Poetry Pairings

Poetry pairing: “sometimes all we had was a head nod to a beat to sustain us”

The dynamic lecture Tara Betts delivered at AWP14 in Seattle“Life is Good: How hip-hop channels duende,” is now up at Poetry. Betts beautifully weaves details from her personal life, hip-hop culture and lyrics, and quotations from Lorca on duende into a poignant affirmation on life (facing death) and the power of art.

When I consider duende and hip-hop, I see how this culture has become an outlet from the very systemic forces that attempt to invalidate marginalized people and how it constructs possibilities for survival.

While the poem “Telegraphing” by Victorio Reyes in Pine Hills Review isn’t quite about hip-hop, it’s a stirring homage to music and

when instruments and vocals

taught the art of

coping, heck,


Both Betts and Reyes evoke in the reader what Betts shares about duende from Lorca:

The duende’s arrival always means a radical change in forms. It brings to old planes unknown feelings of freshness, with the quality of something newly created, like a miracle, and it produces an almost religious enthusiasm.


2 thoughts on “Poetry pairing: “sometimes all we had was a head nod to a beat to sustain us”

  1. Nice on Duende. I have a novel coming out called, Child of Duende, tha tyou may like. My blog, the story behind the writing of my novel, is a lead up to this novel. It’s at michadam.wordpress.com.

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