Newsletter 2004
A Gypsy in Allentown

     Gypsy writer Joaquín Albaicín traveled from Madrid to be a guest speaker and writer-in-residence at Muhlenberg this spring. He guest-taught two classes of Gitano: Gypsy Texts and Contexts, and spent time exploring the Lehigh Valley with Dr. Sutherland and students. His experiences here in Pennsylvania are already showing up in his essays, with a first set of impressions appearing in the 28 March cultural supplement to La Reforma, Mexico City’s largest papers.
Hailing from a long line of artists, Albaicín infuses his novel (La serpiente terrenal) and stories (including those making up the anthology La estrella de plata) with a deep respect for Gypsy traditions brought into today; his heroes seek out their own individual and authentic paths through different lands, times, and Gypsy traditions. In this fluid present, with little difference between history, myth, and legend, the stage is set for a new living mythology.
Albaicín’s public lecture --given in Spanish and also in bilingual format on two separate evenings-- was drawn from his 1991 history of the Rom people, En pos del sol. Los gitanos en la historia, el mito y la leyenda. Albaicín wove together tradition and myths, arguing for a new vision of Gypsy history. Like his narratives, his historical essay creates a seamless identity spanning centuries and the many miles between India and the Iberian Peninsula.

For more information on Joaquín Albaicín, consult the Romani Writers website: