The Brandeis Hispanic Studies and Latin American, Caribbean and Latinx Studies programs recently hosted their Annual Latina Poetry Night in recognition of Women’s History Month. The purpose of this event was to uplift Latina voices and celebrate women’s history. Students from the programs had prepared recitations of poetry to share with the audience based on how it resonated with them. In addition to the poetry readings, the event featured musical performances from Cuban musicians Yamiel Isaac and Laura Espinal, who were on guitar and voice, respectively. Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies Zoila Castro (ROMS) moderated the event.
Castro began the event with a speech welcoming participants and the audience. During the first half of the event, there were three speakers: fifth-year English PhD candidate Yi He, Natasha Gutierrez ’26 and Aparna Packer ’26.
The poem that He presented was called “¿En perseguirme, mundo, qué interesas?, which was written by Mexican writer, composer and philosopher Juana Inés de la Cruz during the Baroque period in the mid-1600s. The title of the piece roughly translates to “By chasing me, world, what is your intent?” The poem that Gutierrez presented was “Y Dios Me Hizo Mujer,” or “And God Made Me a Woman,” by Nicaragua-born literary figure Gioconda Belli in the late 1900s. Packer presented a poem written by Peruvian poet Blanca Varela in the late 1900s titled “Curriculum Vitae,” which has a narrative about gender-based inequalities.
Espinal and Isaac also performed several pieces during both the first and second half of the event. The songs they performed included “La Llorona” by Angela Aguilar, “Chilguierin Parleru” by Rodrigo Cuevas, “Cucurrucucú paloma” written by Tomás Méndez, “Alfonsina y el Mar” by Mercedes Sosa and “Negra Salvame” by William Vivanco.
During the intermission, the event featured light snacks and traditional foods such as empanadas. Following the intermission, Castro performed a reading of the poem “Si me muero,” or “If I die” by Mere Echagüe. Following Castro’s reading, Rose Nolan ’25 recited the poem “The contract says: We’d like the conversation to be bilingual” by contemporary Latina-American poet Ada Limón. Afterwards, Mar Manolioudaki ’26 presented the poem “A brief meditation on breath” written by contemporary Afro-Latina poet Yesenia Montilla. The last poem, recited by Allegra Cronin ’26 and Victoria Lajous ’25 was “¿Que me hace mujer?” or “What makes me a woman?” by American poet Jess Velarde.
Overall the event featured Latina poetry from a diverse range of Hispanic and Latin American authors and celebrated women’s history through literature and music.
Editor’s Note: Opinions Editor Cooper Gottfried did not contribute to the writing or editing of this article.