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April 13, 2023

The Poetics of Protest

A new collection of visual poems reimagines how protest is performed, expressed, and experienced
Credit: Poesía de Protesta, 2023. Courtesy of theVERSEverse
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The Poetics of Protest

Protesting with a poetic voice, expressing dissent under cover of linguistic acrobatics, and employing rhetoric as a resource are ways to split difficult realities. Poesía de Protesta (Protest Poetry) is a collection of visual poems that gathers the voices of fifteen Hispanic women poets in collaboration with diverse visual artists. The resulting transdisciplinary artworks create a critical dialogue about the contexts from which they emerge.

Although protest may be linked to artistic activism and political art, this collection adopts a widened conception of protest in which intimate universes and individual landscapes overlap global practices — individual experiences merge to shape the collective discourse. These poems argue against prevailing ideologies and address issues such as gendered violence, exile, economic marginalization, fragmented identities, and erotic otherness. 

As an anthology, Poesía de Protesta is an anti-hegemonic body in itself, a sinewed braid of female voices. Its existence opens up a fresh space for the Spanish language and takes action against the supremacy of English in mainstream contemporary art. 
Installation view of Poesía de Protesta at Refraction Festival, Miami, 2022. Courtesy of theVERSEverse

The revindication of the marginalized is here dynamized via collaborative, collectible digital verse. Technology expands the ethical and aesthetic possibilities of the network, invigorating the ways in which protest might be performed, expressed, and experienced. Artist collaborators transform the text, imparting new meaning and ushering in new audiences to embrace the poetic expression of protest. 

Poesía de Protesta marks an important milestone for theVERSEverse, a digital poetry gallery devoted to presenting poems as fine art, whose mission is to elevate a diverse array of the world’s leading poets. The first iteration of this collection debuted at Refraction Festival in Miami in 2022 with the second edition launching this week at PROOF OF PEOPLE x REFRACTION in New York. To accompany the event, we are pleased to share a selection of works from Poesía de Protesta on Right Click Save.


Katherine Bisquet | Ana María Caballero | Patricia Echevarría| Andrea Halaby | Mia Leonin | Alexandra Lytton Regalado | Silvina López Medín | Martica Minipunto | Amalia Moreno | Caridad Moro-Gronlier | Mana Muscarsel Isla | Madari Pendas | Fermina Ponce | Legna Rodríguez Iglesias | Yolanda Segura

Visual Artists

Anya Asano | ARTJEDI1 | Bird of Omen | Tuna Bora | cymoonv | Ivan Casis | Marinna Jaszczuk | Gabrielle Mic | Genki Nishida | Numa | NurArt | Lisa Odette | DanceAvatar | Ellie Pritts | Roberto Salazar | Natalia Sh1yakhovaya | Tabitha Swanson | Noortje Stortelder| Veštica



by Martha Luisa Hernández Cadenas x Iván Cassis

Quiero romper un carro,

destruirlo como hormiguita en el mapa.

Pero yo no tengo un carro.

Quizás pueda romper el carro de mis padres,

cortarlo en muchos pedazos y comérmelo

y pensar en la indigestión

causada por esos trozos de plástico, metal y cristal

que este sospechoso carro le dará a mi corazón ideologizado.

Pero mis padres no tienen un carro.

Mis abuelos tampoco tuvieron un carro.

Necesito romper, matar, demoler este carro imaginario, 

en un accidente anónimo, tal vez.

Este carro imposible.

Alguien me habla de un accidente.

Un carro mató a mucha gente en la calle.

¿Es el carro culpable de asesinato?

¿Es el carro un súper autómata asesino?

¿Es el carro una protesta estudiantil?

Tengo que poner fin a la vida de este carro invisible

Que me mira a los ojos

Que está dentro de la chapa

Que está tomando lo mejor de mí

Disparando a mi corazón de isla vacía con un solo carro

Una sola muerte

Tal vez dice «¡Heimat!»

Tal vez dice «¡Viva Cuba Libre!»

Tal vez dice



How Do You Make a Revolution Without a Car?

by Martha Luisa Hernández Cadenas x Iván Cassis

I want to break a car,

destroy it like a tiny ant in the map,

but I don’t have a car.

Maybe I can break my parents’ car,

cut it into many pieces and eat it,

consider the indigestion

those plastic, metal and glass pieces

that this suspicious car will give to my ideologized heart.

But my parents don’t have a car.

My grandparents don’t have a car, either.

I need to break, to kill, to demolish this imaginary car, 

in an anonymous accident maybe,

this impossible car.

Somebody tells me about an accident,

a car kills many people on the street.

Is the car guilty of murder?

Is the car a super killer automaton?

Is the car a student protest?

I need to put an end to the life of this invisible car

Which looks into my eyes

Which is inside the plating

Which is taking the best of me

Shooting into my empty island heart with only one car

One death

Maybe it says “Heimat!”

Maybe it says “Viva Cuba Libre”

Maybe it says




Ardea Alba Egreta 

by Andrea Halaby x ARTJEDI1

A mi padre

Tres balas nueve milímetros

perforan su cuerpo. 

Cavan agujeros negros en los órganos


Queman su ropa.

La sangre en el asfalto

es laguna seca.

Una garza blanca se posa

en el círculo rojo-granate.

Ardea Alba en tierra firme:

busca lombrices, insectos

pichones de otras aves, 

huele la sangre 

hasta encontrar alimento.

Tres disparos

el eco del plomo

orbita mis tímpanos.

No respiro. 

No miro su cuerpo sobre la camilla.

No toco las manos frías.

No hablo. No camino.

La garza quieta

en silencio

vigila la presa  

utiliza su pico como arpón.

Le han quitado la corbata.

Le han dejado los zapatos puestos



Vuela con el cuello retraído

a diferencia de las cigüeñas, las grullas y las espátulas.

Ondeo una bandera blanca

a media asta

invoco a la garza

ahuyento su vuelo.

Que busque alimento

en otra acera.

*Poesía documental. 

Ardea Alba Egreta, Especie. Ave, Garceta Blanca. Garza Blanca

Ardea Alba Egreta 

by Andrea Halaby x ARTJEDI1

To my father

Three nine-millimeter bullets

pierce his body.

Dig black holes in his vital organs.

Burn his clothes.

The blood on the asphalt

is a dry lagoon.

A white heron perches

in the red-pomegranate circle.

Ardea Alba on the mainland:

searches for earthworms, insects,

other birds’ newborn,

smells out blood

until it finds food.

Three shots

the echo of lead

orbits inside

my ears.

I do not breathe.

I do not look at his body on the stretcher.

I do not touch his cold hands.

I do not speak. I do not walk.

The still heron


watches the prey 

uses its beak as a weapon.

They removed his tie.

They have left his




It flies with its neck retracted

unlike storks, cranes, and spoonbills.

I wave a white flag

at half-mast

I call upon the heron.

I chase away its flight.

Let it find food

on another sidewalk.

*Documentary poetry.
Ardea Alba Egreta, Species. Bird, White Egret. 


Consejo a La Hija Que Nunca Tendré

by Caridad Moro-Gronlier x Ellie Pritts

Para Rafaela

Olvida el color rosado. En cambio, envuélvete en tonos

enjoyados—esmeralda, turquesa, zafiro, amatista.

Habla al ritmo de tu pulso—en samba, en conga

en danzón, el ultimo bolero de la noche.

Maneja una lengua afilada, un tacón de aguja, una navaja

de muelle, un látigo en el pelo, un dedo sin gatillo.

Toma cada paso con pies de plomo, pasa por encima de los

satélites que caen del cielo, los obstáculos de tus fracasos.

Con el tiempo, lo prestado cuesta más que lo nuevo—

guarda tus centavos; camina en tus propios zapatos.

Advice to a Daughter I Will Never Have

by Caridad Moro-Gronlier x Ellie Pritts

For Rafaela

Forget pink. Drape yourself in jeweled tones—

emerald, amethyst, the black depth of onyx.

Speak in rhythm with your pulse, en samba, en conga,

en danzón, the last slow dance of the night.

Wield a sharp tongue, a stiletto heel, a switchblade

in your boot, a whip in your hair, a trigger-less finger.

Seek out fields of flowers that perfume the air

lavender, gardenia, mock orange. Follow your nose.

Step lightly, step up, step over the satellites that fall from space,

the hurdles of your mistakes. Step into your own shoes.


El mal concreto

by Amalia Moreno x Genki Nishida

El mal empieza

en el mal concreto

en el mal principio

en los malos materiales

en el cemento malo

en la línea mal trazada

en las malas paredes

corroídas de corrupción

se levanta mal el techo

se levantan mal los hijos

duermen mal comen mal

sirven mal la mesa 

mala leche mal de estómago

desarrollo malo padres malos

mala confianza mal civil

mala persona malo el juicio 

malo el juez mal bandido mal honrado

mal disfrazado mal desenmascarado

el policía malo el obrero malo 

el electricista malo el transformador malo

el sistema malo la luz mala 

el mal de ojo mal de intención

el mal de adentro

el mal del alma

mal de instinto

mal amigo 

malo con el perro 

malo con la vida

el mal principio

el mal concreto.

Concrete Bad 

by Amalia Moreno x Genki Nishida

Bad begins

with concrete bad

a bad start

with bad materials

bad cement 

a badly traced line

bad walls

corroded by corruption

a roof badly raised 

children badly raised

they sleep badly eat badly

they set the table bad

bad milk bad stomach

bad development bad parents

bad trust civic bad

bad person bad judgment 

bad judge bad criminal the honorable bad

bad disguised bad unmasked

bad cop bad worker

bad electrician bad transformer

bad system bad light

bad eye intentionally bad

the bad inside

the bad soul

bad instinct

bad friend

bad with the dog

bad with life

bad start

concrete bad.



by Legna Rodríguez Iglesias x Veštica 

A una mujer tú la tocas

y ella tiembla

la escupes y ella sale 

empapada en saliva

a una mujer tú la puedes


¿cómo la destruyes?


la tocas

y la escupes

la tocas

y la escupes

la tocas

y la escupes

entre una cosa y otra

le dices que de pronto

has empezado a quererla

que simplemente

la quieres

y ya

por último la tocas

y la escupes.


by Legna Rodríguez Iglesias x Veštica 

You touch a woman

and she trembles

you spit her out and she comes out

covered in saliva

you can destroy

a woman

how do you destroy her?


touch her

spit her out

touch her

spit her out

between one thing and another

tell her that all of a sudden

you have begun to love her

that simply

you just love her

and that's it

finally touch her

and spit her out.

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Poesía de Protesta is supported by the generosity of the Tezos Foundation, a Refraction Creative Grant, the Broward Cultural Division, and MAD Arts. Works from the collection may be purchased from

Ana Maria Caballero is a first-generation Colombian-American poet and artist whose work explores how biology delimits societal and cultural rites, ripping the veil off romanticized motherhood and questioning notions that package sacrifice as a virtue. She is the recipient of the International Beverly Prize, Colombia’s José Manuel Arango National Poetry Prize, the Steel Toe Books Poetry Award, and a Sevens Foundation Grant. Her Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net-nominated work has been sold at live auction, widely published, and exhibited internationally at venues such as bitforms, New York; JustMAD, Madrid; Gazelli Art House, London; and L’Avant Galerie Vossen, Paris. An author of five books and recognized as a Web3 poetry pioneer, she is also one of the founders of digital poetry gallery, theVERSEverse. 

Gladys Garrote is a curator, art writer, and art historian. Since 2014, she has been a professor at the University of Havana, where she teaches courses on Art History, Art Appreciation, and the Contemporary Art Market. Garrote’s essays and critical texts often tackle questions surrounding feminism, collective identities, cultural memory, the rewriting of history, and self-reflection. She is the co-founder of ClitSplash, an all-female curatorial collective. 

Elisabeth Sweet explores the convergence of poetry and meditation. Her series-based practice questions the patterns of life and death as mediums of change. Elisabeth enlists different modes of creative expression to expand her practice, including JavaScript code and poetry performance. She also supports the community efforts of theVERSEverse through social media management, exhibition production, and facilitating conversations between Web3 artists, curators, and thought leaders, as well as the general public. She has produced and supported the coordination of poetry exhibitions and presentations in New York and Miami in coordination with Refraction DAO, MAD Arts, and NFT Biennial.