While much has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an event put on by the UNC Latina/o Studies Program is showing that poetry is never canceled.
The event, "poetry books in the age of corona," will take place on Wednesday at 5 p.m. virtually. It will feature three Latinx poets, among other storytellers, students, writers, artists and educators.
emilio Jesús Taiveaho Peláez, a doctoral student, José Felipe Alvergue, the author of several poetry collections including "scenery: a lyric," and Orvokki Crosby, the curator of The Concern Newsstand, a zine and book store based out of Chapel Hill, will all speak at the event.
"With a shared concern for language, this momentary meeting of three transnational voices hopes to serve as a plea for the formative and transformative power of the printed word," the event website read.
The conversation will focus around the publishing of both authors’ new books: "landskips" by Peláez and "scenery: a lyric" by Alvergue.
Peláez said the poetry book includes various multimedia elements, and discusses national identity and its effects on a person’s own individual identity.
“This conversation will explore the printed book as the site of a re-enchantment with both language and the world, emphasizing how poetry might contribute towards building a counter-narrative to the capitalistic frameworks of belonging and national identity,” Peláez said. “Together they ask: why read books of poetry in the age of corona?”
Peláez said the book uses both words and images to explore the modern United States.
“Bound by a commitment to the printed word and the transformative power of language, these books explore contemporary American Landscapes, probing the relationship between history, vision, lyric poetry and photography,” Peláez said.
Both collections explore the interconnection between immigration and identity. Peláez said they identify themselves as a migrant first and a student second.
The event is being held during Latinx Heritage Month, which takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 and serves as a month to recognize the achievements and impact that those of Latinx descent have had on the U.S.
Professor Geovani Ramírez, who teaches English and Comparative Literature at UNC and helped to organize the event, said in an email that he hopes it will bring Latinx Heritage Month to the greater UNC community.
“It is a great way to help celebrate Latinx Heritage(s) Month,” Ramírez said in the email. “I can say that from my conversations with emilio that they are the essence of poetry, and it is a privilege to listen to them talk about literature and life.”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.