Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Latina/o Poets Roundtable (Poetry Society of America)
This conversation is amazing. I've already printed it out and I will be spending a lot of time with it.
...Spanish is often used to unwittingly render us as Other in the country many of us were born, raised, and educated in. "You speak English really well," she said. Or: "I love it when you read your poems in Spanish: you should do that more often," he said, not realizing the unintended message: English doesn't really belong to you.
...we U.S. Latino poets are called to keep on keepin' on. Que sigue la lucha. When I (or any Latino poet) am tempted to erase or downplay any of my human complexities in my poetry, in order to appear more closely related to some kind of accessible center, I risk relinquishing my own unique powers of perception.
I still stand by what I argued: that university presses and other publishers were creating a space for Latino/a visibility, but only so long as it conformed to scripted realms of selfhood and accepted notions of rhetorical conduct.
Being identified as a Latina writer/poet never chafes: as a writer I am not apart from who I am. So as a Latina, everything I write is Latin@ literature, even if the content of the particular work doesn't speak to what are presumed to be "matters Latin@".