the past, one part New York City of the present; one part pre- and one part post- “death sentence.” This biographical information, along with the fact that I myself am HIV-positive and gay, are apsects of my poems that may seem to render them outside the perceived aesthetics and themes of Latino literature. But I will argue that just the opposite is true. The aesthetics and themes of my poems are largely the same as those of Latino literature. I have only changed the setting."

Steven Cordova
from “Aesthetics and Theme, Time and Place (with an Afterword on Polemics)

The Other Latin@: Writing Against a Singular Identity
(University of Arizona Press, 2011)
edited by Blas Falconer and Lorraine López


Week Twelve

Steven Cordova, The Wind Shifts (pg. 72-79), 
--“Across a Table” and “Ms. Day Dream to You”
--Oral History Interview
--“Aesthetics and Theme” (The Other Latin@)

ILS 20303 / ENGL 20720
MW 9:30 - 10:45 AM
Fall 2013
Latino/a Poetry Now,
University of Notre Dame

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