Las Comadres Interview: Can Tucson’s Next Poet Laureates Bring This City Back from the Brink of Censorship?
...At the same time California celebrated the naming of Juan Felipe Herrera as its first Latino poet laureate and San Antonio announced a “bold” decision to launch renowned Chicana author Carmen Tafolla as its inaugural poet laureate, the city of Tucson, Arizona stole all of the national headlines last month as a literary bonfirewith its removal of classics from outlawed Mexican American Studies classrooms.
Facing an unprecedented wave of censorship, book confiscations and banishment, and indiscriminate attacks on intellectual freedom and first amendment rights, Tucson has unabashedly staked out its claim as ground zero in the defense of poetry and literary arts by virtually every major literary, publishing, library and academic rights organization.
If a city ever needed a poet laureate–a visionary, fearless, deeply rooted voice of clarity and insight–Tucson would rank at the top of every list.
In fact, the Old Pueblo, wracked by divisions, demoralized by a Tucson Unified School District that considers Mexican American literature a “distraction” or even dangerous, and unable to stand up to the Tea Party-led state legislature and its school superintendent side-kick John Huppenthal, probably needs THREE poet laureates: a poetic triumvirate of las comadres, who could begin the long and painful and desperately needed process of giving voice to the dreams, fears and daily challenges of its diverse residents, and using poetry to heal a divided and segregated city and challenge it to imagine a different future.
...thanks Bill Wetzel for passing along.