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For Dr Leonel Alvarado, poetry is a powerful tool. It goes beyond expressing thought and emotion, and is capable of fostering meaningful connections with audiences and teaching them about language and social issues. It also goes hand-in-hand with his research.
As an immigrant from Honduras, Dr Alvarado is passionate about Latin American literature and culture. When he’s not examining it to identify the political messages and its influence on identity formation, he is reading research about it and writing poetry based on the findings.
His current project focuses on Central American national anthems and the way immigrants relate to them. It examines how the anthems allow immigrants to define their identities and stay connected to their homeland. A significant conclusion has been that despite their age, national anthems remain relevant and meaningful due to the new lease of life given to them by the internet. Websites like YouTube encourage and allow immigrants to interact and engage with the anthems in new contemporary ways.
Dr Alvarado is an award-winning author who recently produced a book of poetry based on his research on Central American immigrants and the Mayan migration to the north. Xibalba, Texas details the somewhat hellish realities that immigrants experienced in their quests towards a mythical new land.
Dr Alvarado is also using his unique creative process to write poetry for Black River, an exhibition at Te Manawa about the Manawatu River.
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Last updated on Tuesday 16 August 2016