Carnegie Mellon University

"Naufragios: A Poetic Narrative Depicting the Puerto Rican Diaspora’s Identity Challenges"

Author: Paloma Sierra

The Diaspora experience is intrinsic to humanity’s history. More than just exodus, this experience impacts individuals who emigrate, their families, and those who live in countries that serve as destination for Diaspora. In one case, Puerto Rico, which annually sees an exodus of 1% of its population to places outside of the island, has more Puerto Ricans living outside the island than within. For this reason, Puerto Rico provides a compelling case for understanding Diaspora. Thus, many Puerto Rican literary classics and contemporaneous works portray the Diaspora experience and the challenges it implies. However, most of these works fail to communicate to the overall Puerto Rican community as they only focus on the experience of individuals that have migrated. To address this failure of communication I seek to develop a poetic narrative that focuses on the Puerto Rican Diaspora’s challenges and transformations to identity. This narrative aims to connect to Diaspora those readers who otherwise are not connected by displaying the voices of both those who have migrated and those who have not. This project will be conducted through interviews to migrant and non-migrant Puerto Ricans, and through Puerto Rican literature research. Finally, the findings will be adapted into a poetic narrative written in the décima espinela closed form. This narrative will work as a literary tool that facilitates the understanding of Diaspora as a universal experience.