Posts under tag: poetry
Homage to Nicanor Parra: Poetry Readings by Jesús Sepúlveda, from Cartagena to Santiago and Wallmapu
RL Spanish Creative Writing Instructor Jesús Sepúlveda did not have a chance to say goodbye to his mentor Nicanor Parra who just passed away on January 23, but his legacy was very much present when Sepúlveda gave a poetry reading at the Sociedad de Escritores de Chile (SECH) in Santiago, Chile on December 21, 2017. Organized and led by SECH president Carmen Berenguer, the reading began with five contemporary Chilean poets, then featured Sepúlveda’s forthcoming poetry collection, Espejo de los detalles, coming out in fall 2018 with Cuarto Propio. In her introduction, Carmen Berenguer drew the arc of Sepúlveda’s poetic evolution from his first collection, Lugar de origen (1987), which began the lifelong friendship with Parra, to the current volume. The reading was particularly moving and a great honor for Sepúlveda, whose last reading at the SECH dated from 1988, the year of the Chilean national plebiscite that marked the end of the dictatorship.
Sepúlveda also visited a coastal Mapuche community or lafkenche, in Wallmapu on the shore of Lago Budi, some 500 miles south of Santiago. As the largest saltwater lake in South America, the site boasts a rich ecosystem and deep cultural and agricultural practices. He shared his poems during a trawün (assembly) that took place inside a ruka, the traditional thatched dwelling. The community listened without applauding, sometimes commenting between poems. At the very end, an enthusiastic afafán resonated—the traditional vocal crescendo of approval. The head of the community (el werkén del lof) shared two sung poems or ül in Mapudungun. The trip also included visits to the community-run school; a greenhouse propagating native plants; an organic farm; and a women-run handicraft workshop. The visit took place under the auspices of Maple, a micro-development organization based in Eugene, whose Chilean delegates (Viviana Calfuqueo Canuinir, Fernando Quilaqueo, UO alumnus Ignacio A Krell, and Alison Guzman) came to the UO in fall 2017.
Prior to his visit to his native Santiago, Sepúlveda was invited to the 21st International Poetry Festival of Cartagena, Colombia, on December 1-4, 2017. Festival organizer Martín Salas brought the participants to a wonderful array of venues and in front of receptive audiences across the city: Sepúlveda and fellow poets from Spain and Uruguay read to the faculty and students/performers of a philharmonic orchestra in a suburban high school, the Escuela de Música de Comfenalco; they, in turn, gave a spirited and memorable performance of Duke Ellington’s greatest hits. The following morning, readings took place in the library of the Universidad de Cartagena. Next came “transpoesía:” during rush hour the travelling poets read in a crowded commuter bus to the surprise and amusement of passengers. The closing grand gala took place in the historic Teatro Adolfo Mejía.
Back in the classroom, Sepúlveda shares with his UO students a practice of writing (academic and creative Spanish) rooted in these poetic experiences and encounters, often tapping his network of international fellow poets for skype sessions or to recount personal memories. This quarter, Nicanor Para passed away the very day that his poems had been assigned reading in SPAN 410 and SPAN 311.
Jesús Sepúlveda reads from his most recent poetry book Espejo de detalles. November 21, 4:30-6:00 – Mills International Lounge (EMU).
Jesús Sepúlveda Travels to Cambodia to participate in Sylt Foundation’s program “Transformation and Identity, Trauma and Reconciliation”
For several years now the Sylt Foundation and its curator, Indra Wussow, have fostered a dialogue that breaks national borders between artists dealing with “Transformation and Identity, Trauma and Reconciliation” in their work, probing the legacies of Germany’s Fascism, South Africa’s Apartheid, Chile and Myanmar’s dictatorship, and Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge regime. Following a Sylt Foundation residency in South Africa in December 2017, Chilean poet and RL instructor Jesús Sepúlveda was invited to Cambodia from August 3-17, 2017 to meet with fellow poets and authors from Cambodia, Germany, and Myanmar, and numerous cultural agents invested in Cambodia’s past, present and future. Indra Wussow and co-curator Irene Leung organized a rich array of encounters: there was a dinner roundtable with choreographer and dancer Sophiline Cheam Shapiro who collaborated with oral historian Theresa den Langis and trauma psychologist Sylvia Johnson to create a ballet performance on forced marriages—one of the legacies of Pol Pot’s regime; there was a brunch and later an art opening with Java Arts’ gallery owner Dana Langlois focused on supporting emerging Cambodian visual artists and designers; a discussion with Cambodian curator Lyno Vuth and young artists in a newly created artist-run space, Sa Sa Art Projects. With German author Sasha Rey and Burmese poet Diu Ga Lay, Sepúlveda also participated in a translation workshop with aspiring Cambodian poets, exchanging poems and crafting translations into English and/or Khmer that culminated in a public, multilingual poetry reading at Meta House, the German Cambodian Cultural Center, sponsored by the Goethe Institute.
The group also attended the screening of Cambodia Son in a community theater. The 2014 documentary by Masashiro Sugano relates the odyssey of Kosal Khiev, now 37 years old, born in a refugee camp in Cambodia, exiled as a one-year old to California with his mother and siblings, falling into delinquency and jailed at 16 for the next 14 years; and deported to Cambodia, permanently banished from the USA. Kosal, who has become a spoken word artist, took questions from the audience, shared memories and hopes, performed his texts, and joined the Sylt Foundation fellows for dinner.
Another unforgettable encounter took place with Youk Chhang, founder and director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (or DC-Cam). Himself a survivor, a refugee in the USA, and now a philanthropist and human rights advocate, he has a mission to document and educate about Khmer Rouges atrocities, bring justice to the victims, and heal with the curative powers of art and beauty. In addition to his archival research, Mr. Chhang commissioned late Lebanese celebrated architect Dame Zaha Hadid to design an exceptional building named the Sleuk Rith Institute that will serve as an archive, a museum, and a graduate research center for trauma studies in the heart of the Cambodian capital. The fellows toured the Documentation Center, observed the busy team of interns digitizing documents and testimonies, and the work of videographers, then visited the nearby Wat Langka temple to marvel at the funerary urns hidden from the Khmer Rouge and rediscovered by accident by Mr. Chhang. Across the boulevard, Cambodia’s main teacher’s college, the National Institute of Education, boasts an art gallery. As a parting gift to the group, Mr. Chhang gave everyone the Teacher’s Guidebook to the teaching of “a history of Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979)” published by DC-Cam along with a textbook printed in the hundreds of thousands and distributed to all students in grade 9-12 (Kampuchea was the name of the Khmer Rouge state). “Genocide education is genocide prevention,” says the back cover.
Sepúlveda also delved into Cambodia’s contrasted history with an emotional visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum (a high school converted into a torture center by the Khmer Rouge), a tour of the Royal Palace, and excursions near the city of Siem Reap to the famed temples of Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom, Bantey Srei, and Preah Khan.
Grateful thanks go to the Sylt Foundation’s generosity and vision in making possible an essential cross-cultural, international dialogue among the arts on responding to trauma, on identity formation and transformation.
Eleven days after the FARC (the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) laid down their arms, the International Festival of Poetry in Medellín began its 27th version, celebrating world peace and reconciliation in Colombia.
If Medellín was associated with Pablo Escobar and the drug cartels in the early 1990’s, today it has become the capital of poetry.
From July 8th to 15th, 2017, an international community of poets met in Medellín to celebrate poetry and peace through the slogan “construyendo el país soñado” and explore possible articulations to link poetry to the peace-making process.
Chilean poet and RL instructor Jesús Sepúlveda was invited to participate with more than 100 other selected international and Colombian poets to read poetry in public. Readings were also held in Bogotá and in other locations in the country, including the so-called “normalization zones” near temporary guerrilla camps where former fighters transition into civil life.
Each day poets shared their poetry in public spaces—local libraries in underprivileged neighborhoods, countercultural theaters, universities, public plazas, and many cultural buildings.
This year was symbolic because of the recent peace agreement, but also particularly difficult because of political conflicts, which led some important institutions to withdraw their support from the festival. As the founder and director of the festival poet Fernando Rendón put it, the cultural functionaries feel they own the public budget, therefore:
“Aunque la guerra haya terminado, se mantiene la escala de tropas y armamentos, y el mal gusto por la áspera dominación y la cultura de la fuerza; se menoscaba aún más el presupuesto de la cultura; se interceptan los fondos de las agencias de cooperación que engrosan los presupuestos ministeriales; se imponen nuevos tributos y requisitos a las actividades culturales; se privatizan espacios tradicionales para el arte; se restringe al máximo el uso del espacio “público”; se hace inaccesible el costo de los libros y otros productos culturales; se incumplen compromisos con sectores avanzados del teatro nacional; se imponen a los actores culturales las mismas normas contables que a las empresas trasnacionales; se retienen aportes vitales para desarrollar procesos en los tiempos puntuales; se maltrata a los creadores y gestores.”
In spite of these difficulties, the festival was able to assemble poets, musicians and the public in an exceptional and peaceful symbiosis that makes this festival one of the most important poetry events around the world.
Poets also led literary workshops on current issues. Jesús Sepúlveda delivered a talk on poetry and utopia called “Jardines para la paz” at the Corporación Ecológica y Cultural Penca de Sábila. At the end of this workshop, participants wrote their own creative pieces. The following day a reading was organized at the Palacio de Bellas Artes where poets Samuel Bossini and Graciela Maturo from Argentina and Jesús Sepúlveda read together with some participants from different workshops that took place during the week in the context of the “Escuela de Poesía del Festival” directed by poet Jairo Guzmán.
The closing ceremony of the festival was a collective reading where many poets, including Sepúlveda, read their work in front of a multitude that gathered at the Parque de los Deseos. The crowd’s enthusiastic cheers and applause were an uplifting confirmation of the powers of poetry to embrace peace and unity in a country submerged in armed conflict for the last 53 years.
Jesús Sepúlveda adds: “I can only express my gratitude for the warm welcome and dedication of Fernando and Luis Eduardo Rendón, Gloria y Natalia, and all organizers for the smooth organization led by a team of presenters, interpreters, and translators, and for the energizing spirit of Colombia. Language transformed into poetry and poetry transformed into peace are the keys of this festival whose creative resonance is a crucial experience for poets in all languages. ¡Viva el Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín!”
[For more information about the “Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín,” click here: https://www.festivaldepoesiademedellin.org/es/Intro/index.htm]
Millions have their certified eclipse glasses ready for Monday’s solar event, but the UO’s Leah Middlebrook is recommending another eclipse essential for people in Portland: a flotation device.
Middlebrook, a professor of comparative literature and romance languages, is organizing a “splash mob” to watch Monday’s solar eclipse from the surface of the Willamette River. Interested participants can join the group with their favorite inner tube, standup paddleboard or lifejacket and catch the solar show while floating on the river.
The event will start at 8:30 a.m. Monday at the East Bank Esplanade, below Portland Fire and Rescue Station 21.
The Portland area is just outside the path of totality, but will get a 99.4 percent view of the eclipse.
The unconventional viewing party was inspired by the work of the Human Access Project, an organization that aims to transform Portland’s relationship with the Willamette River and to inspire people to cherish, preserve and enjoy the waterway.
Middlebrook is a member of the organization’s board of directors and regularly participates in group-swim outings through its River Huggers Swim Team, which hosts dips in the Willamette River every weekday. The group is open to all ages and all abilities. Their main goal to have fun and raise public awareness that the Willamette River is safe for swimming.
It was at one of these swims that someone first floated the idea for an eclipse water party.
“We were swimming together on this gorgeous sun-drenched morning when someone suggested a group float for the solar eclipse,” Middlebrook said. “As soon as it was out there, it was so obvious that it should happen because it will be such a fun way to simultaneously enjoy the river and the eclipse.”
Event organizers hope that people will see this event as an opportunity to catch the eclipse in an environmentally friendly way. They are encouraging folks to skip the heavy traffic and bike, walk or skateboard down to the river for a fully human-powered eclipse experience.
“We want to help people see the eclipse without burning gas,” Middlebrook said.
Middlebrook promises the river is currently at a comfortable temperature and is quick to confirm that it is both safe and amazing for swimming.
“Once you start using the Willamette River, you’ll keep going back,” she said. “The river is Portland’s largest public space and there are so many great beaches and docks to access it. I hope the eclipse helps some new folks realize what an amazing resource the Willamette River is.”
Middlebrook’s academic specialty is poetry, which she believes offers another great way to enhance the eclipse experience. She encourages eclipse enthusiasts to peruse some poetry before Monday to enrich their sun and moon gazing.
“Spend a little time looking for a poem about the sun or the moon and keep that in mind while you’re watching the eclipse,” she urged. “This phenomenon has created a lot of new excitement for us but poets have been reflecting on the sun and the moon for a very long time.”
A few of her personal favorites include William Shakespeare’s “Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,” Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The face of the moon,” Emily Dickinson’s “The Moon was but a chin of gold,” Henry David Thoreau’s “I am the Autumnal Sun,” Lucille Clifton’s “Raccoon Prayer” and Denis Johnson’s “The White Fires of Venus.”
—By Emily Halnon, University Communications
“The Desk Drawer and the Window: The Private Writing of Daniil Kharms as a
Basis for Theorizing Translation”
Monday March 3rd, 2014
Erb Memorial Union- Gumwood Room*
*this is a location change, updated on 2/28/14
To write for the desk drawer is the Russian expression for a kind of manuscript production not meant for publication because of its content (political, private, pornographic), its lack of quality (un-professional, amateur, pseudo-literary), or the writer’s attitude of apathy or active concealment. The desk-drawer manuscripts of Russian surrealist/absurdist writer Daniil Kharms (1905-1942) exhibit this fugitive position in respect to print: not conceived of as preliminary to publication, they are hidden, private, or meant only for a dedicatee’s individual reading. Kharms’s fragmentary style, developed under the conditions of private writing, resulted in poems, stories, plays, and incantations that foreground the surface and gesture of writing. The focus of this talk will be the special problems for the translator and current translation theory arising from this peculiar situation where the source text- unfinished, unstable, evading standard typographic setting–is not just a text, but a graphic performance.
Mayan and Spanish Bilingual Poetry Reading, BRICEIDA CUEVAS COB, Tuesday, November 8, 4:00 PM, Knight Library Browsing Room
Spanish Poetry Reading
Tuesday, November 15, 4:00 PM
Gumwood Room, Erb Memorial Union
Mayan and Spanish Bilingual Poetry Reading*
Thursday, December 1, 4:00 PM
Knight Library Browsing Room
Professor of Spanish Juan Epple has published the collection of short-short stories Para
leerte mejor (Santiago, Chile: Mosquito, 2010). The collection includes series on Don Quijote, heart transplants, and blind love.
He has co-edited with Edson Faundez the selection of essays La casa del poeta no tiene
llave. La poesía de Omar Lara. Puebla, México: Territorio poético/Circulo de Poesía, 2011. These essays discusses the poetic work of a leading creative voices from Chile’s generation of the seventies.
Prof. Epple has been appointed to the Academic Committee of the Catedra Libre de Literatura Patagonica at the Universidd del Comahue, Neuquen, Argentina