Last month’s Pedro Mir Symposium was a great success! In case you missed it, we have videos of all three panels—Mir in the Dominican Context (with Ginetta Candelario, Zaida Corniel, and Silvio Torres-Saillant), Approaches to Mir (with David Cortés-Caban, Roberto Márquez, and Dan-el Padilla Peralta), and Mir in Translation (Jonathan Cohen, Sintia Molina, and Rosa Mirna Sánchez)—as well as Silvio Torres-Saillant’s keynote speech.
What might not be captured as clearly in the videos was what it felt like to be at Word Up over the course of the two days of the Symposium. We heard scholars and writers talk about the work and life of a poet whose generous and expansive spirit was alive in their very exchanges. Audience members and participants alike commented on how Pedro Mir himself would have appreciated the boundary-breaking conversation taking place between academic scholars and people familiar with Mir’s work from outside the academy. To those less familiar with Mir’s work, his forceful, poignant words against domination, even in the face of real danger, read in Spanish and English, felt like a timely and helpful reminder. Older poets from the neighborhood and across the water in the Bronx recited his verse from memory and told stories about being his student, more than once being moved to tears. The conversation flowed bilingually, and our team of interpreters on-site provided translation for those with headsets.
We couldn’t be happier about how everything turned out, and we are so grateful to you all for being a part of making it happen. An extra shout-out to Greg Hernandez for recording all of Saturday’s video footage, and to Melissa and Kevin Guzmán for lending the extra chairs from Small Idea—especially those red ones for our speakers!—for the weekend. Thanks as well to the Word Up Collective as always, to the Dominican Writers Association, Alianza Dominican Cultural Center, and to Cabot Creamery, Fetzer Wines, and Coogan’s Restaurant for donations of cheese, wine, and bottled water throughout the weekend.
The Symposium was directly in line with the kind of programming we are committed to at Word Up—engaging, open, relevant, and wrapped in words. In fact, some of our Spanish-language events this month and next came out of conversations over wine and cheese between Symposium panels—check these and more out on our events calendar. Hope to see you soon at the shop!