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VOX celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Updated: Feb 25

VOX Femina celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 - October 15) by sharing this setting of Francisco X. Alarcón's beautiful poem, "Lamentario," from our April 2022 concert, Music They Wrote:

How sad to be a glass that never gets filled – es triste ser vaso y nunca llenarse

a door that stays forever locked ser puerta y siempre quedarse trancada

A bed that feels like a casket not a bedstead – ser cama sentirse mortaja no lecho

how sad to be one and never add one to two es triste ser uno y nunca sumar dos

A bird without a nest – a saint with no candlelight ser ave sin nido ser santo sin vela

To be alone and live on dreaming up embraces. ser solo y vivir soñando abrazos

Composer Roger Bourland worked with his friend Alarcón to create the "Alarcón Madrigals," three books of songs in both Spanish and English, two of which were commissioned by VOX. On working with the poet, he said:

I first got to know the poet Francisco X. Alarcón working on "Letters to the Future." Adrienne Rich had suggested I seek him out. I have always resonated with the joy and color in his poetry. A prolific writer for adults and children, Alarcón was born in California and grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico. He returned to the United States to attend California State University at Long Beach, and he earned his MA from Stanford University. Latino and gay identity, mythology, the Nahuatl language, Mesoamerican history, and American culture are all portrayed in Alarcón’s writing. Alarcón received the 1984 Chicano Literary Prize, the 1993 PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and a Fred Cody Lifetime Achievement Award from the Bay Area Book Reviewers Association in 2002. He served as director of the Spanish for Native Speakers Program at the University of California at Davis, and taught for the Art of the Wild workshop and the California Poets in the Schools program.

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