Rodriguez's debut collection, Garden of Exile, has been praised for the scope of the poet’s view—creating a visual, visceral world where “A lingual bridge lowers into my backyard,” and “the red-throated hummingbird . . . sweeps all my questions into the single sky.” Born in Havana and brought to America at age nine, Rodríguez writes poems that resonate with exile, escape, questions of impossible return. In the words of the poet Marie Ponsot, she is “so grounded, she freely regards everything (and measures nothing).” Rodríguez has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council, and lives in Los Angeles. Aleida Rodríguez 1953- Gary Soto 1952- Ricardo Pau-Llosa 1954- RICARDO PAU-LLOSA, Poet: My name is Ricardo Pau-Llosa. I live in Miami, Florida. And I am a poet and an art critic, primarily, and a smoker of cigars, which is not a popular thing anymore, but I love them.
I've surrounded myself with Latin-American art and a lot of Cuban art, but from other parts of Latin America. This is -- my house is an expression of my mind. Art has helped educate my way of seeing things.
Back in early '80s, late '70s, there was very little knowledge about Latin American art. Even in American art circles, Latin America was, you know, just basically invisible. And so I found it very challenging and interesting to write about Latin America, going to Latin America, to discover the art and write about it in American and European art journals.
How does an artist take apart the visual world and reconfigure it and make it his own or her own in a work of art? That's something that helped me a lot as a poet. My poetry, I think, is very visual as a result of that.
I was born in Cuba. And although I came at the age of 6, my family and I came after the communist takeover in Cuba. We arrived in December of 1960, first going to Chicago, and eventually moving to Tampa and then to Miami.
But when I arrived in Miami in the '60s, and growing up here from that point on, Miami was a place where the artists were creating, where musicians were playing, where writers were writing. And I came into contact with those people.
And then Cuba became a living, vibrant, breathing thing. It wasn't just a tragic, horrible history; it was now also a culture to which I could belong and from which I could derive inspiration. http://www-tc.pbs.org/newshour/rss/media/2008/07/25/20080725_poet28.mp3 Judith Ortiz Cofer 1952- From his webiste (www.garysoto.com)
Gary Soto, born April 12, 1952, was raised in Fresno, California. He is the author of eleven poetry collections for adults, most notably New and Selected Poems, a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Book Award and the National Book Award. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including Ploughshares, Michigan Quarterly, Poetry International, and Poetry, which
has honored him with the Bess Hokin Prize and the Levinson Award and by featuring him in the interview series Poets in Person. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. For ITVS, he produced the film “The Pool Party,” which received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Film Excellence. In 1997, because of his advocacy for reading, he was featured as
NBC’s Person-of-the-Week. In 1999, he received the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Author-Illustrator Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association, and the PEN Center West Book Award for Petty Crimes.
Gary admires people who have done great service for others. High on his list are Jose Padilla of California Rural Legal Assistance, Arturo Rodriguez of the United Farm Workers, Dr. Marc Lasher of the Fresno Free Clinic, and Nancy Mellor of the Coalinga Huron Avenal House. As for his own service commitment, Gary has taught English to Spanish speakers as a volunteer. In his free time he likes to play tennis, tend his garden, attend musical concerts, and travel. Recently he has discovered that he enjoys baking cookies. He divides his time between Berkeley, California and his hometown of Fresno. From Georgiana:
Ortiz Cofer claims to have inherited the art of storytelling from her abuelita ("grandmother"), a fact suggested in the powerful attributes of the grandmother character who appears in The Line of the Sun and many of her other narratives. "When my abuela sat us down to tell a story, we learned something from it, even though we always laughed. That was her way of teaching. So early on I instinctively knew storytelling was a form of empowerment, that the women in my family were passing on power from one generation to another through fables and stories. They were teaching each other to cope with life in a world where women led restricted lives." Ortiz Cofer's most powerful characters are Puerto Rican women who try to break away from restrictive cultural and social conventions or who develop survival strategies to deal with the sexism in their own culture. Quiz
1. Choose a poem from todays readings and explain why you like or dislike it.
2. How (if at all) is Nayeli different from her friends?See the full transcript