Thursdays, April 6–April 20, 2017 6:30–8:30 p.m. (three meetings)
What if we lived in a republic of poetry where “the guard at the airport/ will not allow you to leave the country/ until you declaim a poem for her”? What if “this is the year that police revolvers,/ stove-hot, blister the fingers of raging cops”? What if our grief of 9/11 remembered “the great windows where immigrants from the kitchen could squint and almost see their world”? What if your name was a sword (“espada”) and your sword was a pen you wielded to name injustice and praise unseen lives? Delving into The Republic of Poetry and Alabanza (Praise), we will explore the political imagination of Martín Espada and take flight with our own, wielding words to protest a failure of imagination and reaching for, as Einstein said, “imagination [that] embraces the entire world.”
Guide: Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutiérrez draws inspiration from the silent and silenced voices of history and herstory. The 2016 recipient of the inaugural Oregon Literary Fellowship for Writers of Color, Cindy was selected by Poets & Writers Magazine as a 2014 Notable Debut Poet. Her poetry collection, the small claim of bones (Bilingual Press), won second place in the 2015 International Latino Book Awards. Her poems have appeared in Borderlands, CALYX, Crab Orchard Review, Harvard’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, UNAM’s Periódico de poesía, Portland Review, Quiddity, and ZYZZYVA and have been anthologized in Basta: 100+ Latinas Against Gender Violence (forthcoming, University of Nevada-Reno) and Raising Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workspace (Lost Horse Press). A founder of Los Porteños, Portland’s Latino writers’ collective, and of el Grupo de ’08, a Northwest collaborative-artists’ salon, Cindy earned an MFA from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program, with concentrations in Mesoamerican poetics and creative collaboration. She has taught poetry through Annie Bloom’s Books, the Attic Institute, Literary Arts’ Delve Readers Seminars, Maryhill Museum of Art Teachers Institute, Oregon Council for Teachers of English, Oregon Poetry Association, and the USM’s Stonecoast MFA Program.