The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

The Independent Student Voice of NMSU Since 1907

NMSU Round Up

Bilingual poetry night celebrates the work of students that ‘speaks across borders’

Reader+Ariya+Nilkaew+opens+the+Bilingual+Poetry+Reading+with+pieces+about+her+race+identity+on+March+1%2C+2024.
David Castañeda
Reader Ariya Nilkaew opens the Bilingual Poetry Reading with pieces about her race identity on March 1, 2024.

Students and faculty members read poems in English and Spanish at a Bilingual Poetry Reading hosted at Grounded on March 1. The event was a celebration of the linguistic and creative work happening at New Mexico State University. 

Thirteen undergraduate students read poems, which were translated by Paola Rodriguez, Ana Mora Trejos, and Dairen Zamora Carvajal. Rodrigo Figueroa Obregón, a published poet, playwright and associate professor of Spanish also read some of his poems in both English and Spanish. 

“I’m delighted that tonight we’ll be celebrating poetry and language and translation, poetry that I think speaks across borders and moves between people, places, and languages,” English professor Tracey-Miller Tomlinson said. 

Falling on the last day of Research and Creativity Week at NMSU, the event’s intention was to showcase student creativity.  

Audience members applaud performers following their readings. March 1, 2024. (David Castañeda)

“Basically, we wanted to highlight the creative side of our students — both the poets and the translators — since it’s Research and Creativity Week, so that’s what we wanted to find. And also highlight what people like me, like professors, are also doing in creating writing,” Figueroa Obregón said. 

The students handled tough topics in their poetry, and many of them were personal. “La Casa de Cambio” by Christopher Acosta, discussed the fire at the National Institute of Migration in Juárez, Mexico. “The Thought of You” by Israel Cavazos, was dedicated to his dad and sister who died a few years ago.  

“I liked the poem that was called ‘The Thought of You’ because it talks about missing a person a lot and I thought that was very nice,” student Carlos Velasco Aviles said. 

Likewise, mental health was a common theme in many of the poems. “Yellow” by Tori Sanchez encouraged listeners to accept their negative emotions. “BLANK is Like” by Rose Baijense described what it’s like to live with undiagnosed depression. 

“I wasn’t diagnosed with depression until I was like in 9th grade, so for a while I didn’t have a word to describe what I was going through. And so [‘BLANK is Like’] kind of just shows not having the vocabulary and language to express that,” Baijense explained. 

Another prevalent subject present in the works of poetry was race and what it means to be someone living in America. In the

Poet Cristopher Acosta (left) and headliner and poet Rodrigo Figeroá Obregón (right) share a laugh after the poetry event. March 1, 2024. (David Castañeda)

poem, “Este Mestizo”, Julianna Hernandez asks, “I am an American But what is an American?” Ariya Nilkaew’s poem “The Definition of American Yellow” is about her experience as an Asian American.  

“Just think of a gardener who has only grown apples trying to coax mangoes from his trees and me reading a book about a young Asian American girl and rating it as completely unrelatable. I scream I’m yellow. I’m yellow. I’m yellow,” Nilkaew read. 

Most of the poems were translated from English into Spanish or vice versa. Figueroa Obregón read his in both Spanish and

English, alternating between them. The poets and translators said that their goal for the translated poems was to provide accessibility for everyone attending. Poet Jenna Kiegel explained that events like this are important because they minimize the work Spanish speakers do to interact within the community.

“We have a lot of people who learned Spanish as their native language and they have to make a lot of effort every day to interact with us and communicate with us, and so giving them even just a little measure of accessibility and welcoming Spanish as a language into poetry is just important for [the] community and making sure that everyone can have a home here,” Kiegel said.

Facebook Comments
Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Elizabeth Anne Andrews, Staff Writer
Elizabeth Anne Andrews is starting her first semester with The Round Up as a Staff Writer. She is currently a freshman at NMSU, majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. She grew up in a military family so she’s lived all over the US and Germany. Ever since she was young, Elizabeth Anne has always been curious about everything around her. It comes from experiencing different cultures and being homeschooled, both opportunities which allowed her to grow in her independence and creativity. In her free time, Elizabeth Anne enjoys writing poems, listening to music, or hanging out with her three siblings and cat.
David Castañeda, Multimedia Director
David Castañeda is starting his second year here at The Round Up, this being his first year as Multimedia Director. This is his second year at New Mexico State University and is majoring in Journalism & Media Studies. He was born and raised in El Paso, Texas as an only child but is extremely happy to be able to call Las Cruces his new home. David has had an affinity for photography since he was in elementary school and has only fallen deeper in love with the art through this job. Though David enjoys nothing more than to be behind a camera he loves to try to explore new hobbies and career options. He’s currently focused on improving his photography at The Round Up and working with the Multimedia Specialists to make the Multimedia team the best it can be. When he isn’t taking photos or editing them on Photoshop, David loves to spend his time with his 3-year-long girlfriend in their apartment where they frequently cuddle up in bed to watch some trash TV and films. On his own, he loves to play the bass and listen to music. His favorite artists are The Strokes and Gorillaz.    

Comments (0)

All NMSU Round Up Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *