Se acabaron las promesas, / decían nuestros carteles. [The promises have run out, / our signs said.]
So many perfectly good words have been ruined: Promise. Paradise. Free. Even: Like. Love. Friend. We know that the task of the poet is to renovate ruined words, to make language livable again. To make sure the mouth doesn’t hang off its hinges. To make sure the flame of the tongue stays lit in the storm of speech. But what happens when the poet tires of her labor? In English, this word for work is the same as the word for what a woman must do to push a baby out of her body and into the world. Mara Pastor’s new book of poems, Falsa heladería (False Ice Cream Shop) emerges from a double exhaustion and takes a big breath—then lets loose a current of sound—from the other side.
Natal Promise, Natal Debt: On the Recent Poetry of Mara Pastor
Adál Maldonado’s photographic career is marked by surrealism and politics. And since Adál is Puerto Rican, both things frequently coalesce in images that are dark and humorous, introspective and ferociously critical. After studying at the San Francisco Art Institute, he spent several decades working in close contact with the the Nuyorican scene, creating a conceptual “embassy” and “passport for Puerto Ricans,” U.S. citizens who frequently get treated as foreigners in the United States because of their language, race, and culture. El Puerto Rican Embassy, which today has its own website, was designed to represent: “a new generation of experimental Puerto Rican artists working at the margins of established art movements – who take risks which illuminate contemporary issues, question established cultural aesthetics and challenge dominant political issues.” He has published seven books, the most recent of which are I Love My Selfie, in collaboration with Ilan Stavans, and Los ahogados / Puerto RicansUnderwater, a series first published through social media. In 2016 he relocated from the island of Manhattan to the island of Puerto Rico. (In)visibility and identity are the central concerns of his works, which he has explored extensively through self-portraits, celebrity portraits, and staged photography.
Friday, September 14, 2018 – 7 p.m. at Leonard Library, 81 Devoe St, Brooklyn, NY 11211
with Andrés Cerpa, Francisco Font-Acevedo, Carmen Graciela Díaz,
Joey de Jesus and Carina del Valle Schorske
September 2018 marks one year after Hurricane María devastated the island of Puerto Rico. This event features contemporary Puerto Rican writers of both poetry and prose sharing new creative work and discussing how the ongoing crisis has transformed our styles of survival, our experience of diaspora, and the function of translation. Readings will include a bilingual element to fully represent Puerto Rican linguistic diversity.
Puerto Rican Writing: One Year after María @ Brooklyn Book Festival
Fair roof, dripping hall—these are names for sky where there should be only helmets left in the sand. We waste words mapping distance from one church to another, when religiosity is Fenrir in the north, and fresh birthed inkings, rooted in south sea brine. This is the way with us: Pythagorean stubbornness while we square the same four city blocks and discuss, too fast, our respective shames, walnuts quick meeting fire, and our first model ships.
Conversations from Luquillo to Boston, Following the Wrong Dog Home