CAHI is delighted to present a 2021 Ruth N. Halls Lecture by award-winning poet, memoirist, human rights activist, and translator Carolyn Forché at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
Carolyn Forché was already a celebrated poet and translator when in 1978 she received a Guggenheim Fellowship to travel to El Salvador to work as a human rights advocate. Upon her return to the United States in 1980, Forché wrote a book of poems, The Country Between Us (1981) documenting the atrocities she had witnessed in El Salvador. Then, forty years later, Forché published a memoir of this time: What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance (2019), which was a Finalist for the National Book Award in Non-Fiction, and the winner of the Juan E. Méndez Book Award for Human Rights in Latin America.
Forché has had an illustrious career as a poet of witness. Having won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award for Gathering the Tribes (1976), she went on to work translating Claribel Alegria, Robert Desnos, Mahmoud Darwish and others. In addition to her five books of poetry, two memoirs, and translations, Forché has edited several collections, including El Salvador: Work of Thirty Photographers (1983) and Against Forgetting: Twentieth-Century Poetry of Witness (1993). Her most recent collection of poetry, In the Lateness of the World (Penguin Press, 2020), was a finalist for the 2021 Pulitzer Prize in poetry.
Forché is currently University Professor at Georgetown University. She is co-Chair, with Gloria Steinem, of the Creative Advisory Council of Hedgebrook, a residency for women writers on Whidbey Island.
Forché will read from her recent work and sit down with Distinguished Professor Jeffrey Gould, one of the world’s leading historians of El Salvador, and producer of several documentary films about the country’s past and present. A book signing will follow.
This event is presented by the College Arts + Humanities Institute with support from the College of Arts + Sciences, Themester 2021: Resilience, the Ruth N. Halls Humanities Fund, and the Center for the Study of Global Change.