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A Night to Share and Remember

So, literarily speaking...

I was delighted to have been invited back for a second time to appear on a panel of Latin American Women Writers "Reading Out Loud." Let's get loud! Shall we?

Poetry, or narratives, are often read, not heard, albeit spoken word and music take it to its sonic expansion quietly amazingly.

On Tuesday, October 18, and within the framework of the month of Hispanic Heritage and Latin Heritage Month celebrations taking place across Canada and the US, this panel brought together women living in Canada who were born in Latin America and continue to express their sense of cultural heritage and identity through the written word in short stories, poetry and novels. The looming question is what language will be used...for writing...and for presenting at these type of events! On the one hand, we feel such a deep desire to maintain our beautiful heritage through the Spanish language and its gorgeous inflections, sounds and unique idiosyncrasies particular to each region. On the other hand, we wish to include others in the Canadian mosaic to celebrate with us, and compare notes about how they feel about their own cultures and backgrounds, as well as their love and experiences in our birth countries. So, therein always lies the rub, to translate and what to translate..that becomes the question. And we love the answer into our solutions...which is to embrace both and make them dance the tango together!

The women with whom I shared a panel shared excerpts from their novels, short stories, in English and Spanish...and I shared some of my poems. There were visual poems, too, shared by some of the presenters, and stories that intertwined emails with legal discourse and legend...these twists and inventive turns of literary play are so inspiring and continue to keep us thinking about our perspectives in life. They especially lift us up as we encourage each other through struggles and pain, to heal and seek understanding, as well as to celebrate, play and laugh together. The "¡Marias y La Que No!" :)(The Maria and One Who's Not!) we had come to call our little group of presenters by the end of the event, as we were all named Maria except one of us, who became an "honorary Maria" :) Maria is, of course, a well known and popular first name in the Latin world, but usually followed by a second. My name is Maria del Luján, so these variations makes for an interesting added namely resonance, and mine connects to a special place near Buenos Aires, Argentina, where there is a huge cathedral rising out of a plain, with a small Virgin Mary of Luján, dressed in blue and white who decided that is where she wanted to be. That motif was a strong one imprinted in most of the works we read that night...the relationship between place and self, place and belonging, that becomes multiplied when one immigrates to another country. Here is a poem I read, one that had been published in the early 2000s in an anthology generated by the Antares Publishing House, the first ever anthology in translation (English, Spanish) of Hispano-Canadian writers and visual artists:

In one of my many moves I misplaced the original copy of the anthology volume, so I did not have access to the translation that was rendered by the editor in that book; however, I translated my own poem myself on the screen above to English, as the event was in that language and to give access to all who were present, whether they speak Spanish or not.

I am very grateful for having had that opportunity to read the poem above and others that night, as well as to hear the wornderfully inspiring works and about the creative process and senses of identity of my co-panelists, as well as the fabulous questions that came from the attendees in the audience. You can see more upcoming events hosted by Latincouver here.

Thanks to those who came out and to see us online on Tuesday, October 18th! Time: 6pm Pacific Standard Times, which is 9pm Eastern Standard Time for those of us in Ontario. The event was hosted by Silvia Goldemberg (Argentina) as a part of Latincouver, an organization based in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the panel includes the following fabulous females, along with moi! :)

I believe the recording will be available on the Latincouver events as soon as I have that link, I will share it here, too! For now here is the general event link.

Much love, poetically and artistically,



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