Notre Dame partners with National Portrait Gallery and Library Congress for event featuring U.S. Poet Laureate
Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS)—in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery and the Library of Congress’ Hispanic Division and Poetry & Literature Center—is pleased to present “Poets Unite!,” featuring U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, alongside poets Diana Garcia and Arlene Biala.
The presentation will take place in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, March 8 at 7:00 PM in the Portrait Gallery’s Nan Tucker McEvoy Auditorium. Additional sponsors include the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and the Smithsonian Latino Center.
The poets will read work that responds to, “One Life: Dolores Huerta,” currently on display through May 15. “The themes of labor, migration, and cultural affirmation that are at the heart of the farm workers movement and this show resonate with the poetry of Herrera, García, and Biala. We are honored to have them respond to this exhibition,” said Taina Caragol, of the National Portrait Gallery, who conceived of, and curated the exhibit.
Like Juan Felipe Herrera, who assumed his U.S. Poet Laureateship last September and is Professor Emeritus at UC Riverside and author of more than twenty books, Diana García and Arlene Biala are both California natives.
García is the author of the award-winning collection of poems, When Living Was A Labor Camp (University of Arizona Press), as well as co-editor of, Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing (University of Arizona Press). Biala is the author of two poetry books: continental drift (West End Press) and, her beckoning hands (Word Tech Editions).
“When I learned about the exhibit last summer and thought about the circumstances of our newly named Poet Laureate’s early years, an event of these characteristics seemed wholly appropriate,” said Francisco Aragón, director of Letras Latinas, and faculty member at the ILS. “As with all our programs in DC, Letras Latinas is grateful to the Weissberg Foundation for their support,” Aragón added.
Well before the March event, Herrera, García and Biala each spent time with the exhibit as preparation for producing this new work. They will also hold a post-reading conversation on the issues and themes brought up in the exhibit, followed by a Q & A session with the public.
“This event will be a necessary moment in the ongoing and evolving discussion of and for non- violence. Diana and Arlene have key vision, experience and heart, and I’m thrilled I’ll be sharing the stage with them, said Juan Felipe Herrera, whose Poet Laureate project, La Casa de Colores, resides on the Library of Congress’ website: https://www.loc.gov/poetry/casadecolores/
Letras Latinas strives to enhance the visibility, appreciation and study of Latino literature both on and off the campus of the University of Notre Dame, with an emphasis on programs that support newer voices and foster a sense of community among writers.
National Portrait Gallery announcement:
Library of Congress announcement: