Poetry Reading Explores Other Side to Columbus Conquest

By Perez-Brennan, Tanya | The Florida Times Union, October 10, 2003 | Go to article overview

Poetry Reading Explores Other Side to Columbus Conquest


Perez-Brennan, Tanya, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Tanya Perez-Brennan, Times-Union staff writer

. . . In those days there was no sickness,

no aching bones,

no fever, no smallpox . . .

It was not like that after the Dzules came here.

They taught fear, they came to wither the flowers.

So that their flower might live

they sipped, then crushed the flower that was ours.

To castrate the sun!

That is what the Dzules

came here to do!

-- Excerpt from Chilam Balam de Chumayel, poet priest (16th century).

Well, this is not exactly the type of thing that comes to mind when you think of Columbus Day, but here's the other side to this story of conquest you probably haven't heard.

Alternate Voices -- Answering the Admiral: A Spanish/English Poetry Reading for Columbus Day will be from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday at the St. Johns County Public Library's new branch at 6670 U.S. 1 S. in St. Augustine.

The reading is sponsored by the St. Augustine-Baracoa Friendship Association, a non-profit organization that promotes humanitarian and cultural exchanges with the town of Baracoa, in the eastern tip of Cuba. It will feature readings by poets from pre-Columbian times to the present that address the other side of Columbus and the conquest. Works will be read from Latin American poets Pablo Neruda, Julia de Burgos, Sandra Cisneros and Roberto Sosa. …

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