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Interconnecting Worlds: Weaving Community Narratives, Andean Histories & the Library’s Collections

Harawi Spotlight: Poetry and Voice

Harawi as a practice represents poetry from Indigenous peoples in the Andes. This can include lyric poetry through music, as well as literature. As an important tool for Andean creativity and knowledges, harawi reflects the diverse voices and communities that give it life, while also depicting common threads interwoven throughout Andean cultures and peoples.

One major theme that can be found in harawi is Indigenous people’s relationality to the natural world. Andean poets often use their poetry to showcase a profound respect for PachaMama, Mother Earth, that transcends superficial appreciation. This can involve using animals, such as birds, rivers, and mountains in their poetry, which also contributes to harawi’s brilliant and vibrant imagery.

The Library resources and community narratives from Andean poets highlighted in this page help provide deeper meanings and contexts for harawi.

Quechua in the PALABRA Archive

The PALABRA Archive (Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape) at the Library of Congress dates back to 1943. It contains nearly eight-hundred recordings of poets and prose writers participating in sessions at the Library’s Recording Laboratory and at other locations around Spain and Latin America. The recordings below span from 1950 to 1976 and feature poetry in Quechua and Spanish by poets from Bolivia, Perú, and Chile.

Learn more about the Indigenous voices featured in the Library's PALABRA Archive.

View a complete list of South America authors and poets in the Archive.

Narratives from the Ayllu

In the following interviews, Julio Noriega, Julieta Zurita, and Washington Córdova Huamán discuss their work with poetry as Andean and Quechua speaking writers and poets. Noriega’s dissertation about Quechua poetry was inspired by his nostalgia for the Peruvian Andes while studying in the U.S. Noriega shares his appreciation for the recent literary boom for Quechua poetry, especially given the history of Quechua language suppression.

For Quechua Bolivian poet Zurita, Quechua and Andean poetry are expressions of ancestral wisdom and the relationality between human beings, their environments, and their spiritual lives. As a poet and writer from Apurímac, Perú, Córdova Huamán’s poetry is filled with vivid imagery about the natural world.

From the Library

This selection of resources introduce the people, culture, geography, and region of the Andes for general audiences and researchers. Staff in the Hispanic Reading Room can provide access to the materials located at the Library of Congress. If you cannot visit us in person send us a message through Ask a Librarian to further assist you.