MyOTHER TONGUE: Rosa Alcalá, Cecilia Vicuña, Carmen Giménez Smith

Join us for a night of readings in celebration of Futurepoem Books and their new release of Rosa Alcalá's MyOTHER TONGUE. Alcalá will be joined by Cecilia Vicuña and Carmen Giménez Smith.


Here are poems that reckon with the histories of family, generations, language and love: how our tongues are mothered or not, how we are given to and abandoned. Alcalá writes, “What good is it to erect/ of absence/ a word”? Tough and gorgeous, smart and touching, these poems are offerings that tie, untie, unite, entice. —Hoa Nguyen

How do we trace shifts of home or syllable, the history of becoming in language? We show what’s passed on with the mother-milk, the blood-words, pushed from the body onto the page. That’s what these poems do, spilling beautifully, forming in the mouth of the reader. This is the “ark built to survive”: our things built with words circling, mother-to-daughter-to-mother-to-daughter. —Eleni Sikelianos


Rosa Alcalá is the author of Undocumentaries and The Lust of Unsentimental Waters. The recipient of an NEA Translation Fellowship, she has translated the work of Cecilia Vicuña, Lila Zemborain, and Lourdes Vázquez, among other poets. Spit Temple: The Selected Performances of Cecilia Vicuña, edited and translated by Alcalá, was runner-up for a PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Born and raised in Paterson, NJ, she now lives in El Paso, TX, where she teaches in the Department of Creative Writing and Bilingual MFA Program at the University of Texas-El Paso.

Cecilia Vicuña is a poet and multimedia artist born in Santiago de Chile. She has been in exile since the military coup in Chile in l973. She is the author of twenty two books of poetry, most recently Spit Temple: The Performances of Cecilia Vicuña, edited & translated by Rosa Alcalá. About to Happen, an artist book, was published earlier this year by Siglio Press. Cecilia Vicuña: The Selected Poems (1966-2015) is forthcoming from Kelsey Street Press, 2017.

Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of a memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds (University of Arizona), four poetry collections—Milk and Filth (University of Arizona), Goodbye, Flicker (University of Massachusetts), The City She Was (Center for Literary Publishing) and Odalisque in Pieces (University of Arizona)—and three poetry chapbooks—Reason's Monsters (Dusie Kollectiv), Can We Talk Here (Belladonna Books) and Glitch (Dusie Kollectiv). She has also co-edited a fiction anthology, My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me (Penguin). She is the recipient of a 2011 American Book Award, the 2011 Juniper Prize for Poetry, and a 2011-2012 fellowship in creative nonfiction from the Howard Foundation. Formerly a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she now teaches in the creative writing programs at New Mexico State University and Ashland University, while serving as the editor-in-chief of the literary journal Puerto del Sol and the publisher of Noemi Press. She lives with her husband, the writer Evan Lavender-Smith, and their two children in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Event date: 

Sunday, June 25, 2017 - 7:00pm

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