Writers express their Hispanic-American identities through poetry


Alex Runyon

Carmen Giménez Smith, an English professor at Virginia Tech and published poet, reads excerpts from her books Thurdsay evening in Marshall University’s Visual Arts Center in downtown Huntington as part of the A. E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series’ ongoing celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Alison Baldridge, Reporter

Continuing celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month occurred Thursday through the A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series, which included readings from the visiting writers Carmen Giménez Smith and Dan Vera in the Visual Arts Center.

Carmen Giménez Smith, English professor at Virginia Tech and poet, was the first poet to be introduced and read some of her poetry from the four books she has published.

“I love the English language, and I love that it is complicated and interesting,” Smith said. “I feel like I know English a lot better than most people. It is very deep inside of me, and that’s what makes me meet the American people because I am connected to the history of the Americans and this language that represents a global history.”

Dan Vera, American poet of Cuban descent, also read some of his poetry from his two books “The Space between Our Danger and Delight” and “Speaking Wiri Wiri.” Vera introduced a new poem called “The Cuban and the Bear” to the audience as well.

“My poetry likes to wrestle with history like family,” Vera said. “I love poetry that can resonate with something in my mind. It makes a different experience.”

Sarah Chavez, visiting assistant professor and coordinator for Visiting Writers Series, said one of her goals as the coordinator has been to bring a greater awareness of diversity to campus through this series.

“I want Marshall and the Tristate area communities to gain greater and more accurate awareness of this culture, as well as get the opportunity to hear award-winning writing,” Chavez said.

The next Visiting Writers Series reading will be Nov. 2. The location will be announced on The A.E. Stringer Visiting Writers Series’ Facebook page when identified.

Alison Baldridge can be contacted at [email protected]