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For nearly five centuries, the rich tapestry of Latino poetry has been woven from a wealth of languages and cultures—a “tremendous continental mixturao,” in the words of the poet Tato Laviera.

Spanning early accounts of colonial expeditions in the Southwest, visions of the mythical site of Chicano origin, Aztlán, and contemporary expressions of diasporic longing and imagination, the Latino poetic tradition brings dazzling insight to what it means to make a home in America, all the while imparting its own distinct rhythms, lyricism, and candor to American verse.

Recognition of the beauty and power of this tradition has grown in recent years, with Latino poets receiving two national and twelve state Poet Laureateships, a Pulitzer Prize, and three National Book Awards. At the same time the questions confronted by Latino poets—of exile and belonging, language and identity, struggle and solidarity, and labor and landscape—have become ever more urgent.

What does Latino poetry reveal about America? How might it help us imagine a more just, joyful, and capacious future?  Places We Call Home, a major public humanities initiative planned for 2024-2025, explores these and other questions through a nationwide engagement with the Latino poetic tradition, illuminating how its legacy of creativity, resistance, and reinvention shapes our evolving aspirations of e pluribus unum.

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APPLY TO BE A PROGRAM PARTNER

Beginning Fall 2024, grants of $1,200 are available to libraries and other public institutions for programs exploring Latino poetry and its ongoing relevance to American national life.

Applications are open to all public, academic, and community college libraries, museums, and nonprofit community organizations.

Grants may be used for: honoraria for local poets and scholars; travel expenses; actor/performer fees; publicity and promotion; refreshments; or other costs associated with programs.

Applications are now closed.
Notification: Mid-March 2024

For more information, please call (212) 308-3360 or email latinopoetry@loa.org.

Ancestry & Identity

The Latin American diaspora is large and multifaceted, and the work of Latino poets reflects a rich variety of cultures, histories, and communities. How is identity explored in these poems? How does Latino poetry illuminate tensions between the desire to preserve one’s culture and the pressure to assimilate? How does personal allegiance to different and sometimes disparate identities, including assertions of feminism, queerness, and Black or Indigenous heritage, change, enlarge, or nuance what it means to be Latino, and American, today?

FEATURED POEMS

THEMES

Public programs will explore eight core humanities themes, selected to inspire discussion and engagement with the Latino poetic tradition.

Language

Many Latino poets write in English while retaining strong and vital links with Spanish and Indigenous languages—working in innovative ways with Spanglish, drawing from pre-Hispanic languages such as Nahuatl, or exploring the untranslatable web of connotations of different languages. What expressive possibilities are opened up in the poems by the interplay of English, Spanish, Spanglish, and other vocabularies?

FEATURED POEMS

Voice & Resistance

Latino Poetry has a robust tradition of protest and critique. Latinos have participated in all the major social justice and liberation movements in the U.S. in the twentieth- and twenty-first centuries, from the civil rights movement to advocacy for LGBTQ+ and undocumented people, to workers’ rights. Freedom struggles in places such as Puerto Rico stretch back even further. Poets were essential in these movements: at the height of the Chicano movement poets were often featured at political events. What sort of language and imagery do we encounter in the political poems of the Latino poetic tradition? How do the poets understand their role in political struggle?

FEATURED POEMS

First & Second Homes

Many Latino poets have explored what it means to live in the U.S. while retaining, even over many generations, deep connections to an ancestral homeland. How do poets express a sense of displacement and exile? What role do cultural memory and nostalgia play? How do the histories of war, national sovereignty, shifting borders, and the quest for economic security affect how poets understand themselves, their families, and their communities?

FEATURED POEMS

Family & Community

Poetry often speaks to the bonds of family and community. How have Latino poets depicted these relationships—among children, parents, and grandparents, between intimate partners, and within wider communities, informal networks of support, and “chosen families”? What sorts of practices and rituals surrounding family and community do we find in Latino poetry, and how have poets explored the effects of migration, generational change, and other circumstances on these traditions?

FEATURED POEMS

Music & Performance

The musical traditions of Mexico, Latin America, and the Caribbean have been crucial wellsprings for Latino poetry. How have Latino poets drawn on musical traditions in their poems? Which musical figures have they singled out for praise and why? How has music informed their sense of poetry as a performative art, to be heard aloud as much as (or more than) to be read on the page?

FEATURED POEMS

Labor

Latino poets have drawn inspiration from their backgrounds, often working-class but also from other social strata. Work figures variously in Latino poetry, ranging from underpaid and demanding farm labor to professions such as teaching. How is work presented in these poems? What sort of value is placed on labor—manual, domestic, and intellectual? What is the relationship between the work and workers portrayed and the poet’s own work?

FEATURED POEMS

Eco-consciousness

Latino poetry emphasizes multiple relationships to the earth, invoking everything from ancestral myths of the generative powers of earth, to profound and reverent attentiveness to landscape, to urgent eco-consciousness. What might Latino poetry have to offer or teach us at a time of deep concern about our environmental future?

FEATURED POEMS

FAQs

Click the questions below for information about the Latino Poetry project.

Read an interview with LOA's Public Humanities Fellow Susana Plotts-Pineda for Letras Latinas for more on grant opportunities, public events, and partnerships.

WHAT IS THE LATINO POETRY PROJECT?

Latino Poetry is a national public humanities initiative directed by Library of America, a nonprofit  publisher and cultural institution, in partnership with the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures and arts organizations, museums, and libraries nationwide.

It comprises signature events in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio/Houston, New York City, and San Juan, Puerto Rico; scholar-led public conversations in seventy-five public libraries around the country; a website with resources and a media archive; and a groundbreaking new anthology.

The initiative seeks to center the rich and diverse voices of the Latino poetic tradition, bringing them into conversation with current debates about the history and promise of America.  With the guidance and participation of prominent scholars and poets, the programming will examine the extraordinary breadth and range of Latino poetry and its ongoing relevance to our national life.

WHO IS INVOLVED?

Latino Poetry is a partnership of numerous arts and cultural organizations, including the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures; the Miami Book Fair and CasaCuba; the Chicago and Los Angeles public library systems; the National Museum of Mexican Art; the Museum of the City of New York and the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural and Educational Center; the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio; the Puerto Rican Endowment for the Humanities in San Juan; the Academy of American Poets; Cave Canem; Poetry Society of America; and the National Book Foundation. Other partners include U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón and Presidential Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco.

Rigoberto González, professor of English at Rutgers University, serves as the project’s Principal Humanities Advisor and editor of Latino Poetry: The Library of America Anthology. He is supported by a national advisory board of poets and scholars.

Library of America is a nonprofit organization that champions the nation’s cultural heritage by publishing America’s greatest writing in authoritative new editions and providing resources for readers to explore this rich, living legacy. You can read more about our work and mission on our website.

WHEN ARE THE EVENTS AND PROGRAMS TAKING PLACE?

Project programs run from September–October 2024 (Hispanic Heritage Month) through April 2025 (National Poetry Month), with signature events taking place in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio/Houston, New York City, and San Juan, Puerto Rico, on dates to be announced.

Applications for library and museum programming partners open on September 14, 2023, with a submission deadline of February 15, 2024. Applicants will be notified of their status by March 1, 2024. Click here to apply!

WHEN IS THE LATINO POETRY ANTHOLOGY COMING OUT?

Latino Poetry: The Library of America Anthology will be published on September 3, 2024, and will be kept permanently in print.

Please direct media inquiries and review copy requests to Leslie Schwartz at lschwartz@loa.org.

WHEN WILL THE FULL WEBSITE AND MEDIA ARCHIVE GO LIVE?

The full website will be launched in late spring/early summer of 2024, and will be updated regularly.

WHERE CAN I LOOK FOR UPDATES AND NEWS ON THE PROJECT?

You can check this website (LatinoPoetry.org) for all news and updates about the Latino Poetry project, including details on upcoming events and information about the anthology.

And for everything LOA-related—from the latest volumes to upcoming live events—follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

Still have questions? Reach out to latinopoetry@loa.org.

Principal
Staff:

HUMANITIES
ADVISORS:

Project Director
Max Rudin
President & Publisher
Library of America
Daniel Borzutzky
Associate Professor of English and Latin American and Latino Studies, University of Illinois Chicago
Daniel Enrique Pérez
Associate Professor of Chicanx and Latinx Studies, University of Nevada-Reno
Principal Humanities Advisor
Rigoberto González
Professor of English
Rutgers University
Michael Dowdy
Professor of Latino Literature and Studies, University of South Carolina
Alexandra Lytton Regalado
Poet, editor, translator
Project Manager
Brian McCarthy
Associate Publisher
Library of America
Lauro Flores
Professor of Chicano and Latin American Literatures and Cultures and American Ethnic Studies, University of Washington
Claudio Iván Remeseira
Journalist
Public Humanities Fellow
Susana Plotts-Pineda
Library of America
Aracelis Girmay
Creative Writing Program, Stanford University
Roque Raquel Salas Rivera
Poet
Project Coordinator: Poetry
James Gibbons
Contributing Editor
Library of America
Victor Macías González
Professor of History and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Eliza Rodríguez
Professor and Chair of Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies, Loyola Marymount University
Project Coordinator: Web
Ben Lasman
Online Content Manager
Library of America
Tony José Antonio Lucero
Jackson School Associate Director, Chair of Latin America and Caribbean Studies, University of Washington, Seattle
Vincent Toro
Assistant Professor of English, Rider University
Urayoán Noel
Associate Professor of English and Spanish and Portuguese, NYU

Major Funding Provided By:

NEH logo

National Partners:

Academy of American Poets logoCave Canem logoLetras Latinas logoNALAC logoNational Book Foundation logoMuseum of Mexican Art logoPoetry Society of America logo

Video by Intelligent Television, Inc.

Intelligent Television, Inc.