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Faculty member wins minority poetry award

Becky Hogan | Friday, January 26, 2007

The Rhode Island Alliance of Artist Communities selected Francisco Aragón, director of “Latinas Letras” of the Institute of Latino Studies at Notre Dame, as one of the seven recipients of the Midwestern Visions and Voices Award.

Funded by the Joyce Foundation, the award aims to increase the number of emerging minority artists who attend artist residencies. There were 115 total nominated artists and writers.

“My responsibility as a Latino writer is to be the best writer that I can be,” Aragón said. “I am of the opinion that any writer, regardless of ethnicity, should be able to write whatever they want in whatever style they want. It is important to try to get a better variety of voices in the mainstream. Latino writers sometimes have it more difficult because they are expected to write in a certain way.”

Aragón, who has never attended an artist residency before, will have the opportunity to dedicate an entire month to writing. The residency will be an opportunity to complete his second book of poetry, he said.

Aragón will spend the entire month of September at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies located in Red Wing, Minn.

“The job I have at Notre Dame is a nine to five job, so having this free time is very welcome,” Aragón said. “I’ve never been to Minnesota and I understand that the area I am going to is quite beautiful.”

Aside from his second book of poetry, Aragón is currently working on translating a collection of poems from Spanish to English by the Nicaraguan poet, Rubén Darío.

Aragón recently edited a book of poetry entitled “The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry,” which will be published this year.

As assistant resident specialist of the Institute of Latino Studies, Aragón teaches in the English department and also holds creative writing workshops.

“I believe it is important to help out other writers to try to form bridges and form a sort of community,” Aragón said.

Aragón plans to return to Notre Dame after he completes his residency.