WWW: Three Latin American Poets and a Translator

three poets cervantes

I am incredibly excited to share this week’s resource from the Wide World of the Web, because this resource not only contains the translated work of three phenomenal female modernist poets from South America, but it also helps tell the background story of how these three women came to be bound together in the June 1925 Issue of Poetry Magazine.  This historic issue, published in New York during a time when modernists such as Ezra Pound and T.S. Elliot were working out ways to form a new poetic tradition for the 20th century, this June 1925 issue featured an astonishing thirty-one South and Central American poets.  Among them were poets Alfonsina Storni, Juana de Ibarbourou, and Gabriela Mistral (featured in Lorraine’s Mira Look post earlier this week).  In this amazing resource you will find the poets featured in 1925 organized according to country.  You can find Storni’s poem “Running Water” under Argentina, Mistral’s “Ecstasy” under Chile, and Ibarbourou’s “Bond” under Uruguay.  All three of these pieces are excellent examples not only of 20th century modernist poetry, but of the perspective of Western educated Latin American women of that time.

In Ibarbourou’s “Bond”, the poet replaces common articles of feminine adornment to symbolize the suffering endured by societal pressures of beauty.  Ibarbourou (spelled Ibarbouron in the 1925 edition), who was a lifelong advocate and writer on women’s rights in Uruguay and abroad, replaced diadems with a crown of thorns and earnings with “two burning coals vermilion.” Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Laura Resau

laura resauThis week we turn our attention to Laura Resau, author of this month’s featured book. Resau is originally from Baltimore. She received her Bachelor’s degree in anthropology and French from St. Mary’s College in Maryland. Upon graduation, Resau earned her certification in teaching English as a Second Language. She applied for jobs internationally due to a desire to travel, so when she was offered a job in Oaxaca, Mexico, she jumped at this opportunity. During her stay in Oaxaca, Resau became fluent in Spanish and learned some Mixtec (an indigenous language spoken in the region) as well. Resau would return to the United States to earn her Master’s degree in cultural anthropology at the University of Arizona, where she began working on What the Moon Saw (her first book). Continue reading

WWW: Gathering Books

Gathering Books is currently in the midst of a multicultural-based theme, "“Rainbow Colors of Diversity: Voices of the Silenced.”

Gathering Books is currently in the midst of a multicultural-based reading theme, “Rainbow Colors of Diversity: Voices of the Silenced.”

Are you looking for something to read? Check out the phenomenal blog: Gathering Books. I’ve always been aware of this incredible resource, but I’ve never had much of a chance to explore its voluminous content. Until now. My one word summary is: “Wow!” I’m struck by the amount and quality of work the team at Gathering Books must devote to the blog. It’s mind-blowing.

The bloggers responsible are Myra Garces-Bacsal, an Assistant Professor and clinical psychologist who does extensive work with the gifted; Fats Suela, a B.A. in Psychology, “nomad at heart,” and fabulous book reviewer; and Iphigene Daradar, a managing consultant, pyschometrician (I had to look this up), and counselor-in-training. These three have reviewed and commented in depth on hundreds of books. Many kudos for that!

The blog is organized into sections consisting of book reviews of all types (with new reads on Mondays and Saturdays), Filipino Lit, Nonfiction for Adults, Picture Books, Young Adult Lit, and more… Visitors interested in finding a good read can navigate these sections, read the reviews, view scans of illustrations, and comment on the books after reading.  Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Nick Lake

nick lakeWhile it’s incredibly difficult to believe this time is upon us already, we have come to our final ¡Mira, Look! post of the school year.  For this climactic moment, we are proud to feature an equally climactic author: Nick Lake. Not coincidentally, one of his most recent books, In Darkness, is also our featured title for May.

Nick Lake was born in Britain, but he grew up in Luxembourg because his father was on assignment as a civil servant of the English Parliament. There is not a lot of information available about Nick Lake’s upbringing and background, but we do know that he currently lives in England with his wife and daughter and that he presently works as the Editorial Director for fiction for Harper Collins Children’s Books. Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Benjamin Alire-Sáenz

benjamin alire saenzThis week, we turn our attention to the author of this month’s Book Group, Benjamin Alire-Sáenz. Sáenz was born in 1954 in Old Picacho, Mexico just approximately forty miles short of the U.S.-Mexico border. He was raised in a traditional Mexican-American Catholic family. In fact, upon graduating from Las Cruces High School, Sáenz entered seminary to become a priest. After being ordained and serving three years as a priest, Sáenz decided to leave the priesthood.

Then, Sáenz attended the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) where he studied English and creative writing. Here, he received his Master’s degree. Sáenz began work on his Ph.D. at Stanford, but he returned to El Paso and began teaching prior to earning this degree. At UTEP, he started teaching in the bilignual Masters of Fine Arts program. Currently, Sáenz is a faculty member at UTEP and he continues to write. Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Sonia Manzano

Photo is courtesy of the Library of Congress website

Photo is courtesy of the Library of Congress website

Hello, everyone! I know this is going to be a busy month with Halloween and Día de los muertos celebrations, but we wanted to take some time this week to examine prominent Latina writer and actress Sonia Manzano. Manzano, daughter of Puerto Rican immigrants, grew up in the South Bronx. She developed an interest in the performing arts at a young age. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York City as well as Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

Manzano gained acclaim as an actress in the 1970s when she joined the production of Godspell. Since that time, Manzano has performed in other on-stage productions. Manzano also portrayed the character of María on Sesame Street for ten years, and she would later go on to write for the show. For her work as a part of the writing staff at Sesame Street, Manzano has won fifteen Emmy awards. Continue reading

¡Mira, Look!: Yuyi Morales

Photo is courtesy of Yuyi Morales's website.

Photo is courtesy of Yuyi Morales’s website.

This week, we would like to take a break from discussing exciting books our youngsters will enjoy and turn our focus to someone who is equally exciting and spends her time creating that work. Yuyi Morales, author and illustrator, has published several books which have not only been successful, but which epitomize the type of work we look to showcase here at Vamos a Leer.

Morales is a Mexican author and illustrator who was born in Xalapa, Mexico. She immigrated to the United States as an adult. Although she has written most of her work while in residence in California, she maintains her Mexican roots. In fact, much of her work has been influenced by her childhood in Mexico in what is known as the “City of Flowers” and her Mexican heritage. As an aside, the colorfulness of her personal website is indicative of the liveliness of her illustrations as well as the vivid color and imagery she utilizes in her work. Continue reading