“En Voz Alta” showcases writing from the Spanish-speaking mid-valley

For nine months, a group of Spanish-speaking community members from various fields, including social workers, homemakers and professors, have been learning how to express themselves through poetry and writing.

On Saturday, they’ll showcase their talents. 

“En Voz Alta” is a Spanish-language event that will feature the work of MIGRANTA, a group of 14 women and non-binary people that formed in March. 

Coming from Salem, Wilsonville and Eugene, the writers have been attending monthly workshops to learn about writing styles including short stories, poetry and essays. 

The State Institute of Culture of Guanajuato, based in Mexico, hosted some of the  writing workshops and will be speaking via Zoom on Saturday. Salem’s Mano a Mano Family Center also put on some of the workshops.

There is not a single theme to the event, but each writer has focused on self-expression while developing their craft.

Jordan Saldaña is the education coordinator at the Salem Arts Association and a member of MIGRANTA. She will be sharing short poetry. 

“What I’m looking forward to is the storytelling aspect. I’ve been able to meet these ladies more in-depth, and I think they have wonderful stories and sentiments to share which I’m excited for others to hear,” Saldaña said. 

The event will start with a presentation over Zoom from Guanajuato, and a guitarist will accompany the spoken work. They’re planning to serve tamales and atole.

Concepción Sámano is the program director at MIGRANTA, and a published author and poet. She has been featured by the Oregon Poetry Association and the Salem Poetry Project

She spoke to Salem Reporter in Spanish, which Saldaña interpreted. 

Sámano said she’s looking forward to seeing community members and groups coming together for the event. They are expecting over 60 people to attend.

“We’re also really happy that SAA is opening their doors to the Hispanic community, and we’d love to see more events like this, where the introduction and linkage to other cultural languages and Spanish are invited to the English speaking spaces,” Sámano said.

After “En Voz Alta,” the work from MIGRANTA’s writers will be published next year.

“En Voz Alta” will be at the Bush Barn Art Center & Annex 600 Mission St. S.E. from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10. It is free and open to the public.

Contact reporter Abbey McDonald: [email protected] or 503-704-0355.

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Abbey McDonald joined the Salem Reporter in 2022. She previously worked as the business reporter at The Astorian, where she covered labor issues, health care and social services. A University of Oregon grad, she has also reported for the Malheur Enterprise, The News-Review and Willamette Week.