THE AMERỈCAN POET
Essays on the Works of Tato Laviera
Edited by Stephanie Álvarez and William Luis
486 pages; 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-1-878483-66-9 (paperback)
About this book
The AmeRícan Poet: Essays on the Works of Tato Laviera is a collection of thirteen essays, an introduction and a forward by fifteen established and emerging scholars. Known as a Nuyorican poet, Laviera is more appropriately celebrated as an AmeRícan writer of national and international prominence. As a whole, the essays discuss diverse aspects of Laviera’s life and substantial body of work that includes five published collections of poetry, twelve written and staged plays, and many years of political, social, literary and healthcare activism. They focus on Laviera’s use of language; relationship to writers from the island (Luis Palés Matos, José Luis González, and Luis Muñoz Marín) and mainland (Langston Hughes and Walt Whitman); his concern for mestizaje; Afro-Latinoness; music, sound and rhythm; utopian spaces; code switching; Civil Rights and feminist movements; Mexican migrant students and homeless people, among others. Uniquely, the anthology features a testimonio composed of interviews in which the author speaks in English, Spanish and Spanglish, four unpublished poems, and the play King of Cans. As the AmeRícan poet, the collection confirms Tato Laviera’s much deserved reputation as a major poet in any language.
Table of Contents
Introduction. The Life and Rebirths of Tato Laviera
I. Language, Voice, and Music to Matao
The Poet as Earwitness; Reading Sound, Voice, and Music in Tato Laviera’s Poetry Frances Aparicio
Tato’s –ao: The Poetics of Eye Dialect.
Texts in Espanglish: El nideaquínideallá Language
II (Re)Creating and (Re)Defining His Own Space(s)
Latinas Sing: Tato Laviera’s Message to/About Women After Civil Rights Collapse.
Tato Laviera: Walking Bridges in an AmeRícan Utopia
By Analisa De Grave, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
“AmeRícan” in the Context of American Poetry
Insular Interventions: Tato Laviera's Dialogic Dialogue with Luis Muñoz Marín and
José Luis González
III Creative Acts of Healing
Acts of Resistance: Creativity, Coalition and Consciousness in The King Of Cans
Azucarao: Tato Laviera and the Poetics of Health Promotion
Barrio, Body, Beat: Tato Laviera and the Holistic Rhythm of Mestizaje
La palabra, conciencia y voz: Tato Laviera and the Cosecha Voices Project at University of Texas—Pan American
Stephanie Alvarez and José Luis Martínez
Speaking Black Latino/aness: Race, Performance, and Poetry.
Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes
Kalahari or the Afro-Caribbean Connection: Luis Palés Matos and Tato Laviera
Antonia Domínguez Miguela
“I am a Wise Latina”
“La Guarachera del Mundo”
“THIS-CURSO (epistle PARA UN SABIO)”
The King of Cans
About the Editors
Stephanie Alvarez is Assistant Professor of Spanish and Director of Mexican American Studies and at The University of Texas-Pan American. She is the recipient of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education’s Outstanding Latina/o Faculty in Higher Education Award (2011) and The University of Texas Board of Regents' Outstanding Teaching Award (2009). She is co-founder with Tato Laviera and José Martínez of Cosecha Voices: Documenting the Lives of Migrant Farmworker Students. Cosecha Voices aims to empower migrant farmworker students by creating a space in which they develop and perform their own written and digital testimonios. She is the author of several essays on and the confluence of Latin@ identity, language, literature, culture, education and empowerment in various edited books and journals such as Hispania, Journal of Latinos and Education and CENTRO: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, among others.
William Luis is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of Spanish at Vanderbilt University. He is the author of numerous books, including Literary Bondage: Slavery in Cuban Narrative (1991), Dance Between Two Cultures (1997), and Looking Out, Looking In: Anthology of Latino Poetry (2013). Luis is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2012. He is the Director of Vanderbilt’s Latino and Latina Studies Program and Editor of the Afro-Hispanic Review. Born and raised in New York City of a Chinese father and an Afro-Cuban mother, Luis is widely regarded as a leading authority on Latin American, Caribbean, Afro-Hispanic, and Latino U.S. literatures.
Tato Laviera’s poetry celebrates working class people and their culture, regardless of ethnicity. He is the inheritor of the Spanish oral tradition, with all of its classical formulas; the African oral tradition, with its wedding to music and spirituality; and the performance imperative of the Beat poets… In The AmeRícan Poet we have the most extensive and thorough analysis of the work of this American poet to date. Nicolás Kanellos, University of Houston
AmeRícan Poet: Essays on the Work of Tato Laviera represents a fitting celebration of Tato Laviera…Collectively, the essays present Laviera in his most multi-faceted light: poet and playwright; activist; community leader; master teacher; a spiritual, compassionate and generous citizen of the world… This is an exceptional, engaging, informative scholarly anthology that honors both Tato Laviera’s life and work. Jose L. Torres-Padilla, SUNY Plattsburgh
Illustrious scholars who learned a lot from the poet, playwright, philosopher – y super buena gente que era Tato – pay fitting tribute by analyzing his many talents and celebrating his profound wisdom…To read these chapters and his poems and play is to embrace a bi-national treasure who gave voice to our embattled present, and to celebrate his prophetic vision of our contributions to a multilingual, multicultural and multiracial future. Ana Celia Zentella, University of California – San Diego