The recently published anthology of Salvadoran poetry, Theatre Under My Skin (Kalina Press), includes the work of Salvadoran-born Connecticut resident, Dr. José B. González. González was invited to be a part of this timely collection by the editors, Dr. Tania Pleitez, Alexandra Lytton Regalado, and Lucía de Sola.
Regalado and de Sola are both Salvadoran-born, but grew up in the United States. Their families moved to the United States when they were still young, 7 and 4, respectively. They studied British and American literature, became writers and moved back to El Salvador when they got married. As Regalado explains, the two “were rooted, uprooted, rooted, uprooted, and rooted again. But really, I still feel like I’m floating somewhere in the middle—one foot on that shore, one foot on this one.” Co-editor, Dr. Pleitez, was also born in El Salvador and lived in California during her childhood. She now lives in Barcelona.
Upon their arrival back to El Salvador, Regalado and de Sola felt like they could relate with U.S. writers and the U.S. Latino community more than the Salvadoran poetry community. Their impression was that they tended to be more focused specifically on Spanish and Latin American work. Regalado explains, “The collection challenges the traditional concept of nationality and explores the diverse identities that coexist in the world of Salvadoran poetry. It represents that “hybridity”—the blurring of identities—and the exchange of a new Salvadoran poetic. The poems are in both Spanish and English to create a bridge and establish a dialogue between those two shores.”
Given that Salvadorans are now the third largest Latino population in the U.S., Theatre Under My Skin’s publication is a sign of increasing interest of the literary contributions of a rising population. Dr. González, who grew up in New London and is a Professor of English at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, points out that the anthology “is sure to get the attention of educators.” He adds that when he came to Connecticut, it seemed like there were only a few families of Salvadoran descent. But now, “the Hartford area alone has one of the highest Salvadoran populations of metropolitan areas in the U.S.”
In March of this year, a reading at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Seattle, Washington, brought together the anthology’s editors and some of the authors. During the event, which Dr. Gonzalez attended, collaborators were able to share their work and their own unique family stories. The anthology’s richness is one of the reasons why reviewers like the prominent Salvadoran poet Miguel Huezo Mixco have praised the book, which is available on Amazon.