Poetry News from Boricua.com

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The following article is reblogged from BORICUA.COM

Iconic Puerto Rican Poet Giannina Braschi:

From Tennis Champion to Award-Winning Author

The international writers organization PEN calls the Puerto Rican poet and author Giannina Braschi “one of the most revolutionary voices in Latin American literature today”. In Puerto Rico, we are proud to call this Boricua more simply “one of us!”

Born in San Juan, Giannina Braschi was a founding member of El Coro de Niños de San Juan, a fashion model, and tennis champion in her teen years on the island. Her family friends and mentors included the legendary playwright René Marqués who wrote la Carreta and the public intellectual Nilita Vientós Gastón who legally defended Spanish as the language for the Puerto Rican court system. These and other Boricua heroes are described as influential to Braschi’s calling to literature.

Poets, Philosophers, Lovers: On the Writings of Giannina Braschi is a new book that celebrates the Puerto Rican trailblazing author whose experimental works dramatically expanded the canon of Latina/o literature in the United States.

Edited by “Professor LatinxFrederick Luis Aldama and Tess O’Dwyer, this volume features a foreword by cultural theorist and Spanglish expert Ilan Stavans, lively essays by 15 scholars in 6 countries including Puerto Rico, plus a rare interview with Braschi on the buoyancy of literature and life.

“At long last! Aldama and O’Dwyer have brought together a lineup of talent to match the vivacious audacity of Giannina Braschi,” writes Christopher González, Director of the Latinx Cultural Center. “Admirers of Braschi will feast on every sumptuous page of this book, and they’ll return to her lush storyworlds with renewed vigor. Poets, Philosophers, Lovers (U Pittsburgh) reveals the challenging necessity of this transformative Latinx author.

The essayists shed light on Braschi’s cross-genre literature from various fields, from Latinx poetry to political philosophy. Contributors include: Professors Martiza Stanchich, Madelena Gonzalez, John Riofrio, Ronald Mendoza de Jesus, Francisco Jose Ramos, Laura R. Loustau, Rolando Perez, Daniela Daniele, Cristina Garrigos, Francisco Moreno, Elizabeth Lowry, and Dorian Lugo-Bertrán.

Giannina Braschi
Author Giannina Braschi

The Library of Congress describes Giannina Braschi as “cutting-edge, influential and even revolutionary.” She is the author of the Puerto Rican poetry classic Empire of Dreams, the first Spanglish novel Yo-Yo Boing! and the tragicomedy United States of Banana about the liberation of Puerto Rico. She holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Literature from the State University of New York. She taught at Rutgers, Colgate, and City University of New York.

Braschi has won awards/grants from National Endowment for the Arts, NY Foundation for the Arts, Danforth and Ford Foundations, Rutgers, Puerto Rican Institute for Culture, and PEN America. Her work has been adapted to theater, chamber music, comics, short-short films, painting, and sculpture. For example, a new graphic novel of United States of Banana, by the Swedish cartoonist Joakim Lindengren, is now available from The Ohio State University Press, with a teacher’s guide (by Amanda Smith and Amy Sheeran).

Braschi famously wrote in United States of Banana:

Soy boricua. In spite of my family and in spite of my country—I’m writing the process of the Puerto Rican mind—taking it out of context—as a native and a foreigner—expressing it through Spanish, Spanglish, and English—Independencia, Estado Libre Asociado, and Estadidad—from the position of a nation, a colony, and a state—Wishy, Wishy-Washy, and Washy—not as one political party that is parted into piddly parts and partied out. Todos los partidos están partidos y son unos partidos.”

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