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Home / Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference / Schedule / 2019 / Conference Schedule Friday, February 22, 2019 / Keynote with Carmen Giménez Smith (7:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.)

Conference Schedule 2019

Conference Schedule 2019

Friday, February 22, 2019, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Keynote: Topography of the Self with Carmen Giménez Smith, Letras Latinas

Date(s): Friday, February 22, 2019, 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Carson Ballroom, Old Main (view map)
Keynote, Reception, Talk
Genre and Form(s): Autobiography, Human Rights, Pedagogy, Social Justice, Social Practice
Tags: Decolonization, The Self, Activism, Aesthetics, Epistemology

About the Keynote

Gloria Anzaldua referred to her groundbreaking book Borderlands as an autohistoria-teoria, an epistemological autobiography. She conceived of the liminal space, El Mundo Zurdo, where becoming and thinking converge for radical acts of decolonization, and posited the possibility that writing is the praxis where activism, aesthetics, and scholarship converge. Together, we will consider the practice of telling self through and from different types of liminalities and/or polyvocalities at the intersection of the aesthetic and the intellectual as a path towards transformation

Meet the Presenter(s)

Desert Nights Rising Stars Writers Conference Faculty 2019 Carmen Giménez Smith

Born in New York, poet Carmen Giménez Smith is the daughter of South American immigrants. A CantoMundo fellow, she earned a BA in English from San Jose State University and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Iowa's Writer Workshop. She writes lyric essays as well as poetry, and is the author of the poetry chapbook Casanova Variations (2009), the full-length collection Odalisque in Pieces (2009), the memoir Bring Down the Little Birds: On Mothering, Art, Work, and Everything Else (2010). Her 2013 collection Milk and Filth, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her latest collection of poems, Cruel Futures, is be a volume in the City Lights Spotlight Series in 2018. Be Recorder will be published by Graywolf Press in 2019.
Giménez Smith’s work explores issues affecting the lives of females, including Latina identity, and frequently references myth and memory. Wolf Schneider, writing in New Mexico Magazine, described Giménez Smith’s poetry as “waves of free verse, incantation and song.” With the publication of Odalisque in Pieces,Giménez Smith was featured as a New American Poet on the Poetry Society of America’s website. 

She co-edited Angels of the Americlypse: New Latin@ Writing, an anthology of contemporary Latinx writing (Counterpath Press, 2014), and she is the current editor of The Nation's poetry section, alongside Stephanie Burt. Carmen serves as the publisher of Noemi Press, which has published over 40 full-length collections of poetry and fiction.

Giménez Smith is the chair of the organizing committee for CantoMundo. She is a Professor of English at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, VA, where she lives with her husband, writer Evan Lavender Smith, and their two children.

Logo for Letras Latinas

Proudly presenting keynote speaker Carmen Giménez Smith

Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), strives to enhance the visibility, appreciation and study of Latinx literature both on and off the campus of the University of Notre Dame—with an emphasis on programs that support newer voices, foster a sense of community among writers, and place Latinx writers in community spaces. 

Francisco Aragón is the son of Nicaraguan immigrants. He is the author of two books: Glow of Our Sweat andPuerta del Sol, as well as editor of the anthology: The Wind Shifts: New Latino PoetryAfter Rubén, his third book, is forthcoming with Red Hen Press in 2020. His Tongue A Swath of Sky, a hand-stitched chapbook, was released in 2019. He is the director of Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies. For more information, visit: