Las Vegas, N.M. – A Highlands University Spanish professor and award-winning poet published a book featuring top international poets.
Carlos Velásquez Torres co-edited Multilingual Anthology: The Americas Poetry Festival of New York 2016 from Artepoética Press.
“This anthology is very special because it combines multiple voices from different parts of the planet like Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Mayan world, the United States and Asia,” Velásquez Torres said. “The U.S. is the final destination of many different writers, and it is also the crossroads of different literary worlds.”
Velásquez Torres said leading poets from 22 countries are represented in the anthology, which draws its selections from the The Americas Poetry Festival of New York 2014 that he helped organize.
The poems in the anthology are translated from the poet’s language to English, with the 12 languages represented illustrating the global diversity of the book, from Spanish, French, and Arabic to Greek, Estonian, Persian and Gaelic.
“We selected Jorge Miguel Cocom Pech of the Mayan Nation in Mexico as the festival’s Poet of the Year in recognition of the remarkable quality of his poetry, and the importance of indigenous poetry in the world,” Velásquez Torres said.
Velásquez Torres joined the Highlands University faculty in 2013. Previously, he taught at Bowling Green State University. At Highlands, he teaches introductory and advanced Spanish as well as courses such as Latin American Literature and Civilization and Culture of Latin America.
“The diversity I see in my classrooms at Highlands is an extension of the literary world printed in this international poetry anthology,” Velásquez Torres said.
He said he plans to use the Multilingual Anthology in his Introduction to Hispanic Literature course spring semester 2017.
“Poetry is a vital part of life that allows allows people to see each other without animosity as real human beings,” Velásquez Torres said.
He earned his Ph.D. in Spanish, Portuguese and culture from the University of Arizona. His primary research interest is 19th – 21st century Hispanic-American literary, film and cultural studies. He completed his M.A. in Latin American literature and cultural studies from the University of Washington.
Velásquez Torres is a native of Bogatá, Colombia.
“I grew up between the school where my parents taught and the poverty of my neighborhood. I watched the violence rooted in Colombian culture. As a teenager, I decided to take a different path and entered the world of art and music,” Velásquez Torres said.
He published his first poetry while studying Latin American literature and literary studies at Universidad Nacional de Colombia.
Velásquez Torres’ poetry has earned a number of awards, including being named 2004 International Poet of the Year for his book of poetry titled, Es de tontos del regreso (It is for Foolish People to Return.) The international publication Revista Hibrido (Hybrid Magazine) granted the award.
“This is a collection of intimate poetry about the agony of being alone in different realities like war, death and loss,” Velásquez Torres said.
Velásquez Torres has published in scholarly publications such as Revista de Estudios Colombianos (Colombian Studies Journal) from George Washington University, Cuadernos de Literatura (Literary Notebooks) from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia, and Divergencias (Divergencies) from the University of Arizona.
The co-editors for Multilingual Anthology: The Americas Poetry Festival of New York 2016 are Carlos Aguasaco and Yrene Santos, both professors at City University of New York.