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Events | Arts and SciencesMarch 06, 2023

Spanish Poetry Slamming Success

Written By: Ian Silvester

Students took to the Windgate Art and Design Theatre stage Thursday, March 2, 2023 for a unique presentation of culture and art.
A full house enjoyed declamaciones poéticas during the Second Annual Spanish Poetry Showcase featuring interpretations of famous Latin American and Peninsular Spanish poetry performed by students from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. Ten UAFS students practiced clear and expressive speech, as well as body and face gestures and movements to demonstrate an understanding of their selected work, performed in Spanish, a second language for all.
“I had such a great time,” exclaimed runner-up Hunter Christenberry, a Beginning Spanish II student, following his performance of “Iglesia” by Gilberto González y Contreras. “I admire all the students who stood up and recited their poems.”
Evan McClellan, a Spanish major, and Intermediate Spanish II student was voted first place winner after delivering a rendition of the classic work “El león y el ratón” by Félix María de Samaniego. Evan says by memorizing and reciting the poem, he was able to learn more about the nuance of Spanish wordplay.
“I found beauty in its conciseness and how it used very few words to tell a simple, but profound story,” said Evan. “It gave me an understanding of the Spanish languages that I wouldn’t have been able to discover only through conversations and grammar study.”
The Spanish Poetry Slam was capped off with two special guest performances. Audience members with small children likely recognized the performance of Benjamin Baker, as he played guitar and sang “Dos oruguitas” by Lin-Manuel Miranda. The song was featured in Disney’s 2021 award-winning movie, Encanto. Rounding out the night was Gabriela Perez, an international student from Guatemala who performed “Maestrita del pueblo” by Abraham Rivera which tells the story of a man who sees the struggles of children and tells his father he will become a teacher to help the children of Mexico.
The Spanish poetry slam event was organized by the UAFS World Languages Department faculty and was supported in part by a grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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