September through October marks Hispanic Heritage Month. The national holiday, starting on the 15th, recognizes the independence of Spanish-speaking countries; the time allows us to reflect on and honor the legacies of these cultures and communities. This week’s culture dose features the rich history, dynamic presence, and creativity of Hispanic peoples while also acknowledging Latino populations (those descending from Latin American countries). Read, watch listen, and enjoy!
Read: Copy by Dolores Dorantes
Dolores Dorantes holds multiple identities as a performer, poet, storyteller, and activist. Her Mexican descent and eventual asylum in the United States have colored her writings with vivid emotion and depth about displacement; readers are exposed to socio-cultural writings and political-social reflections. Translated from Spanish by Robin Myers, Dorantes arrives with her newest collection of poems, Copy which looks at many things through the lens of her hispanic heritage.
From the publisher:
“Without the copying process,” the poet Dolores Dorantes has said, “there would be no life, no reality.” Through deconstructed dictionary entries and powerfully syncopated, recursive texts, Copy is a prose poem sequence that insinuates an experience of violent removal: a person’s disappearance from a country, from normal life, and forcible reintegration into a new social and existential configuration. This displaced, dispossessed voice explores what it means to be extracted, subtracted, abstracted out of being―and returned into it. Meditative, urgent, and alive, Copy asserts itself as an invocation, both intensely personal and insistently communal, of the right to refuge, and it enacts a powerful homage to the human capacity for creation and metamorphosis. In this way, this book points to the wound of being extricated, serving as both a suture and a salve.
Get it here or your local library
Watch: Soul of a Nation
In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month watch ABC News’s series Soul of a Nation. The program, hosted by actor Benjamin Bratt, takes an inside look at the culture and identities of Hispanic and Latino communities in modern America. The program’s first installment titled Celebrating Hispanic Culture: Corazón de América featured rich cultural elements such as music, sports, food, and language and shed a light on important narratives of equality and civil rights.
An extremely poignant moment in the special speaks to colorism within the community. Host Sunny Hostin engages in a discussion where all walks of life are privy to microaggressions and racism on a daily basis. In hearing from model and activist, Haatepah Clearbear, Chican-X professor Dr. Martín Sean Arce, and spoken word artist Caridad De La Luz there is grief and a reckoning that comes with analyzing one’s own culture. Yet their powerful words hold optimism. Through shared experiences and the desire for a better landscape, we see hope, spirit, and progress being made.
This year the series continues with its second installment Mi Gente: Groundbreakers and Trailblazers which tracks the historic careers of music icon Gloria Estefan, baseball legend David Ortiz, and Hollywood game changer Diego Luna. Despite their different fields and upbringings, we learn the ways in which their talent and determination mark them as iconic figures in the industry. With their outspoken nature and willingness to shine a light on the inequalities Hispanic and Latino individuals face, they continue to build a legacy and pave the way for those in their community.
Listen: Alt.Latino on NPR
We can always turn to NPR for breaking news, in-depth analysis, and music; it may surprise you to know of their NPR program Alt.Latino, a station dedicated to Latin and Hispanic artists and hispanic heritage. Host Felix Contreras weekly covers former and contemporary creatives, exploring their influences and preferred genre through personal anecdotes. We recommend a large catalog of episodes to choose from: Latinas in Punk, Voices from the Past in Ecuador and Venezuela, and The Alt.Latino Interview: Rita Moreno.
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