Wednesday, January 30, 2013
José Martí saves the day
Today was another of those leave me alone, I'm teaching and taking off kind of days. Until my Latin American Civ class. We have been reading excerpts from Sarmiento's Facundo, and today's reading was Martí's Nuestra America (here is a copy in English, if you feel like reading it). They are not easy readings for undergraduates. It's impossible to teach Facundo entirely, but I always make them read the full version of Nuestra America. It takes a lot of close reading to get them through it, but they usually engage pretty well. Today, after the class, a heritage-speaking student stayed to chat with me. She is very hard-working, but although she speaks the language fluently, she is obviously struggling with a class that is way more abstract than any student is used to. She told me: "I loved Martí. He is so poetic in Nuestra América. And everything he says, you can still find examples in Latin America today. It was the first time since I started college that I felt that a Spanish class spoke to me and was not just a language class with a little culture on the side". I asked her if she had read any of Marti's poetry, and she hadn't. She didn't even know he was also a poet. But even the essay was poetic to her. I told her that I would be happy to talk about his poetry if she wanted to during my office hours, and she told me she would show up. I don't know whether she will or not, but I don't care. After a month of different headaches, this is the type of vindication I am looking for.
Posted by Spanish prof at 2:23 PM