Friday, February 05, 2016

New Books: Poetry of Resistance, Desert Thriller, All About Junot

New stuff for your library:  the long-anticipated Poetry of Resistance from Poets Responding to SB 1070, edited by Francisco Alarcón and Odilia Galván Rodriguez; new crime fiction from former crime reporter Patricia Santos Marcantonio; and two scholarly works that give you all you ever wanted to know about Junot Díaz.


Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social JusticeEdited by Francisco X. Alarcón and Odilia Galván Rodríguez
Foreword by Juan Felipe Herrera
University of Arizona Press
March 10, 2016

[from the publisher]
“Borders can be overcome with the revolutionary tenderness of poems. This anthology is an incredible assemblage of voices and letters that proves that collective poetry is the answer to the violence-filled policies that increasingly face us in these times.”—Juan Felipe Herrera, U.S. Poet Laureate

On April 20, 2010, nine Latino students chained themselves to the main doors of the Arizona State Capitol in an act of civil disobedience to protest Arizona’s SB 1070. Moved by the students’ actions, that same day Francisco X. Alarcón responded by writing a poem in Spanish and English titled “Para Los Nueve del Capitolio/ For the Capitol Nine,” which he dedicated to the students. The students replied to the poem with a collective online message. To share with the world what was taking place, Alarcón then created a Facebook page called “Poets Responding to SB 1070” and posted the poem, launching a powerful and dynamic forum for social justice.

Since then, more than three thousand original contributions by poets and artists from around the globe have been posted to the page. Poetry of Resistance offers a selection of these works, addressing a wide variety of themes, including racial profiling, xenophobia, cultural misunderstanding, violence against refugees, shared identity, and much more. Contributors include distinguished poets such as Francisco Aragón, Devreaux Baker, Sarah Browning, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Susan Deer Cloud, Sharon Dubiago, Martín Espada, Genny Lim, Pam Uschuk, and Alma Luz Villanueva.

Bringing together more than eighty writers, the anthology powerfully articulates the need for change and the primacy of basic human rights. Each poem shows the heartfelt dedication these writers and artists have to justice in a world that has become larger than borders. Poetry of Resistance is a poetic call for tolerance, reflection, reconciliation, and healing.

The celebrated author of twelve volumes of poetry, including From the Other Side of Night: Selected and New Poems and most recently Canto hondo / Deep Song, Francisco X. Alarcón was a lifelong advocate for social justice and Poetry of Resistance carries forward a tremendous legacy of poetic activism.

Odilia Galván Rodriguez, co-editor of the anthology, remembers her friend and creative partner, Francisco X. Alarcón represented a generation of us who believe that it is more important to bring all the voices along, than it is to stand out among the voices. He was a humble man, who walked his talk.  His writing life was not a solitary act, he knew the importance of  working in tandem with other writers of witness who not only struggle to bring about social justice in all the ways they can think of, but who also have a developed Indigenous world view.”

Eco-poet, writer, editor, and activist, Odilia Galván Rodríguez is the author of four volumes of poetry; her latest is Red Earth Calling: Cantos for the 21st Century. She was the English edition editor of Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba. She facilitates creative writing workshops nationally and is a moderator of “Poets Responding to SB 1070” and “Love and Prayers for Fukushima,” both Facebook pages dedicated to bringing attention to social justice issues that affect the lives and well-being of many people.

“The issues Francisco was concerned with had to do with humanity and we should all be so lucky to follow his footsteps,” says Galván Rodríguez.  “At first, I could not imagine a world without him in it but now I know he has not left us. He lives in the hearts of all who struggle for justice.”

_______________________________________________________________________________



Patricia Santos Marcantonio
Verdict in the Desert                                            
Patricia Santos Marcantonio
Arte Público Press
March 31, 2016
In the summer of 1959, everyone knows his place in Arizona. Michael Shaw is an alcoholic lawyer struggling with his reputation as the son of one of Mitchell County’s wealthiest, most successful attorneys. Toni Garcia, the first in her family to obtain a college degree, has returned to Borden, Arizona, because she’s worried about her father’s health. But as a Mexican American, she can’t get a teaching job in spite of her education and intellect. Their worlds collide when Michael is assigned to represent María Sánchez Curry in the bloody murder of her husband and Toni, desperate for work, accepts a job as the defendant’s interpreter.
María and Ben Curry’s tumultuous marriage was well documented by María’s many visits to the ER. The couple was also well-known at local bars, where they often drank to excess. But the killing of a white man by a Mexican woman—even in self-defense—is not permissible in a time when justice is determined by the good-old-boys’ club. Also unacceptable is the growing relationship between Michael and Toni, who fight to save María against all odds.
In this evocative exploration of class and race in 1950s America, Bobby Darin is on the juke box, Doris Day is on the silver screen and pink flamingos grace front yards. Former crime reporter Patricia Santos Marcantonio crafts a stirring tale of forbidden love in a world where democracy rules but due process and fair treatment aren’t as readily available on the wrong side of the tracks.
- See more at: https://artepublicopress.com/product/verdict-in-the-desert/#sthash.HJG8F7PG.dpuf

[from the publisher]
In the summer of 1959, everyone knows his place in Arizona. Michael Shaw is an alcoholic lawyer struggling with his reputation as the son of one of Mitchell County’s wealthiest, most successful attorneys. Toni Garcia, the first in her family to obtain a college degree, has returned to Borden, Arizona, because she’s worried about her father’s health. But as a Mexican American, she can’t get a teaching job in spite of her education and intellect. Their worlds collide when Michael is assigned to represent María Sánchez Curry in the bloody murder of her husband and Toni, desperate for work, accepts a job as the defendant’s interpreter.

María and Ben Curry’s tumultuous marriage was well documented by María’s many visits to the ER. The couple was also well-known at local bars, where they often drank to excess. But the killing of a white man by a Mexican woman—even in self-defense—is not permissible in a time when justice is determined by the good-old-boys’ club. Also unacceptable is the growing relationship between Michael and Toni, who fight to save María against all odds.

In this evocative exploration of class and race in 1950s America, Bobby Darin is on the juke box, Doris Day is on the silver screen and pink flamingos grace front yards. Former crime reporter Patricia Santos Marcantonio crafts a stirring tale of forbidden love in a world where democracy rules but due process and fair treatment aren’t as readily available on the wrong side of the tracks.

________________________________________________________________________

 
Junot Díaz and the Decolonial Imagination
Editor(s): Monica Hanna, Jennifer Harford Vargas, José David Saldívar
Duke University Press

January 8, 2016

[from the publisher]
The first sustained critical examination of the work of Dominican-American writer Junot Díaz, this interdisciplinary collection considers how Díaz's writing illuminates the world of Latino cultural expression and trans-American and diasporic literary history. Interested in conceptualizing Díaz's decolonial imagination and his radically re-envisioned world, the contributors show how his aesthetic and activist practice reflect a significant shift in American letters toward a hemispheric and planetary culture. They examine the intersections of race, Afro-Latinidad, gender, sexuality, disability, poverty, and power in Díaz's work. Essays in the volume explore issues of narration, language, and humor in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the racialized constructions of gender and sexuality in Drown and This Is How You Lose Her, and the role of the zombie in the short story Monstro. Collectively, they situate Díaz’s writing in relation to American and Latin American literary practices and reveal the author’s activist investments. The volume concludes with Paula Moya's interview with Díaz.


Contributors: Glenda R. Carpio, Arlene Dávila, Lyn Di Iorio, Junot Díaz, Monica Hanna, Jennifer Harford Vargas, Ylce Irizarry, Claudia Milian, Julie Avril Minich, Paula M. L. Moya, Sarah Quesada, José David Saldívar, Ramón Saldívar, Silvio Torres-Saillant, Deborah R. Vargas


___________________________________________________________________________

 

Reading Junot Díaz
Christopher Gonzalez
University of Pittsburgh Press
December 16, 2015

[from the publisher]
Dominican American author and Pulitzer Prize–winner Junot Diaz has gained international fame for his blended, cross-cultural fiction. Reading Junot Diaz is the first study to focus on his complete body of published works. It explores the totality of his work and provides a concise view of the interconnected and multilayered narrative that weaves throughout Diaz’s writings. Christopher Gonzalez analyzes both the formal and thematic features and discusses the work in the context of speculative and global fiction as well as Caribbean and Latino/a culture and language. Topics such as race, masculinity, migration, and Afro-Latinidad are examined in depth. Gonzalez provides a synthesis of the prevailing critical studies of Diaz and offers many new insights into his work.


Later.

In the summer of 1959, everyone knows his place in Arizona. Michael Shaw is an alcoholic lawyer struggling with his reputation as the son of one of Mitchell County’s wealthiest, most successful attorneys. Toni Garcia, the first in her family to obtain a college degree, has returned to Borden, Arizona, because she’s worried about her father’s health. But as a Mexican American, she can’t get a teaching job in spite of her education and intellect. Their worlds collide when Michael is assigned to represent María Sánchez Curry in the bloody murder of her husband and Toni, desperate for work, accepts a job as the defendant’s interpreter.
María and Ben Curry’s tumultuous marriage was well documented by María’s many visits to the ER. The couple was also well-known at local bars, where they often drank to excess. But the killing of a white man by a Mexican woman—even in self-defense—is not permissible in a time when justice is determined by the good-old-boys’ club. Also unacceptable is the growing relationship between Michael and Toni, who fight to save María against all odds.
In this evocative exploration of class and race in 1950s America, Bobby Darin is on the juke box, Doris Day is on the silver screen and pink flamingos grace front yards. Former crime reporter Patricia Santos Marcantonio crafts a stirring tale of forbidden love in a world where democracy rules but due process and fair treatment aren’t as readily available on the wrong side of the tracks.
- See more at: https://artepublicopress.com/product/verdict-in-the-desert/#sthash.HJG8F7PG.dpuf
In the summer of 1959, everyone knows his place in Arizona. Michael Shaw is an alcoholic lawyer struggling with his reputation as the son of one of Mitchell County’s wealthiest, most successful attorneys. Toni Garcia, the first in her family to obtain a college degree, has returned to Borden, Arizona, because she’s worried about her father’s health. But as a Mexican American, she can’t get a teaching job in spite of her education and intellect. Their worlds collide when Michael is assigned to represent María Sánchez Curry in the bloody murder of her husband and Toni, desperate for work, accepts a job as the defendant’s interpreter.
María and Ben Curry’s tumultuous marriage was well documented by María’s many visits to the ER. The couple was also well-known at local bars, where they often drank to excess. But the killing of a white man by a Mexican woman—even in self-defense—is not permissible in a time when justice is determined by the good-old-boys’ club. Also unacceptable is the growing relationship between Michael and Toni, who fight to save María against all odds.
In this evocative exploration of class and race in 1950s America, Bobby Darin is on the juke box, Doris Day is on the silver screen and pink flamingos grace front yards. Former crime reporter Patricia Santos Marcantonio crafts a stirring tale of forbidden love in a world where democracy rules but due process and fair treatment aren’t as readily available on the wrong side of the tracks.
- See more at: https://artepublicopress.com/product/verdict-in-the-desert/#sthash.HJG8F7PG.dpuf

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Chicanonautica: Hijacked by High Aztech

by Ernest Hogan

High Aztech is back, in a new edition, with a new cover, and it seems to be taking over my career and life. It's my biggest seller and has been written up in academic books and journals. With a bit of luck, it will be around long after bestsellers published at the same time are long forgotten.
 

It's the high point of my career (so far), even though mysterious forces tried to make it the end of my career. It's also a sad story that I get sick of telling -- I hate being forced into the role of a poor, minority being oppressed by faceless villains, and sounding like a paranoid nut-job, even though it's all true. You can read all about it in the introduction of the new edition.



Like everything I write, I thought High Aztech was going be a bestseller, set the world on fire, and make me rich. I'm always shocked and surprised when they tell me that it's too far out, and their audience won't relate, and I end up spending years looking for a funky underground venue. Like I always say, I keep one foot in the Underground so I'll have a place to stand.
 


The weird thing is, this book really seemed to want to be written. Short stories tend to hit you like the flu; novels are more like demonic possession -- but High Aztech was something else. I was more than inspired, writing and creating like a maniac, as if Tezcatlipoca was whispering in my ear and Lady Tenochitilán was holding my nether regions.


Not long after it was published, they were telling me that it was a failure. For a while, I was stupid enough to believe them.



But things take time. Despite the dirty tricks, my audience – that overlaps with, but is different from theirs – found and loved the book. You can't keep a flaming, visionary work of art down.
It may well be the pinnacle of my career, even though I keep trying to outdo it (you should see the story I'm working on right now!) It's looking like High Aztech is what I'm going to be remembered for -- which won't be bad. 

Meanwhile, it's demanding that I promote the living hell out it, and I'm obliging and enjoying the wild ride.



Ernest Hogan has written other things besides High Aztech, and is still working on things intended to set the world on fire.


Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre


Written by René Colato Laínez
Illustrated by Laura Lacámara


  • School & Library Binding: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Children's Book Press an imprint of Lee & Low Books Inc (July 15, 2016)
  • ISBN-10: 0892392983
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892392988


Hello Blogueros!
I am so excited to present to our readers my latest bilingual picture book, Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre. 
Take a look to meet Sofía. She discovered mamá's old immigration card: RESIDENT ALIEN. Can her mamá be really an alien?

Description of the book:
Sofía has discovered a BIG secret. Mamá is an alien—una extraterrestre! At least, that’s what it says on the card that fell out of her purse. But Papá doesn’t have an alien card. Does that mean Sofía is half alien? 
Sofía heads to the library to do some research. She finds out that aliens can be small, or tall. Some have four fingers on each hand, and some have big round eyes. Their skin can be gray or blue or green. But she and Mamá look like human people. Could Mamá really be an alien from another planet? 
Filled with imagination and humor, Mamá the Alien/Mamá la extraterrestre is a sweet and timely immigration story, and a tender celebration of family, no matter which country (or planet) you come from. 

René Colato Laínez has written more than a dozen award-winning books for young readers. A native of El Salvador, his goal is to write stories in which children of color are portrayed positively, with hopes and dreams for the future. This story was inspired by the many children of immigrants who have experienced the same misunderstanding as Sofía. When not writing or presenting at conferences or workshops, Colato Laínez teaches in a bilingual elementary school. He lives in Arleta, California, and you can find him online at renecolatolainez.com

Laura Lacámara is the creator of several award-winning children’s books; and she is a popular presenter at schools, festivals, and conferences. Born in Cuba, Lacámara was delighted to illustrate this story because it is clever as well as meaningful, especially since she was the same age as Sofía in the story when her own mamá became a United States citizen. Lacámara also had fun creating her own versions of aliens! She lives in Venice, California, with her husband and their daughter. Visit her online at lauralacamara.com


Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Floricanto for Francisco. Pushcart Floricanto.


Michael Sedano

Click here to view Francisco X. Alarcón's reading at the 2010 Festival de Flor y Canto Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow, held at the University of Southern California.


 USC's Visions & Voices program had approved funding for the 2010 Festival de Flor y Canto Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow and Francisco X. Alarcón and I were discussing his joining us and making sense of the poetry community. He'd launched Poets Responding to SB 1070 and was inundated with submissions. What to do with such abundance?

That's when it became imperative that La Bloga become the home for all those voices who needed to be heard. Thus, in 2010, La Bloga On-line Floricanto became a regular feature of La Bloga-Tuesday as an element of, and as a precursor to,  the mid-September reunion floricanto. The theme for the three days would be "yesterday today tomorrow" and On-line Floricanto is here and now.

Francisco recruited a dedicated crew of Moderators. Their task is reading all the submissions and nominating a lineup for, at first weekly, now monthly and special occasion, On-line Floricantos.  Regretfully, now in our seventh year of working together, a milestone.

Francisco died. His spirit remains among us, inspiring new work, new voices, a benevolent presence demanding no minutes of silence but instead hours of joyous voice. Like that time in Albuquerque when  Francisco,  Karen S. Córdova,  and I laughed away an evening of dinner, wine, chisme related to poets, poetry, writing, and various movimientos. An unforgettable reminder of the sustainability of our life force.

Today's La Bloga On-line Floricanto comes from the hearts and souls of poets who knew Francisco, who were influenced by Francisco, who loved and were loved in return. Orale, Francisco, they wrote these poems for you.

For readers, as you enjoy the work below, and whenever you hear poetry read out loud, listen behind the voice. Just before the first word, and with the closing word still in the air, listen. You'll hear it. Listen, a voice calling to the Four Directions, "tahui! tahui!"


Canto for Francisco X. Alarcón, by Juan Felipe Herrera
To Francisco X. Alarcón, by Allison Hedge Coke
Achcauhtli, by Odilia Galván Rodríguez
Let it Be Another Day, by Edward Vidaurre
Dador de Poemas, Giver of Poems, by Sonia Gutiérrez
For Francisco X. Alarcón, by Jose Faus
Ce Ome Yei, by Iris De Anda
Chicahua Invocation, by Meg Withers
Because He Teaches Butterflies, by Karen S. Córdova
Pachamama, by Genevieve Lim



Canto for Francisco X. Alarcón
By Juan Felipe Herrera

Francisco de la plumas de Quetzal of the Quetzal feathers

the one who walked with healing-heart calls and copal incense

for all - the ones on the sidewalks the ones in the cafés & corners

you do not mind singing for all you do not think of that you sing

you make offerings year by year for the migrants for the hungry

the bread you bake is for every table the house you build covers

every child every familia in every color & vision of life yes this is

how you have chanted in every barrio school and city how can it

be we ask -- it is your heart that answers the call and it is your sky

shaped life that that makes it possible -- today it is our turn to sing

to you - to send you healings from the life fountains

heal in your beauty

heal in your body

heal in our lives

heal in all life within all life

for all life once again




To Francisco X. Alarcón
By Allison Hedge Coke

each night a canto

each day a song

condor and eagle

bring us here to

circle your breast

whisper your voice

sing to you in this

presence this light

this dark this time

listen we are with

you keeping time

present for you here





Achcauhtli
Odilia Galván Rodríguez

dedicated to the Cēmānāhuac Poet Laureate Francisco X. Alarcón

You, King of Hummingbirds
of Monarch butterflies
of bluest gulf waters
whose waves rise the height of skyscrapers
to kiss winking stars
in overcast skies
You, a lighthouse
that has always beckoned me
from that shadowy place
of deepest dark
of being lost in tumultuous waters
of self doubt and fear
You, who is always sure
of the magia
our ancestor’s tongues
the glyphs of invocation contained
in sounds of sunrise and sunset
their energy transferred to
our own words
to the sacred stones that sing
sealed by the feathers of mighty birds
or a simple snap of our fingers
You, man of heart and wisdom
there is no place you can go
that the wind does not whisper
your name
its secrets in your ear
the eternal spiral that links
your healing words
to our lips
that flower
in flor y canto

IN LAK'ECH - HALA K'IN

Notes:

Cēmānāhuac: the name used by the Aztecs to refer to their world. It is a Nahuatl name derived from the words "cē" one/whole and "Ānāhuac", which in turn derives from the words "atl" (water) and "nahuac."

Achcauhtli: Leader

IN LAK'ECH - HALA K'IN: Mayan for ~ I am you, and you are me.






Let it Be Another Day
By Edward Vidaurre

for Francisco X. Alarcón

I’d like for you to stay
because I promised myself to share
un cafecito with you
come March, when all the words make their way
west to speak of unity and hope
What color do you suppose this poem is?
Let’s find out together
Let’s close our eyes and listen to our breathing
Let’s listen to our skin shedding
Let’s listen to the cry of the unborn poets calling out your name
They’re telling us the reasons why you must stay
Let it be another day
to search for the wild wind we chased away
to search for the leaf that carries your echo, translated in ancestral tongue
to bathe in the river that drowns your pain
to forgive the men and women that licked your heart
Let it be another day
Today, let’s celebrate your life
and heal you with a wrap of begonias
leaving your chest in full view for the

moon to shine on your bronze skin 






Dador de Poemas
By Sonia Gutiérrez

para Francisco X. Alarcón, mi Santo Literario

En mis sueños
despiertos,
Dador de Poemas,
amaneces
sobre sábanas
blancas de papel
listo como siempre
para escribir,
donde el cielo
está lleno
de letras
luminosas,
y con tus manos
las amasas
para formar nubes
hechas de poemas.
Y después,
descansas
y subes la escalera
de una gigantesca
letra A mayúscula
y bajas
su resbaladilla
con los brazos abiertos,
riendo y sonriendo.
Y así pasarás
los días de enero,
febrero, y marzo
mientras por las mañanas
mis lágrimas ruedan
por mi rostro,
espejo de luna,
pero contenta
que huele
a poesía.

Giver of Poems
By Sonia Gutierrez

for Francisco X. Alarcón, my Literary Saint

In my dreams,
while awake,
Giver of Poems,
you awaken
on white
sheets of paper
ready like always
to write,
where the sky
is full
of luminous
letters,
and with your hands
you knead them
to form clouds
made out of poems.
And then
you take a break,
and go up the stairs
of a gigantic
uppercase A
and you go down
its slide
with your arms wide open,
laughing and smiling.
And that is how you will pass
the days of January,
February, and March
meanwhile during the mornings
my tears run down
my face,
mirror moon,
but happy
that it smells
like poetry.
Translation by Sonia Gutiérrez





For Francisco X. Alarcón
By Jose Faus

On this cold December night
the words drop on the paper
easy as the light
from the sliver of moon
that hovers over these lands
Where Hopi Navajo Anasazi
dwell off the side of cliffs
drawing the breath
in fits and gasps
like the first laugh of a child
where coyote crosses roads
and crow gathers pebbles
near first second and third mesas
and the old villages mirroring
the belt and heft of Orion
I see you shaman
with the spark of your eye
drawing us closer
to the gathering places
the wave of your hair
strands ladders to the old tales
and sacred halls
Cibola Aztlan Quivira and El Dorado
Set the dinner before us
there are many to feed
before turtle glides to the bottom
The sun holds its breath
as your children come for the blessing






Ce Ome Yei
by Iris De Anda

for Francisco X. Alarcón

The four directions have come to visit you here & now
They say you are the center
The hummingbird brings nectar of hope to your heart
It says you are the honeysuckle
The sun is dancing across your cheeks
It says you are the fire
The moon is illuminating the pathway to your dreams
It says you are the light
There is so much more to say
In your spirit the flor y canto of generations
Listening to you
we bloom palabra
Ce Ome Yei
count us into your world of words
they say you are the Poeta of ceremony
Tata Francisco X. Alarcón
Hijo de Tonantzin
Y
Hermano de la Humanidad






Chicahua Invocation
By Meg Withers

For Francisco X. Alarcón

Over and over

hummingbird flurry

winged buzz and hum

in the mind.

His smudge bowl

pearl smoke

Tiahui! Tiahui! Tiahui! Tiahui!

lashes us to one another

fierce Ocelotl

proud humility.

Ce uno one poet/healer.

Attentive courage

Ocelotl.

Delicacy

Xiuhpilli.

Eagle of language

Cuerpo en Llamas.





































Pachamama
By Genevieve Lim

I looked to the four winds

to the four seasons

to the four directions

Each cried out to me

with the lips of your prayers

with the storm of your poetry

slicing the boundaries that

were never meant to be

that kept us strangers

from the each other

nevermore, nevermore

We shall melt into the arms

of the sun

swallow the raindrops of

the clouds
vowing to be free, to be free

wayra

killa

chaska

Wind

moon

star




Meet the Poets
Canto for Francisco X. Alarcón, by Juan Felipe Herrera
To Francisco X. Alarcón, by Allison Hedge Coke
Achcauhtli, by Odilia Galván Rodríguez
Let it Be Another Day, by Edward Vidaurre
Dador de Poemas, Giver of Poems, by Sonia Gutiérrez
For Francisco X. Alarcón, by Jose Faus
Ce Ome Yei, by Iris De Anda
Chicahua Invocation, by Meg Withers
Because He Teaches Butterflies, by Karen S. Córdova
Pachamama, by Genevieve Lim


Juan Felipe Herrera is Poet Laureate of the United States.

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s books include Streaming, Blood Run, Off-Season City Pipe, Dog Road Woman, Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas, Effigies, Effigies II, and Rock, Ghost, Willow, Deer. Awards include an American Book Award, a King*Chavez*Parks Award, Lifetime Achievement Award NWCA, and a 2016 Library of Congress Witter Bynner Fellowship. She teaches for VCFA MFA in Writing & Publishing and Red Earth MFA.

Odilia Galván Rodríguez, eco-poet, writer, editor, and activist, is the author of four volumes of poetry, her latest, The Nature of Things, with photographer Richard Loya. She has worked as an editor for Matrix Women's News Magazine, Community Mural's Magazine, and most recently at Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba. She facilitates creative writing workshops nationally, and moderates: Poets Responding to SB 1070, and Love and Prayers for Fukushima, both Facebook pages dedicated to bringing attention to social justice issues. Her poetry appears in numerous anthologies and literary journals, on and offline.

Edward Vidaurre, an emerging voice in Latino literature and Beat poetry. His work is forthcoming in The Beatest State in the Union: An Anthology of Beat Texas Writers and in Poetry Of Resistance: An Anthology Of Poets Responding To SB 1070 & Xenophobia. Vidaurre has also been published in other anthologies: Arriba Baseball!, and Juventud! and Boundless--the Anthology of the Valley International Poetry Festival 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, and in literary journals, among them: La Bloga's On Line Floricanto, Bordersenses, RiversEdge, Interstice, La Noria Literary Journal, Harbinger Asylum, Left Hand of the Father, Brooklyn & Boyle--a newspaper published in East Los Angeles, his hometown. His first collection of poetry, I Took My Barrio On A Road Trip, (Slough Press) was published in 2013 and his second collection, Insomnia (El Zarape Press), was published in 2014. Beautiful Scars: Elegiac Beat Poems (El Zarape Press) was published in 2015. Conceived in El Salvador and born in Los Angeles, California, in 1973, Vidaurre is the founder of Pasta, Poetry, and Vino--a monthly open mic gathering of artists, poets, and musicians. He has been listed in Letras Latinas List of 2013 A Year In Poetry: a Weblog of the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame as well as La Bloga's On Line Floricanto Best Poems of 2013 (list of six poets). Vidaurre co-edited TWENTY: Poems in Memoriam, an anthology in response to the Newtown, CT, tragedy, and Boundless 2014: the Anthology of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He resides in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.


Sonia Gutiérrez’s work promotes social and human dignity. She is an Interim Assistant Professor of English at Mt. San Jacinto College at the San Jancito Campus.

Her poems have appeared in the San Diego Poetry Annual, La Jornada Semanal, and Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, among other publications. Her poem, “The Garden of Dreams” is forthcoming in El Tecolote Anthology. La Bloga’s “On-line Floricanto” is home to her Poets Responding to SB 1070 bilingual poems, including “Best Poems 2011” and “Best Poems 2012.” Her vignettes have appeared in AlternaCtive PublicaCtions, Huizache, and Sunshine Noir II.

Sonia’s bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman / La Mujer Araña (Olmeca Press, 2013), is her debut publication. She is a contributing editor for the The Writer’s Response (Cengage Learning, 2016). Her manuscripts, Kissing Dreams from a Distance, a novel, and Legacy / Herencia, a bilingual poetry collection, are seeking publication. Since 2014, Sonia has been a moderator for Facebook’s Poets Responding to SB 1070, founded by her Chicano role model, Francisco X. Alarcón. 

José Faus is a writer, visual artist and independent teacher. He maintains a studio in downtown Kansas City, Kansas. He is a founding member and past president of the Latino Writers Collective. He is president of the board of The Writers Place. He has presented locally and nationally as part of the Latino Writers Collective or as a visiting artist.


Iris De Anda is a Guanaca Tapatia who hosts The Writers Underground Open Mic at the Eastside Cafe every third Thursday of the month. Author of CODESWITCH: Fires From Mi Corazon. www.irisdeanda.com



Karen S. Córdova is a business woman and poet, who was born in Colorado and has deep roots both in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico. Much of her writing reflects love of her heritage by weaving stories about la gente of the Southwest. Her ancestors are Spanish, Native American, and two extranjero mountain men who wandered west. Karen lives in Southern California.

Karen participates in formal spoken word performances across the United States. She is proud to have participated in the 2010 Festival de Flor y Canto at USC and many ekphrasis events—collaborations of poets, visual artists, and performing artists. Karen curated her inaugural show, Ekphrasis: Sacred Stories of the Southwest, in May 2014, at OBLIQ Art in Phoenix, AZ.  She also loves to give formal presentations about how genealogy and cultural history inform her poetry.

Karen’s work has been published in various journals and other publications. Her first book, FAROLITO, was published in 2015 by 3: A Taos Press. FAROLITO is a true story, which casts a Hispano light on the dark subject of elder abuse and neglect, but also illuminates a jagged path to solution and unexpected healing. After reading several of the poems in the manuscript, executives from a Chicago production company featured Karen in the 2011 documentary, Mary Kay Inspiring Stories. Karen is grateful to have been asked by Dr. Laura Mosqueda, director of the National Center on Elder Abuse, to do a reading of FAROLITO at the USC Keck School of Medicine for faculty and students in late February 2016.

Karen also is grateful to have attended workshops taught by Francisco X. Alarcón at the National Latino Writers Conference in Albuquerque. Through those workshops, private conversations, and experience with Poets Responding to SB 1070, Karen was indelibly touched by the maestro’s generosity of spirit and example of using writing and public speaking as a tool to fight for social justice. (WE’RE ONE/sea/dust/tear/pollen —Francisco X. Alarcón)


Genny Lim is a noted poet performer who’s collaborated with the late Max Roach and bassist, Herbie Lewis. Lim has performed at numerous jazz festivals and venues coast to coast, including the SF Jazz Poetry Festival and World Poetry Festivals in Venezuela, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Italy. Her poetry and vocals can be heard on Asian ImprovArts recordings with Francis Wong, Devotee and Child of Peace and on Jon Jang’s Immigrant Suite. . She is the author of the award-winning play, Paper Angels, Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island and several poetry collections, including Paper Gods and Rebels.



Special On-line Floricanto: Nominees for Pushcart  

Recently, La Bloga happily shared the news that indie publisher Golden Foothills Press, founded in Pasadena in 2014 by Altadena Poet Laureate Thelma T. Reyna, has nominated six poets for one of the oldest, most prestigious literary awards in the United States: the Pushcart Prize.

Nomination alone marks a notable step in a poet's career. Celebrating the nomination, Golden Foothills Press holds a public literary event on Monday, February 8 in the Altadena Library Community Room in Altadena, CA, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Free refreshments and special pricing on The Altadena Poetry Anthology, including the six poems here, add up to a festive reading.

======
lalo kikiriki
SOLSTICE












There is a
moonflower aching to bloom,
waiting for sundown
to unfold.

Water, holding the heat of the sun,
relaxes, evaporates in opal air…
the perfect skeleton of a lizard
agonizes forever
on an anthill at the curb-line.

Desiccated roses,
with aphids trapped inside,
nod to the curled,
blanched leaves of swooning fuchsias
in the garden of an ersatz castle,
self-important
among peaked cedars.

The stucco shivers,
remembering earthquakes,
perfect silence,
perfect heat –
This is earthquake weather
And I have this craving for
shadows, shadows,
the coffin’s cool satin,
the comfortable grave.


======
Nancy Lind
OJUS, FLORIDA: 1945—THAT DAY













Buddy Blount came to school barefoot,
Shared my bench,
Joked that his toes were handy for math.

At brown-bag lunchtimes,
Eating his bread with mayo,
He talked only about big brother Lester,
Brought letters with strange stamps,
Photos, news about Hitler’s death.
As much as first-graders could think,
We all had one thought:
“So that was love –
Absence, letters, pictures, hope.”

A quiet boy in class Buddy was,
Except for one day,
Right after the Pledge of Allegiance.
He saw a soldier at the door,
Jumped up, shouting,
Jumped into the soldier’s arms,
Sobbing.

As if seeing a movie,
With all of us watching, yet in it,
We stood by our desks,
Mouths open,
And stretched our first notions of love:

It was like bear-hugs,
Like gushing tears,
Like kisses,
Like “Don’t go back, please, please,”
Like rocking the boy,
Like “I’m not – I’ve got you,
I’ve got you.”


======
Mark A. Fisher
PAPYRUS












sharp shards of poems
from ancient hands
shaped and fired
in vain attempts
to freeze myths
in clay and words
recited over a potters's field
where sextons dig to make room
stacking the bones of stories
in library ossuaries
to gather dust
and become mere ash
then return to the void


========
Luivette Resto 
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE DAUGHTER












The blend of Newports
and wine on my breath
remind me of her
as I light my next cigarette.

Holding it the way she does,
poised and lady-like
when she holds court during
unsanctioned smoke breaks.

Curve my left eyebrow like her
when I hear bullshit pick-up lines
or excuses masked as reasons,
talk with my hands
as I spew Spanish curses at
NASCAR-worthy speed.
We hold our vulnerabilities
like we hold back our tears,
with purpose and protectiveness.

Smile when we really want
the earth to swallow us whole,
enjoy the silence of solitude
(a bit too much perhaps),

dream to be a starfish
because, like comic book heroes,
they possess regenerative super powers.
Like the intersections of a Venn Diagram,

we share the shame of early pregnancies,
disgust for tolerated slaps to the face, but
today I rewrite the plot of our lives,
flicking ashes on the ground,
knowing we will be them one day.


========
DEAR TEACHER
Shahe Mankerian

Do not tell us about the rib cage
shielding the sinuous chambers
of Aristotle. He did not snuff

the internal lamp or allow
the woman’s heart to beat faster
than the man’s. Let the French

invent the stethoscope to avoid
placing the ear on the cleavage.
We've heard it before: "Grab

a tennis ball and squeeze it
tightly: that’s how hard the beating
heart labors." We’re more likely

to have cardiac arrests
on Monday mornings. You told us
the heart rate of a horse mirrors

the human subject touching it.
Then will a cracked mirror echo
the broken heart scraping it?


========
Tim Callahan
A LATE MONARCH












This bright visitor flitting
through the late and low
and luminous light of autumn
so surprising and superb
in her flashing orange flutter
now approaching now receding
lights with only fleeting favor
on the milkweed then with
seeming fickle nature flits away
as though startled yet returns
and lights again to once again
lay her eggs and yet again
flits and flutters away to scatter
light with unexpected color
as she dances in the air in
delightful and erratic flight
through a garden in decline
in shorter days and cooler
a garden she graces only briefly
with a presence so surprising
of her passing, flaming beauty




Monday, February 01, 2016

A Chicana/o Love Story: What’s Student Activism Got to Do with It

Guest essay by Alvaro Huerta, Ph.D.
  

Growing up on the mean streets of East Los Angeles, when it came to girls, I was shy.

It’s not that I feared that they would beat me up, like the bullies that I evaded on the playground. I simply feared rejection.

For some mysterious reason that I still don’t understand, I felt that if I got rejected, all my friends and complete strangers would find out and make fun of me for eternity. I didn’t want to be that kid. Life was difficult enough, trying to survive in the projects. It didn’t help that I’ve been thin all my life. As a teenager, for instance, when most of my friends joined the local gang, Big Hazard, my gang application was rejected since I couldn’t defend the neighborhood.

Once I arrived at UCLA, as a freshman, my entire world changed. Being one of the few Chicanos on campus, I became a student activist, breaking out of my shyness. From advocating for immigrant rights to demanding more racial minorities in higher education, I became passionate and bold about changing the world. By my sophomore year, I was co-chair of the Chicano Education Project (ChEP), where UCLA students visited poor public schools to mentor and advise high school students about college.

I will never forget that one ChEP meeting, when a beautiful Chicana, Antonia, joined for the first time. As a first-year student from the Westside, she had it all: good looks, smarts and commitment to social change. Later, I found out that our parents had strikingly similar backgrounds. Both of our mothers, for instance, worked as domestic workers for decades and our fathers first arrived in the U.S. from Mexico as agricultural guest workers under the Bracero Program.

While I must admit that I initially thought that Antonia was out of my league, with my new sense of confidence thanks to my student activism, I was no longer that math nerd in high school who perpetually found himself in the dreaded “friend zone” with girls.

I needed to be strategic in my approach, however, since I could sense that I had competition on campus.

Utilizing my new political skills, I developed a master plan. Before asking out Antonia for a date, I approached my competitors—or predators, as I fondly recall them—and told them of my intentions. For those who didn’t respect my request—actually, it was more like a demand—I had no other option but to undermine and belittle them with Antonia. By the time I was finished with them, apart from being clueless, they never had a chance.

Once I did away with the competition, my next goal was avoid the “friend zone” with Antonia. Not wanting to pressure her, I finally got the nerve to ask her out without any commitment.

“It’s not like I want to be your boyfriend or anything like that, but do you want to do something off-campus, since my financial aid just arrived?” I recall asking her.

“Sure,” she said, without fully being aware my master plan or intentions.

Looks like my new political skills were working. Well, it was more like stalking, since I “coincidently” registered for the same classes with her and “accidently” visited her dorm on more than one occasion.

“What are you doing at the dorms?” she originally asked.

“I’m recruiting for ChEP members to visit San Fernando High School,” I uttered, without missing a beat.

It helps when you stay up all night thinking about the different responses to potential questions, just like preparing for a college debate.

Over time, the more time we spent together, the less pressure I felt in asking her to be my girlfriend.

“It’s not like I want to marry you or anything, but do you want to be my girlfriend?” I asked.

We then kissed in my blue VW Beatle where I said, “I think I’m in Disneyland.”

I’m just glad that nobody from my old neighborhood overheard me, since I would lose my street cred.

After leaving UCLA, we continued our relationship for several years. Eventually, I asked the big question that I originally contemplated since that memorable first encounter.

“Would you marry me?” I asked, with confidence.

“Yes,” she said.

Many moons later, as our son Joaquin will soon be applying for college, I wonder if he will have the same luck in finding his future wife on campus?

My advice to him and others: When you’re passionate about something—something good, of course—go for it with self-confidence and fearlessness!

About the author: Dr. Huerta is an assistant professor of urban and regional planning and ethnic and women’s studies at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

No Más Bebés: Documentary on Latina Sterilization Premieres on PBS

Text in this blog via Independent Len's press release


Maria Hurtado: Photo from PBS Pressroom

Directed by Renee Tajima-Peña (Who Killed Vincent Chin?), No Más Bebés premieres on Independent Lens, Monday, February 1, 2016, 10:00-11:00PM ET (check local listings) on PBS.

(San Francisco, CA) — No Más Bebés tells the story of a little-known, but landmark event of women’s history and reproductive rights, a struggle that unfolded four decades ago in Los Angeles. The film recounts how a small group of Mexican immigrant mothers and activists sued county doctors, the state, and the U.S. government after they were sterilized while giving birth at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the late 1960s and 1970s. Many of the mothers spoke no English, and charged that they had been forced to consent to having their fallopian tubes tied by doctors and nurses during the late stages of labor — often based on little more than the question “More babies?”

The film tells an unforgettable tale of family, cultural conflict, and resistance. Aided by an intrepid, 26-year-old Chicana lawyer and armed with hospital records secretly gathered by a whistle-blowing young doctor, the mothers stood up to powerful institutions in the name of justice. In their landmark 1975 civil rights lawsuit, Madrigal v. Quilligan, they argued that a woman’s right to bear a child is guaranteed under the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade.

One of the film’s key figures is Dr. Bernard Rosenfeld, then a young doctor who had noticed a troubling practice in the maternity ward at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center — immigrant women, many of whom spoke no English, were being encouraged to sign authorizations for tubal ligations. A first year intern with everything to lose, Rosenfeld secretly gathered evidence and blasted letters to media and watchdog groups around the country, trying to get someone to take up the cause. He soon met a newly minted law school graduate, Antonia Hernández, whose own mother had given birth at the hospital. Hernández and a group of young Mexican American lawyers, working out of a legal aid storefront, set out to file a civil rights lawsuit to stop the practice.

The filmmakers spend six years tracking down the mothers who sued and other witnesses, and the unfolding drama of the case, Madrigal v. Quilligan, is told through their own words. Many of the mothers were still living under the emotional shadow of the sterilization and were reluctant to discuss the case, but six agreed to be filmed. Four decades later, their memories are still raw. Many had no idea they were sterilized until lawyers and activists helping with the case came knocking on their doors. They frankly discuss the effect the procedure had on their marriages, families, and future lives.

The film asks: Was the maternity ward functioning as a “border checkpoint” for unborn babies? Were the mothers pushed into signing consents in a language they did not understand, were in no condition to sign, or agreed to under threat? For the first time since the trial, the defendant doctors also agreed to be interviewed, including Dr. EJ Quilligan, the prominent head of OB-GYN. While the doctors deny any wrongdoing, they describe the maternity ward of the massive, public teaching hospital as a “war zone,” where so many women labored on gurneys in the hallways.

video


The events depicted in No Más Bebés unfolded against the backdrop of similar sterilizations of poor women at public facilities across the U.S. The Madrigal v. Quilligan lawsuit and related cases around the country led to reforms to protect women from coercive sterilizations and other significant changes in hospital policy. And yet, coercive sterilizations continue to happen. In 2010, it was discovered that incarcerated women in California prisons were unwillingly sterilized; in 2015, a Tennessee judge was found to have offered probation in exchange for sterilization. On the positive side, North Carolina and Virginia have recently agreed to compensate victims of sterilization abuse. Says Independent Lens executive producer Lois Vossen, “the struggle so vividly depicted in No Más Bebés also anticipated the reemergence of the reproductive justice movement today, as Chicana activists sought to redefine reproductive politics not only as the right to abortion, but also the right to bear a child.”

“Like most middle class women, to me Roe v. Wade meant the right to abortion,” says producer/director Renee Tajima-Peña. “I never considered I would ever be denied the choice to have a baby. Today there is a growing reproductive justice movement that argues for a woman’s control over the full range of her fertility — the right to terminate a pregnancy as well as the right to have a child and raise that child in dignity. Forty years ago, these women were talking about reproductive justice in a way that was ahead of their time. They understood that their race, poverty, and legal status affected whether or not they had any choice at all.”

About the Major Participants

The Mothers

Consuelo Hermosillo
Carolina “Maria” Hurtado
Dolores Madrigal
Maria Figueroa
Melvina Hernandez
Jovita Rivera

Antonia Hernandez migrated from Mexico as a child and grew up in East Los Angeles. She was a 26-year-old UCLA Law School graduate, working at the Los Angeles Center for Law & Justice, when she met Dr. Rosenfeld. She and lead attorney Charles Nabarrette filed the Madrigal v. Quilligan suit. She went on to become President of the Mexican American Legal Defense & Education Fund (MALDEF) and is now CEO of the California Community Foundation.

Dr. Edward James Quilligan was the esteemed head of the Women’s Hospital at LAC+USC. Dr. Bernard Rosenfeld was the whistle-blowing young resident. Frank Cruz was the first Latino anchor on Los Angeles TV news and the only reporter to cover the trial.

Gloria Molina is an activist and, as President of the nascent feminist organization, Comisión Femenil, signed on as class representatives for the Madrigal v. Quilligan suit.

About the Filmmakers

Renee Tajima-Peña (Producer/Director) is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker whose directing credits include Calavera Highway (PBS), “The Mexico Story” of The New Americans series (PBS), My Journey Home (PBS), Labor Women (PBS), Skate Manzanar (performance and installation), My America...or Honk if You Love Buddha (PBS), The Last Beat Movie (Sundance Channel), The Best Hotel on Skid Row (HBO), and Who Killed Vincent Chin? (PBS), which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary. Her films have premiered at Sundance, Cannes, San Francisco, New Directors/New Films, Toronto, the Whitney Biennial and festivals around the world. Among her honors are a USA Broad Fellowship, a Peabody Award, a DuPont-Columbia Award, an Alpert Award in the Arts, and IDA Achievement Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Virginia Espino (Producer) is a historian at the UCLA Center for Oral History Research, and has conducted oral histories with major figures in the Latina/o community. Her research on coercive sterilization at LACMC provided the basis for the documentary project. Her research was published in Las Obreras: Chicana Politics of Work and Family, edited by Vicki L. Ruiz, and Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia, and was supported by the Woodrow Wilson Dissertation Grant in Women’s Health, the Ford Dissertation Fellowship for Minorities, the Smithsonian Institution Minority Fellowship, the Smithsonian Institution Inter-University Program for Latino Research Fellowship, and Irvine Fellowship. She has served on the California Commission for Sex Equity, and the Los Angeles Chicano/Latino Education Committee.

CREDITS

Director/Producer: Renee Tajima-Peña
Producer: Virginia Espino
Director of Photography: Claudio Rocha
Editor: Johanna Demetrakas
Associate Producer: Kate Trumbull-LaValle
Original Music: Bronwen Jones
Executive Producer for LPB: Sandie Pedlow
Executive Producer for ITVS: Sally Jo Fifer
Executive Producers for Chicken & Egg Pictures: Julie Benello Parker, Wendy Ettinger, Judith Helfand

No Más Bebés is a co-production of Renee Tajima-Peña and Virginia Espino of Moon Canyon Films, and the Independent Television Service (ITVS), in association with Latino Public Broadcasting (LPB) with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), and Chicken & Egg Pictures.

About Independent Lens

Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing on PBS Monday nights at 10:00 PM. The acclaimed series features documentaries united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement, and unflinching visions of independent filmmakers. Presented by Independent Television Service, the series is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding from PBS and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For more visit pbs.org/independentlens. Join the conversation: facebook.com/independentlens and on Twitter @IndependentLens.