So Spoke Penelope – Asi Habló Penelopé

Culture Local News

American Corner Debrecen and the Institute of English and American Studies, University of Debrecen cordially invite you to join an evening with Dr. Tino Villanueva american poet and author of the “So Spoke Penelope” poems spoken by a fascinating woman from Greek mythology on 21 May at 6 pm.

Dr. Villanueva will be reading from the whole of his work—six books of poetry—, adding along the way substantial cultural, historical, literary, aesthetic, and autobiographical commentary. He also reads a poem in Spanish and provide an English translation.


Guest speaker:

Tino Villanueva is the author of six books of poetry, among them Shaking Off the Dark (1984); Crónica de mis años peores (1987) / Chronicle of My Worst Years (1994); Scene from the Movie GIANT (1993), which won a 1994 American Book Award; Primera causa / First Cause (1999), a chapbook on memory and writing, and So Spoke Penelope (2013). Villanueva’s poems appear in An Ear to the Ground: An Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (1989), and Poetas sin fronteras (2000). He has taught creative writing at the University of Texas at Austin, The College of William & Mary, and Bowdoin College. His art work has appeared on the covers and pages of national and international journals, such as Nexos, Green Mountains Review, TriQuarterly, and Parnassus. Eight of his poems have been anthologized in The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature (2011). He teaches in the Department of Romance Studies at Boston University.

Penelope from Greek mythology as she is handed down to us from Homer in The Odyssey. What a fascinating and compelling figure straight out of our Western literary canon—a woman who waits 20 years for her husband Odysseus to return from the Trojan War. Homer casts her as the symbol of faithfulness, true enough. In Tino Villanueva’s thirty-two poems she is quite clearly at the center of her own story, and has the keen desire for speaking her mind. That she works in wool is no less important to her ego. But what thoughts has she about being a worker in wool, about the craft of weaving in general? This aspect of her art remains absent in The Odyssey—Penelope as weaver, Penelope as artist, which is, in part, what the author attempts to flesh out.


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