Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

(2.6) Hispanic American Poetry


- the term Hispanic American applies to any American whose origins lie in a Spanish speaking culture

- the term Latin American mostly means Americans originating from Latin America only

- includes mostly poets from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Cuba

- based mostly in the Spanish speaking areas in the Southwest, in Texas, Florida, and California

- at present Spanish is on its way to become the second official language in the US and Hispanics replaced African Americans as the most numerous ethnic minority


- the most determined of all the ethnic minorities to retain their original language as a means of literary expression

- the first poetry written in Spanish, only since 1960s in Spanglish, the bilingual mixture of Spanish and English

- typically uses code switching from English to Spanish and vice versa, with emotional preference for Spanish

- frequently on the subject of negative attitude to any attempts of assimilation to the dominant Anglo-Saxon culture

- occupied also with racial and ethnic mixing of Hispanic Americans with white Americans and native Americans

- Chicanos consider themselves descendants of the Spanish and native Americans, Puerto Ricans perceive their identity as a mixture of the Spanish and African-American culture from the Caribbean area

Chicanos (Hispanic Americans of Mexican origin)

- often seek to continue the oldest tradition of poetry written in the North American continent in the 16th century

- after their conquering the New Spain (Nueva España), the later Mexico, the Spanish speaking population created a diverse tradition of orally transmitted literature following the medieval tradition of Spanish ballad and drama

- Mexico lost a large area to the US as a result of the Mexican-American War (1848) when today’s Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and a part of Colorado were americanized by force

- the Chicanos were treated as second-rate citizens, which was a frequent subject in the 19th century literature

- since 1960s the Hispanics have become emancipated as a part of the Civil Rights Movement, seek to create a heroic literary tradition, write dramatic narrative ballads (corrido) to be sung or recited with music, usually focus on the resistance of a solitary hero against white oppressors

- contemporary poetry is still preoccupied with forming the cultural identity of the Hispanic American ethnic in opposition against the dominant Anglo-Saxon protestant culture

Alurist (b. 1947 as Alberto Baltazar Urista)

- focuses on creating the new myth of Aztlán, the legendary home of Chicanos, now the American Southwest

Gary Soto (b. 1952)

- represents the younger movement in Chicano poetry abandoning the political protest in favour of autobiographical poetry in the confessional mode

> The Elements of San Joaquin (1977): a collection on the life of a labourer hired for field work, on violence in modern society, and on problems in personal relationships

> The Tale of Sunlight (1978): a collection following the tradition of Latin American magic realism

> ‘Oranges’: a narrative poem showing a little boy’s pride despite poverty

Nuyoricans (Puerto Ricans immigrants in New York)

- Spain lost Puerto Rico to the US as a result of the Spanish-American War (1898)

- the first generation immigrants from Puerto Rico settled in New York and created a strong community

- the first subject of Puerto Rican immigrants was especially the resistance to the assimilation to American culture

- since 1960s the Nuyoricans promote poetry as a means of public literary discourse and seek to popularize poetry by regular public readings in the Nuyorican Poet’s Café in Manhattan

- draw subjects from ghetto life, attempt to decolonize the cultural consciousness of Nuyoricans and Puerto Ricans, write under the influences of the beat generation and jazz improvisation

Tato Laviera (b. 1950)

- mixes political radicalism and lyric expression

> ‘AmeRican’: plays with identities, trying to find peculiarly his own


Lorna Dee Cervantes (b. 1954)

- writes moderately on feminist subjects and nostalgically on the loss of the traditional Chicano values

> ‘Freeway 280’

Other Ethnics

Rafael Campo (b. 1964)

- a poet of Cuban origin, characteristic for his clinical vision of the world and his precise forms

- introduces the formerly taboo subjects of homosexuality and offers a humane view of AIDS patients

> ‘Phone Message on Call’

> ‘The Lost Plaza is Everywhere’

> ‘Belonging’

> ‘What the Body Told’

Základní údaje

  • Předmět

    North American Poetry 1945 - 2002.
  • Semestr

    Letní semestr 2008/09.
  • Vyučující

    Jiří Flajšar.
  • Status

    Volitelný seminář pro III. blok.


Flajšar, Jiří. Dějiny americké poezie. Ústí nad Orlicí: Oftis, 2006.

Jařab, Josef. American Poetry and Poets of Four Centuries. Praha: SPN, 1989.

Jařab, Josef, ed. Dítě na skleníku. Praha: Odeon, 1989.


© 2008-2015 Všechna práva vyhrazena.