Monday, April 07, 2008

SPOTLIGHT ON SUSANA CHÁVEZ-SILVERMAN

Susana Chávez-Silverman earned her Masters at Harvard University in Romance Languages, Ph.D. at UC Davis in Spanish, and has as taught at UC Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC Davis, as well as the University of South Africa before coming to Pomona College.

Chávez-Silverman grew up bilingually and biculturally between Los Angeles, Madrid and Guadalajara, México, the daughter of a Jewish Hispanist and a Chicana teacher. After a peripatetic university and post-graduate career, and years spent living in Boston, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Spain and South Africa, she is currently professor of Spanish, Latino/a and Latin American Studies in the Department of Romance Languages and Literature at Pomona College in Claremont, California.

She specializes in gender and sexuality studies, autobiography/memoir, Latin American and U.S. Latin@/Chican@ literature, poetry, and feminist pedagogy. She has published numerous essays on these topics and co-edited the books Tropicalizations: Transcultural Representations of Latinidad (1997) with Frances R. Aparicio, and Reading and Writing the Ambiente: Queer Sexualities in Latino, Latin American and Spanish Culture (2000) with Librada Hernández.
Her book, Killer Crónicas:Bilingual Memories, was published by the University of Wisconsin Press in 2004. This collection of chronicles began in 2001, after Chávez-Silverman was awarded a fellowship by the US National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a project on contemporary Argentine women's poetry. She spent thirteen months in Buenos Aires where, in addition to research and writing on her official (academic) book, she began to send bilingual, punning "letters from the southern [cone] front" to colleagues and friends by email. Chávez-Silverman says:

"Living in Buenos Aires, that gorgeous, turn of the century city in a country on the brink of (economic) collapse-home to many of the authors and artists I had long admired (Borges, Cortázar, Alfonsina Storni, Alejandra Pizarnik, and before them the foundational Romantics, Sarmiento and Echeverría)-brought out a sense of self, dis/placed yet oddly at home, in a cultural, linguistic and even tangible way. In Buenos Aires, the fragmented parts of me, the voices, cultures, and places inside of me, rubbed up against each other and struck fire. I called my email missives 'Crónicas,' inspired by the somewhat rough-hewn, journalistic, often fantastic first-hand accounts sent 'home' by the early conquistadores, and refashioned by modern-day counterparts such as Carlos Monsiváis, Elena Poniatowska, and Cristina Pacheco."

One of Chávez-Silverman 's crónicas, "Anniversary Crónica," inspired by the June 16th anniversary of both Susana's parents' wedding and that of the so-called "Soweto Riots" in South Africa, was recently awarded First prize in Personal Memoir in the "Chicano Literary Excellence Contest" sponsored by the U.S. national literary magazine el Andar.

Chávez-Silverman will be doing a residency at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California, from May 1 to June 30, 2008. For more information, go to the Center’s website.

Finally, the Department of Foreign Languages and the Latin American Student Association at the University of New Orleans are proud to present a special reading and performance by Chávez-Silverman on Wednesday, April 9, 5:00 p.m., at the Earl K. Long Library, 407. Click here for more information.

◙ Multi-talented author and editor, C. M. Mayo, gives us five lessons she’s learned about blogging on the second anniversary of her entry into the cyberworld. Click here for her funny, inspiring and quite truthful list.

◙ Man-about-town Rigoberto González offers a small press spotlight on poet Javier O. Huerta over at Critical Mass, the blog of National Book Critics Circle board of directors.

◙ The April issue of Tu Ciudad is out and boy, are we excited. Why? Well, per usual, it’s filled with juicy bits of Latino culture. This is the “design” issue so if you want to learn about those “Latino visionaries who are changing the way we live, work, and play in L.A.,” then pick up an issue. And there are the monthly columns by Marcos Villatoro (“Sunset at Chavez”) and Ayn Carrillo (“Sex y L.A.”), of course. Don’t forget the great lists of Latino restaurants and bars to fill that particular need. Also included are pieces for sports fans, political junkies, and art lovers. And there’s something else, something very special: the short story “Cement God” by Conrad Romo. This story is from the forthcoming Latinos in Lotusland (Bilingual Press), edited by yours truly. Anyway, for Tu Ciudad subscription and other information, click here.

◙ Please note this upcoming Self Help Graphics & Art event (click ad to get to SHG&A's website):


◙ The Latino Poetry Review is now live! Founding and managing editor Francisco Aragón says that the mission of LPR is to publish book reviews, essays, and interviews with an eye towards spurring inquiry and dialogue. LPR recognizes that Latino and Latina poets in the 21st century embrace, and work out of, a multitude of aesthetics. With this in mind, its critical focus is the poem and its poetics.

The webmaster at the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) informed Aragón that in the first nine days of LPR's official existence, the site got 1800 hits, which accounted for half of all the hits for the ILS's entire website in that same time period, which was very encouraging to hear since a few years ago the ILS didn't have a literary component. Aragón asks readers to “seriously consider writing a ‘letter to the editor’ in response to any of the pieces in issue number one.” These letters will get posted in the “Letters to the Editor" section shortly after he receives them.

LPR cover art (pictured) is by Kathy Vargas, a San Antonio based artist. Each issue of LPR will always feature cover art that will be taken from and artist who has had an exhibit at ILS's Galeria América.

◙ Over at the El Paso Times, Poet Sheryl Luna reviews Gabriel Gomez's The Outer Bands (University of Notre Dame Press, winner of the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize. She says that Gomez’s poetry collection “engages with lyricism and syntactical play.” She also notes: “An El Paso native now living in Santa Fe, Gomez writes eloquently of distance, longing, need and survival in a series of poems that culminate with a section about the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.” Luna, an El Paso native and award-winning poet, is the author of Pity the Drowned Horses (University of Notre Dame Press).

◙ Agustin Gurza, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, tells us about a new exhibit, “Phantom Sightings: Art After the Chicano Movement” (April 6 to September 1) which provides a rare showcase at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

"Phantom Sightings" … features more than 120 works, including 10 commissioned specifically for the occasion, by 31 artists from across the country, some of whom don't call themselves Chicano. Most came of age in the 1990s and several have just recently started to draw international attention. Three -- Ruben Ochoa, Eduardo Sarabia and Mario Ybarra Jr. -- are currently represented in the sometimes reputation-making Whitney Biennial in New York.

Curated by Rita Gonzalez, Howard Fox and Chon Noriega, this is the first major Chicano group exhibition presented at LACMA since 1987's "Hispanic Art in the United States," which was organized by the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. And it is the first such show organized for LACMA itself in more than three decades, since its ground-breaking "Chicanismo en el Arte" in 1975 and "Los Four" the year before.


To read the entire piece, click here. For more information on the exhibit, visit LACMA's website. If you have story ideas for Agustin, email him at agustin.gurza@latimes.com. (Pictured: Jason Villegas' "Celestial Situations" (2006) combines video projection with a wall drawing; photo credit: Los Angeles Times.)

◙ All done. Tomorrow I turn (drumb roll) 49! Where does the time go? Happy birthday to all April children who read La Bloga. So, until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres y comadres. ¡Lea un libro!

4 comments:

Rebel Girl said...

Happy birthday Daniel!

and happy Pulitzer to Junot Diaz!

Anonymous said...

Feliz cumpleaños, Daniel, y muchos libros más.
RudyG

Daniel Olivas said...

Mil gracias. And yes, Happy Pulitzer to Junot!!!

msedano said...

h@ppy birthd@y, d@niel. @nd @m i gl@d you dropped th@t irrit@ting arroba.