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Latinx-Caribbean Poetry

Poems and notes by participants in the 2017 Latinx-Caribbean Poetry Conference. Co-presented with the Gallatin Writing Program and CantoMundo.

Martín Espada on “Here I Am”

I believe in elegies for the living. I believe in writing poems of praise for those we would praise while they are still with us. I have written too many elegies for the dead.

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Nicole Sealey on “Heretofore Unuttered”

I'd had the first two or so lines of "Heretofore Unutterred," from as if god to appearance of decorum, for several years before they finally made their way into a poem, this poem. Here I am / admiring this single violet orchid came to me days after a trip to Home Depot for flowers. My husband and I bought marigolds, beardtongues, and lavender for our yard. For myself, I bought a single violet orchid, which I placed on my writing desk.

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Peggy Robles-Alvarado on “In Leticia’s Kitchen Drawer”

This poem was developed from a prompt given by Cheryl Boyce Taylor during a workshop I attended at Cave Canem. At the time I was gathering and writing poems for an anthology I was developing titled The Abuela Stories Project honoring distinct grandmothers and the lessons they offer new generations.

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Ricardo Maldonado on “Un pájaro para Felipe, un pájaro para Damián / A Bird for Felipe, a Bird for Damián”

There are a few facts about the composition of this poem I want to disclose: that the idea of the poem, if not the thing itself, came to me in December, as my plane landed in Puerto Rico; that I turned my phone on to watch a video of my nephews during the descent...

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Rio Cortez on “UFO, For Instance”

I was raised in Utah, and had, a white evangelical grandmother. She described herself to anyone as a "born-again Christian." She would host bible study in her home and attended a warehouse-become-church with a rock star pastor who was mic'd up every Sunday to an enormous congregation of second-chancers.

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Urayoán Noel on “Heaves of Storm / Embates de Tormenta”

The poem "Heaves of Storm/Embates de Tormenta," included in my book Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico (Arizona, 2015), is subtitled "(obituary for the University of Puerto Rico student strike, 2009–10, and for the poet on the sidelines)." In fact, it begins with me witnessing the 2009-2010 student strike at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras (my alma mater), and wondering just how to respond.

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