How might we sound the relationship between the intimacy of feeding one’s child and the land’s ability or inability to relieve that child’s hunger? What temporal, rhythmic, or language structures would such a relationship take in poetic form, and why? These questions are a central concern of Chilean Nobel Prize for Literature laureate Gabriela Mistral’s 1938 volume, Tala. Tala, which means “fells,” refers to the act of clearing regions for large-scale agricultural production, the creation of cities, or modern infrastructures. In this talk, Anna Deeny Morales examined how Mistral’s ultimate disquiet in Tala is grounded in her desire to define humanity in terms of our treatment of children whose well-being she tied to the defense of the environment in Latin America. Michael Scott, director of the Future of the Humanities Project, provided opening and closing remarks, and Kathryn Temple moderated a Q&A session following the presentation.
This event was sponsored by the Future of the Humanities Project; the Georgetown Humanities Initiative; the Georgetown Master’s Program in the Engaged and Public Humanities; Campion Hall, Oxford; and the Las Casas Institute (Blackfriars Hall, Oxford). It is part of the one-year-long series: A Bent but Beautiful World: Literature, Art, and the Environment.