“Ruben Dario!” The quick response one can expect to hear from any Nicaraguan when asked who the country’s greatest poet is.
“ummm… Dr. Seuss?” A response you’d likely get from the same question to an American. But why?
Poetry gets to the heart of what it means to be Nicaraguan. At every level of school poems are read, learned, and performed by students. Many can still recite some of their favorites years later including Enlace Project’s very own Yacarely Mairena who shared a poem with visiting SUNY Geneseo students during a class on poetry.
In keeping with this cultural tradition of poetry, Enlace Project English students worked for weeks on poems of their own to be presented at the first (annual?!) Enlace Project Poetry Slam on June 18th. In front of an audience of over 50 people as well as a panel of 5 judges, twelve students from both the primary and secondary level English classes showcased their works. Poems embraced a wide variety of topics from the beauty of motherhood to emotional defenses of the environment.
Amazed Geneseo students in attendance remarked that they couldn’t believe how expressive students were in a second language, with many readily admitting they didn’t feel capable of producing such strong poems themselves. Such is the impact of poetry in Nicaragua where everyone is born with the heart of a poet.
The remainder of the evening was spent enjoying all things quintessentially Nicaraguan for dinner (gallo pinto, plantains, and queso frito) and laughter filled conversation between Geneseo students and the aspiring poets. Enlace Project is proud to help facilitate these types of intercultural exchange and will continue to embrace them as an important part of our mission.