Guwahati- A webinar on ‘Literature from the Margins’ was held by Royal Global University with Juan Garrido Salgado, Chilean-Australian poet, author, translator and political activist on 19 June 2020 from 11AM – 12PM. He was joined in his deliberations by Prof.(Dr.) S.P.Singh, Vice Chancellor, Prof.Krishna Barua, Royal School of Languages(RSL) along with 400+ faculty, staff and students of RGU as well as from across India and abroad. Mr. Masum Janid, Asst. Professor, RSL, moderated the session.
Prof. Singh shared his childhood habit of reading books of different genres and inculcating values imbedded in them. These COVID Times has tested the human race in its extremes and the only soothing point has been music with reading a book. Authors, poets and musicians have been a connect for all to stay rooted and positive. Literature from the margins, he said, can be defined as a geo-political space which is part of the centre, yet outside of it.
This has been reflected through the literature produced by writers from these spaces, who have often raised their voices against a hegemonic centre, dealing with issues such as social and economic subjugation, gender politics and armed, military violence. Prof Barua, spoke on how the poetic journey as chronicled by poets, is an eye opener to the times they lived in, as in Nature, culture, legacy which they carried forward. Their journey reflecting their times, is a teaching-learning experience for humanity.
Juan spoke about his immigration to Australia from Chile in 1990, fleeing the regime that burned his poetry and imprisoned and tortured him for his political activism. He firmly believes that a poet’s role is to make music through his poems to have a transcendental effect on people. He considers himself blessed that he, during his lifetime has been fortunate to live in two continents, Latin America and Australia, experiencing their cultures and times.
He advocated students to be rooted to memories of their culture and take active participation in taking it beyond boundaries. Despite the odds of imprisonment and relocation to another country, Juan works as a simple gardener and distributes the fruits of his labour to the community he lives in, as a gesture of appreciation for accepting him in Australia. He has published seven books of poetry, and his poems have been widely translated.
He himself has translated works into Spanish from John Kinsella, Mike Ladd, Judith Beveridge, Dorothy Porter and MTC Cronin, including Cronin’s Talking to Neruda’s Questions (2004). He translated five Aboriginal poets for Espejo de Tierra/Earth Mirror Poetry Anthology (2008). With Steve Brock and Sergio Holas, Garrido Salgado also translated into English the Trilingual Mapuche Poetry Anthology (2013).
Dialogue with Samuel Lafferte in Australia (2016) by Blank Rune Press (Melb-Vic). Cuando Fui Clandestino/ When I was Clandestine (2019) by Rochford Press Upper Blue Mountains (NSW). His new book is titled “Hope Blossoming in Their Ink.”