Poesías Para Ilustrar: Interactive Poetry Collection

Each week at The Argentina Independent, we showcase one project from the Latin American crowd funding platform IdeaMe, in an effort to give a little free publicity to artists, activists, etc. It’s hoped that readers, if they like the project, will contribute a little, a lot, or even just spread the word.

For my first “Project of the Week” assignment, I was lucky enough to meet and interview Wannas, a social worker and poet from Argentina’s Carnaval capital, Gualeguaychú. Over coffee we talked about poetry, Buenos Aires, her planned book, and the Latin American tradition of marrying art and social justice. Read more below:

“I will write in stone / with ink from the earth. / And when the earth is finished / I will hurl my words into the sea. / And if the water runs out / and it seems that there’s nowhere left to write / I will write in the sky.”

These are the words of Wannas Massafero, a 25-year-old poet and social worker from Gualeguaychú, Entre Ríos. Wannas has been writing poetry for the last 11 years and hopes to raise enough money through Ideame to publish her first book of poetry, ‘Cronología de una vida ilustrada.”

The book, which will publish in February or March if all goes according to plan, is meant to generate a connection between author and reader. For every page of poetry, there will be one blank page as well – empty space Wannas hopes readers will fill with their own artwork, inspired by her words.

“I enjoy reading books of poetry, but I didn’t want my first book to be just a common book of poetry,” Wannas says. “That’s when I got this idea, to create a connection between the author and reader, and to wake up the artist that we all carry within us.”

Each copy of ‘Cronología de una vida ilustrada’ will come with a set of coloured pencils, although Wannas hopes readers will express themselves through all types of media – paint, collage, photography, and poetry of their own. Artwork that readers share will be posted on her blog alongside the poetry, creating a sort of online collaborative exhibition.

Wannas’ work as a licensed social worker – she is currently employed with a city government advocacy group that assists people with housing difficulties – inspires much of her poetry and is in keeping with the universal yet distinctly Latin American tradition of combining art with social justice.

“Many of my poems have very social themes”, she explains. “It all inspires me, the upward mobility of people, the situation of someone living in the street, injustices, bureaucracy, the judicial system. I’ve always been inclined to help, to listen to others, and to lend a hand when I can.

“A dream I’ve always had is to combine art and social work.”

‘Cronología…’ will contain 60 poems divided into two chapters, the first dealing with social topics and the second with ‘estados de animo’, or moods – joy, grief, anger, and solitude, among others. Funding from IdeaMe will be used to pay the publishing house, the editors, and to organise a release party.

To support Wannas’ project, visit her IdeaMe page and make a donation.

To read Wannas’ blog, click here.

Content originally appeared at The Argentina Independent.


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