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

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 expressions of spirituality, feminism, queerness, and Black or Indigenous heritage, change, enlarge, or nuance what it means to be Latino, and American, today?


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?

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?

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?

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?

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?


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 labor?

Earth, Landscape, & Myth

Latino poetry emphasizes multiple relationships to the earth, invoking everything from ancestral myths, 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?