Monday, January 22, 2007

Francisco Aragón Selected for Award and Residency

Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas

I received the following press release (by Kyle Chamberlin) regarding a friend of La Bloga, the poet Francisco Aragón. ¡Felicidades!

PRESS RELEASE: The Alliance of Artists Communities recently named poet Francisco Aragón a recipient of the Midwestern Voices and Visions award. A faculty member in the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, he was one of seven award recipients from a pool of 115 nominated artists and writers.

Funded by the Joyce Foundation, the Midwestern Voices and Visions award acts as a patron for highly talented minority artists in the Great Lakes region. Aragón will spend September 2007 focusing exclusively on his writing at the residential artist community of the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, Minn.

“My work at the Institute for Latino Studies consists, in large part, of being a champion and advocate of other Latino and Latina writers,” Aragón said. “The demands of the job … have made it very difficult to devote sustained, quality time to my own work. The timing of this award could not have been better. It’s very gratifying to know that there are foundations and initiatives that support artists from under-represented communities.”

Aragón directs the Letras Latinas literary program at Notre Dame and founded the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, the first contest in the United States to encourage emerging Latino poets. In addition to his own books, including the Puerta del Sol collection, Aragón has published in several anthologies. He currently is editing a compilation of Latino poetry scheduled to be published later this year.

◙ Paul Martínez Pompa was a recent featured poet on Shark Forum. Martínez Pompa received his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his M.F.A. from Indiana University. Last year, Momotombo Press released Martínez Pompa’s poetry chapbook, Pepper Spray. In the introduction, Luis J. Rodríguez says that his poems “sizzle like Chicago on a sticky August night—as gunfire, a woman’s moans, a child’s cry, glass breaking, a drunken man falling, and a lonely saxophone drenches notes through blast-opened windows in leaning three-story brick buildings.”

◙ In March, the University of Texas Press will release, What Wildness Is This: Women Write about the Southwest. I see that there are many favorites included in this anthology such as Denise Chávez, Pat Mora and Sandra Ramos O'Briant. The editors describe the anthology as a “collection [that] is a celebration both of the natural world and of personal story. It gathers together women's writing about their experiences in the natural world of the Southwest, from the Gulf coast of Texas to the Pacific coast of California, from the southern borderlands into the southern Great Plains and southern Rockies. Taken as a whole, these pieces demonstrate and illuminate not only the rich diversity of landscapes of the Southwest, but the extraordinary range of women's voices and women's experiences of the land as well.” Read an excerpt.

◙ Lucha Corpi tells us of a new blog dedicated to Latin American writers, El Boomeran(g).

Daniel Hernandez, writing for the LA Weekly, recounts Tía Chucha’s Cafe Cultural's sad news which we've reported here on La Bloga. Pictured below are the three founders of this vibrant bookstore, cafe and community center, Enrique Sanchez, Maria Trinidad Rodriquez and Luis J. Rodriquez. Hernandez's article begins:

"In a perfect world, there would be a Tia Chucha’s Cafe Cultural on every other street corner in L.A. You’d walk in, get a coffee and a couple tamales, browse through the deep selection of novels, histories and children’s books, and maybe catch a young person working on an art project, learning son jarocho or reading their poetry. You’d get the feeling that most people who walk into Tia Chucha’s say they get when they’re there: that it’s genuinely welcoming, a place where people come to express themselves, share and be nourished. You wouldn’t want to leave.... The café is facing an eviction in February after five years of operating at an undistinguished strip mall on Glenoaks Boulevard. The owners want to bring in a laundry...."

To learn more about how to help, visit Tía Chucha’s website.

◙ If you tend to skip La Bloga on the weekends (nursing that hangover with a hot bowl of menudo, no doubt), well, shame, shame, shame. We might send Rudy (the enforcer) to your home to spank some sense into you. If you're one of those unfortunate folks, you missed Saturday's special guest bloguero, René Colato, the award-winning children’s book author. Here is the post where he reviews two new books. You should also visit his website for more information on his work. Now, send Rudy your address so he can pay a visit and impose a little discipline.

◙ My review of Inlandia: A Literary Journey through California's Inland Empire (Heyday Books / Santa Clara University), edited by Wattawa, appeared in the El Paso Times yesterday. I note, part: “No review can fully capture the breadth and spirit of this remarkable anthology. Suffice it to say that each author surprises, informs and entertains. 'Inlandia' paints a complex and compelling portrait of a region that is simultaneously beautiful and harsh, multicultural and alienating, vibrant and destructive. Without question, it is a portrait that commands our respect.”

◙ That’s all for now. Until next Monday, ¡Lea un libro!

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