Chilean Poet Formoso Visits Wooster
On Oct. 4, Chilean author and poet Christian Formoso was schedule to come to WHS to speak to upper-level Spanish and literature classes about his work.
According to Stony Brook University, Formoso is the author of six collections of poetry, for which he was awarded the Binational Literary Award of Chilean-Argentine Patagonia and the distinguished Pablo Neruda Prize, given in honor of Pablo Neruda, one of the most famous Latin American poets of the 20th Century.
One of Formos’s most widely known poetry collections, El Cementerio Más Hermoso de Chile (The Most Beautiful Cemetery in Chile), was the recipient or finalist for two other prestigious Latin American poetry awards.
This poetry collection tells the stories of the people of the Tierra del Fuego territory, the area at the southernmost tip of Chile where Formoso grew up. Terry Hermsen, English professor at Otterbein University and translator of Formoso’s poems, notes, “[Formoso] gives us a way to visualize 500 years of human history…through the lens of the southern tip of our hemisphere.”
Hermsen met Formoso at a Chilean Poetry Conference and later partnered with him to create an English translation of Formoso’s poems.
To allow Formoso to share his work with an American audience, Hermsen and Melissa Rooney, a Foreign Language Dept. member, partnered to write Formoso a grant to come to the United States and visit a number of schools and communities.
In Wooster, Formoso was scheduled to speak to WHS students, an event that Rooney believes is “…a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for students.” He was also scheduled to read his work at the College of Wooster on Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Kauke 305.
Hermsen believes that Formoso’s work, although Chilean in origin, is quite relevant to an American audience.
“Just as Shakespeare or a Tolstoy offer us the lives of the people in England or Russia in their times–and yet lift those lives to the universal–so a poet like Christian Formoso takes the lives of the people in ‘the most beautiful cemetery in Chile’ and brings them to life, in all their loves, passions, frustrations, and transcendence… This is a chance [to] learn about and understand this fascinating part of the world.”
Look for an interview with Christian Formoso in the next issue of The Wooster Blade.