Carolyn Forché visits UHD
By Laura Dunn
On Thursday, Jan. 23, Carolyn Forché visited UHD. An accomplished poet and humanitarian, Forché gave a reading from her new memoir, “What You Have Heard Is True,” a book that has been 15 years in the making. Students and professors alike attended the event, hanging onto every word she spoke. Forché filled the silence with poetic prose.
After she completed her reading, the floor was opened up for questions. Forché answered thoughtfully and offered sage advice. She then signed copies of the memoir, exciting any book collectors in attendance, as these were first edition copies of Forché’s new work.
The memoir tells the story of her time in El Salvador in the early ‘80s and how she ended up there after a stranger appeared on her doorstep. His name was Leonel. He warned of an upcoming war, claiming that what they needed more than anything was a poet. During her time there, she had many close calls with death, met special, beautiful people, and learned a great deal about the situation and U.S. involvement.
She has since written abounding poetry about her experience there and has been invited to speak across the county, giving readings of her poems about El Salvador. Though, Forché made clear that she is not a ‘political’ poet.
Forché claimed the memoir was hard for her to write because she had to relive this time of her life where she saw many disturbing things. However, she made a promise to Leonel that she would someday write this story. She has kept good on her promise.
Copies of her memoir are available at the UHD Bookstore, the local library and online.