Yomaira Figueroa-Vásquez argues that Frank Espada’s photography and Aracelis Girmay’s poetry “embodied practices that refuse silencing and erasure by bringing the Boricua subject to the fore as valuable and knowing human subject.” In cleaving these works together, she makes space for the examination of photo/poetics as “insurgent productions.” She analyzes how “the body and the quotidian are used as lenses through which to understand and indict coloniality and erasure.”
Inspired by the theory of Tina Campt, Figueroa suggests that the observer and reader listen to the images. “In her monograph Listening to Images, Tina Campt articulates the photographic image as a phenomenon beyond sight and focuses on sound, frequency, and the aural as a valuable and necessary intervention in Black diasporic cultural studies and beyond. Campt urges us to understand that the act of “listening to images” as “a practice of looking beyond what we see and attuning our senses to the other affective frequencies through which photographs register.”
In the comment section down below, write a creative response based on ONE of the following prompts (due on 4/19 before class):
Inspire by Yomaira Figueroa’s method of describing and “listening” to photographs of Afro-Boricuas, describe and analyze one of Frank Espada’s photos from The Puerto Rican Diaspora Project.
Write a poem about a Puerto Rican, Latinx, Afro-diasporic and/or indigenous community using the poetic structure and main phrase (“You Are Who I Love”) proposed by Aracelis Girmay.
Respectfully interact with ONE of your classmates’ creative responses. What elements of his/her/their piece caught your attention? What other observations about Frank Espada’s photographs and/or the poem by Aracelis Girmay do you want to bring into the discussion?