On Thursday, January 29, 2009, INGL 6986 (Special Topics II: Boricua Poetry Takes a U-Turn: Teaching the Nuyorican School of Poetry en la isla) welcomed Professor Iris Toro as a guest performer and speaker. Graduate students in this course recently reviewed selected readings from Juan Flores’ The Diaspora Strikes Back: Caribeño Tales of Learning and Turning (2009) as they considered contexts for return migration to Puerto Rico and how histories of “Diaspo-Ricans” and “Re-asporicans” are brought to light in the writing of Nuyorican poets. Significantly, Professor Toro’s own accounts of Caribeño learning and turning are presented and interpreted by Flores in this welcome new addition to scholarly studies of Puerto Rican migration. In class, Prof. Toro described the multiple challenges of moving to Puerto Rico from the Bronx, NY, at the age of 15, her parents’ distinct struggles to adapt to living in the island after two decades in New York, and her numerous “identity crises” as she was contradictorily defined and categorized across these spaces.

Prof. Toro presented a published poem , “Roots”, in two parts: “My Expectations” and “The Reality”, as well as a more recent unpublished poem, “TheWalking Dead” on her observations and volunteer work with drug addicts in Mayagüez. INGL 6986 warmly thanks Prof. Toro for generously committing her time and artistic talent to the class, and particularly appreciate her poignant, candid narratives of “coming home”!

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