A Natural History of Chicano Literature: Juan Felipe Herrera

Your friends, and your associates, and the people around you, and the environment that you live in, and the speakers around you – the speakers around you – and the communicators around you, are the poetry makers.
If your mother tells you stories, she is a poetry maker.
If your father says stories, he is a poetry maker.
If your grandma tells you stories, she is a poetry maker.
And that’s who forms our poetics.

-Juan Felipe Herrera

My fascination with live poetry events continues as I search YouTube for some poetic gems and here I find this great one hour talk from Juan Felipe. The video speaks for itself but some great moments his impersonation of various Chicano Literary figures, his repeated citing of the chapbook (en español: pancarta) as an important literary document, how some figures don’t get translated into English, his personal process journal, and the life and struggle of Itzolin García.

Most of all I want to highlight this for folks who can’t make it out to readings all the time, can’t get to those good university talks on process and craft, can’t see the writer in person, and present some alternatives. Yes, there are plenty of ways to get the knowledge. That is, if you really want that knowledge.

Author: Oscar Bermeo

Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is the author of the chapbooks Anywhere Avenue, Palimpsest, Heaven Below, and To the Break of Dawn. He lives and works in Oakland, CA.

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