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Chicano poet and American
Book Award winner Tino Villanueva will give a poetry reading and talk
on Tuesday, October 22, at Colby College in Waterville. The event is
part of Colby’s celebration of Latino/Hispanic Heritage Month and will
begin at 7:30 p.m. in Room 100 of the Lovejoy Building. It is open to
the public free of charge. A reception will follow.
Villanueva became part of the Chicano Literary Renaissance when he
began publishing his poems in the early 1970s. He writes in both
English and Spanish, often switching between languages, and his poetry
highlights the tension and richness of living within two different
cultures. Villanueva’s poetry collections include Hay Otra Voz: Poems (There is Another Voice: Poems), Shaking off the Dark and Chronicle of My Worst Years/Cronica De Mis Años Peores.
In 1994, Villanueva won the American Book Award for his book-length poem, Scene From the Movie Giant.
The poem was inspired by his boyhood in San Marcos, Texas, where he
first watched a scene of anti-Mexican racism in the 1956 film Giant from the balcony of a segregated movie theater.
Born to a family of migrant workers, Villanueva was unable to attend
school regularly due to the demands of traveling to harvest crops.
While serving in the Army in the Panama Canal Zone from 1963-1965, he
became immersed in Hispanic literature by Ruben Dario and Cuban
revolutionary José Martí. He later earned a bachelor’s degree from
South West Texas State University, a master’s degree from State
University of New York, and a Ph.D. from Boston University. Currently
Villanueva is on the faculty of Boston University.