An award-winning group of poets and scholars will convene at the University of Notre Dame on April 12 for “Latinx Poetics: a one-day gathering.” The event is taking place on the occasion of the recent publication of Latinx Poetics: Essays on the Art of Poetry (University of New Mexico Press, 2022). Co-presented by Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) and the Creative Writing Program, the gathering will offer two public sessions in McKenna Hall.
The afternoon session will feature poetry readings by Sheryl Luna, Adela Najarro, and ire’ne lara silva, and will be followed by a moderated discussion conducted by Notre Dame MFA candidate Kristyn Garza.
The evening session will feature a poetry reading by Notre Dame English professor Orlando Menes, and will include a talk about his work and a public interview conducted by special guest José Limón, a Notre Dame English professor emeritus and former director of the Institute for Latino Studies. Both sessions will be recorded and archived for future viewing.
Francisco Aragón, a professor in ILS and director of the Letras Latinas literary initiative, conceived the one-day event as a way mark the publication of the ground-breaking collection of essays, which include contributions by the four featured poets and, for that matter, Aragón himself.
“Poet, editor and critic Ruben Quesada has been working tirelessly on this volume for a number of years now," Aragón said. “Letras Latinas felt it appropriate to mark its publication in a meaningful way, especially on the occasion of Orlando’s latest book, The Gospel of Wildflowers & Weeds, also published by New Mexico. And we’re especially pleased to be welcoming back to campus José Limón, who will offer his particular insights into Orlando’s work.”
The poets at the afternoon session will be introduced by MFA graduate students in Notre Dame’s Creative Writing Program. Books will be available for purchase and signing at both sessions. All proceedings will take place in the McKenna Hall Conference Center. A full schedule of the event is available on the ILS events website.
In addition to these public sessions, “Latinx Poetics: a one-day gathering” will include a classroom visit to Aragón’s course "Latinx Poetry Now," as well as oral history interviews conducted by Notre Dame graduate students.
“Latinx Poetics” is being co-presented by the Institute for Latino Studies and the Creative Writing Program. ILS director Luis R. Fraga and and CW program manager Paul Cunningham will offer brief remarks at both public sessions, respectively. Additional campus sponsors include the Initiative on Race and Resilience (IRR) and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, as well as a number of private benefactors.
A grant from the Poetry Foundation was also instrumental in making “Latinx Poetics” possible.
An NEA Fellow and a winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, Orlando Ricardo Menes is the author of seven poetry collections, including the recently published The Gospel of Wildflowers & Weeds (University of New Mexico Press, 2022), Memoria (LSU Press, 2019) and Heresies (University of New Mexico Press, 2019). His poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines, including Poetry, The Yale Review, Harvard Review, the Hudson Review and others. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Notre Dame, where he is Professor of English and Poetry Editor of the Notre Dame Review.
Sheryl Luna’s most recent book of poems, Magnificent Errors, received the 2020 Ernest Sandeen Poetry Prize and was published by University of Notre Dame Press in 2022. Pity the Drowned Horses (University of Notre Dame Press) received the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Seven (3: A Taos Press) was a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. Recent work has appeared in Poetry, Huizache and Saranac Review. She has received fellowships from Yaddo, the Anderson Center, Ragdale and Canto Mundo. She received the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation Award and was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters.
Adela Najarro is the author of four poetry collections: Split Geography, Twice Told Over, My Childrens, and Volcanic Interruptions, a chapbook that includes Janet Trenchard’s artwork. Adela Najarro’s extended family left Nicaragua and arrived in San Francisco during the 1940s; after the fall of the Somoza regime, the last of the family settled in the Los Angeles area. She teaches at Cabrillo College and is the English instructor for the Puente Project, a program designed to support Latinidad in all its aspects while preparing community college students to transfer to four-year colleges and universities. More information about Adela can be found at her website: www.adelanajarro.com.
SCHOLARS /MODERATORS /INTRODUCERS
José E. Limón is the Notre Dame Foundation Professor of American Literature and concurrent professor of anthropology emeritus at the University of Notre Dame and former Director of its Institute for Latino Studies. He is also the Mody C. Boatright Regents Professor of American Literature and professor of anthropology emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin. Of his four published books, his most recent is Américo Paredes: Culture and Critique (University of Texas Press, 2012), and his current book project is Return to the Source: “The Streets of Laredo” in Anglo-Irish Literary Culture.
Kristyn Garza, a chicana from the U.S./Mexico border, moved from her hometown of McAllen, Texas to Austin to pursue her bachelor's degree in English Literature at St. Edward’s University, graduating in the Spring of 2021. She is currently working toward her MFA in poetry at the University of Notre Dame, researching the ways in which the sonic poetic space can exorcise the haunting of trauma held within the femme body. She was longlisted for Palette Poetry's 2022 Sappho Prize and her work has been published in The McNeese Review, The Spectre Review, New Note Poetry, and RHINO 2022.
Emiliano Gomez received funding from the California Arts Council to write, publish, and distribute Town, Our Town, a collection of nonfiction and poetry in August of 2023. He is a contributing writer at the Cleveland Review of Books. His undergraduate thesis was with Brian Kim Stefans at UCLA. He is currently pursuing his MFA in poetry at the University of Notre Dame. He was born in Marysville, California, a Gold Rush town.
Alaina Johansson was a bartender and middle school track coach in Virginia. Now, living in Indiana with her two dogs, she is an MFA candidate in poetry at the University of Notre Dame. Her work strives to be focused on creating, through language, various sensations, particularly the feeling of abjection. She is specifically interested in the smallest aspects of language, phonemes and letters, which can create a cleaving form of opposition in the reader. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Early American Literature, Palm Sized Press, and Psaltry & Lyre.