Poet and scholar T. Urayoán Noel visited ISU on February 23-24 for a series of events and class visits. Dr. Noel’s first presentation was a lecture for the International Studies Seminar Series. As a specialist in US Latino and hemispheric literatures, Noel brings a PhD in Spanish to his work as a Professor of English at SUNY-Albany, highlighting productive connections between departments and fields. His seminar talk focused on the circulation of poetry in small urban circles as well as across borders in the Americas. Entitled “Can There Be a 'Non-circulating' Hemispheric Poetics? (Or, 6,000 Miles of Poems),” Noel’s talk proposes a new model for talking about culture in hemispheric and interdisciplinary terms.
Noel visited English 267, “Foundations of US Latino/a Literatures and Cultures,” where he spoke with students about another facet of his work: he taught a short session on Nuyorican writing of the late twentieth century, about which he is completing a scholarly book.
ISU students also got to hear Noel speak from the perspective of a practicing creative writer. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Noel spent many as an adult immersed in New York and still actively engages with Nuyorican writers, as well as poets of many other backgrounds, in New York City today. He is the author of the books of poetry Hi-density Politics (BlazeVOX, 2010); Boringkén (Ediciones Callejón/La Tertulia, 2008); and Kool Logic/La lógica kool (Bilingual Press, 2005). During his visit to ISU, then, Noel spoke as an invited guest in creative writing classes taught by Duriel Harris and Gabriel Gudding.
Noel’s second public presentation at Illinois State was a poetry reading at the University Galleries. His written poetry, while intended to be read on the page, also serves as a series of performance scores. The ISU audience witnessed not just a “reading,” but a performance consciously exploring a range of artistic styles from the serious to the silly and the weird.
Urayoán Noel’s visit was organized by Dr. Kristin Dykstra (Department of English) and co-sponsored by two units from the Department of English, Creative Writing and the magazine Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas / Nueva escritura de las Américas; as well as the International Studies Seminar Series and MECCPAC.
Dr. Noel poses with students from English 267, our department's first section ever offered on US Latino literature for undergraduates.