In the fall of 2018, Write On led a multi-week writing program for Latinx
students at Sturgeon Bay High School. The program was to culminate on Nov. 12 with a workshop and reading with Write On’s writer-in-residence, Eloisa Gomez, but the students were inspired and wanted to continue meeting and writing after Gomez left.
Teachers Amélia Canilho and Paul Glembocki and I led the sessions with
additional support from Literacy Door County. During the sessions, we read
and discussed poems written in both Spanish and English by well-known
contemporary Latinx poets. Participants were then encouraged to write their own poems following the examples.
Two poems that we discussed were “Yo soy Joaquin/I Am Joaquin,” written by Rodolfo Gonzales in the 1960s; and “La Loca de la Raza Cósmica,” a feminist response to his poem written by La ChrisX in 1978. Both poems are bilingual.
The students worked together to compose the poem “¿Quién eres? Who are
you?” During the public reading of this poem, the students read their lines
individually, with all voices uniting to read the last two lines. If you are unable to read Spanish, find someone who can, and ask him or her to read the poem aloud to you in its original and translated forms. If you are unable to find anyone to read the poem to you, you’ll find that the lines written in English will give you a sense of the emotions these young people feel.
~ Jerod Santek, Artistic Director, Write On, Door County
¿Quién eres? Who are you?
SOY todo aquello que nadie entiende
SOY del rancho
SOY de la ciudad
SOY Boricua, taíno
SOY americano y mexicano-nicaragüense
SOY el que se levanta a las ocho para aspirer
SOY el que takes all the low-wage jobs
SOY ese tipo de mexicano que ni siquiera puede hable mucho español pero
Google translator me ayuda
SOY el hijo de una madra que habla inglés con sabor: mayonation; chilenation
SOY la que lava los trastes a las ocho de le mañana
SOY el que come tamales para Navidad
SOY la que echa salsa a la salsa
SOY arroz con habichuelas
SOY arroz con frijoles
SOY la que baila reggaeton
SOY very loud but you don’t hear me much
SOY la que se despierta wondering if I’ll ever have to say goodbye to my
SOY su lifeguard
SOY su sol
SOY more than the color of my skin
SOY la raza
SOY what God made me