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Untamed Tongues:
Poets Sin Fronteras

Untamed Tongues: Poets Sin Fronteras, was a four-part poetry workshop series that led to a Spoken Word Poetry Festival. We spent five months using BIPOC poetry and writing to organize, mobilize, and share our narratives throughout the borderlands.  Through a Mexican American Studies/Ethnic Studies lens, we redefined poetry, interrogated false narratives, and imagined what a more just world would look like. Each workshop had a different theme as well as guest facilitators. To make this educational experience accessible and fun for our community, we hosted each workshop at local, Mexican-American owned coffee shops in McAllen, Harlingen, and Edinburg, Texas. This program was a part of the 2021 Migration Narratives Project made possible by the Institute for Diversity and Civic Life (IDCL). This project was made possible by the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation. We invite you to take a look at this journey we took throughout the Rio Grande Valley borderlands, and the community we created along the way. See how we used public spaces to decolonize, reclaim, and untame our tongues. In the words of Gloria Anzaldua, "Wild tongues can't be tamed. They can only be cut out."

Workshop 1 Familia!

Workshop #1

Navigating Joy

On June 13th, 2021, we hosted our very first poetry workshop in McAllen, Texas at a local coffee shop, Labyrinth B.C.A. The theme was "Navigating Joy". It was a sunny RGV Sunday where community members different regions of the borderlands came together to engage in the art of storytelling. This was the first of four workshops that Craft Cultura hosted.

Workshop #2

Navigating Truth

For our second poetry workshop, we headed to another local coffee shop (Bandera Coffee Co.) in Harlingen, Texas. Our guest facilitator was Xicano scholar, Dr. Christian Ramirez, from the University of Illinois and a UTRGV Mexican American Studies program alumni.

Workshop 2 crew!
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Workshop #3

Navigating a Pandemic

Due to the rise of the Covid-19 Delta Variant in the RGV, our team decided to postpone our 3rd Poetry workshop which was scheduled for Sunday, August 15th. Although we would have loved to continue with our workshops and had never cancelled an event prior, the safety of our community is our priority. This was the reality of hosting in-person events during a historic global pandemic. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those who have been impacted and lost lives due to the virus.

Workshop #4

Navigating Memory

Our fourth and final poetry workshop, "Navigating Memory" took place on Sunday, September 19th at Grind Coffee Co. in Edinburg, Texas. Our guest facilitator was Bianca Alyssa Perez, a RGV Poet and MFA student at Texas State University. The room was full and the poetry was beautiful as community gathered to share our stories and reflect on their experiences throughout this project. We couldn't have asked for a better ending to this poetry workshop series.

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