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A very “Cuban week” for Judith K. Lang Hilgartner ‘10

Cuban music and poetry highlight this past week both at Elon and the University of Virginia.

Cuba has become closer than ever since the travel ban was lifted earlier this year, but this past week at Elon, “Cuba” came to our backyard—especially for Judith K. Lang Hilgartner, adjunct instructor in world languages and cultures. It was a particularly Cuban week, and not just because of the stellar performance “Cuban Nights” by Havana’s All-Stars this past Thursday whose scintillating son cubano still echoes in McCrary Theatre.

Lang Hilgartner recently joined the department of World Languages and Cultures as a Spanish language instructor and is currently finishing her doctoral degree at the University of Virginia. Thanks to the flexibility and support of her Elon students, Lang Hilgartner returned to Charlottesville,  Virginia, this past week to participate in the Gerszten Family Foundation event series hosted by the Spanish, Italian and Portuguese Department and the Jewish Studies program at UVa.

ProfessorJosé Kozer, renowned poet and 2013 recipient of the Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize, came Sept. 17-20 to the University of Virginia and gave a poetry and creative writing workshop in addition to a fascinating lecture entitled, “Towards a Biography of the very Necessity of Beauty.” Kozer, born in Cuba in 1940 into an Ashkenazi Jewish family, moved to the United States at the age of twenty after the Cuban Revolution. Kozer served in the department of Hispanic Studies at Queens College in New York for more than thirty years. He is a very prolific poet, who since 2002 has written at minimum one poem day and has published over sixty collections of poetry and prose. It was an honor and privilege to host Kozer and his wife, Guadalupe, for their four-day stay at UVa, but who knows, but perhaps Elon will get a chance at a visit before too long?

During the lecture, Lang Hilgartner performed her own English translation of his poetry after Kozer read the original versions in a poetic give-and-take of Spanish and English. One audience member described the effect of the two languages as less of a stark juxtaposition and more as a symbiotic conversation. To find out more about José Kozer’s complex and haunting poetry, check out this trailer of a forthcoming documentary entitled, “Me, Japanese” by Magdiel Aspillaga.



Judith K. Lang Hilgartner,
9/25/2016 1:45 PM