Americas Society’s 40th Anniversary Literary Exhibition

On view in the Americas Society’s newly installed Reading Room are over one hundred portraits of poets, writers, translators and editors, as well as a collection of their first-edition books which were translated, presented, and/or promoted by the Americas Society. The exhibition is free and open to the public during cultural events at the Americas Society (Sept 2005-Dec 2006).

“For four decades, Americas Society has played a pivotal role in fostering U.S. appreciation of the collective genius of the Latin America and the Caribbean, as expressed by its distinguished and emerging poets and writers,” said Tess O’Dwyer, Vice President for Cultural Affairs of the Americas Society. “Many would argue that the Latin American Boom of the 1960’s and 70’s was launched here.”

Americas Society Translation Subvention Program (1968-1984) identified, translated, promoted, and ultimately assured the publication of more than 80 exceptional books from the Spanish and Portuguese, most notably: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and The Obscene Bird of Night. In 1968, Review magazine debuted as the first magazine of its kind to promote contemporary writing of the Americas in English translation. Today, Review: Literature and Arts of the Americas, edited by Doris Sommer and Tess O’Dwyer, is widely considered the leading U.S. forum for new writing, music, and art of the region.

Americas Society’s roster of public programs is also a virtual Who’s Who of Latin America and Caribbean arts and letters. Historic appearances by literary giants include: a translation symposium with Julio Cortázar in 1974; panel discussions with Jorge Luis Borges in 1983; a bilingual poetry performance by Nicanor Parra and Allen Ginsberg in 1985; and readings by poet-priest Ernesto Cardenal in 1992. Other writers who have graced our Salon Simón Bolívar with their new works include: Jorge Amado, Giannina Braschi, Kamau Brathwaite, Gabriel Cabrera Infante, Maryse Condé, José Donoso, Diamela Eltit, Carlos Fuentes, Edouard Glissant, Carlos Monsiváis, Alvaro Mutis, Victoria Ocampo, Octavio Paz, Cristina Peri Rossi, Nélida Pińon, Elena Poniatowska, Manuel Puig, Luis Rafael Sánchez, Moacyr Scliar, Luisa Valenzuela, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Derek Walcott.

The 40th Anniversary season closes on Friday, December 9, 2005 at 7pm with a special event: High Priestesses of the Vanguard: Diamela Eltit and Giannina Braschi. Francine Masiello, University of California-Berkeley, will introduce Braschi (the Puerto Rican poet and electrifying performer of the spoken word) and Eltit (the Chilean cultural resistance leader and fiction writer) who will perform excerpts of their new works.

About the Americas Society’s Cultural Offerings:
Founded by David Rockefeller in 1965, Americas Society celebrates its 40th anniversary as a cultural showcase for the latest and greatest artistic achievements of the Western Hemisphere. The Society’s programs bridge the vast geographic regions of Canada, the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean; cross the genres of Music, Film, Art, and Literature; and, span the historic eras from Pre-Columbian to the modern day.


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