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  • Brent Ameneyro

From Annulet Poetics Journal - Salvadoran Poets Respond to Carolyn Forché’s “The Colonel”: A Folio

In this folio, poets Maryam Ivette Parhizkar, William Archila, Alexandra Lytton Regalado, Claudia Castro Luna, and Yvette Siegert explore documentary poetics, the relationship between poetry and politics, and, for that matter, the role of poetry and activism through the lens of Carolyn Forché’s “The Colonel”. Forché’s poem is, as William Archila puts it, “one of the most well-known contemporary poems about the civil war in El Salvador written by a non-Salvadoran.” The poets don’t shy away from the fact that a white American woman wrote this poem, and several unpack how Forché avoids voyeurism and cultural exploitation. But not all of the poets agree. Claudia Castro Luna says that Forché “erased the experience of Salvadorans who endured the war and its aftermath.” It is not simply a matter of agreeing or disagreeing, however, which is why this nuanced dialogue from multiple perspectives is so enthralling. Two of the poets even include their own poems in their responses, adding another layer to the complexity of this conversation. To read the folio, visit


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