The Voice


The Voice


The Voice

‘These stories were so much a part of me;’ Commonwealth University students speak with Chilean-American poet Marjorie Agosín

Marjorie Agosín is a Jewish Chilean-American writer who is well-known for her Spanish poetry. She has received numerous awards and is currently a professor at Wellesley College. Agosín recently met with students from Commonwealth University through Zoom as part of their Spanish language classes.

Marjorie Agosín, Chilean-American poet. Photo taken from Poetry Foundation.


“Poetry takes two things, two important things… it takes courage and it takes imagination,” Agosín explained. The courage to be vulnerable when sharing emotions in poems and imagination because a poem “creates a different world, and it is a world of the imagination.”

Agosín calls herself “a purist of language” because she has never written, or had a desire to write, her poems in English. She feels she couldn’t express her emotions in English as well as she can in Spanish, which is why all her poems are in Spanish (some were later translated to English). Agosín stated,

“Somehow poetry is very difficult to translate and very difficult to write from your original soul that is in one language where you experience the world, and then to translate it to another.”

Ever since she was a little girl, Agosín has loved to write and has had a large imagination. As a young writer, her biggest inspiration to write poetry was Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner.

Agosín expressed that she doesn’t like to write about famous people or things that are well known. Instead, she enjoys writing about “ordinary people that have had extraordinary experiences.” She also writes about her family, including her father, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother.

“I have made them live again, you know after they are dead, they revive in the books I wrote about them,” Agosín stated, referring to her family.

This virtual event was organized by Amarilis Hidalgo de Jesús, a professor in the Languages and Cultures department on Commonwealth University’s Bloomsburg campus. This event was sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and its director, Madelyn Rodríguez.

One thing that stood out to Hidalgo de Jesús about Agosín is that she can deeply empathize with people.

“She sees the pain of the others because in certain ways, she lived that displacement.”

Marjorie Agosín was born in the United States but grew up in Chile. In 1972, she and her family moved to the United States before the military coup took over Chile. She remembers her life in Chile fondly, always being surrounded by her large extended family.

As the discussion came to an end, Agosín shared some words of advice for students and young people today.

She believes that people are too involved with social media, stating “I think the private is very important in the sense that, not to hide who you are, but to protect the beauty of who you are, your solitude.”

She also encouraged students to read more because students who regularly read “are more engaged in the world and even that they are happier.”

Commenting on the importance of Agosín’s poetry, Hidalgo de Jesús stated, “She gives a message of hope. But it’s not the typical hope, it is a message of ‘we can change the world but we also need to change ourselves in order to be able to change the world.'”


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Maddie Bolger, Multimedia Journalist

Comments (0)

All The Voice Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *