Word of the Week: Spanish Lesson

Week 28
Latin American Heritage Month Literature

Lili Normand
Expresiones: Spanish Language and Mexican Arts

One of the best ways to learn a language is by reading it! Spanish literature is not only novels or poems in Spanish language. Every country’s literature is full of history, culture, tradition, political and social aspects of that country.
Most Latin American countries were Spanish or Portuguese colonies. Fears, fights and freedom feelings are reflected in Latin American literature. There are several important Latin American poets. Let’s learn about three of them: Gabriela Mistral, Octavio Paz and Humberto Ak’abal.

Gabriela Mistral was born in Chile and was the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in literature. Her poetry is full of warmth and emotions. Her topics were nature, love, life and death.

Octavio Paz was also a Nobel Prize author who was born in Mexico city. Many of his well known works represented Mexican society and politics.

Humberto Ak’abal is a Guatemalan poet with a Mayan background. His poetry has been publish in English, French and other languages.
The following poem is short and reveals the struggles of colonization of the Mayan people.

Dos Lagrimas
Cuando nací
me pusieron dos lagrimas
en los ojos
para que pudiera ver
el tamaño del dolor de mi gente.

Two tears
When I was born
they put two tears
in my eyes
so that I could see
the amount of pain in my people.

Take some time to read this poem out loud to practice your pronunciation skills.

Yo voy a leer (Yoh voyh ah le-ehr)
This means “I am going to read.”
If you would like to be more specific about what you are going to read, you can also add:
un poema (a poem)
una novela (a novel)
un libro (a book)
“Yo voy a leer un poema” (I am going to read a poem), etc.

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