Two-day gathering to celebrate Afro-Latinx poetry with acclaimed poets and scholars through talks, conversations, and performances

Author: Institute for Latino Studies

Afro Latinx Poster Final Web

A renowned group of 12 poets and scholars from across the country will convene at the University of Notre Dame from Sept. 27–28 for a dynamic cultural event featuring talks, conversations, and performances that will showcase the vitality and diversity of contemporary poetry.

The two-day gathering — co-presented by Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) and the Initiative on Race and Resilience (IRR) — will offer four panel sessions that delve into the work of Afro-Latinx poets. Two evening sessions will feature readings by the visiting poets. All of the events are open to the public, and will also be livestreamed, recorded, and archived.

Francisco Aragón, a professor in ILS and director of the Letras Latinas literary initiative, conceived the two-day Afro-Latinx Poetry Now event as a way to contribute to ongoing conversations in the literary community on issues to do with race, equity, and inclusion.

“In the wake of our nation’s summer of racial reckoning two years ago, many cultural organizations underwent a period of self-scrutiny. A number of us realized how we were falling short, and how much work remains to be done,” Aragón said. “These two days offer an opportunity for our students, our campus, and our local and global communities to learn about and experience the artistry of some of our finest poets.”

Each day of the gathering will open with an early afternoon session in which three of the visiting poets will each offer their insights into the work of an Afro-Latinx poet whose work they particularly admire. Six invited scholars will devote two sessions to panel presentations on the work of the six poets in attendance.

The gathering’s two evening sessions will feature the six poets, in groups of three, performing 15-minute sets of their work, followed by a Q&A with the audience. The poets will be introduced by MFA graduate students in Notre Dame’s Creative Writing Program. Books will be available for purchase and signing at these evening events.

Poets in attendance include:

  • Roberto Carlos Garcia, author of What Can I Tell You?Selected Poems and the essay collection Traveling Freely, among other books
  • Darrel Alejandro Holnes, author of Migrant Psalms and Stepmotherland
  • Raina J. León, author of black god mother this body and Boogeyman Dawn, among other books
  • Jasminne Mendez, author of City Without Altar and Islands Apart: Becoming Dominican American, among other books
  • Yesenia Monitilla, author of The Pink Box and Muse Found in a Colonized Body
  • John Murillo, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award and author of Up Jump the Boogie and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry

All proceedings will take place in the McKenna Hall Conference Center. A full schedule of the event, as well as information about the invited scholars, will soon be available at

“These two days offer an opportunity for our students, our campus, and our local and global communities to learn about and experience the artistry of some of our finest poets.”

In addition to these public sessions, “Afro-Latinx Poetry Now” will include classroom visits to courses including Aragon’s Latinx Poetry Now class, as well as sessions in the departments of Africana Studies, Romance Languages and Literatures, and English.

Afro-Latinx Poetry Now is being co-presented by the Initiative on Race and Resilience (IRR), established in 2021. “Our mission at IRR is to support communities of color; therefore, we welcome the opportunity to celebrate Afro-Latinx poets and poetry,” said Mark Sanders, IRR’s founding director. 

Luis R. Fraga, ILS director, added: “Although the work we do at the Institute emerges from many disciplines, the arts, particularly the literary arts with our storytellers, playwrights and poets, is where our community’s stories are most compellingly told, which makes this two-day gathering a touchstone, not only for our campus community, but the community at large.”

The Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) advances understanding of the fastest-growing and youngest population in the United States and the U.S. Catholic Church. It strengthens the University’s mission to prepare transformative leaders in all areas of society, including the arts, sciences, business, politics, faith, and family life.

Notre Dame’s Initiative on Race and Resilience serves as the site at which a community of scholars, teachers, students, artists, and community organizers gathers to develop and advance their respective projects, exchange ideas, and celebrate the expressive cultures of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities. The initiative embraces the arts as a means to examine race more substantively and thus to attend to the forms of oppression it produces as well as the identities and forms or resistance it enables.

Originally published by Institute for Latino Studies at on September 09, 2022.