The National Poetry Series was established in 1978 to recognize and promote excellence in contemporary poetry by ensuring the publication of five books of poetry annually through participating publishers. In addition, the National Poetry Series has partnered with Miami Book Fair to award the Paz Prize in Poetry, which ensures bilingual publication for a book of poems written in Spanish. This conversation features Alexandra Lytton Regalado on Relinquenda: Poems, speaking with the judge who selected her manuscript, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Felon: Poems. When COVID-19 broke and the United States closed the border to travel, Alexandra Lytton Regalado was separated from family back in El Salvador. She wrote Relinquenda entirely during lockdown as a meditation on cancer, the passing of her father, and the renewed significance of community. Situated in the tropical landscapes of Miami, Florida and El Salvador, the poems also negotiate the meaning of home, reflecting on immigration and the ties between the United States and El Salvador 30 years after her birth country’s decade-long civil war. With a special introduction by Daniel Halpern, founder of HarperCollins imprint Ecco and the National Poetry Series.
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Funding for this program was provided through a grant from Florida Humanities with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities.