Poetry festival brings Latin America to OWU

By Kienan O’Doherty, A&E Editor 

The Ohio Wesleyan modern foreign languages department, as well as Viva Latinx, held a two-day poetry festival on Oct. 9 and Oct. 10 that celebrated Latin American literature.

The festival, held in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, welcomed poets from a variety of countries, including Argentina, Colombia and Spain.

Juan Armando Rojas Joo, professor of modern foreign languages and associate dean of diversity and inclusion, expressed that poetry is an essential part of Latin American culture

“In Latin America, poetry festivals are organized to build a sense of community, where creative freedom, equity and multiculturalism can be celebrated,” Rojas said.

The festival began on Oct. 9, with a poetry reading from all of the guest poets, as well as translator Jennifer Rathburn, a professor of Latin American literature at Ashland University.

Each poet read around two to three poems.

Among some of the guests were Mauricio Espinoza from Costa Rica, as well as Guillermo Arango from Cuba.

Espinoza’s latest poetry book, respiración de piedras, won the 2015 National Award from the University of Costa Rica, and Arango has received several literary awards.

Later that same day in the final event of the festival, all of the poets returned to participate in Poetry Book presentations.

The poets’ diction and tone of voice was supposed to present a powerful and moving message. Junior Serena George, who attended the event, said she believed that to be the case.

“It was a privilege to be able to listen to and meet the poets that came to the festival,” George said. “The emotion they put into their work showed the power words have to inspire, heal and unite people.

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