On Nov. 3, the Pulliam Center hosted M.R. “Chibbi” Orduña Carretero’s live poetry performance in the Watson Forum, which featured several of the critically acclaimed poet’s works. Carretero's poetry explored complex themes of intersectionality, identity, and diversity. Carretero’s experiences as a member of the LGBTQ+ and Latinx communities shaped the focus of his material, which critic Ebony Stewart described as “daringly honest, beautifully flawed, and unfolding profound imagery.”

Image courtesy of Poets and Writers.

 Carretero introduced audiences to each piece with a familiar and relaxed dialogue that made his artistic choices feel like a rug was pulled out from under us in the best way possible. His unconventional style and flawless transition from playful banter to eloquent oration were exciting and entertaining. The blurring of lines between developing a relationship with the audience and exploring the depths of his art is what makes Carretero's performance style truly unique.

Carretero performed multiple pieces that centered around motifs of heritage, sexuality, and identity throughout his journey of self-discovery. Growing up in Loredo, Texas, where he was surrounded by the comfort of culture and a close-minded community, Carretero found his purpose and modes of expression in art and poetry. In his poem “Autumn Always,” Carretero discusses integral cultural elements of his hometown while diving into the struggles and divisions within his community and the nation as a whole. The striking visual and auditory imagery of this piece immerses the audience in Carretero’s rich culture and vibrant community while exploring the systemic issues that threaten his diverse home. 

One of the pivotal facets of Carretero’s content is his ability to make his personal struggles reach a much broader audience. Carretero’s poem “Whose Right?” analyzes the deeply complicated relationship between immigration and the United States. One of the most striking lines of this piece was, “Maybe I shouldn’t write this poem. Maybe I don’t have the right / but I have been wrong enough times to know that nobody is perfect and if my persistence and existence offend you then I forgive you.” 

Carretero’s ability to resonate with an audience that may be unfamiliar with his personal experience and strife is what makes his art truly profound. For those interested in viewing more of Carretero’s work, his self-published novels “Otro/Patria” and “Where the Wild Things Grow” can be found on his website gemineyespoetry.com. He can be contacted through his email at gemineyespoetry@gmail.com.