Latin American Poetry Festival American University, Washington, D.C.
On April 9, 2015, and during National Poetry Month, American University hosted its first ever Latin American Poetry Festival. Ten poets from the Washington Metropolitan Area were invited and participated in the event. These ten poets were Gladys Ilarregui and Luis Alberto Ambroggio from Argentina, Consuelo Hernandez from Colombia, Cacayo Ballesteros from Ecuador, Karla Koreas and Carlos Parada from El Salvador, Ada Vilageliu from Spain, Alejandro Urízar from Guatemala, Rei Berroa from the Dominican Republic and Chip Gerfen from the USA, who comes from a family of immigrants and who has formed a deep and passionate understanding of the Hispanic language and culture. Sharing similar experiences with exile, diaspora, biculturalism and bilingualism, the voices of these poets represent a community of more than 55 million Latino inhabitants in USA. Among the audience were students, faculty members from the WLC and other departments, the dean of academic affairs, Dr. Mary L. Clark, as well as friends and family of the guests and the university.
Edited by Consuelo Hernández and Chip Gerfen, the Anthology 2015 is a testimony of the event. It includes an "Introduction" that focuses on the history of Spanish in the United States as well a poetic sample of the 10 poets that participated in the Festival. This Anthology 2015 differs from others because it is the first anthology of poetry in Spanish published at a university in the DC; and because it went through a rigorous selective process in terms of the poetic quality and writing experience of the authors. It is a homage to the poetry written in Spanish in the Washington area.
Aware that creativity is the highest form of self-expression, the most liberating and the most constructive, starting the in fall of 2015 the Department of WLC will open a creative writing course in Spanish that will be led by poet and AU professor, Consuelo Hernández. As the exponential growth of the Latino population in the United States demonstrates, there is not only an increased interest for the study of the language amongst the nation's universities, but there is also a higher demand for Spanish speakers in the professional market. With over 500 million Spanish speakers in the world, the future of Spanish is thus, very promising. Here you will find pictures of the event and a link to the videos with all the participants that were present in the festival.