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January 27, 2016

Costales presents bilingual children’s books at Canby Public Library

costales 01Through funding from the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), Canby Public Library is one of four Oregon Libraries to present an extensive program exploring Latino experiences in the United States. On Thursday, February 25 at 6:30 pm, bilingual children’s author and Senior Instructor of Spanish Amy Costales will tell stories, speak about the importance of Spanish heritage language and the creative writing process.

costales 02

January 19, 2016

Jesús Sepúlveda reads at International Festival in Bali, Indonesia

Chilean poet Jesús Sepúlveda and Balinese poet Samar Gantang

Chilean poet Jesús Sepúlveda and Balinese poet Samar Gantang

Between November 26th and December 1st 2015, ten poets were invited to participate in the Tabanan International Poetry Festival in Bali, Indonesia. Poet and Senior Instructor of Spanish Composition, Creative Writing and Poetry, Jesús Sepúlveda, was one of them. During the festival poets from four continents met and discussed issues related to poetry and their distinctive poetic traditions while performing poetry readings in their original languages with simultaneous translation into Indonesian for a Balinese audience composed of community members, students, poets, and occasional passers-by.

The Grand Opening of the event consisted in a procession through the streets of Denpasar—Bali’s capital—where poets paraded, carrying a banner with the pictures of all poets. A band that played Gamelan Balinese traditional music accompanied the poets while police stopped traffic and escorted the group of poets and musicians to the main stage. People assembled on sidewalks cheering the poets while giant posters announcing the festival were hanging from buildings and homes. At the end of the day, German poet Michael Augustin wrote: “poetry can stop cars!”

Sepúlveda had the opportunity to meet renowned Javanese poet and feminist scholar, Toedi Heraty, who invited the group to celebrate her 82th birthday at one of her beautiful homes. He also met the national Balinese poet and shaman, Samar Gantang, whose epic poems are rooted in Balinese culture and are performed with Gamelan music and masked dancers interpreting the different characters and scenes of the poems. This style of performative poetry is already a poetic school in Bali and Samar Gantang’s reputation is vibrant and emulated by Balinese youth.

Poets Muhammad Salleh, Vonani Bila, Aurélia Lassaque, Jesús Sepúlveda, and Michael Augustin

Poets Muhammad Salleh, Vonani Bila, Aurélia Lassaque, Jesús Sepúlveda, and Michael Augustin

Another highlight of the week was the poetry readings at the 16th century Tanah Lot Temple in the Wantilan area. Once there, and before the reading and the spectacular sunset over the Indian Ocean, poets were asked to sign their names on separate plaques, so they could be engraved in a holy rock placed in the garden of the Hindu temple. Organizers and authorities envisioned this tribute as an opportunity for future visitors to admire the calligraphy of poet’s signatures melted into the beauty of the landscape and the sacred atmosphere of the place.

During the festival poets also visited schools, experienced Balinese culture and cuisine, and trekked the rice paddies of beautiful, utopian, and green land surrounding Jatiluwih village in the plateau of Watukaru Mount—one of the most iconic and traditional areas in Bali.   In this excursion, poets learned about the ecologically sustainable irrigation system of canals and weirs called Subak that dates back to the 9th century while drinking red rice tea and eating fresh fruit from the organic gardens.

Poets also taught and learned from each other, expanding their expertise and poetic craft while creating an international network of poetry. Malaysian poet Muhammad Salleh shared with his fellow poets the tradition of Pantun—a Malay literary form from 15th century—while Indian poet Sujata Bhatt read her intimate poetry about her displacements and reminiscences of her mother tongue. Mozambique-born poet and professor Lucas Mkuti presented an anthology of poetry from around the world Sweep of the Violin, whose title comes from a poem by Javanese poet and festival organizer, Dorothea Rosa Herliany. The whole group traveled throughout the island in a van driven “Balinese style,” visiting cultural sites and talking in Balinese, Indonesian, Malay, English, German, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish.

Poet Jesús Sepúlveda reading at the Tabanan main square

Poet Jesús Sepúlveda reading at the Tabanan main square

On the last night, five poets read their work at the main Tabanan plaza, Alit Saputra, in front of 15,000 people in the context of the city’s celebration of its 522 years. South African poet Vonani Bila, German poet Bastian Boettcher, French poet Aurélia Lassaque, Balinese poet Samar Gantang, and Chilean poet Jesús Sepúlveda read their poetry on the main stage, while a giant screen showed their readings to the public and the cameras televised the event live on Indonesian national TV.   This was certainly a climactic ending to the festival, which remained in the national and local news even days after poets returned home.

For more information, see or google Tabanan International Poetry Festival.

January 7, 2016

Faculty Interview: Harinder Khalsa

FullSizeRender_2What was your path to the University of Oregon?

I was born in Ankara, Turkey. After the first year of college I moved to Istanbul where I continued to my studies in Italian Language and Literature. While I was in college I started taking classes at the Istituto italiano di cultura. Many European nations have these cultural institutions where they teach language and culture. There I earned several scholarships to study abroad in Italy during summer times.

My first study abroad was in Siena and then I went to Perugia twice while I was an undergraduate student. After I graduated, I received another scholarship to participate in a longer program, Corso di formazione per gli insegnanti d’italiano, in Perugia for learning how to teach Italian as a second language. Towards the end of my stay, in the month of July I met the person who I would end up marrying after six months. He was a UO student doing his study abroad program in Perugia. As they say, the rest is history.

In 1993 I came here and started as a GTF, working on my Masters in Italian. By 1998 I had earned two masters degrees in Italian and Linguistics. I had a baby the same year and taught Italian classes at Willamette University for nearly two years. Then in 1999 I was hired as an instructor. So since I started, I never stopped teaching Italian.

What made you want to study Italian?

My first major was Physics, but the trouble getting through Calculus 251, guided me to look for a different path. When I was a teenager, I used to travel with my grandma a lot. One of those summers, I was in the Southern part of Turkey, and I met an Italian family and we became friends. I just fell in love with their way of being and their language the sound of it and everything. And I said, “you know what, why don’t I study Italian?” Making a decision that completely changed my life was really as simple as that!

Why should people study Italian?FullSizeRender_3

It’s important to learn a language different than yours. Learning a language helps one grow in a way that may not be possible otherwise. Seeing the world from a totally different perspective, seeing yourself from a different perspective- it brings objectivity. It helps one face their own limitations but also discover their own strengths and see that there is not only one way of doing things.

When you learn a language you learn a whole new set of problem solving skills. I speak three languages, and I have at least three different ways of approaching situations at hand. Sometimes, I think like an Italian, sometimes I think like a Turkish person and sometimes I have to think like an American.

What was that ‘light bulb moment’ that led you to a career in Romance languages?

It was in my second study abroad experience, in Perugia, where there’s this big university of foreigners. And I met people from all over the world basically, from Cameroon to Greece to Ireland to United States- basically all around the world. And we all had one thing in common: a desire to learn Italian and speak it well. All our joys, sorrows, everything we shared in Italian. That unifying aspect of Italian had a great impact on me. We were all very different people, but we were still able to get together, speak in a different language from our own and discover that we were actually not so different. But it took a language in common for us to discover that. I hope all students at the University of Oregon discover the language that may have similar positive effects in their lives. A great place to start that discovery is

— Madison Layton @MadisonLayton01






November 3, 2015

UO Spanish Heritage Language Program featured in KUNP Destino Éxito segment

Since October of 2013 the UO Office of Enrollment Management has partnered with KUNP Univision Portland and MundoFox on a national effort to increase college attendance, retention and graduation by the Latino community. The initiative, Destino Exito, features in its most recent video two U of O students, Perla Alvarez and Gildardo E. Corona, who have both been participants in our Romance Languages SHL (Spanish Heritage Language) Program. The short video, which you can watch here, includes footage of the First Annual SHL Spring Convivio event, which took place on May 19th in the Many Nations Longhouse. As you can see in the segment, faculty and students enjoyed homemade tostadas prepared by our very own SHL Director, Profesora Claudia Holguin, ensalada de nopales, and tinga de pollo, among other delights, to the sounds of the Andean Music Ensemble (MUS 410), directed by Professor Juan Eduardo Wolf. After dinner, Profesora Holguín along with Amy Costales, Advisor for the SHL Program, presented graduating seniors with certificates acknowledging their participation in and dedication to SHL UO.

November 2, 2015

Four questions for… Associate Professor of French and Director of Graduate Studies, Fabienne Moore


Who or what inspired you to do the work you do today?

As a professor of French literature, Moore’s answer to what inspired her to do the work she does was simple: her love for reading. “I consider myself a reader before anything else,” she said when explaining the role that literature has in her life. “I was eager to learn how to read so that I could stop depending on my mother to read things stories for me-” She expressed the interest she has had for reading since she learned the alphabet, from then on she hasn’t stopped devouring books about of poetry, novels, bandes dessinées, the literature of the European Enlightenment, and the French Revolution and early Romanticism among others, turning it into a career. “I personally think reading is an active engagement, not a passive one,” describing her interest in digging deep into literary works and actively decoding texts. Moore credits the admiration she has for poets, novelists, and essayists to pursuing a career in analyzing and teaching 18th and early 19th century French literature, having a chance to publish her own critical works as well as continue researching and learning as she goes. She is currently finishing a monograph that she has worked on for the past ten years in which she is exploring the life of French author François-René de Chateaubriand, and his life and work as a witness before and after the French Revolution, and under Napoleon’s first Empire, exploring the struggle of literature to challenge colonial politics.

What moment or circumstance led you to pursue this career?

It’s not rare to be confused or uncertain about a career path as soon as you graduate from college, and it was no different for Professor Moore. “I had no career plans for a long time,” Moore responded when asked about what led her to do the work she does now a days and for the last almost fifteen years. It wasn’t until the end of her Ph. D. work in Comparative Literature at New York University that she decided to pursue a career in education.… “There was no specific moment, I just wanted to continue learning and researching, and reading of course, it just made sense.” Moore also explains how her arrival to the University of Oregon was a matter of chance and hard work: “The position opened up in 2000…I was interested because it was a public institution and the campus was extraordinary.” She highlighted that finding a career is a process that unfolds unexpectedly, and something you must be patient with; her first job in France was as a summer camp leader and her first job in the United States was selling books in a bookstore.


What advice would you give someone learning a second language?

“It’s a lifelong project,” Moore said when asked what taking up a new language meant to her. Professor Moore is no stranger to learning new languages, having a couple under her belt, so she shared her wisdom and personal advice for those who are in the process of or are considering learning a new language: “Be curious and be patient, it takes time.” She expressed the importance of immersion to get first-hand experience of the cultures that revolve around the languages you want to learn, so that you can absorb the complete experience and not only the linguistics of it. If you are looking to get a more hands on experience with a new language, Moore emphasized the value of traveling and taking advantage of study abroad programs to further develop your experience: “Travel abroad and explore other customs, people and places.”

What’s your favorite memory so far at University of Oregon?

Professor Moore struggled to pick just one of her favorite memories so far during her time here at the University of Oregon, she eagerly shared a couple of her most memorable times during her time on campus, involving students and faculty, but distinguished one from all the others. The memory for which she credited the connection and acceptance she felt from the very start when she presented her research on 18th century French literature during her job talk in front of the Romance Language Faculty: “My senior colleague Evlyn Gould introduced me in a way that made me feel that she completely understood my research on prose poetry, perhaps even better than I did at the time!” Moore was energized by the way Professor Gould introduced her project and work, putting thought and complete critical interest into something that is typically a straight forward introduction right off a CV. “I felt inspired, she was someone I wanted to work with,” and from then on she has, and continues to be part of Romance Language Department, now not only as an Associate Professor of French but as well as the Director of Graduate Studies, taking up new challenges as she goes.

by Vanessa Santillan-Nieto



October 22, 2015

Sepúlveda Reads his Poems at the 2015 Poetry Festival of Struga in Macedonia

August in Macedonia wasn’t only the month when refugees broke through the border towards Western Europe. It was also a week of poetry—the moment when poetry brought a magical key for people, words, languages, and ideas to flow openly in and out of the Republic of Macedonia. Indeed, while refugees, largely from war-torn Syria, were crossing the country, poetry was leaving its imprint on the shore of the sublime Ohrik lake—one of the deepest lakes in the Balkans.

Jesús Sepúlveda reading at the Monastery St. Andrea, nestled in the canyon of the Treska River in Matka

Jesús Sepúlveda reading at Matka Canyon

The International Festival of Poetry of Struga is the oldest poetry festival in Europe—and it has continued without interruption for the last 54 years.

This summer, Chilean poet and UO Senior Instructor of Spanish, Composition, Creative Writing, and Poetry Jesús Sepúlveda was invited to read his poetry. Two of his readings were broadcast live on national TV in Spanish and Macedonian. These readings took place at the “House of Poetry” and at the “Brigde of Poetry” in Struga. Other poets who also read at these venues included Adonis (Syria), Bei Dao (China), Ghassan Zaqtan (Palestine), Yusef Komunyakaa (USA), Sujata Bhatt (India), Michael Augustin (Germany), Monica Aasprong (Norway), Michael Glück (France), Evgenij Chigrin (Russia), and Philip Hammial (Australia), among others.

Jesús Sepúlveda and Víctor Rodríguez Núñez crossing the Ohrid Lake

Jesús Sepúlveda y Víctor Rodríguez Núñez en el Lago Ohrid

This year, a total of 38 international poets and several Macedonian poets were invited to perform poetry readings in Struga, Ohrid, Skopje and other cities. The festival took place the last week of August and poets also had the opportunity to visit the XI century Ortodox monasteries of St. Jovan Bigorski and St. Andrea in Matka, and listening to the Macedonian avant-garde and jazz fusion band La Colonie Volvox. The director of the Berlin film festival “Zebra,” Thomas Wohlfahrt, gave a lecture on poetic film and RL alumna Katherine Hedeen animated one of the symposiums on translation.

Bei Dao was the laureate poet for the 2015 Golden Wreath. In previous years, poets such as Mahmoud Darwish, W.H. Auden, Joseph Brodsky, Allen Ginsberg, Pablo Neruda, Eugenio Montale, Léopold Seedor Senghor, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Nichita Stanescu, Rafael Alberti, Edoardo Sanguineti, Ted Hughes, Ko Un, Nancy Morejón, Yves Bonnefois, Adonis, Seamus Heaney, José Emilio Pacheco, and Tomas Tranströmer also received this recognition for their literary trajectory.

During the festival, Cuban poet and RL alumnus Víctor Rodríguez Núñez and president of the Italian Pen Club Sebastiano Grasso launched their selected poems while European poets from the Versopolis platform Ivan Hristov (Bulgaria), Kristina Hocevar (Slovenia), Linda Maria Baros (France) and Tom van de Voorde (Belgium) read their work. Mexican poets from the “Círculo de Poesía” (Mario Bojórquez, Alí Calderón and Mijail Lamas) presented an anthology of Mexican poetry translated into Macedonian, and Spanish poet Paula Bozalongo received the “Bridges of Struga” award given to the best book published by a young author.

According to the director of the festival, Macedonian poet Mite Stefoski, this “54th edition of the ‘Struga Poetry Evenings’ brings the best poetic names with authentic poetics [and it’s] a celebration in honor and glory of poetry.

Jesús Sepúlveda is the third Chilean poet to be invited to this festival.

October 21, 2015

UO and PSU students study in Spain (Summer 2015)

Cathedral of San Salvador, Oviedo

Cathedral of San Salvador, Oviedo

In August 2015, Professor of Spanish David Wacks traveled to Oviedo, Spain to lead GEO Study Abroad’s Summer Advanced Spanish Literature and Culture Program. In this program, which Wacks piloted in 2014, a group of 10 students from the UO and OSU took two upper-level Spanish courses in four weeks (8 credits total), while they stayed in family homestays or at a universally accessible intergenerational residence in Oviedo that was also home to seniors, traveling professionals, students, and athletes.

During the month Wacks taught two courses whose content is focused on the culture and history of the Principality of Asturias, the region in Northern Spain of which Oviedo is the Capital. Both of these courses satisfy the ‘in-residence in Eugene’ courses required for the Spanish major and minor at the UO. Students studied hard learning about the history, mythology, folk culture, and literature of Asturias from Monday to Thursday.

Students participate in a theatrical tour of Laviana

Students participate in a theatrical tour of Laviana

On Wednesdays they went on program excursions to the places they had been studying, such as the Roman Thermal baths in the coastal city of Gijón, the historic site of the Battle of Covadonga, which now houses a shrine tucked into a cliff with a waterfall spilling out of it, and the mountain village of Entralgo, the setting for the novel La aldea perdida (‘The Lost Village’), which students read as part of the literature course.

Lush landscape around the village of Villorio

Lush landscape around the village of Villorio

In 2013, Wacks served as Visiting Faculty for AHA’s regular Spring semester study abroad program in Oviedo. He and his family were so taken with Asturias’ natural beauty, rich cultural life, and welcoming people that they wanted to share the experience with more UO students and continue relationships with friends and schoolmates they had begun in 2013. “Asturias is an interesting place,” says Wacks. “It’s not on the regular touristic routes, so locals are not overexposed to Americans or foreigners in general. It’s easier to meet people and form relationships. It’s also an area of Spain with a very interesting history. It’s not the flamenco-and-bullfight Spain of Andalucía. It’s on the Atlantic Celtic rim, and so Asturians have a lot in common with other areas of Celtic influence such as the British Isles, Brititany, and neighboring Galicia in Spain. Plus the food is exceptional.”

Students on the medieval "Roman" bridge in Cangas de Onís

Students on the medieval “Roman” bridge in Cangas de Onís

Student participants acknowleged that is work-intensive but fulfilling and enjoyable. Sheyanne Hunsinger, a Spanish major from Durango, CO, reports: “It is a challenging program but well worth the work you put into it. It is rewarding to learn about the place where you are living.”

Her classmate Phillip Kriegel, a Math and CIS major and Spanish minor from Beaverton, describes it as “an incredible program that takes you to a part of Spain that many never [otherwise] learn about. The culture, people, and city are one of a kind, and it is truly amazing.”

Student conducting ethnographic interview with resident of Ovida residence

Student conducting ethnographic interview with resident of Ovida residence

Students also appreciated the bonding experience that comes with working hard and playing hard with a like-minded group. Hannah Rondeau, a Spanish major from Corvallis, advises future participants to “be prepared to work hard, but also have a lot of fun. As long as you manage your time well you will still be able to go out and experience the culture of Spain. . . . You will develop amazing friendships with the people around you.”


at the Museum of the Asturian People in Gijón


October 12, 2015

Prof. Taylor leads new UO study abroad in Chiapas, Mexico (Summer 2016)

UO CHIAPAS Program       July 18-September 2, 2016       San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico

This 7-week program offers you the opportunity to earn twelve credits in Spanish at the 348-or above level in an intriguing immersion setting. Courses include History of Chiapas, Mesoamerican Foodways, and Academic and Public Engagement across Borders. As an integral element of these courses,UO participants team up with Mexican youth to design and implement unique hands-on social, environmental, or cultural projects oriented toward their mutual interests. Expertly guided group excursions in and around San Cristóbal as well as to Highland Maya Villages, Sumidero Canyon, Chiapa de Corzo, Lagos de Montebello, Agua Azul, and Palenque draw on the knowledge of local experts in fields such as Mayan History, Art, and Culture, Human Rights, Organic and Fair Trade, and Environmental Education to create a holistic program of cultural and academic discovery.

With a population of approximately 200,000 people, San Cristóbal de las Casas is one of the oldest colonial cities in the Americas, and has been a center of Mayan civilization for thousands of years. Hilly San Cristóbal is a pedestrian-centered, relaxed, and livable market city with a thriving art scene and more than its share of exquisite cafés and hangouts. Highland Maya culture, crisp mountain air, and a cluster of internationally renowned universities, research institutes, and non-profit grassroots organizations make this quaint big city a magnet for curious idealists from all over the world and a cozy perch from which to explore the archaeological, natural, and cultural wonders of Southern Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula.

Operating continuously since 1993, the Instituto de Lenguas Jovel is unmatched in Chiapas for its academic quality and reputation for social responsibility in working with community partners. The Instituto Jovel offers courses in Spanish, German, English, Tzotzil and Tzeltal, as well as cultural programming and workshops, making it a multicultural haven that echoes the provincial charm and international pulse of San Cristóbal. Instructors build museum tours and around-town exploration into their curricula, and Helga Loebell coordinates language exchanges, dance lessons, and cooking classes. Excellent yoga, dance, and martial arts studios are all within a few blocks of the school and students’ home stays.

See for a quick tour of the school and San Cristóbal. Please contact Professor Analisa Taylor at or OIA Study Abroad Coordinator Luis Ruiz for more information.

Application deadline: March 1, 2016


chiapas card small

October 10, 2015

Amalia Gladhart on Translation (Rosario, Argentina)

Professor Amalia Gladhart spoke to faculty and students in the translation program at the Instituto Superior “San Bartolomé” in Rosario, Argentina, on September 29, 2015. Addressing the group on the eve of International Translators’ Day, Gladhart’s lecture was titled “Consideraciones contextuales a la hora de traducir: Reflexiones desde la práctica.” The talk drew on work-in-progress in both translation (a translation of Angélica Gorodischer’s novel Tumba de jaguares) and translation studies, asking what it means to translate context–a seeming impossibility that translators must creatively resolve in each project. Discussion following the talk was lively, a reflection of the strong preparation the students have received in diverse aspects of translation.

August 2, 2015

Sepúlveda presents book of poetry at NY Public Library


sepulvedaJesús Sepúlveda presented his latest book of poetry, entitled Secoya at the New York Public Library on June 22, 2015.

About fifty people gathered on a Monday evening to hear poetry in Spanish at the Fifth Avenue landmark building. The event, called “Noche vestida de versos,” was a poetry reading organized by Sudaquia Editores and the New York Public Library.  Along with Sepúlveda, poets Enrique Winter, Raquel Adend van Dalen, and Juan Luis Landaeta also read their works.

Sepúlveda’s Secoya was recently published by Sudaquia Editores—a publishing house based in the US, which is breaking ground by publishing contemporary authors in Spanish.  A lively discussion and book signing followed the reading.


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