“The pen is the language of the soul”, says Cervantes in Don Quijote. On March 8th, the Glendon Hispanic Club (pictured below) explored this thought in presenting Spanish Without Borders - An Encounter with the Spanish Language through its Literary Texts. Mounted by this entirely student-run organization, it was an evening of literature and music guaranteed to dispel some of the Latin stereotypes of laziness and procrastination, demonstrating the enormous energy and the variety of cultures encompassed by the Spanish language.
The evening featured Glendon students and a number of invited guests reading from their own poetry and short-stories, as well as from other literary texts. Among them, Glendon professor emerita Margarita Feliciano, who read some of her own works. An Italo-Argentinian poet, Feliciano is the coordinator of the Glendon Certificate in Spanish-English Translation, and specialist in literary criticism and translation in a number of languages. The special guest of the evening was Israeli poet Margalit Matitiahu, who read from her works written in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language threatened with extinction. Derived mainly from Old Castilian (Spanish) and Hebrew, Ladino is primarily spoken among small Sephardic Jewish communities in Israel and several other countries. Matitiahu was in Toronto for the Hispanic Film Festival, which was screening her movie, León, tracing what remains of the Sephardic tradition.
2nd-year Hispanic Studies student David Tenorio is vice-president of the Glendon Hispanic Club and one of the organizers of the event. “We received enthusiastic support from the [Glendon] Hispanic Studies Department for mounting and publicizing this cultural evening”, says Tenorio. The Spanish Embassy in Toronto also made a generous donation to defray costs. The organizers also expressed their gratitude to Francesca Di Rosa, program administrator of the Hispanic Studies Department, dubbed their “fairy godmother” for her tireless work and support in making this event come to fruition.
It was a colourful and lively evening. Literary readings were interspersed with Mexican and Chilean folkloric dancing performed by groups which included several Glendon graduates. And there was lots of delicious food as well… Close to 50 people came to learn about and enjoy the vast variety that Hispanic culture offers. The evening was televised by Omni Televisión and broadcast on their “Hispanic Roots” program.
Tenorio confesses to being delighted with the success of Spanish Without Borders. Originally from Mexico, Tenorio is impressed with “the lively interest that a predominantly English-speaking country [such as Canada] displays towards other cultures. It reflects this society’s tolerance and promotion of cultural diversity”.
Further information about the Glendon Hispanic Club and its activities is available on their website at: www.glendon.yorku.ca/clubdeespanol.