Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Different Identities, One Language: Spanish Program brings Latinx poets to WT

Left to right: Janel Pineda and Sara Uribe. Photo by 1910 PR.

On Feb. 6, the West Texas A&M University community heard from poets Janel Pineda and Sara Uribe. The two poets lead a discussion of writing and read their poetry.

Janel Pineda, a Los Angeles-born Salvadoran poet, earned a master’s degree from the University of Cambridge, through which she examined representations of Salvadorans in literature.

“She’s gone through the same experience that a lot of WT students have gone through where their parents are, you know, Mexican-American, or Mexican or Central American,” Dr. Andrew Reynolds, director of the Spanish Program at WT, said. “Those tensions between culture, her own El Salvadorian, culture and language, the Spanish language, and then just living here in the U.S., going through public schools, and kind of the cultural tensions that arise from being the daughter of immigrants, right? And so she explores a lot of those themes in her poetry.”

Sara Uribe, a celebrated Mexican poet, has used her lived experiences as inspiration for her poetry.

“Her poetry really focuses on Mexican culture, in particular, some of the cartel violence that exists in Northern Mexico in particular,” Dr. Reynolds said. “And she wrote a whole book on the disappearance of her brother, for example, and just kind of the trauma that exists in Northern Mexico.”

The event organizers included the WT Spanish Program and Distinguished Lecture Series. The Spanish Program aimed to highlight diverse meanings of the American Dream.

“So there are different perspectives on what it means and what the American dream means,” Dr. Reynolds said. “And so we kind of want to complicate it through these two different kind of poetic voices and see how the expression of the creative expression of poetry is kind of an art; it’s creating something out of language, how that kind of contributes to understanding and how maybe it complicates what the stereotypical American dream means for these people.”

Data from the Fall 2022 semester shows that 29.81% of students at WT are Hispanic.

“So, we hope events like this will help not only [Hispanic students] but the rest of our students – that two-thirds that aren’t Hispanic – to kind of realize the importance of these – the culture and the literature from people that speak Spanish,” Dr. Reynolds said. “So we just want to raise awareness and hope that students take advantage and come and find it interesting.”

The events were organized by the Distinguished Lecture Series, which strives to invite prominent individuals to expose WT students to important current issues.

“The Distinguished Lecture Series committee is committed to supporting events like ‘Dreaming America Through Latinx Poetry’ because it fits so beautifully with our national designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution,” Dr. Emily Kinsky, chair of the Distinguished Lecture Series, said. “We want to help provide interesting, educational content that expands WT students’ knowledge, inspires them to consider new ideas and prompts them to consider their own possible roles and impact in the world.”

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JoLina Lopez
JoLina Lopez, Social Media Engagement Coordinator, Associate Editor-in-Chief
Hello! My name is JoLina Lopez. I am a senior Digital Journalism major from Abernathy, TX. I officially started working for The Prairie News in August 2023 but I have been in and out of the newsroom since my freshman year of college! I serve as the Social Media Engagement Coordinator and I specialize in making graphics, short-form content, and writing stories. As for my future goals, I hope to pursue a Master’s in Media Communication so I can teach future digital media students! Working for TPN, I am very fortunate to collaborate with a team that allows me to express my creative self. Keep up with The Prairie News for content for students, by students!

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