Although today begins the first day of May last month during Poetry National Month, April saw some Latino poets get some recognition. In fact, the Latino poets are just a handful or poets getting recognition. The three Latino poets took part in an ongoing event to bring Latino writers more exposure and inspire others to take up the literary art.
Located in Arizona, The University of Arizona Poetry Center is one of the three landmark poetry buildings in the entire nations. Serving as a library and archive, holding more than 70,000 items in its poetry collection, the center also holds classes, lectures, and workshops. In an event held on the 27th of April, the UA Poetry Center hosted a Latino contemporary poetry bash, called “Latino/a Poetry Now,” which plat-formed three nationally known Latino poets.
Touring for the past year-and-a-half, from University to University, Latino/a Poetry Now is a national reading tour that aims to empower a voice within the Latino community to contribute to the literary arts.
Director of Letras Latinas—the sponsor of the tour—Francisco Aragon describes how the tour aims “to provide a sampling of the thematically and aesthetically diverse work being produced by a newer generation of Latino and Latina poets.”
Partaking in the event held on April 27th was J. Michael Martinez, Carmen Gimenez Smith, and Roberto Tejada.
A graduate from the University of Northern Colorado, J. Michael Martinez was the recipient of the Walt Whitman Award due to his poetry collection entitled, “Heredities.” Martinez opened the event and was followed by poet and author Carmen Gimenez Smith whose works include, “Bring Down the Little Birds” and the poet collection called “Goodbye, Flicker.” The event came to a close with a reading from Roberto Tejada, a professor at Southern Methodist University.
The Latino/a Poetry Now event is a national reading tour about empowering contemporary voices in Latino poetry. It has been touring for the past year and a half. “The aim is to provide a sampling of the thematically and aesthetically diverse work being produced by a newer generation of Latino and Latina poets,” said Francisco Aragon, director of Letras Latinas, the sponsoring organization of the tour.
The next event in the tour is scheduled in October 29-30th with poets and writers Blas Falconer, Raina J. León, Maria Melendez, and John Murillo