Angela Buck on Leonard Schwartz with Cecilia Vicuña

Cecila Vicuña
Cecila Vicuña

This monthly series features highlights from the Cross Cultural Poetics archive. Cross Cultural Poetics is one of the longest-running radio shows in America focused on contemporary poetry and poetics. Based at The Evergreen State College and hosted by Leonard Schwartz, the entire archive, running from 2003 to the present, can be accessed on PennSound.

For April, I’ve chosen an interview with poet, artist and performer, Cecilia Vicuña, who reads from her Water Poems and explains their relationship to the Quechan concept of Huaca, what she describes as “something that is sacred, not of this dimension in which we are.” She also reflects on her early connection to water as a child growing up at the foot of the mountains in Chile, and the extraordinary music and complexity of the Quechua and Mapuche languages—languages that she weaves into her poems, alongside English and Spanish. Vicuña discusses the correspondence between the movement of water and the movement of the mind (as well as the “fluidity of languages in the street”) as a major inspiration for her poems.—Angela Buck

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Cecilia Vicuña’s recent books are Spit Temple: Selected Performances of Cecilia VicuñaChanccani Quipu and Sabor a MíShe co-edited The Oxford Book of Latin American PoetrySpit Temple was runner-up for the 2013 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. Her film Kon Kon can be found here.