Cascadia Poetics LAB


I’m delighted to have a version of my June 2022 interview with Claudia Castro Luna published in Poetry NW. Thank you Bill Carty. Here is an excerpt:

Cipota Under The MoonThere’s war raging in Ukraine, a general feeling that a second U.S. civil war is possible given the divisiveness of U.S. American politics, AND children being murdered in schools is just “something we have to accept as a free society,” according to 44% of Republicans in a CBS news poll. It’s got to feel like déjà vu to Claudia Castro Luna, a refugee from El Salvador’s civil war in the 1980s. The correspondences are eerie in her new book Cipota Under the Moon, published by Tia Chucha Press. Claudia is a former Poet Laureate of the state of Washington, and Cipota Under the Moon is described “as a testament to the men, women, and children who bet on life at all costs, and now make their home in another language in another place, where they by their presence change every day.” This conversation took place via Zoom on June 17, 2022 and has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Paul E Nelson: Can you tell us about the word “cipota”?

Claudia Castro Luna: Well, cipota is a Salvadoran-to-the-core word that means “girl.”

PEN: You don’t find it in Cuba or Mexico?

CL: No. This is Salvi speak all the way. In El Salvador, nobody says, “That is a niña.” We say cipota, or cipote, and I really wanted the title of the book to cue immediately to any Central American that this was a book about that region. Hondurans also used the words cipote and cipota. It already positions the book in a sociohistorical and geographical space. “Cipota Baja La Luna” is the name of a blog I started eons ago, and I’ve written in it intermittently over the years. So the title of the book is essentially the title of the blog, but in English.

PEN: This is a very personal book.

Yes, it is. It’s the most personal of my books actually. READ MORE HERE

My interviews are now delivered as the Cascadian Prophets podcast. They are a wonderful took for the workshops I have been facilitating online the last few years. See:

Poetics as Cosmology