Blindada: Poemas de Protección

Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 4:30pm
Highwaymen Common Room, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, 300 High Street, Middletown, Connecticut


For an hour, experience the poetic voice of Caribbean performer and poet Yaissa Jiménez, the drums and voice of multidisciplinary composer and percussionist Mobéy Lola Irizarry, and dance as choreographer and dancer Angel Rose interprets Jiménez’s lyrics and intention. The audience is invited to participate through dance and the intimacy provoked by reading poems in the ear. Please note that this is a Spanish-language program.

Yaissa Jiménez is the first continental winner of the Copa América Abya Yala (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2021). As a performer and a poet, she decided to create BLINDADA as a project that places her spiritual Afro-centered poetry--written, oral, and performed--in a single common goal: to experience the power of verses and heal in the community. As a project, the work was presented for the first time at the IATI theater in New York to a packed house. Kaila Bulé’s experience as a traditional Afro performer, managing the drumbeat (Dominican palo and salve, and Puerto Rican bomba and plena), together with her group Legacy Women, translates throughout the show. The Bronx artistic community defines the angel Rose as an urban legend, and this title is printed in BLINDADA, manifesting with dance what the poem wants to shout.

Presented by the Creative Campus Initiative and Visiting Associate Professor of Spanish and Creative Writing Guillermo Severiche as part of the courses WRCT306: Foundations of Playwriting and WRCT308: Ancestral Writings. With additional support from The Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and the student club WesQuisqueya.

The Creative Campus Initiative of the Center for the Arts supports cross-disciplinary collaborations that center the arts as a way of teaching, learning, and knowing at Wesleyan University.


Yaissa Jiménez is a writer, poet, performer, and screenwriter addicted to observation. She develops opinion essays and analyses from a racial perspective. Her articles and opinion pieces explore Afro-descendant issues, Caribbeanness, feminism, and environmental protection. “Ritual Papaya” (2018) is her first book, a compendium of rabid, mild island, and syncretic poetry. The poems of “Ritual Papaya” have also been part of anthologies such as Isla Escrita by Amargot Ediciones (Spain), Liberoamericanas (a compendium of Latin American writers), and El Mar no Necesita Ornamento (bilingual anthology, English and Spanish, Caribbean writers). Thus, it was also transited by literary meetings such as the Conference of Dominican Writers in New York 'Dominican. Ish', Puerto Rico Book Fair 2019, Dominican Republic Book Fair 2019, Dominican Republic Marginal Fair 2019, Abya Yala “America” Cup Poetry Slam 2021, Cumbre Afro (Puerto Rico) 2022, FILL (SD) 2022, Poetry Slam World Cup September 2022 (Belgium), and Poetry out loud, Casa del Lago UNAM, Mexico, 2023. Another field explored by the author is performance, making videos, and sharing these pieces on social networks and live performances. Searching for the voice and intention that she usually overflows from any poem, the one that overflows the limits of the blank page. This exercise made her the first champion of the Abya Yala Poetry Slam 2021 “America” Cup, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In 2022, she earned her MFA from New York University's Spanish Creative Writing Program.

Mobéy Lola Irizarry (they/she) is a genderqueer cultural worker, composer, painter, poet, improviser, multi-instrumentalist, and transdisciplinary performance artist. Based in Brooklyn, they hail from the Puerto Rican diaspora in Hartford, Connecticut, and are a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation. She makes within the lineages of decolonial uprisings, collections of tiny mirrors at queer clubs, and the precolonial languages of the drum and the braid. Irizarry is the creative director and percussion section leader for Las Mariquitas, New York City’s queer and trans salsa band. They play in the experimental performance trio Dendarry Bakery, in the Latin rock group AVATAREDEN, and are a part of the music composition team for Samora La Perdida’s “Spanglish Sh!t” musical. Their work has been performed at Lincoln Center, the Denver Art Museum, and with the New York Theatre Ballet. Irizarry is quoted in Rolling Stone saying “I want to abolish patriarchy in Salsa… this is a duty to our lineage.”

Angel Rose is a choreographer/dancer, songwriter, and fashion innovator from the Bronx, born and raised, and translates experiences through movement. They tell the stories of others and her/his/they own. “I am a vessel for God’s work; my faith guides me. I’ve been dancing since age seven; I worked with artists on music videos, MTV, performances, and countless stages. I have also been teaching dance for five years in schools and programs. I run my own dance company, Concrete Red Roses, a dance program in the Bronx. One of my purposes is to allow others to feel the light within me, so they may see their light as a reflection.”