CantoMundo is a national organization that cultivates a community of Latinx poets through workshops, symposia, and public readings. Founded in 2009 by Norma E. Cantú, Celeste Mendoza, Pablo Miguel Martínez, Deborah Paredez, and Carmen Tafolla, CantoMundo hosts an annual poetry workshop for Latinx poets that provides a space for the creation, documentation, and critical analysis of Latinx poetry.
The current Organizing Committee of CantoMundo includes co-founders and co-directors, Celeste Guzmán Mendoza and Deborah Paredez, as well as CantoMundo fellows Leticia Hernandez-Linares and Carmen Gimenez Smith.
Inspired by Cave Canem and Kundiman (organizations for African American and Asian American poets), we issue a national call for applications every year and select approximately 10-12 new fellows who, once accepted, are eligible to return to the annual writing retreat up to three times, thereby fostering long-term support and collaborations. They join another 12-15 fellows who return to satisfy their three-year commitment.
CantoMundo's first gathering convened in 2010 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Until 2016, the workshops were held at the University of Texas at Austin. Beginning in 2017, Columbia University in New York City will host the CantoMundo workshop for three years.
Our esteemed faculty have included: Martín Espada, Demetria Martinez, Naomi Ayala, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, Aracelis Girmay, Roberto Tejada, Willie Perdomo, Valerie Martinez, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Dr. Rafael Campo, Sandra María Esteves, Leticia Hernandez-Linares, Barbara Brinson Curiel, Juan Felipe Herrera, Dr. Carmen Tafolla, Rigoberto González, and Rosa Alcalá. Our keynote lecturers, selected from among nationally-recognized literary activists, have included Toi Derricotte (co-founder of Cave Canem), Vikas Menon (Executive Board Member of Kundiman), Ethelbert Miller, Natalie Handal, Sherwin Bitsui, Tim'm West, Natasha Trethewey, and Sarah Gambito. The public readings that have been part of CantoMundo have attracted an audience of an average of a hundred people per reading.