Testimonios from Latinx Poetics: a one-day gathering
Adela Najarro, ire'ne lara silva, and Sheryl Luna were asked to share their impressions and experiences after Latinx Poetics: a one-day gathering. Their testimonios illuminate the energy shared and the community built at the gathering.
Adela Najarro: At “Latinx Poetics: a one day gathering” I had the honor to share the stage with ire’ne lara silva and Sheryl Luna. Though I knew the work both had created, I had never met either of them. Nevertheless, during the Q & A session, ILS director Luis Fraga brought to mind how connected our presentation had been, as though we had rehearsed and planned out our interactions, jokes, and poems read. But we didn’t. What he saw was our communidad in action facilitated by this conference. At this gathering, we each celebrated and shared our journeys as Latina writers in the U.S. It was such a pleasure to do so, to get to know each other better and to share our visions with the greater ILS and University of Notre Dame community. This gathering was an invitation to learn, share, and gather into fellowship with each other as Latinx writers and scholars, and with Notre Dame students, faculty, administrators, and staff. It was truly a privilege. Mil gracias.
ire’ne lara silva: I was not expecting all the laughter. My face hurt the next day. And I was definitely not expecting all the love. A week later, my heart is still very full. Letras Latinas' organizing skills were meticulous and thoughtful. They created a space where poets, scholars, Notre Dame faculty and students, and others could have meaningful interactions on multiple levels--as artists, as thinkers, and most importantly, as people come together to create community. Adela Najarro and I jointly visited with Francisco's undergraduate literature course "Latinx Poetry Now" and discovered students who were incredibly well prepared for our visit with smart and provocative questions. My video interview with Kristyn Garza allowed me to articulate recent thoughts along with some of my long-held beliefs around poetry. The reading and discussion panel that featured Sheryl Luna, Adela Najarro, and me did an incredible job of showcasing the range and individuality of different Latina poets. While there may have been substantial differences in our work and how we approached it, I was inspired by how much common ground we shared and how even the audience picked up on our newfound sense of cameraderie and comadrazgo. The evening presentation with José E. Limón and Orlando Ricardo Menes was definitely another highlight! The next day, I flew home in love with poetry and community all over again!
Sheryl Luna: The Latinx Poetics panel and readings were a wonderful learning experience. I took away that there are fluidities of identity, place, and styles of writing among Latinas. There is a diverse and exciting creativity flowing through the community. Latinas are talented, eloquent, tough and full of hope. The young MFA students I met are also intelligent and full of promise as writers and members of a vibrant community. We all saw the unity of purpose, creative thinking and insight. My fellow poets ire’ne lara silva and Adela Najarro were fantastic and full of energy, and their poems gave me joy for the future of Latinx poetics. There was careful attention to language and the complexities of what it means to be Latinx in the age of Trump and right wing extremism. We must stand strong and stand together. The poems and essays from Latinx Poetics are necessary and timely. We must show we are conscientious writers and thinkers, and I think the panel, as well as Orlando Menes’ reading and responses to questions after José Limón’s wonderful introduction to his stunning work all deny that Latinx poets are not strong poets deserving of an audience.
To view additional photos from our gathering, take a look at our Photo Essay.