R.A. Villanueva


While the creation of new poetry and the nurturing of community seem to be of primary importance to Kundiman and its fellows, I want to take special care in drawing much-deserved attention to the thought and imagination which powers the retreat’s pedagogy. As both an educator and a writer, I have been empowered by the diversity of teaching approaches these past three years—these manifold ways of honoring the transformative power of language. Regardless of the faculty or staff’s seemingly disparate “aesthetics” or “poetics,” each individual embodied a genuine faith in our poems and drafts, reaching out to us with an intensity of spirit and intellect: they offered us rule-bound exercises, pushing us to exercise freedom within constraints; they rooted critique in practical, but nonetheless provocative questions of craft and conceptual intent; they sought to initiate us into a writing life, urging us to embrace these rituals of reading and experimentation well beyond our workshops.