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Photo of Homero Aridjis.
Mexican Poet Homero Aridjis in his residence in Mexico City before his recording for the PALABRA Archive on February 29, 2024. (Photo credit: Jacky Muniello).

New Recordings from the PALABRA Archive Available Online

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This is a guest post by Catalina Gómez, Reference Librarian at the Library’s Latin American, Caribbean, and European Division (LAC&E) and Curator of the PALABRA Archive.

As part of the Library’s National Poetry Month celebrations, the Latin American, Caribbean, and European Division (LAC&E) is making digitally available 24 previously unpublished audio recordings from the PALABRA Archive. Since the launch of the online repositories of the Library’s literary audio archives almost a decade ago, the tradition around the PALABRA Archive has been to celebrate and release recordings during National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15–October 15). This year, however, marks the beginning of an April release, to join in with the wider literary activities put forth by Library during this month.

Some gems in this new batch include a recently recorded reading and interview with Mexican poet, environmental activist, and former President of PEN International, Homero Aridjis (his second recording for the collection); a reading and conversation with Mozambican author Paulina Chiziane; two sessions recorded in the 1980s with the renowned post-Spanish-Civil-War author, Carmen Laforet; and a reading with award-winning American author Kali Fajardo-Anstine.

PALABRA Logo
PALABRA Archive Logo including the portraits of authors Jorge Luis Borges, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel García Márquez, and Gabriela Mistral.

The PALABRA Archive is a collection of original audio recordings of 20th and 21st century Luso-Hispanic poets and writers reading from their works. It has been curated by the Library of Congress Hispanic Reading Room since 1943 and coincides with launch of the Library’s Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature, featured last week on the “Bookmarked” blog.

With recorded authors from all over Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula, the Caribbean and other regions with Hispanic and Portuguese heritage populations, PALABRA has to date close to 850 recordings in more than thirteen languages including Spanish, Portuguese, English, French, Creole, and Indigenous languages such as Mayan, Nahuatl, Wayuu, and Quechua. It includes sessions with Nobel Laureates Gabriel García MárquezPablo NerudaGabriela Mistral and Juan Ramón Jiménez, as well as other noteworthy figures like Jorge Luis BorgesIsabel Allende, Julio Cortázar, and U.S. Poet Laureates Ada Limón and Juan Felipe Herrera. Curators in the Hispanic Reading Room continue recording writers for the collection.

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