Monday, January 23, 2006

SPOTLIGHT ON BLAS MANUEL DE LUNA

Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas

Blas Manuel De Luna was born in Tijuana, Mexico and raised in Madera, California. He received an M.A. in English from California State University, Fresno, where he studied with Peter Everwine, Connie Hales, C.G. Hanzlicek, and Philip Levine. He received his M.F.A. from the University of Washington, where he studied with Rick Kenney, HeatherMcHugh, and David Wagoner. While at the University of Washington, he was the 1995-1996 Klepser Fellow, and, later, a teaching assistant. During the 2000-2001 academic year, he was the Ruth and Jay C. Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he taught creative writing. His poetry collection, Bent to Earth, was published in 2005 by Carnegie Mellon University Press, and is a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry. Rigoberto González recently reviewed Bent to Earth for the El Paso Times. Currently, he teaches high school English in Firebaugh, California. Here is one of his poems:

Into America

By Blas Manuel De Luna

If there is a rumor
of a new hole in a fence,
one that is safer
to pass through,
the families will gather
and wait until
the darkness offers cover.

My father
has told me of a man
who was beaten with a hammer
when he was caught, until his leg cracked,
until his femur
was in pieces. Now, that man's leg
is bolted together.

My mother
knows a girl
who was left to wander
on the frontera,
when her parents were
caught without her. Now,
she is our neighbor.

When it is late,
when there is, maybe, an hour
until daylight, those who have waited,
out of fear
or out of patience,
will have to decide if it is better
to cross, or if it is better, somehow,
to live with desire.

A LITTLE MORE POETRY: Eduardo C. Corral holds degrees from Arizona State University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He received a "Discovery"/The Nation Award in 2005 and a MacDowell Colony residency in 2006. Here is his poem, “To a Mojado Who Died Crossing the Desert”:

After a storm saguaros glisten
like mint trombones.
Sometimes a coyote leaps
over creosote.
Hush.
The sand calls out for more footprints.
A crack in a boulder
can never be an entrance
to a cathedral
but a mouse can be torn open
like an orange.
Hush.
The arroyo is the color of rust.
Sometimes a gust of snow
floats across the water
as gracefully as a bride.

NUEVO LIBRO PARA LOS NIÑOS: Abuelita's Secret Matzahs / Las Matzas Secretas de Abuelita (Emmis Books) by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso. From the publisher:

Abuelita's Secret Matzahs tells the fascinating but little-known story of the Cyrptojews, Jews forced to convert to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition who secretly maintained their Jewish faith and customs throughout the ages - often revealing the secret to only one person per generation. Jacobo loves to visit his grandmother, Abuelita, who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, in an adobe house hidden by juniper and pinon trees. When Jacobo befriends David, a Jewish child, he starts to notice that David's family observes many of the same traditions as Jacobo's grandmother: they avoid pork, they light two candles on Friday nights, and they eat unleavened bread during Passover. When Jacobo asks Abuelita about this discovery, she offers him the chance to be the keeper of traditions for his generation - and Jacobo realizes that he will one day have to make a choice between the Christian beliefs he has been raised with and the Judaism of his ancestors.

HA-HA…I’VE GOT IT AND YOU DON’T!: I just received my advance review copy (“ARC” to those in the know) of the forthcoming The Nymphos of Rocky Flats (HarperCollins/Rayo, March 2006) by first Mario Acevedo. I’ve a few chapters in and already I’m hooked. How can you beat a Chicano war veteran who is also a P.I. and a vampire? More later…

All done. So, until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres y comadre at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!

2 comments:

Gina MarySol Ruiz said...

I loved Bent to the Earth and look forward to reading much more from Blas Manuel De Luna. I reviewed Bent to the Earth a while ago on Amoxcalli and I remain astounded at the power of his poetry. Gracias, Daniel for putting this in the spotlight.

Anonymous said...

He's my teacher