ECCE’s Slow Lightening

Eduardo C. Corral on what it means to be gay and Chicano


Alexander Camp, Columnist/ Sports Reporter

On Thursday, Oct. 29, UIS students, faculty, and other guests were treated to a thought-provoking hour of readings by poet Eduardo C. Corral.

The event, hosted by the ECCE Speaker Series, was called “Cultural Code Switching in America: A Reading from ‘Slow Lightning.’”

It was co-sponsored by the UIS LGBTQA Resource Office, the Department of English, the Vachel Lindsay Association, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and it was a part of Queertober.

A graduate of Arizona State University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Corral elaborated on many underlying topics in today’s society, including self-awakening and his geographical background, along with more serious matters such as rape, murder, and being gay and Chicano.

His commentaries come from the poetry in his book “Slow Lightning.”

During the reading, Corral occasionally code-switched, combining English and Spanish as a way to appeal to readers who may not otherwise feel a connection to poetry.

In one of two poems called “Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome,” Coral combines figurative characters and personal interpretations to expound on the impact of the title itself, better known through its acronym AIDS.

“I approach a harp abandoned in a harvested field,” he read. “A deer leaps out of the brush and follows me in the rain, a scarlet snake wound in its dark antlers.”

In another poem, “Self Portrait with Tumbling and Lasso,” Corral comes before his audience with no filter in a genuine narrative of who is he to the core, even if it bares sinful elements to the unabridged eye.

He read, “An apple in my mouth, I know what Eve didn’t know: a serpent is a fruit eaten to the core.”

Corral is a fellow of CantoMundo, a poetry workshop that caters to Hispanic poets.

According to the Speaker Series website, “Slow Lightning” was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship award, as well as a Whiting Writers’ Award.

Upcoming Speaker Series events include “The Injustice of Human Trafficking in Central Illinois,” sponsored by the UIS Women’s Center and presented by Patricia McKnight and Dana Pfeiffer on Nov. 4 in the Brookens Auditorium, and the Sustainability Week keynote lecture by Cynthia Klein-Banai on Nov. 11, also held at Brookens Auditorium.