Spanish Profs Participate in Two International Poetry Festivals | St. Lawrence University

Spanish Profs Participate in Two International Poetry Festivals

Adjunct Instructor Esthela Calderón and Lewis Professor Steven White from the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures participated in the VI Festival Latinoamericano de Poesía in New York City in April and the XVI Festival Internacional de Poesía in Granada, Spain in May, 2019. The NYC gathering included writers from Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Peru, Venezuela, among other Hispanic American nationalities. The festival in Granada, widely considered one of the most prestigious events of its kind in the Spanish-speaking world, featured renowned Chilean poet Raúl Zurita, former U.S. Poet Laureate and winner of the Pulitzer Prize Robert Hass, and Goncourt Prize recipient Abdellatif Laabi, as well as Juan Carlos Mestre, Antonio Praena and Manuel Francisco Reina from Spain.

As part of the New York festival, expertly-organized by Karla Coreas, Calderón and White conducted readings and workshops for high school students at the Manhattan Academy of Arts and Languages in addition to the Manhattan Village Academy. They also read their poetry to a large audience at the festival’s closing event at the Consulate General of El Salvador in Brentwood, New York. White was part of a three-hour panel called “The Creative Mirror of Translation,” which was co-sponsored by The Graduate Center, CUNY.  Other panelists included Colombian translator Miguel Falquez-Certain, Fredy Amilcar Roncalla (who translates Andean poets writing in Quechua into Spanish) and John Burns, a translator of Mexican poetry and professor at Bard College. For White, one of the highlights of the festival was a special tour for festival participants of the New York Public Library conducted by Paloma Celis-Carbajal, Curator for Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies: “We got to see some truly amazing items from their holdings that included first editions of works by 17th-century Mexican poet Sor Juan Inés de la Cruz, a letter sent to the New York Times by Pablo Neruda and an extremely rare publication by César Vallejo that included audio recordings by César Calvo.”

In Granada, Calderón and White had the opportunity to talk about poetry and ecology with younger students at a school in the nearby town of Pinos Puente as well as to visit the house in Fuente Vaqueros where Spain’s legendary poet Federico García Lorca was born. Lorca’s presence is felt everywhere in Granada, including the theatre that bears his name, where the two St. Lawrence University Spanish instructors read their poetry to an audience of 350 people. There was also a particularly moving presentation on the life and death of Antonio Machado that combined flamenco music and poetic prose by Juan Pinilla and Fernando Valverde. Steven White and Esthela Calderón are looking forward to returning to Spain with a group of St. Lawrence University students who will take classes there during the 2020-21 academic year.

For more information, visit the Department of Modern Languages.