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After Nearly 30 Years Sanchez-H Project Published

When Tina Datsko de Sánchez began working on her poetry collection, "The Delirium of Simón Bolívar," in 1984 she never imagined it would take nearly 30 years to get it published. But it wasn't until 2013 that the bilingual collection of poetry about the 19th century South American military and political leader was published jointly by Floricanto Press and Berkeley Press, receiving international praise.

"What made it challenging to find a publisher is that most people don't know who Simón Bolívar is," said Professor José Sánchez-H (Film and Electronic Arts) who collaborated on the book with Datsko de Sánchez, his wife. "To understand Latin America requires understanding its history. This is a big part of that history."

In 1984 Datsko de Sánchez received a grant from the Michigan Council for the Arts to research and write a poetry collection exploring Bolívar's life. She and Sánchez-H traveled to Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru to visit historical sites related to Bolívar's life.

Datsko de Sánchez credited her supporters for the book's eventual publication.

"It was the encouragement of our collaborators and other artists, such as Bolivian pioneer filmmaker Jorge Ruiz and renowned Bolivian filmmaker Jorge Sanjinés, that kept the project going," Datsko de Sánchez said. "One thing I learned is never give up."

In the interim, the pair began making spoken-word films of the poetry. The films represent a broad collaboration of artists within CSULB's College of the Arts, including the films' direction by Sánchez-H. Art's Domenic Cretara created original drawings and paintings while Jorge Hurtado, director of digital communications in CSULB's Marketing and Communications office, created designs. James Steven Manseau Sauceda, director of the Multi-Cultural Center, performed.

Two of the films aired on the Sundance Channel and one of them won the Audience Award for "Best Short Film" at the Ibero-American Film Festival of Montreal. With the success of the films, the team expanded its collaboration to the book, with Cretara creating original art including a painting for the cover and Hurtado designing illustrations and the book's cover.

"Translating poetry is always a challenge. But one of the benefits in this case was the help of the poet," said Sánchez-H. "We went through every poem line by line. I would ask, 'Is this what you mean?' Then I would find the right words. It was extremely helpful to have the poet's help."

Sánchez-H. believes the book and films complement each other.

"Each form offers a different way to experience the life of Bolívar," he explained. "Because the film experience is so rich, the viewer might want to read the poem again. By watching the images, you gain new insight into the words."

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