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National Poetry Month, Reading by Carmen Tafolla, Alicia Galvan, Bryce Milligan 

These excerpts are from my translation of the historical document written by Sor Juana in 1681 to Antonio Nunez de Miranda, her Father Confessor, defending her right to continue studying and writing. The document was discovered in Monterey, Mexico by Monsignor Aureliano Tapia Mendez, an eminent Sor Juana scholar. He published the document under the title, Carta de Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz a Su Confesor: Autodefensa Espiritual in the early 1980's.

The following excerpts are from my English translation of this document published in 1998, is Sor Juana: Poet, Nun, Feminist, Enigma: Autodefensa Espiritual: A Poet's Translation:  

My studies have been neither damaging or causing injury to anyone, because above all, they have been so extremely private, that I have not even had direction from a teacher, but singlehandedly I have had only myself and my work to count on."

Not allowing women to places set aside for men, could be because the state does not need them in order to govern like magistrates

(whereby they are excluded for the same reason of honor) yet it does not protect them from what they should not be used for.

But the private and public studies, who has prohibited them from the women? Do they not have as rational a soul as the men? The Letters do not hinder; on the contrary, they help our salvation. Were not St. Augustine, St. Ambrose, and all of the other Saintly Doctors saved? And does not your Reverence weighed down with so many Letters, do you not expect to be saved?

Translation by Alicia Galvan

In 1998, Alicia Galvan presented a bilingual play at Our Lady of The Lake University entitled Sequestered Soliloquy based on her research as an independent scholar on the last days of Sor Juana that is blend of dialogue and poetry.

Galvan will present works of Sor Juana as part of National Poetry Month SA 2013, presentation Monday evening April 29 at the Instituto Cultural de Mexico in Hemisfair. She will be presenting with Carmen Tafolla, Janka Klescova, Byrce Milligan, and Jim LaVilla-Havelin. The program begins at 7 p.m. For more information, go to

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