Written by Kate Harner
Willimantic, Conn. - Eastern Connecticut State University's English Club, in collaboration with the University's Organization for Latin American Students, Education Club and Office of AccessAbility Services, will present a poetry reading by Ekiwah Adler-Beléndez on Dec. 1. The reading will start at 7 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Community Conference Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library. The public is invited. Admission is free.
The 23-year-old poet was born in Amatlan, Mexico, and now lives in Massachusetts. He was considered a child prodigy when he published his first book of poems, "Soy (I Am)," at the age of 12. Two years later, he published "Palabras Inagotables (Never-ending Words)." His third book of poetry, "Weaver," was published when he was 16 years old. His fourth book, "The Coyote's Trace," features an introduction by Mary Oliver. He is currently working on a chapbook, "Love on Wheels."
Adler-Beléndez also has written three plays and has begun writing prose. He was awarded an Honorable Mention by the Governor of the State of Morelos for the Premio Nacional de la Juventud (National Prize for the Youth). Mexico's National Fund for Culture and Arts (FONCA) granted him a six-month scholarship twice, a rare honor for someone his age.
Adler-Beléndez's story is even more unique due to the fact that he was born with cerebral palsy. He was born 10 weeks premature, weighing less than two pounds. He was featured in the NBC "Dateline" special titled, "The Gift," which followed his journey with Roy Nuzzo, a pediatric orthopedist and surgeon in New Jersey who led a team of NYU Medical Center doctors in a life-saving spinal surgery on Adler-Beléndez. He and Nuzzo were the keynote speakers at the 2006 National Association for Poetry Therapy.
"Ekiwah's poetry and life cross many cultural lines both because of his dual citizenship between Mexico and the United States, as well as the cerebral palsy with which he was born," said English Club President Kellin Atherton. "I think our students, faculty, administration and staff will be captivated by how powerful the life of one man can be, as well as how much, no matter how different we may be, such a life can impact us."
For more information on the poetry reading, contact the English Club at firstname.lastname@example.org.