Voces y Lugares: Hispanic poets in Chicago


Voces y Lugares... "voices and places"... is a collaboration between the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) Videoconferencing network, e-poets network, and local, esteemed Hispanic authors. The Voces y Lugares project gives students an enriched environment in which to appreciate Hispanic culture, literature, and language. Special online features in the Book of Voices provide text and audio of poetry the authors. Students can hear what they read, and they may study it either at home or in school through the web.

Our partnership then brings the Hispanic writers into CPS schools. The writers share their poetry and life experiences, and broadband technology in the CPS network bridges the writers' workshops into multiple classrooms across the city. Students interact directly with the featured authors. They also read and/or perform their own poetry for their peers, over the video connection. Live, two-way videoconferences in the schools "un-mediate" communication with the authors by making the encounters conversational. Students learn to appreciate Hispanic heritage, literature, and culture as something they share with their neighbors city-wide, and personally signify through poetic language in Spanish, English, or both.

Our 2003 series launched with a workshop featuring Beatriz Badikian. Our 2002 series included multi-site videoconferences featuring Elizabeth Marino, Brenda Cárdenas, and Frank Varela. Details about these artists are available on the program pages for 2003 and 2002 respectively.

Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center publishes support packages for the classroom for each Voces y Lugares artist. Each has an audio CD and printed study guide. The e-poets network curates artists who have merit both as written and performing artists. We ensure grade-appropriate discussions (for grades 9 thru 12) with each artist's presentation. The e-poets network has always been active in "crossing cultural and geographic frontiers." With Voces y Lugares, we celebrate the cultural frontiers within our city. We welcome educators everywhere to join us.

If you are interested in participating in this project, following up with our experiences, or wish to chart further events for your own school with Voces y Lugares, contact our CPS educational partner at Von Steuben Science Center, or contact the e-poets network directly.

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