Ivonne Gordon-Vailakis

Professor, Spanish

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PhD in Latin American Literature with an specialization in Contemporary Latin American Poetry, and Literary Theory with an emphasis Chicano Studies, University of California, Irvine 1990.

MA in Spanish, with emphasis on Latin American and Peninsular Literature, San Diego State University.


Hall of Letters
P: 909.748.8640
E: ivonne_vailakis@redlands.edu

Academic Interests and Areas of Expertise

  • Human Rights Literature

  • Travel Literature

  • Exile, Diaspora, Immigration

  • Literature of the Fantastic

  • Literature of the Body

  • Literature Representing the Other in Latin America

  • Border Writers: Literature of the Border/Borderlands

  • Latin American Contemporary Poetry

  • Gabriela Mistral

  • Jorge Carrera Andrade

  • Women Writers

  • Myths and Rituals

Description of Research

Project one: It focuses on Gabriela Mistral's relationship to the literature of the vanguard as a movement of modernity. This entails looking at Gabriela Mistral's ability to alter conventional perceptions of women while challenging the dominant social constructs. Mistral uses "the masquerade" as a literary technique to present a new way of looking at men, women, and children in her culture. On a superficial reading of "The Mother-Child" and "Little Red Riding Hood" from her book Ternura, people and animals appear to be conventional, fairy tale creatures. A closer reading, reveals a very unconventional view of her culture, a vision which was markedly different from her male colleagues in the vanguard movement. By masquerading the subject's true position, Mistral uses familiar, non-threatening forms to advance her radical, convention shattering ideas.

Project two: I am interested in the relationship between language and cultural experiences, both at the local and global level. In difficult economical times, racism and intolerance grow towards immigrants, minorities, or people that represent the Other . We are facing difficult transitions in economical times globally, where intolerance towards immigrant groups rises whether it is in the United States, Germany, Italy, or Spain to name a few. The basic notion of my proposal is to relate what happens when massive groups of people are forcibly displaced. As a poet and critical writer and an immigrant like myself my critical as well as my poetry work is plagued with a sense of loss, a desire to reclaim, to look back at my roots, but this looking back lacks the certainty of physical realities-by trying to recover that sense of loss, I create fictions, places, that are imaginary homelands.

Project three: At present I am applying the research of project two, and linking to the transformative power of poetry. There seems to be a disconnection between scholarly and creative work in terms of poetry. Few scholars are devoted to the research or focus on the power that poetry has in social terms, it seems like most work is focused in the aesthetics of the word, but not its profound effects on a community.


Courses Taught

Senior Seminars:

Human Rights Literature: Exile, Diaspora, and Immigration; Literature of the Fantastic; Literature of the Body; Literature Representing the Other in Latin America; Literature and Film of the Fantastic; The Fantastic and Magic Realism.


Connecting Cultures: Border Writers; Literature of the Border/Borderlands; Literature of the Borderlands: Latina Writers in the United States; Women's Role in Latin America.

Latin American Poetry:

Contemporary Latin American Poetry and Film; Latin American Women's Poetry; Latin American Poetry of the Vanguard as Resistance. Contemporary Latin American Poetry. Poetry Writing Workshops in Spanish.

Latin American Literature:

I Survey of Latin American Literature: from the 1200's to 1900's; II Survey of Latin American Literature 1900's to Present; Hispanic Women Fiction; Hispanic Narrative; Introduction to Latin American Literature: Literature, Writing, and Creativity.

First Year Seminar:

The Fantastic and Latin American Literature; Literature and Film of the Fantastic


Previous Teaching Experience

Visiting Assistant Professor, International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California San Diego (1989-1991)

Professional Experience

Editor of several poetry journals, translator, professor for court interpreting translating certificate



Meditar de sirenas: Sweden: Simon Editor, 2013

El barro blasfemo: Blasphemous Clay. Madrid, España: 2009

Manzanilla del insomnio. Quito, Ecuador: El Conejo Press, 2002.

Colibríes en el exilio. Quito, Ecuador: El Conejo Press, 1997.

Chicano Literary Prize: 1985-1987: University of California, Irvine, 1988.

Nuestrario. Mexico: Impretei Press, 1987.

Book Chapters

"A Hungry Wolf: The Mask and the Spectacle of Gender in Gabriela Mistral" in The Audacious Traveler: Gabriela Mistral, ed. Marjorie Agosín, (Ohio: Ohio University Press, 2003).

"Running Borders: La Llorona as a Mode of Resistance" Culture and Society: Dialoguing Issues in Chicana Scholarship, ed. María Herrera-Sobek, (University of California Press, 2000).

Scholarly Articles

"La marginalización de la literatura ecuatoriana." Estudios de literatura ecuatoriana. (Forthcoming)

"Jorge Carrera Andrade." Hispanic Literatura Enciclopedia. (Forthcoming)

"Mientras más deseo más tentación: Lo carnavalesco en La casa del sano placer de Alicia Yánez Cossío: "Letras del Ecuador (Forthcoming)

"Búsqueda de memoria: el poeta sin cielo Jorge Carrera Andrade,"Homenaje a Jorge Carrera Andrade, Kipus: Revista Andina de letras, No. 15, (2002-2003).

"La trasgresión en la voz maternal en Gabriela Mistral" Alpha, No. 19, (2003).

"Estaba la pájara pinta sentadita en otro verde limón: Gabriela Mistral y la otredad en su poesía." Quimera, (Barcelona, España, 2001).

"El mar como espacio de resistencia en la poesía de Gabriela Mistral" Alpha., No. 15, (1999).

Creative Writing

Poetry: Anthologies:

"The Foreigner" and other poems: in Women's Writing Anthology: Honoring other Women Poets,(forthcoming).

"To Wash Your Feet" and other poems: in Prometeo: Medellin, Colombia, 2009.

"El buda" and other poems: in Cuando sale el sol. ed. Rei Berroa (Santo Domingo: Editorial Banco Central, 2008).

"La maleta estaba llena," and other poems, Writing Towards Hope: The Literature of Human Rights in Latin America, ed. Marjorie Agosín, (Yale University Press: 2006).

"Las plazas," "Como huesos albinos," and other poems, in Mujeres mirando al Sur: Antología de poetas suramericanas en los U.S.A. ed. Zulema Moret, (Spain: Ediciones Torremoza, 2004). 97-104.

Awards, Honors, Grants

Professor sought for international event 2016

Honored Guest at Cultural Center in Santiago Chile (2014)

Honored Guest to International Poetry Festival, El Salvador (2014)

Honored Guest at Cultural Center in Carmen del Viboral, Antioquia, Colombia (2013)

Named Honored Poet of new Cultural Movement: Gesta de Cantores: A cultural group with no boundaries or borders (2012)

Invited as Honored Guest Poet to Medellin's Cultural Center, Cerro del Angel (2012)

Writing Award for EKAMEA, Greece (2010)

Invited to read at International Poetry Festival, Medellín, Colombia(2009)

Invited poet to read at Library of Congress, Washington, D.C

Finalist of Brazil's International Poetry Contest, for manuscript I Dream with Two Pillows (2005)

Oxford Round Table Discussant, "Women's Rights," Lincoln College, Oxford, England. (2004)

Poetry Award "Jorge Carrera Andrade" for the book, Manzanilla del insomnio. (2003)

Award for Outstanding Research/Creative Activity, U. of Redlands

Fulbright Senior Research Scholar: The Trouble of Travels: Jewish Diaspora in Ecuador, (1999)

Advisor of the Year Award, U. of Redlands

Finalist of the Most Prestigious Award in Latin America, "Casa de las Américas" for Bilingual manuscript, Hummingbirds in Exile.

Mortar Board Professor of the Year Award

Invited Presentations

"Marginality and Ecuadorian Literature," Literature Conference, University of Louisville. (2012)

"Geographies of a Poet," Twentieth International Literature Conference, University of Louisville, Kentucky (2012)

"An Identity Has Multiple Sides," Celebrating Hispanic and Cultural Diversity Month, SUNY, New York (2012)

"A University without walls: Service learning within the Humanities," HERA Conference, San Francisco, California. (2011)

"I am Word, Celebrating Hispanic Month, Western University, Kentucky (2011)

"Identity and Travels in the Poetry of Jorge Carrera Andrade," International Conference on Travels, Berlin, Germany (2009)

"Erotic Graffiti," Disjunctions Conference: English Dept. University of California, Riverside. (2003)


Modern Literature Association (MLA)

Association of Spanish and Portuguese Teachers (ASPT)

Ecuatorianistas Association (EA)

Ivonne Gordon Vailakis has been the Faculty Advisor for the Latina/os Network since 1992.