Yesterday I went to the inauguration of the Festival Latinoamericano de Poesia. In different locations around the city, 28 poets from inside and outside the United States shared and are currently sharing their work until October 11. At the Inauguration, I heard poets read about the solitude of islanders, about the constant rain in Mexico, about Salvadorian homes and wants, about the turbulences of city life, about longing and desire. The primary building of the festival will be the City College Center For Worker Education (25 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10004) but there are also lectures and readings at Librería Barco de Papel, The New School University, York College and Columbia Secondary School.
Salvadorian poet Karla Coreas who directs an editorial Urpi editores, and director of the festival, highlighted the importance of creating an event that integrates Hispanic culture in the United States with other Latin American countries, “Our effort is to consolidate the Latin American poetry festival in NYC within the most important circuit of festivals and literary encounters of the continent and of the Spanish language.” During the inauguration, she spoke of NYC as “the city that never sleeps, and now listens to poetry.”
During the reading, Peruvian Poet Mariela Dreyfus read her piece Marina from her book Morir es un Arte ( Dying is an Art). Engaged in a restless communion with the sea she writes: “the sea opens its belly/ it shelters me its waves are the yellow/ maternal that distant caress/ goes forgotten between the waves.”
Mexican poet Jeremías Marquines read from his work in progress Tequila a-go-go presenting us with a landscape of frontiers and days contained in motels for transitory love, where the disappeared refuse to live or die. Dominican poet Basilio Belliard writes about the solitude of an island in his poem Isla al Aire: “The islander feeds from space: with thirst for travel and flight. He is born with wings and carries a ship in his heart. An island does not have frontiers and its inhabitants feed from the salt of the sea.”
Puerto Rican poet Mayrim Cruz Bernal writes from the thresholds of public city life and private female subjectivity. Her poems are rich with the dialogues gathered in late taxicab rides and hairdresser salons, yet loyal to her misunderstood condition as a female poet. In her piece Carta Anti-Suicida (anti-suicide letter) she writes: “I will not kill myself/ I will open the windows and doors/ I will dress with fabric of organza, tulle and chiffon/ I will feel my skin to the orgasm/ alive/ nobody demolishes me nor nothing. “
These are only some of the gems I picked up from hearing yesterday’s reading and there will be much more today, October 10, in three different locations:
6pm-8pm: Reading at CITY COLLEGE CENTER FOR WORKER EDUCATION
25 Broadway, 7th floor, NY, 10004
6pm-8pm: Reading at THE NEW SCHOOL
80 Fifth Avenue, room 802, 8th floor, NY 10037
7:30pm-9: 30pm: reading LIBRERÍA EL BARCO DE PAPEL
4003 80th street, Elmhurst, NY 11373
In NYC where almost 2 million speak Spanish, and in this country where almost 40 million share a common language that varies in rhythms, and colloquialisms (depending on what part of Latin America or Spain we come from) this festival is a much-needed space for the Spanish word.