Hispanic Heritage Month: Of poets and politics
Dr. Carlos Trujillo, associate professor of Spanish in the department of classical and modern languages and literatures, Villanova University
On September 22, Dr. Carlos Trujillo, associate professor of Spanish in the department of classical and modern languages and literatures, read from his latest collection of poetry, Palabras (Lima, Peru: Alberto Chiri, ed., 2005). Dr. Trujillo was introduced by his colleague, Dr. David Miralles, assistant professor of Spanish, who also offered a personal appreciation of the new publication.
Dr. Miralles described Palabras as “poetry that thinks about itself; a sort of meta-contextualism that questions its own fragility.” This persistent self-reflection leaves the reader wondering if, indeed, all that really exists in the “poetic act” are the questions themselves. The complex and polyphonous lyrical voice of the poet in Palabras, “one who seems the self and one who seems the other” at the same time, echoes and intensifies the voice first heard in Dr. Trujillo’s earlier collection of poems, Mis Limites (1987). These are poems that also reflect on language itself, a theme that can be “arid and difficult.” Yet they combine in Palabras to form a “mature and beautifully written” work that testifies to the maturity and art of the author.
Dr. Fernando Leiva, assistant professor of Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies, SUNY at Albany.
On October 6, Dr. Silvia Nagy-Zekmi, chair of the department of classical and modern languages and literatures, Villanova University, and Dr. Fernando Leiva, assistant professor of Latin American, Caribbean and U.S. Latino Studies, SUNY at Albany, led a thought-provoking discussion of the political, social and cultural landscape of Chile over the last thirty years. Their new book, Democracy in Chile Today, The Legacy of September 11, 1973 (London: Sussex Academic Press, 2005), a collection of conference papers that they co-edited, served as the focal point of their presentation.
Dr. Silvia Nagy-Zekmi, chair of the department of classical and modern languages and literatures, Villanova University.
Drs. Nagy-Zekmi and Leiva spoke of the Chilean military coup of September 11, 1973, that brought to an abrupt end the world’s first democratically-elected Marxist government under Salvador Allende and replaced it with the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. Out of a desire to re-examine the legacy of Chile’s 9/11 came plans for a conference on Latin American democracy that was held at SUNY Albany on October 10-12, 2003.
In the thirty years following the coup, hopes for democratization in Chile have clashed with the realities of a neo-liberal economy, ever-increasing demands of globalization, and the impact of these political and ideological forces on the collective memory of a people and its culture. The collection of poignant, interdisciplinary essays that emerged from the conference invite readers to consider how the Chilean people have continued to live their 9/11 as we continue to live ours.
Barbara Quintiliano is Instructional Design Librarian and a member of the library liaison team serving the department of classical and modern languages. We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Drs. Trujillo and Miralles, who kindly provided English summaries of their original Spanish remarks. Photographs by Andrew Nagy and Laura Hutelmyer