Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Notre Dame to host a gathering of Latin@ poets


Notre Dame to host a gathering of Latin@ poets

The University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), in close collaboration with the Creative Writing Program, is pleased to present on October 28-29 “Angels of the Americlypse: readings and colloquia—new Latin@ poetries and literary translation,” featuring:  

Rosa Alcalá
Carmen Giménez Smith
Roberto Tejada
Rodrigo Toscano.

Angels of the Americlypse, the title of a recent anthology of new Latin@ writing, provides the context of this mini-conference, whose aim is to further the dialogue among Latin@ poets seeking to complicate and enrich discussions in the field. “As the conversation about race evolves, so do the shifting boundaries and markers of Latinidad, and in the case of this anthology and many of the most exciting work being written by Latin@s, aesthetics itself," said Carmen Giménez Smith, co-editor of the volume.

On the mornings of October 28 and 29, students in Notre Dame’s MFA program will conduct video interviews with the four poets. "This gathering exists at the nexus of politics, poetics, translation, publishing, scholarship and activism. We're excited to welcome our accomplished guests into our vibrant community," said Joyelle McSweeney, poet, playwright, critic and current Director of Notre Dame’s Creative Writing Program.

On the afternoons of October 28 and 29 at 2 PM in 110 McKenna Hall the poets will take part in a public panel and roundtable discussion, respectively. The first, titled “Latino Poetry In Relation,” will be introduced and moderated by visiting poetry scholar Michael Dowdy, an associate professor of English at Hunter College (CUNY). The second, titled “The Politics of Translation,” will be introduced and moderated by Johannes Göransson, poet, translator, and assistant professor of English in Notre Dame’s Creative Writing Program.

The evening of October 28 at 7:30 PM, Alcalá, Giménez Smith, Tejada and Toscano will give a collaborative performance of their work in the Eck Auditorium at the Eck Visitors Center. The event will be LIVE-STREAMED at: for a national audience. “This is a first for Letras Latinas,” said Francisco Aragón, faculty member at the ILS and director of its literary initiative. “We’ve reached out to the Poetry Foundation in Chicago and the Academy of American Poets in New York, among others, including the Poetry Center at the University of Arizona—in fact, I just learned that they will be hosting a viewing party in Tucson. Our hope, really, is to have the national poetry community “attend” our event via the web to experience what Notre Dame will be offering that night,” Aragón said. There will also be a pre-reading reception at 6:15 PM, and the campus bookstore will be on hand to sell books.

The two-day gathering builds upon the legacy of a Latino poetry conference that took place on the Notre Dame campus in the Fall of 2002, organized in large part by professor of English Orlando Menes, in which poets from the previous generation gave readings and took part in panel discussions. In reflecting upon this newer wave of writers, Menes, who is now the Poetry Editor of Notre Dame Review, said, "These are poets who take estrangement seriously—not as an attitude, not as a fad, not as an affectation—but as a heartfelt call to speak their truth in communal fellowship." 

Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the Institute for Latino Studies, strives to enhance the visibility, appreciation and study of Latino literature both on and off the campus of the University of Notre Dame. The initiative emphasizes programs that support newer voices and foster a sense of community among writers.

The Creative Writing Program at Notre Dame is a course of study with the flexibility for students to initiate a variety of literary lives through exposure to a range of aesthetics, a global literary orientation, course work in historical and contemporary literary forms, and interaction with visiting authors and scholars.

In addition to the Creative Writing Program, campus co-sponsors include: the Henkels Lecture Fund at the Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts; Department of American Studies; Department of English; the Graduate School; Department of Romance Languages and Literatures; the José E. Fernández Hispanic Studies Initiative.

the poets

Rosa Alcalá is the author of two books of poetry: Undocumentaries (2010) and The Lust of Unsentimental Waters (2012), both from Shearsman Books, as well as two chapbooks: Undocumentary (Dos Press, 2008) and Some Maritime Disasters This Century (Belladonna Books, 2003). Spit Temple: The Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), which Alcalá edited and translated, was runner-up for the 2013 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Alcalá has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowship for literary translation (poetry) for translating Vicuña. She has also translated the work of Lila Zemborain, Lourdes Vázquez, and other poets, with translations included in the Oxford Book of Latin American Poetry. She is Associate Professor in the Department of Creative Writing and Bilingual MFA Program at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Carmen Gímenez Smith is the author of four books of poetry: Milk and Filth (University of Arizona Press, 2013), Goodbye, Flicker (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012), The City She Was (Center for Literary Publishing, 2011) and Odalisque in Pieces (University of Arizona Press, 2009). She is also the author of: Bring Down the Little Birds (University of Arizona Press, 2010), a memoir. Her most recent book, Milk and Faith, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and her memoir was the recipient of a 2011 American Book Award. She was also the winner of the 2011 Juniper Prize for Poetry, and a 2011-2012 fellowship in creative nonfiction from the Howard Foundation. She is Associate Professor of English at New Mexico State University’s graduate program in creative writing, while also serving as the editor-in-chief of the literary journal Puerto del Sol and the publisher of Noemi Press.

Roberto Tejada is the author of three poetry books: Mirrors for Gold (Krupskaya, 2006), Exposition Park (Wesleyan University Press, 2010), and Full Foreground (University of Arizona Press, 2012). He founded and co-edited the journal: Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas. Tejada has been a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowship for literary translation (poetry) for his work with Jose Lezama Lima. He is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. Tejada is also the author of art histories that include: National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment (University of Minnesota Press, 2009), and Celia Alvarez Muñoz (UCLA/CSRC; University of Minnesota Press, 2009). Tejada has published critical writings on contemporary U.S., Latino, and Latin American artists in: Afterimage, Aperture, Bomb, The Brooklyn Rail, SF Camerawork, and Third Text.

Rodrigo Toscano’s newest book is: Deck of Deeds (Counterpath, 2012). His previous book, Collapsible Poetics Theater (Fence Books, 2008), was a National Poetry Series selection. Other books of poetry include: To Leveling Swerve (Krupskaya, 2004), Platform (Atelos, 2003), The Disparities (Green Integer, 2002), and Partisans (O Books, 1999) He was the recipient of a 2005 New York State Fellowship in Poetry. His poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Against Expression, Diasporic Avant Gardes, Poetic Voices Without Borders, and Best American Poetry. Toscano’s Spanish language poetry appears in the anthology Malditos Latinos, Madlitos Sudacas. His poetry has been translated into French, Dutch, Italian, German, Portuguese, Norwegian, and Catalan. Toscano works for the Labor Institute in conjunction with the United Steelworkers and the National Institute for Environmental Health Science.

the panel & roundtable moderators:

Michael Dowdy is Associate Professor of English at Hunter College (CUNY), where he teaches courses in twentieth-century American poetry, Latina/o literature, and multiethnic literatures of the United States. He has published on modern and contemporary poetry, with a focus on Latino poetry. Broken Souths: Latina/o Poetic Responses to Neoliberalism and Globalization, a book-length study of Latino poetry which puts Latino and Latin American poets into conversation, was published in 2013 by the University of Arizona Press. Dowdy’s critical essays on Latino poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in MELUS, College Literature, Appalachian Journal, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Journal of Modern Literature, and in Acknowledged Legislator: Critical Essays on the Poetry of Martín Espada, which was published in 2014 by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. He is currently working on a project on documentary poetics and editing a volume in Wesleyan University Press’s American Poets in the 21st Century series that includes a number of Latino/a poets. 

Johannes Göransson is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, teaching in the Creative Writing Program. He is the author of several books, including Haute Surveillance (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2013), Entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2011), Dear Ra (A Story in Flinches) (Starcherone Books, 2008), Pilot (Johann the Carousel Horse) (Fairy Tale Review Press, 2008) and A New Quarantine Will Take My Place (Astrophe Books, 2007). As a literary translator (from the Swedish) his titles include Aase Berg’s Dark Matter (2012), Transfer Fat (2012) and Remainland: Selected Poems of Aase Berg (2005), as well as Henry Parland’s Ideals Clearance (2007). Goransson’s critical and creative work explores genre, aesthetics, and the limits of the autonomous text. He has written on subjects ranging from gurlesque poetry to Sylvia Plath to translation theory.



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