Year of the Dog
By: Deborah Paredez
In the tradition of women as the unsung keepers of history, Deborah Paredez’s second poetry collection tells her story as a Latina daughter of the Vietnam War. The title refers to the year 1970—the Year of the Metal Dog in the lunar calendar—which was the year of the author’s birth, the year her father prepared to deploy to Vietnam along with many other Mexican-American immigrant soldiers, and a year of tremendous upheaval across the United States. Images from iconic photographs and her father’s snapshots are incorporated, fragmented, scrutinized, and reconstructed throughout the collection as Paredez recalls untold stories from a war that changed her family and the nation.
In poems and lamentations that evoke Hecuba, the mythic figure so consumed by grief over the atrocities of war that she was transformed into a howling dog, and La Llorona, the weeping woman in Mexican folklore who haunts the riverbanks in mourning and threatens to disturb the complicity of those living in the present, Paredez recontextualizes the Vietnam era, from the arrest of Angela Davis to the haunting image of Mary Ann Vecchio at the Kent State Massacre, never forgetting the outcry and outrage that women’s voices have carried across time.
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About the Author:
Deborah Paredez is Associate Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University. Her published works include the poetry collection This Side of Skin, and the critical study Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory, which won the 2010 Latin American Studies Association Latino Studies Book Award Honorable Mention and the 2011 National Association of Chicana/o Studies Book Award Honorable Mention.
About the Speakers:
Aracelis Girmay is the author of three books of poetry: the black maria; Teeth, winner of a GLCA New Writers Award; and Kingdom Animalia, winner of the Isabella Gardner Award. She is also the author/illustrator of the collage-based picture book changing, changing.
BK Fischer is Adjunct Assistant Professor of Writing at Columbia University. She is the author of four books of poetry—Radioapocrypha, My Lover’s Discourse, St. Rage's Vault, and Mutiny Gallery—and a critical study, Museum Mediations: Reframing Ekphrasis in Contemporary American Poetry, among other published works.
Saidiya Hartman is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. A 2019 MacArthur Fellow, she is the author of Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments; Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route; and Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-making in Nineteenth Century America, among other publications.
Timothy Donnelly is Associate Professor of Writing at Columbia University. His most recent book of poetry is The Problem of the Many. His other poetry collections include The Cloud Corporation, winner of the 2012 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize, and Twenty-seven Props for a Production of Eine Lebensezeit, among other published works.