In 2019, I wrote:
I like to think of Iowa City as a place of passage, as the place that temporarily housed Tennessee Williams, Raymond Carver, Sandra Cisneros, and Kurt Vonnegut. It is the place where, when you walk along Clinton Street, you can see the window of the room where Williams wrote part of his wonderful poems, or where you can find plaques full of writers’ phrases on the floor, or where, when you look up, you will always see the vastness of the Old Capitol Building.
Writing in Spanish in Iowa City is also knowing that you are writing in transit. The MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish at the University of Iowa was founded in 2012 by the Spanish writer and academic Ana Merino, who was the director of the program until late 2018. Currently, the direction is in hands of Luis Muñoz, who also teaches the poetry workshop. His classes are handicrafts: we write, we read, we polish. In those classes, many of us have found the reason to be our poems, the reason for our writing. Luis Muñoz has taught us to look.
In 2021, I write:
My project, throughout this fellowship, has changed in terms of its length and some other technical details. Now, I think about a project for interviews and photo essays where my creative voice and sight are also essential components. I am currently in the process of choosing the template and working on the digital design of my project. Also, I still need to work on some of the details regarding the project in terms of the “post-fellowship.” Regarding the name, I want to call it: “Voces de Iowa City,” and add the detail that it is only a project of literary interviews.
To date, Iowa City has been a haven for Spanish creative writing. Those of us who were fortunate enough to be part of the MFA classrooms understand that, if we surrender at the foot of the city, it is to find and express our voice.