Monday, August 25, 2014

Poetry Para la Gente in El Salvador


Xanath Caraza
 
Universidad de Sonsonate
 
 

El 2o Festival Internacional de Poesía de Occidente, Leyla Quintana, 2014, organized by Fundación Metáfora was held in a variety of cities in El Salvador from August 10 to August 16.  Hoy comparto parte de esa experiencia.

Coatepeque



First, let me discuss some important background information about El Salvador to give a broader context of this wonderful country to situate the significance of this creative gathering, the Festival Internacional de Poesía de Occidente.  El Salvador is a beautiful, small country in Central America that experienced a traumatic war in the 80’s.  Many Salvadorian families fled the country and came to the U. S. during that time, others ended up in Mexico, Canada and a number of European countries.  Lately, here in the U.S., our attention has been directed to the unfortunate situation of the children who are traveling alone from Central America to the U.S. and have been detained in the U.S., being placed in what seems to be more of a concentration camp than anything else.  We also hear about the tremendous violence that El Salvador experiences due to the Maras.
 
Capilla de la Divina Providencia, San Salvador
 
 

Yes, El Salvador is all of the above and has areas definitely not recommended to enter.  It is hot and humid, and is a country that is still rebuilding.  However, El Salvador is also poetry and through the hard work of poets and activist like those of Fundación Metáfora (Robert Deras, Marisol Alfaro, Mixtli Alejandra, Anthony Molina, Nestor Duran, Vladimir Baiza, Lili Alfaro and Otoniel Guevara), El Salvador is changing minds, and bringing hope one poem at a time.

 Ahuachapán



For the Fesitival itself this year, we,  the other guest poets and I, visited San Salvador, Santa Tecla, Santa Ana, Sonsonate, Ahuachapán, Caluco, Chalchuapa, Metapan, Coatepeque, San Marcos and other communities, reading poetry, as part of el 2o Festival Internacional de Poesía de Occidente, Leyla Quintana, 2014, from August 10 to the 16.  We, the poets, were taken care by all members of Fundación Metáfora, we had a special bus that picked us up and drove us to the different communities where our presentations and Q & A sessions took place.  I was not just surprised, but impressed by the numerous audiences that attended our readings. 

El bus poético



Of the readings we had, most were in public schools; many students were from junior high and high schools.  We read twice a day, one reading in the morning and a second one in the evening.  Many times our readings prolonged for almost three to four hours, and yes, I will do it all over again. 
 
San Marcos
 
 
San Marcos
 
 

During these readings with the bright, young people we met, it was hearing the questions that our young audiences had for us after our presentations that brought light and hope to me.  They, as many of our young audiences here in the U.S., want to be poets; therefore, these wonderfully eager young people in El Salvador also asked about what they can do to improve their writing skills.  They continued to inquire if we are born a poet or if we become one along the way.  What is more, they were inquisitive about where to publish, how to come up with a manuscript, or simply, these young audiences wanted us to hear them, the young people, read a poem. 
 
San Salvador
 
 

In the U.S., I have met several young men and women who are either originally from El Salvador or whose parents are from El Salvador.  I have wonderful poet friends from El Salvador too, who have lived here in the U.S. since the 80’s.  Visiting this small and beautiful country, for the first time, made me remember of my own childhood in Mexico, where with very few, but with tons of corazón and much curiosity, my friends and I learnt and discussed about poets and writers.  Some of us even became poets and writers thanks to those discussions and in a very few occasions thanks to an encounter with a poeta de carne y hueso. 
 
Santa Ana
 
 

How important is it to remember or to know where we come from or where our parents have come from was a constant thought during my visit to El Salvador?    How important is it to know the history of our countries of origin and to learn about those powerful culturas prehispánicas that we, in many occasions, know very little about.  How important is it to hear los testimonios of those who experienced la Guerra, how hard and heart breaking it is to listen, or at least that was my own experience.  Will I go back to El Salvador, por supuesto, the same as I would go back wherever I am called to read la poesía.

Metapán


Why is important for us to learn about la literatura salvadoreña?  It is vital since a great deal of our youth in the U.S. have raíces en El Salvador, simple and plain.  How many of us know about Leyla Quintana, Otoniel Guevara, Kenny Rodríguez, Salarrué, Roque Dalton, Luis Borja, Noé Lima, Argelia Quintana among many more poetas y escritores.  I invite you to learn more about our own poetas in the U.S. whose orígenes are salvadoreños and as well I invite you to celebrate them. 
 
Metapán
 

Thankful and with hope I am, one poem at a time, one word one mind.

 

Caluco
 

 

“La oportunidad de viajar y conocer a poetas con tanta sensibilidad me ha dejado el alma liviana, del festival me llevo historias hechas poemas, a través de esta patria sin tiempo comprendí lo que significa la lucha y el amor, como lo diría Silvio Rodríguez “¿Te molesta mi amor? Mi amor de juventud y mi amor es un arte de virtud” Eso era Leyla Quintana-Amada Libertad juventud hecha arte en revolución,  la conciencia y las letras se desbordan después de este encuentro, supongo que esta es la victoria que no esperaba dejar Amada Libertad, reivindicar la poesía y la mujer.”

Lourdes Soto, poeta

 


 

“Siempre participar en un festival de poesía es provechoso, pues se comparte el trabajo con un público en vivo, es posible confrontarse con otros autores contemporáneos, se idean proyectos compartidos. Pero la participación a este festival fue algo más. Creo que hemos logrado hermanarnos entre poetas a un nivel sincero y profundo y también creo que el público que asistió al evento, en su mayoría jóvenes, han entrado en comunicación con nosotros con entusiasmo. Me llevo, entonces, mucho más de lo que di: las historias de estas mujeres valientes, de las que tanto aprendí, y los ojos asombrados de éstos jóvenes a los que espero haberle enseñado algo.”

Silvia Favaretto, poeta

 
 
 

“El segundo festival internacional de poesía de occidente en El Salvador incluye el desarrollo de aspectos intelectuales, culturales, históricos y emocionales-vivenciales. Significó para mí una especie de graduación como poeta, porque el sentido de la poesía incluye emociones, asombro y disciplina, aspectos cumplidos literalmente.

Recibí además del apoyo a mi poesía, conocimiento in situ de un legado histórico de los sucesos de una guerra que han marcado a un país hermano,  el regalo hermoso de amistades auténticas que serán permanentes y que guardo como un tesoro entre las mejores. El cariño sincero de los estudiantes salvadoreños nos revela que la poesía llega a nuestra vida en momentos donde solo ella puede explicarnos el porqué se vive. Sostengo apretados a mis versos los de Leyla Quintana, para dejar claro en este mundo que la vida convoca a la rebeldía y a la lucha.”

Perla Rivera, poeta

 
 
 

“Traigo los ojos llenos de verde y juventud; el paladar ebrio de yuca y maíz. Mis honduras colmadas de palabras que resucitan anhelos enterrados en las montañas de la existencia. Traigo el testimonio de un amor. Amor es fuego que transforma el corazón; llama que lucha en vilo, siempre “en la punta del delirio”. Amado es el hombre, amada la tierra, Amada Libertad. La inútil e imprescindible poesía, tan como el amor, voz que busca el centro donde Verdad coincide con Libertad. Traigo de vuelta amigos nuevos y un manojo de Camelias que tanto había buscado Leyla en el manglar.”


Zingonia Zingone, poeta

 

 


 

 

 

 

In Other News

 

Hot off the presses! Angels of the Americlypse.  An Anthology of New Latin@ Writing (Counterpath, 2014)

 

 

 
 
Finalmente

Celebrating 100 years of Octavio Paz on August 28, 2014 at the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City

 


8 comments:

Edward Vidaurre said...

Gracias por compartir.

Luna Sofía said...

:D Excelente!!! Thanks for writing and share.

Amelia ML Montes said...

So important to bring the poets of El Salavador to us. Gracias for this wonderful posting, Xanath!

Amelia ML Montes said...

Big typo! I meant to write, So important to bring the poets of EL SALVADOR to us! I also loved your section talking about the young students and their interest in writing, their insightful questions. Gracias, Xanath!

Karla Coreas said...


Thank you, Xanath for this article, for your kind words about our people and to share with others my dear country, El Salvador. I am so happy you had this opportunity and next time you go, I want to come along.
Abrazo poético.
Karla Coreas

Denise Low said...

Xanath, thanks so much for this account and for your commitment to poets and El Salvadoreans.

Francisco Alarcon said...

Querida Xanath: Muchas felicitaciones. Voy a compartirlo. Yo he estado ya cuatro veces en El Salvador para el Festival de Poesía Infantil. Saludos, Francisco

Rene Colato Lainez said...

Que bueno que visito El Salvador con su poesía. Yo también voy todos los años con Francisco X Alarcon, Jorge Argueta y Margarita Robleda al festival de poesía infantil.