Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Festival de Flor y Canto 2010. He's a Fellow. On-Line Poetry Festival: Poets Repond to Arizona.

Prismacolor drawing: Magu

Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow set for September 15-17 at University of Southern California

In 1973, Los Angeles' University of Southern California hosted the first major literary conference dedicated to Chicana Chicano writers and critics. The historic assembly of up-and-coming writers and the day's most notable voices launched a continuing series of floricanto festivals, fueling what some termed a "Chicano Renaissance."

In a genuine renaissance of literary espiritu come September 15-17, 2010, Doheny Memorial Library on the USC campus hosts a reunion of surviving readers from that 1973 event, together with dozens of contemporary voices including both well-known and newer voices, in keeping with the formal name of the event, Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow. Details of the daily schedule will be announced later in May.

Highlights of the September festival include the father-son presentation by José Montoya and Richard Montoya, with members of Culture Clash. The performance includes excerpts from Richard Montoya's documentary-in-progress One More Canto, celebrating a 1979 Sacramento floricanto event. Joining José Montoya are reunion artists Alurista, Alejandro Murguia, Enrique Lamadrid, Ernest Mares, Estevan Arellano, Juan A. Contreras, Juan Felipe Herrera, Marco A. Dominguez, R. Rolando Hinojosa, Roberto Vargas, Ron Arias, Veronica Cunningham, and Vibiana Chamberlin.

Another highlight is Celebrando Chicana Poetry: Diana Garcia, Maria Melendez, Emmy Pérez, co-sponsored with USC by the University of Notre Dame's Letras Latinas Institute for Latino Studies, and the Poetry Society of America.

Readings and signings throughout the three-day festival feature poetry, short fiction, and novels. Look for the detailed schedule at La Bloga. Click here to join the mail list for news releases.

Discount lodging is available at the Radisson Hotel at USC and the Vagabond Inn, details forthcoming. While there is no substitute for in-person attendance, USC will serve a worldwide audience via web streaming video.

Videotaped performances from 1973 were thought lost until only recently. In conjunction with the September festival, Doheny Memorial Library will announce its release of those performances on-line via the Library Digital Initiative, as well as DVD sets by special order.

Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow is funded by a grant from USC's Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative to Barbara Robinson, USC Libraries Curator of the Boeckmann Center Collection for Iberian and Latin American Studies, and Maria Elena Martinez, Associate Professor of Latin American History and American Studies and Ethnicity. La Bloga's Tuesday columnist, Michael Sedano, and Tyson Gaskill, Director of Programming for Doheny Memorial Library, are fine tuning details of the budget and schedule. As in 1973, student leadership provided by USC's El Centro Chicano will manage the daily activities for Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow.

Notable Honor Earned by Reunion Poet
La Bloga is pleased to offer un abrazote and felicidades to our friend Juan Felipe Herrera on being named a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of achievement and exceptional promise. Juan Felipe Herrera, holder of the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair in the Department of Creative Writing at the University of Californa Riverside, received the fellowship for poetry.

Herrera is scheduled to read this September at Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow. As a young poet, he appeared at the 1973 Festival de Flor y Canto. Across the years of a fabulous career, Juan Felipe Herrera has been honored by the National Book Critics and as a notable author by the New York Times. Read a snippet from 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border at La Bloga.

1. "End of An Affair" by Cathy Arellano
2. 'SAY/MEAN/THINK'- Miguel Morales
3. 'WILDERNESS OF HOPE'- Yasmeen Najmi
4. 'THE DEAD SPEAK'- Jessie Reyes
5. "Teachers Line up at the Tattoo Parlor" by Catriona Rueda Esquibel

1. "End of An Affair" by Cathy Arellano

End of an Affair by Cathy Arellano
May 14, 2010

Good-bye, United States.
It’s clear you don’t want me.
Today, the mayor of Albuquerque
proclaimed sanctuary for ICE officials
in the city’s jails.

Good-bye, U.S.
Arizona’s cancer is spreading internally.
First, that sheriff plays like he’s a federale
in a bad 1940s Hollywood film.
Then we gotta show papers for living while brown.
Now, we can’t teach our young people our history.
And if you don’t know where you came from
you don’t know where you’re going.
Isn’t that what you always told me?

U.S., it’s been over since before Arizona.
Yes, I knew you embraced
that Colorado politician full of hate.
You thought I didn’t hear you cheering him on
while you watched that TOX-ic network?

U.S., I knew it was over
when Nevada’s economy tanked
and you went there
told all the “foreigners” to go home.

Oh, U.S., I knew it was over
back in Cali
that love—lust?—cradle on the coast.
You wanna send my children
who’ve grown up there
to places they’ve never been
or don’t remember.
I should’ve known years ago
when I found the numbers
187, 209.
Truth is, I did know
I was a fool to think I could change you
or at least work with you.

Pero, ahora
Basta ya! No más!
I know you don’t like it when I speak Mexican.
You studied in Spain
“where their Spanish sounds like French or Italian”
where they look French or Italian.
U.S., I’m tired of having a second class accent
in your ears.

Yes, mi amor, it’s over.
Don’t try to talk me out of it.
I’m not going to change my mind.

I see it in your eyes.
You know it too.
Don’t pretend.

Come on, U.S., no one can say we didn’t try.
We almost made it to our 250th silver anniversary.
I know, I know
our history goes back more than 500 years,
but you don’t want me
bringing up those first 250.
If I had stayed focused on those first 250,
none of us would’ve made it this far.

Since it’s over
we’re done
through with each other

I’m not going to
make your children avena in the morning
blow on their mugs of chocolate
walk them to the neighborhood school
take the baby to the park
come home
bathe the baby
throw some laundry in the wash
go pick up the big ones
teach them Spanish
well, my Spanish
help you prepare dinner
clean up
catch the bus to my casita.
I’m not going to do it.

Don’t look so sad
just cuz you wanted to break up with me first.
Don’t look so surprised
that I’m standing up for myself, cabrón.
Okay, of course, you can look at me any way you want--
you always have.

I’ve spoken to my family
the ones who build the houses
tend the yards
clean the pools
Just so you know
my brothers told our cousins
the ones who pick all that produce in the fields
the ones who work in the slaughterhouses
And, you know I talk to my sisters every day
They’re waiting at their sewing machines
Our aunts and uncles are standing by their vacuum cleaners
and shampooers on the office floors
My nieces and nephews have stopped asking,
You want fries with that?
Our barbers, hairdressers, and stylists
are holding combs, clippers, curling irons, and blowdryers
Our teachers are mid-word at the chalkboard
Our lawyers are mid-speech in the courtroom
Our small business owners have fingers on cash register keys

Yes, they’re waiting

This is our border
you might say
between our past and our future.

Don’t worry, U.S.,
we won’t make you swim home.
We don’t hold you to the same standards
we hold for ourselves.

Our shipbuilders
crafted a fleet
that will carry
your funny hats
ruffled shirts
black shoes with big, brass buckles
your guns
your diseases
and you
back where you came from.

Our taquería workers
have neatly folded all your stuff
in a huge tortilla
so you have a snack for your journey.

Why the long face?
Lump it or leave it
That didn’t come from us.

U.S., look on the bright side,
they got democracy and religious freedom over there now,
the two things you came here for.
Consider yourself: Mission Accomplished!
Come on, U.S., let’s not part on bad terms:
tell your people we said hello.
And another thing,
before you go
you should know that
we learned something from you:
in the future
if you ever want to get together
call first.

2. Say/Mean/Think
by Miguel M. Morales

What they say: I don’t have a problem with them being here -- legally.
........What they mean: If they go back to get their papers, maybe they’ll keep 'em there.
................What they think: I have a problem with them being here, period, legal or not.

Say: I don’t have a problem with their language.
........Mean: They need to quit speaking Mexican and learn to speak English.
................Think: I know they’re talking about me.

I don’t have a problem with their culture.
........I like their Mexican food and them costumes they wear.
................All them trumpets in that music of theirs gives me a headache.

I don’t have a problem with them in our schools.
........They need to learn to be like us.
................I don’t want to hear of that chicano stuff about how we “stole” their land.

I don’t have a problem with my kids being friends with them.
........We're open-minded. In summer we have that black fella over for a cookout.
................That boy, Miguel, his iPod looks like my son’s. Did he bring that in with him?

I don’t have a problem with my daughter dating one.
........I have a big problem my daughter dating one.
................He better not get her pregnant. I don’t want no mescan grandkids.

Say: I don’t have a problem with them getting married.
........Mean: He works hard to provide for my daughter and my grand kids.
................Think: He’s treated her better than any man ever has ‘cept her daddy.

What they say: I don’t have a problem with them being here.
........What they mean: I don’t have a problem with them being here.
................What they think: I don’t have a problem with them being here.

© Miguel M. Morales

3. 'WILDERNESS OF HOPE'- Yasmeen Najmi

Wilderness without trees
secrets and dreams
roam Guadalupe's caverns
with bones of birds and men
where conversations obey prevailing winds
brittle words and looks tumble in warning
down Main Street legends
the Chamber of Commerce’s Last Stand
against those who surrendered
to dust and empty shells,
barren reefs lining shores of highways.

Pecos, TX.: Gateway to Nada
A café's pizzo of patriotism
framed on wood paneled walls
and you realize that West Texas
has always been a police state
Pecos Bill and his rifle-bearing posse
collage of military, police and Migra
their banderas
their confession of the sin
of being Mexican
to painted Jesus at his Last Supper
the only one they can really count on
when the chips are down
jobs are few
they don’t replace the bullet-ridden windows
The Law hasn't changed
only the outlaws
no longer white textbook deities
their stories abducted
driven into searing light
bleached, bloodlet
the unstrung corridos
salvaged by vultures and javelinas
at campfires of the disappeared.

Oil wells peck like desert gulls
to hot, slow rhythms
yo-yo in and out of creosote
dark men
spray chemicals without masks
in screaming winds
their sky-stung, naked hands rake leaves
from Lady Bird's primary colors
bonnet blues, a ranchera to stay warm
but above the rust ghosts of petrol
frozen in mid-sentence
on the chalky, pine-freckled mesa
the shifting winds silently turn
the giant white fans of hope.

4. 'THE DEAD SPEAK'- Jessie Reyes

"The Dead Speak" by Jessie Reyes; and an excerpt on silence

Jessie Reyes: A poem and an excerpt on silence
here's a poem inspired by Audre Lorde's The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action ("What are the words that you do not have yet? What do you have to say?") and the situation in Arizona (the US generally, probably), followed by an excerpt by Arundhati Roy.
con todo mi corazon.



By Jessie Reyes

The Dead SpeaK
to me

Tell them
The land
Is free

Tell them
Go home,

Tell them
To pack up
The gates
They erected
In hate

To take
The history
Books they
The blood
Of so many
In the binding

To topple
Into the
Veins of
Our great

To take even
The smoke
They choke
Own children

And if
My doubts
Speak out
A single

They reprimand
Me sharply

-J. Reyes


from "The End of Imagination" by Arundhati Roy

I am prepared to grovel. To humiliate myself abjectly, because, in the circumstances, silence would be indefensible. So those of you who are willing: let's pick our parts, put on these discarded costumes and speak our second-hand lines in this sad second-hand play. But let's not forget that the stakes we're playing for are huge. Our fatigue and our shame could mean the end of us. The end of our children and our children's children. Of everything we love. We have to reach within ourselves and find the strength to think. To fight....

The only dream worth having... is to dream that you will live while you're alive and die only when you're dead... To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget....

Day after day, in newspaper editorials, on the radio, on TV chat shows, on MTV for heaven's sake, people whose instincts one thought one could trust - writers, painters, journalists - make the crossing. The chill seeps into my bones as it becomes painfully apparent from the lessons of everyday life that what you read in history books is true. That fascism is indeed as much about people as about governments. That it begins at home. In drawing rooms. In bedrooms. In beds.

5. "Teachers Line up at the Tattoo Parlor" by Catriona Rueda Esquibel

Art in America con Acento

more like
Teach in Arizona sin Acento
because if you speak [English only] with an accent,
your teaching papers have been revoked
your education disappears
as if your diploma were burned before your eyes
like "free papers" or "land grants" in 1848

What the law really means is that
any [white] 'merican
the right
to tell any [Latino/a] teacher
that they aren't speaking [English only]
and thus are not qualified
to teach
[white] children
in the state.

The state of distrust
of hate of judgment
of mean spirit.

where you're not qualified
unless a posse of
average white men
gives you leave to speak.

The letter of the law is broad,
British and French and North Carolina
will prob'ly pass

I have fantasies
of teachers lining up
all over the the state
to have accent marks
tattooed on their faces
arms, shoulders, knees
etched into gold teeth

Are you going to fire me
for this accent?


1. "End of An Affair" by Cathy Arellano

Cathy Arellano. I have written a collection of stories about San Francisco’s Mission district called Flats and Bars, and I’m editing Homegrown: A Cultural Microhistory of Latinos in the Mission.

2. 'SAY/MEAN/THINK'- Miguel Morales

Miguel M. Morales grew up working as a migrant farm worker and child laborer in the Texas Panhandle. He has earned several state and national journalism awards including the Society of Professional Journalists’ First Amendment Award. Morales is a student, employee, and Diversity Fellow at Johnson County Community College, in Overland Park, Kan. Morales serves as a board member for the Latino Writers Collective and is featured in their anthology, “Cuentos de Centro: Stories from the Latino Heartland.”

3. 'WILDERNESS OF HOPE'- Yasmeen Najmi

Yasmeen Najmi is new to the Albuquerque, New Mexico poetry scene, but has been passionate about poetry since she was a young girl with buck teeth and hair like the Amazon. She was recently a featured poet at the bi-annual Poetry In Place event in Albuquerque. In 2004, she self-published a poetry chapbook titled Ankh, the Hindi word for "Eye," and is working on a second. Two of Yasmeen's poems were recently published in the Kolkata, India-based Graffiti Kolkata Broadside and the indie poetry anthology The Stark Electric Space. A natural resources planner and long time public servant or "Bosquecrat," her poetry often reflects her deep connection to the ecology and cultures of the Rio Grande.

4. 'THE DEAD SPEAK'- Jessie Reyes

Raised and educated in Los Angeles, Jessie Reyes is a border-crossing, two-spirited Chapin inspired by ancestors, immigrants, south Los Angeles, spirits, Guatemala, the Maya, Mexico, activists, revolutionaries, Earth, barrios, cumbias, meditation, love, stars, justice, people and dreams. He believes words can help construct a world with no fascist mandates disguised as laws such as Prop 187, 208, Prop H8, SB 1070, and others. As a developing poet and writer, he aspires to convey the confluence of souls, histories, cultures, memories, and the hopes of his people. He currently attends USC, as a graduate student.

5. "Teachers Line up at the Tattoo Parlor" by Catriona Rueda Esquibel

I'm an Associate Professor of Race and Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University (in the ONLY College of Ethnic Studies in the country). I'm the author of With Her Machete in Her Hand: Reading Chicana Lesbians (UT 2006). Born in L.A. raised in northern New Mexico. building a barrio ranchito in Oakland, CA with my partner Luz Calvo. My familia hails from Los Angeles & Sonora and from northern NM.


Anonymous said...

all the poesia was really good!! gracias.

--raul g

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and truthful expressions of a community holding on to self determination.
Esmeralda Bernal