This week I’m happy to share a recording of last month’s Bilingual Poetry Night held at The Gallery at Ten Oaks here in McMinnville, Oregon. I had the distinct of honor of being asked to do a featured reading.
As I explain in the clip, I curated my reading selections for the event, choosing poems from my books Everything We Think We Hear, Small Fires, and Until We Are Level Again that had me working in both English and Spanish. I also read a few poems from an unpublished manuscript of poems all in Spanish. My thinking was to weave a brief narrative within the poems that showcased some of the experiences that have led to me openly writing in two languages. This themed selection also allowed me to have a conversation around the poems, unpacking some of the journey that I still find myself on sharing stories I can’t tell without rolling my R’s.
The poem I start the reading off sets the tone and serves as a guide into this conversation:
My history with the Spanish language – José Angel Araguz
Something is offered up when we speak, and something is fed. Mi familia es mi historia. So it is that when I speak with family now, I take the time and say each word aware of how I may come across: a child making communion with all he knows.
I feel this effort at communion is at the heart of all my work, on and off the page.
Please enjoy the clip below. My own reading starts at 3:42 and goes on for about twenty-five minutes, with a small Q&A afterwards. Also on this clip is the open mic featuring some great local writers from the community.
Special thanks to Courtney Terry from the McMinnville Public Library for the invitation to be the featured reader. A huge thanks as well to Nancy & Dan Morrow, owners of The Gallery at Ten Oaks, for hosting the event. Finally, thank you to everyone who attended the reading – and to everyone of you attending it by watching below!