WATCH: Poetry Foundation kicks off Chicago event season with Latinx poetry celebration

Photo of poet ire’ne lara silva
Chicana poet ire’ne lara silva reads her poem “you love rivers" at the Poetry Foundation reading room in Chicago. (Julia Lowe/MEDILL)

By Julia Lowe
Medill Reports

On the heels of Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March comes the powerful recognition of poetic voices through National Poetry Month in April. The Poetry Foundation regularly hosts in-person and live-streamed readings to highlight the work of minority poetry communities. Watch how Latinx poets in Chicago are using the spoken and written word to celebrate their community in creative, contemplative ways.


[poetry being read in Spanish]

NARRATION: The Poetry Foundation hosted its first event of the 2023 season on Thursday, Feb. 2nd. Poetry lovers gathered to hear readings in honor of the release of “Latinx Poetics: Essays on the Art of Poetry.”

YDALMI NORIEGA, Poetry Foundation vice president of programs and engagement: Ruben Quesada, who’s the editor of the Latinx Poetics anthology, which is the anthology we were celebrating tonight, did a fantastic job bringing together some amazing poets from across Latinx identities.

For us, as we’re like curating a season, and say OK, if this is an understanding of what it means to be Latinx, like what’s the broadest possible understanding of that, and can we kind of put that on the stage at the Poetry Foundation for a reading?

NARRATION: Eleven poets read to a sold-out crowd of 100 guests and more attendees online for this hybrid event.

DANIEL BURKE, Loyola University poetry professor: I’ve been to a number of poetry readings here and this was 11 poets, and I’ve never seen that many on a stage at once. So it was really cool to see the wide range of cultures that we were hearing, and to just hear different voices.

I teach poetry, and I have a lot of students who identify as Latinx, so I thought it would be a perfect setting for me to learn more about the poetry and be able to bring it into my classroom.

NORIEGA: All of our events are free and open to the public, but we also have a lot of resources on the website, and I always love to point people there. For as simple as a what’s a poem that I want to listen to today, and you can like look at our poem of the day, for example, or then you can do deep dives.

NORIEGA: I think if you’re like new to poems, or a deep deep poems geek, a place to kind of spend some time is on the site.

NARRATION: The Poetry Foundation is also open for readers to enjoy its library of over 30,000 volumes Wednesday through Saturday.

…en la tierra. Gracias. [applause]

NARRATION: Julia Lowe in Chicago for Medill Reports.

Julia Lowe is a magazine graduate student at Medill. You can follow her on Twitter at @juliamlowe.