29 September 2010

Cardenas on inter-lingual poetry

When asked by an interviewer, Brenda Cardenas reflects on her poems that mix Spanish and English:

Q:  "You have an amazing flexibility and often cross borders. Your scholarly background is interdisciplinary; your poems are inter-lingual; and you write free verse, prose poems, Sapphics, and sonnets…"
A:  "I’m interested in liminal spaces, in the spaces in between. That interest comes from often feeling like a crossroads–like I have one foot in one world and the other in another world, as do many other transcultural people. If you have been living in the United States for a while and you go to Mexico you are not Mexican enough for the Mexicans (they used to call you pocho). And in the United States you are certainly not American enough, or privileged enough or white enough."
People who move from one country to another feel it most intensely, but everyone actually lives in two or more worlds without knowing it - the world of the language as it limits and expands their imagination and the world they move around in during their daily tasks.  The world of a language antedates the existence of a person and constitutes his/her identity, but everyone reconstitutes that language, in much the same way that T. S. Eliot said that every new poem or, as he called it, individual talent, changes the landscape of poetry.  It matters only a little bit where one lives.  What matters more is what language keeps forcing one to think in certain ways, while hearing or reading or knowing other languages frees one from what has been called the prison-house of language.

No comments:

Post a Comment