A Spanglish blog dedicated to the works, ruminations, and mongrel pyrotechnics of Yago S. Cura, an Argentine-American poet, translator, publisher & futbol cretin. Yago publishes Hinchas de Poesia, an online literary journal, & is the sole proprietor of Hinchas Press.

Sunday, March 22, 2009



Thesis: It is important for the C.U.N.Y. libraries at Hunter, City, Brooklyn, and Queens to cultivate their collections of Latino Poesis titles, so that they may better service the Creative Writing programs housed at the respective schools.

I. What is Latino Poesis? Why is a sense of what is made important to those who make? Why must Latino Creative Writing graduate students read the works of Latinos making literature?

*Start with Plato’s Republic and its definition of Poesis, Book X (I think?)
*Latino Poesis refers to the literature that has been “made” by Latino poets and fictionists, and collected by editors in anthologies. Latino Poesis are titles which showcase the stories and language of the Latino community.
*Latino community is diverse; the sense of diaspora is strong, especially within enclaves and regions. Latinos have been decreed one people by U.S. Census Bureau, but there are wild variances in race, politics, and education that greatly distinguish the different ethnicities within the Latino community.
*MFA is the new MBA according to Daniel Pink, therefore, for Latino graduate students to remain competitive in tomorrow’s economy, they must have interaction with examples, samplars, prototypes of the literature that defines the community.
*Aside from that, emulation is an important part of making literature. Latino Poesis involves capturing the everyday reality, the quotidian, for the sake of posterity?
*Language is an important part of Latino Poesis. Titles could be seen as the evolution of a genre, or the annals of literature of a community, therefore, code-switching is important because in the worst case scenario it is records of the degeneration (of English and Spanish) and in the best case scenario it is a Polaroid of where the dialect spoken by Latinos is heading.

II. What is code-switching? What might make a writer feel that they can switch languages, mid-thought? How prevalent is code-switching in Latino literature? Might there be biases against texts published in America that use Spanglish, or amalgam of Spanish and English?

*Code-switching is when you meld two distinct languages to captivate a specific audience that knows both languages with varying degrees of intimacy and proficiency. The most common example of code-switching is the dialect of Spanglish which employs the phrases of Spanish and English in a syntax that is neither English nor Spanish.
*According to Lourdes Torres in MELUS, “Code-switching is not only metaphorical, but represents a reality where segments of the population are living between cultures and language; literary language actualizes the discourse of the border and bilingual/bicultural communities”
*According to Eva Mendieta-Lombardo and Zaida Cintron in Theoretical Linguistics, “The use of the vernacular becomes critical for the writer who attempts to construct an image of a cultural group and to reach out to that specific readership”; in addition, they say that in texts where code-switching is employed, the “text becomes a social document, a reflection of social reality”.
*Code-switching is a pointed political statement about the type of literature one writes; in many ways, it is a protest against the canon perhaps, as well as, since canons are responsible for integrating a community’s literature.

III. What is the history and reputation of the C.U.N.Y. Creative Writing programs? Can we make inferences about the program based on trends in enrollment? What is the make-up of CUNY grad student enrollment by race? From 2005 to 2007 did the enrollment of Latino grad students at the four schools which have an MFA program go up or down? Which schools have been able to maintain or increase their enrollment of Latino grad students?

*History of the MFA program in Creative Writing can be traced back to…
*Faculty are important, contemporary, popular: Billy Collins, Kimiko Hahn, Alan Ginsberg in the 80’s at Brooklyn, Day of the Poet at Brooklyn College, and City...
* New York has always had a thriving literary culture. Many of the titles suggested by RCL were published at a time when minorities assumed a militant ethnicity in response to Anglo hegemony. The Nuyorican movement with Alargin.

IV. What resources exist for suggesting titles for academic libraries? Does Resources for College Libraries provide solid advice for Latino Poesis acquisitions? What other resources exist for acquiring titles dealing with Latino Poesis?
*Tess Tobin of REFORMA Northeast chapter. What she thinks about
*Sarah Aponte and Harvest of Empire’s perceived slight against Dominicans in NYC; Aponte’s help with suggestions,etc.
*Centro PR and their weigh-in on the matter, regarding the strength of their collection and how having a library and an archive is better than just a library,etc.

V. How well do the libraries at the respective colleges hold up to titles suggested by Resources for College Libraries? What percentage of titles does C.U.N.Y. possess? What collections have higher proportions of Latino Poesis titles, especially titles suggested by Resources for College Libraries?

*RCL is unique collaboration between Choice and Bowker, Inc.; it has been acting as core list since 1968 when UC librarians at New Colleges program opened 3 new campuses.
*Queens College has lowest percentages of RCL reccs. under Latino Studies; Hunter has the highest, which may be due to support provided by Centro PR. Lowest percentage of reccs. that all schools have is under Chicano/a Literature which may have to due with lower NYC Mexican-American migration rates.
*Might the Dominican Archive located at City college help to give students greater access to Latino Poesis titles?
*Interview with Sarah Aponte at Domincan Archives and librarian at Centro PR.

VI. The numbers of Latino grad students enrolled at C.U.N.Y. schools declined between 2005 and 2007 at Hunter, Brooklyn, and Queens. The numbers have slightly increased at City College. Might lack of resources, especially those on Latino Poesis, propel students to not apply to the M.F.A. programs at Hunter, City, Brooklyn, and Queens?

VII. How well does the Centro PR service the needs of Latino student writers with their collection? Does the Centro PR positively reinforce Hunter’s collection on Latino Poesis, or does Hunter rely on Centro to provide the Latino Poesis titles to the detriment of its collection?

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