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The Poetry Center recently sat down with Iván J. Orellana, third place winner of the 2013 Corrido Contest. Iván had great insight into the Corrido Contest process, from entering the contest, to practicing for the performance, to performing at the Concert and Awards Ceremony. Below is our Q&A with him. The deadline for this year's Corrido Contest is December 2nd at 5 p.m. For more details and to submit, please visit our website.
Q: In your wonderful corrido, "La Gloria," you write from the perspective of a man who leaves his pueblo, and his wife and children, in search of a better life in the United States. Can you talk more about how you inhabited the voice of this narrator?
A: Well, first of all, I thank God I have not been through that experience in my life, but a person I admire, which is my father, did years ago. Although he did not leave a family behind, he made the dangerous journey, like many others. Another fact about this corrido is that I don't specify from which country the immigrant is coming from. I did this intentionally because the "immigrant" can be from any country, whether it's El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and the list goes on and on. To inhabit the voice of the narrator, I had to take the responsibility of a father; I had to think like one and act like one. So I made a fusion of stories my father told me and the result was "La Gloria.”
The Poetry Center's 13th annual Corrido Contest deadline is fast approaching this Friday, December 7th at 5 p.m. (this is a postmark deadline). All Arizona high school students (grades 9-12) are encouraged to apply by writing corridos in Spanish and/or English. For resources on teaching corrido in the classroom, visit our Teaching Corrido page. To enter this year's Corrido Contest, please click here.
With the Corrido contest deadline fast approaching, Wordplay had a chance to sit down with one of last year's Corrido winners--Jamie Navarrette--and ask her about her Corrido contest experience. Jamie was a freshman when she won third place in the Corrido contest last year. She is now a sophomore at Sunnyside High School. Check out our interview with her, as well as her winning corrido, below.
WP: When did you first hear about the Corrido contest? Were you familiar with the corrido form prior to the contest?
JN: I heard about the Corrido Contest from my Spanish teacher; it was an assignment for class. I knew what a corrido was, but I didn't know there was a contest about it.
WP: Who/what inspired you to write your corrido titled, "Corrido Terminado?"
JN: My Mom helped me and encouraged me along the way. But I had gone through so many ideas, and none of them worked, so I decided to write about how I couldn't write a corrido.
Every year, the Poetry Center holds their annual Corrido Contest. The corrido is a musical ballad form developed in Mexico in the 1800s and originally sung throughout the country. Although still popular in Mexico, over time it became known as “musica de la frontera” (border music) because it was especially popular along both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. This contest for high school students encourages historical and cultural awareness and provides students with a vehicle to express themselves. All Arizona high school students in grades 9-12 are encouraged to apply by writing corridos in Spanish and/or English. For resources on teaching corrido in the classroom, visit our Teaching Corrido page. To enter in this year's corrido contest, please check out our website; the deadline for this year's contest is Friday, December 7th by 5 p.m.
With the Corrido contest deadline fast approaching, Wordplay had a chance to sit down with one of last year's Corrido winners--R.J. Mendoza--and ask him about his Corrido contest experience. Check out our interview with him below.
WP: How did you (and your family) re-act when you found that, out over 400 submissions, your Corrido was award second place?
RM: We were really surprised. After I got the call saying that I had wond second place, I called up my parents and we started telling everyone.
WP: When did you first hear about the Corrido contest? Who encouraged you to enter?
RM: I head about the Corrido contest about a month or so before the due date. I was looking on the Phoenix Library College depot site and found it in their scholarship list. My parents saw the scholarship as well and encouraged me to enter, throwing ideas as to what I could write about.
We are pleased to announce the 2010-2011 Corrido Contest results. The University of Arizona Poetry Center received entries from across the state representing three counties, eleven schools, and over 250 individual entries by high school students sponsored by sixteen teachers. Congratulations to all who participated! It is heartening to see such motivated, curious, and thoughtful young people contributing to the cultural vibrancy of our community.
This year's selections were made by Dean of the College of Science at the University of Arizona, Joaquin Ruiz. Fifty semi-finalists from nine schools were selected by Poetry Center staff and will be acknowledged by a special semi-finalist ribbon and certificate to be sent directly to teachers. All participants, semi-finalists, and winners are invited to attend the 2010-2011 Corrido Awards Concert on April 16th, 2011 at 4 p.m. at the Poetry Center. The event is free and open to the public and this year's winning corridos will be performed. For more information about the Corrido Contest, including how you and your students can become involved, please visit: http://poetry.arizona.edu/k-12/corrido-poetry-center
1st place, Sylvana Acuña from Cholla High School sponsored by Russ Healy for "El corrido de Heriberto Acuña."
2nd place, Jesus Hurtado from Sunnyside High School sponsored by Zelika Araiza for her corrido "Padre Querido."
3rd place, Valerie Leon from Marana High School sponsored by Yvonne Segawa Gonzales for "El corrido del Colimocho."
by Julie Swarstad
Founded in 2000, the University of Arizona Bilingual High School Corrido Contest celebrates the corrido--a musico-poetic form unique to the U.S.-Mexico border region--by asking high school students to write their own corridos. Three winners are chosen each year by a distinguished judge, and music is written by a professional musician to accompany the corrido. The Poetry Center celebrates the first ten years of the contest by publishing Ten Years of Young Corridistas in September 2010.
The Poetry Center will hold a panel discussion by corrido experts on Saturday, September 24 at the Poetry Center. A benefit performance for the Corrido Program, featuring many of Tucson's top Mariachi musicians takes place Saturday, October 2.
The University of Arizona Poetry Center's Bilingual High School Corrido Contest is truly unique in what it celebrates. For the past eleven years, the contest has challenged high school students to learn about the corrido form and its deep connection to the U.S.-Mexico border region while demonstrating this knowledge by writing a corrido of their own. Edited and published by the UA Poetry Center, the winning entries presented in Ten Years of Young Corridistas cover an incredible range of topics and demonstrate remarkable emotional depth. They speak to community concerns, personal hopes, and cultural values, presenting the voices of Arizona's high school students at their finest.