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Catalina Gómez, Reference Librairan and Curator for the PALABRA Archive, Hispanic Division
Created: May 11, 2020
Last Updated: September 29, 2020
The PALABRA Archive is a collection of original audio recordings of 20th and 21st century Luso-Hispanic poets and writers reading from their works. With recorded authors from all over Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula, the Caribbean, and other regions with Hispanic and Portuguese heritage populations, this archive has to date close to 800 recordings, a portion of which are available for online streaming.
Historically known as the Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape (AHLOT), PALABRA has been curated by the Library of Congress Hispanic Reading Room since 1943. It includes sessions with figures such as Nobel Laureates Gabriel García Márquez, Pablo Neruda, Gabriela Mistral, Miguel Ángel Asturias, Juan Ramón Jiménez, and with other noteworthy figures like Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende, and Julio Cortázar.
The majority of the recordings from this collection are in Spanish, English, and Portuguese, but the archive also includes sessions in Catalan, Basque, French, Dutch, Creole, and indigenous languages like Náhuatl, Zapotec, Quechua, and Aymara. The majority of the sessions have been recorded in the Library of Congress' Recording Laboratory, although a good portion have been captured abroad and in other venues around the U.S. and Washington, DC.
Today, curators in the Hispanic Reading Room continue to actively capture voices of contemporary literary figures for the collection.
This guide provides access to this archive as well as to related features such as our "Spotlight on U.S./Hispanic Writers," and the Library's Hispanic Reading Room's podcast "La Biblioteca." The podcast's first season highlights literary experts discussing some of the authors in the PALABRA Archive.
This guide provides access to recordings from the PALABRA Archive that are available for online streaming and serves as a reference point for materials from the collection which are only accessible onsite at the Library of Congress. Every year the Hispanic Reading Room makes fifty new recordings from the archive available online. To learn about our yearly uploads and other news related to the PALABRA Archive, subscribe to our mailing list and to the Library of Congress 4 Corners of the World Blog.
There are two ways to access the materials from the PALABRA Archive presented in this guide: