Literary Dialogs with Nina Serrano featuring Florencia Milito
Poet Florencia Milito is an Argentine exile from the 1976 US backed military dictatorship in Argentina now living in San Francisco, CA. She has chronicled the exile experience in her first published collection of English / Spanish bilingual poems entitled Iztuzaingó: Exiles and Reveries , exilios y ensueños, published by Nomadic Press and also available on Amazon.com. Florencia’s poems are intimate and moving accounts of the terror that still haunts her in her continuing healing process. In our zoom interview, she reads her poems in both languages and comments on them. This memory of terror permeates the whole family leaving her wondering if her own fears of state terror are being passed on to her young children.
Florencia Milito, Argentine Exile
In Florencia’s early childhood, her maternal grandmother recited the works of Spanish language poets like Rubén Darío and Federico García Lorca, as she went about the daily household chores. Florencia’s own childhood poems were written in Spanish. When she attended a US high school, she began writing poems in English. So we are blessed with versions of the poems in two languages by the author herself in this book.
“Rosario,” a poem from Ituzaingó
In her poem “Rosario”, Florencia recounts the story of how police agents burned her family’s home. Fortunately no one was there because of her mother’s intuition that they should flee that house. The house was on a street named “Ituzaingó” from which the book gets its title. Later that street name was hand written on her passport. This frightening mystery still haunts her.
Florencia Milito is writing poems in the United States at a time of heightened violence including the many mass shootings which resonate with the terror she still holds from the Argentine coup. She draws solace in nature and in networking with other poets who stand against borders and racism. The book is ultimately a loving, inspiring, and accessible document of human experience. Florencia closes the interview with the good news of being in the process of writing a new book on the theme of transformation.
We sit on stolen lands, a nation of immigrants, while new generations of immigrants continue to arrive. Right now, we can expect Afghani refugees, as a result of our recent military defeat. As our history unfolds, the immigrant experience is relived. Currently the immigrant detention camps still hold innocent children separated from their Mexican and Central American parents. While each experience is different, there is a huge rupture to endure and heal.
The radio version of the interview will be aired on KPFA-FM on La Raza Chronicles, 94.1 on Tuesday August 24, 2021 at 7 pm. It will be replayed on September 7, 2021 at 2:30 pm as part 2 of on the Nina and Jack Show and again on September 13, 2021 on Cover to Cover at 2:30 pm. I hope you enjoy it.