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Literary Treasures: An Evening of Chicano Poetry

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The following post is part of our monthly series, “Literary Treasures,” which champions the Library’s literary programming by highlighting audio and video recordings drawn from the Library’s extensive online collections, including the Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature. By showcasing the works and thoughts of some of the greatest poets and writers from the past 75 years, the series advances the Library’s mission to “further the progress of knowledge and creativity for the benefit of the American people.”

September 15 to October 15 marks National Hispanic Heritage Month, which commemorates the cultural history and contributions of Hispanic Americans and honors the Latin American countries who celebrate their independence during the month of September: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua.

Today, in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m thrilled to bring you a 1986 recording from our Archive of Recorded Poetry and Literature, “An Evening of Chicano Poetry,” featuring Lorna Dee Cervantes, Sandra Cisneros, Alberto Ríos, and Luis Omar Salinas—all-star writers whose prominence and esteem would only continue to grow in the decades to come. For me, hearing Cervantes read “Bird Ave” and Cisneros read “A Woman Cutting Celery” and parts from The House on Mango Street—all fairly new work at the time of the event—make this recording a literary treasure indeed.