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In case you missed it, last month was National Poetry Month.

In the past I had this love/hate, ok, mostly hate, relationship with poetry. I always thought reading poetry boring. My attitude towards poetry has changed with time, mostly due in part to some great literature and poetry classes I've taken at UHV. I am happy to say I have developed a great appreciation for poetry. Poetry involves much more than someone just slapping a bunch of words together in some fancy rhyme. It is a true art.

With that said, I have discovered some great poets and would like to share some of their works with you.

First on the list is Tino Villanueva. Villanueva was born and raised in San Marcos, Texas. He worked as a migrant worker, assembly-line worker and an army supply clerk. Villauneva currently serves as Preceptor in Spanish, Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures in the College of Arts and Sciences at Boston University.To read more about him click here: Southwester Writers Collection - Tino Villanueva.

Now on to his poems. My favorite poem written by Villanueva is "Mas la Voz Que el Tiempo." The reason this is my favorite poem is because Villanueva is able to put on paper the emotions and feelings a writer goes through in order to express his or her thoughts. Let's just say the first time I heard this poem read by the author, to put it simply, I was like, "wow!"

The poem was originally written in Spanish, and has also been translated in English. I'll post both versions here as well as a link to an audio file of the author's reading. I prefer the Spanish version. The meanings are both the same, but there is something about hearing something read in its original language.

Mas la Voz Que el Tiempo

Quería escribir y me dolía.
Toda la tarde atado al escritorio,
a un papel sobre la mesa de trabajo,
equivocándome,
defendiéndome del error y del ocaso.

Quiero decir que pasaron horas,
luego días: ¿y cómo entender la existencia
que refulgió en el aire y en penumbra?

¿Cómo decirlo exactamente, cómo trazarlo
con bolígrafo o a lápiz?

Lento es rememorar en claro,
recorrer las sombras del recuerdo —
allí también está la vida.

Memoria mía, memoria mía,
dame lo que es mío y enséñame
la pura manera de contar lo que se ha ido
que pueda más la voz que el tiempo.


Click to hear poem read by Villanueva - Spanish


Voice Over Time

I wanted to write so badly it hurt.
All afternoon tied to a desk,
to a page flat out on a table—
I was getting nowhere,
just fending off failure and the darkening light.

I want to say hours passed,
then days: and how to grasp the essence that came shimmering in air
and the obscuring shade?
How exactly to say it, to get it laid out on paper with my pencil or pen?
Slow, so slow, this process of clear recollection, of sifting back
through the shadows of memory— there, too, is life.

Oh memory, my memory,
give me back what is mine and guide me in the very telling of
everything that stayed behind —may my voice win over time.


Click to hear poem read by Villanueva - English