19. Peace, Translation & Diversity: A Dialogue w/ Poet Andrea Beltran

Andrea_Beltran

Andrea Beltran is a poet currently living in El Paso, Texas. She is a graduate student at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and her poems have recently appeared in Luna Luna, Word Riot, Mom Egg Review, Superstition Review, and Acentos Review. (26:41)


Read Andrea’s Blog
/Follow Andrea on Twitter @drebelle

And we announce our first Postmasters Podcast Short Story Contest! Submissions are now open. Send us your fiction before Valentine’s Day 2015!

Highlights

“I wish I could say that I’m one of those writers who, you know, wakes up every morning and has a set routine… I tend to be a binge writer. I find I’m more at peace with that.”

“[VCFA] has changed my life… I’m so grateful I got over my fear and just did it. I feel a lot more comfortable with my writing now than I ever have. But I feel like I’m a better reader, and I think, coming away from VCFA, that’s what I’m most proud of.”

“I am very nervous to work with [Rigoberto González], if I do get to work with him, but I feel it will probably be the most rewarding semester… He expects a lot from his students, and I feel like I need–and I want–that challenge at this point in my writing… I also have not [yet] been able to study with a Latino writer, which is very important to me.”

On helping to found a Diversity Committee at VCFA…

“[The first goal was] community. Especially in Vermont, there was, all of us would say, a lack of diversity in terms of the student body and the faculty… We felt there needed to be a change–or an addition–at the faculty level, and that this would obviously carry through the student body at some point.”

“VCFA has been very supportive, and they’re very encouraging. We’ve only just begun.”

“Awareness about issues that arise in workshop, probably particularly in fiction and nonfiction workshops, in terms of characters of color or different sexual identity or those with disabilities, can be approached on a more open level. I think workshop is really important, [as is] having workshop facilitators who are aware of those issues and who can guide those conversations well.”

On her long-term vision for her poetry (and writing life) post-MFA…

“What I think is great about a low residency program is… we’re able to build reading and writing habits that intersect with our lives, and we’re able to find what works for us, to create new habits that we will, hopefully, be able to sustain after the program.”

Who’s Who

Vermont College of Fine Arts, Low Residency MFA in Writing

Junot Diaz

Cecilia Vicuña, author of Spit Temple (translated by Rosa Alcalá)

Ron Pagett

Naomi Shihab Nye

Sandra Cisneros

What is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry & Politics by Adrienne Rich

Pablo Neruda

Federico García Lorca

Jack Elliott Myers

Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven”

Closing Quote

“Art helps to take us out of our isolation by showing us the commonality of our feelings, by precisely reflecting our emotional and spiritual life, by showing us how we resemble one another, by creating links between human beings and also perhaps by showing the responsibility we bear each other.”
~ Stephen Dobyns, Best Words, Best Order

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