Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow Schedule. On-Line Floricanto august 10

Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow Schedule Announcement

Michael Sedano

Back in 1973, USC hosted the first major literary festival featuring Chicano Literature. Across three fabulous days, a spectacular lineup of both established and emerging writers read for attentive audiences of students, scholars, and community members.

In September, thirty-seven years after that first Festival de Flor y Canto, the University of Southern California welcomes back some of those who read at that historic first floricanto in a three day festival teaming veteranas veteranos from that day with important contemporary voices and a selection of emerging writers.

As I've reported at La Bloga, I believed videotapes of 1973 performances had been lost and my photographs would provide the sole remaining record of that first festival. How fortunate that Tomás Rivera took the helm at UC Riverside, because a young librarian named Barbara Robinson purchased a set of 43 U-matic videocassettes in Rivera's name. That is the set I digitized and, as will be formally announced at Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow, will become publicly available via USC's Digital Library.

In a wondrous confluence of irony and destiny, Barbara Robinson now is Doheny Memorial Library's Latin American and Chicano collections specialist. Barbara, together with Profa Maria-Elena Martinez, secured the grant through USC's Visions & Voices program that is paying for September 15-17's Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow.

In putting together the current festival, I was unable to locate many of the poets and writers whose readings were captured on those videotapes. Four of the artists I was able to contact are unable to attend.

Returning to USC in September will be Alurista, Vibiana Aparicio-Chamberlin, Estevan Arellano, Ron Arias, Juan A Contreras, Veronica Cunningham, Juan Felipe Herrera, R Rolando Hinojosa, Enrique Lamadrid, Ernest Mares, Jose Montoya, Alejandro Murguía, Roberto Vargas. Two more 1973 performers who were not videotaped will also appear. Veteranas and Veteranos open the festival, reading on Wednesday commencing at 1:00.

You will find the full festival schedule, together with travel and lodging datos, here. Do plan to spend three days in Los Angeles on the USC campus for this historic event.

Sadly, United States literature has lost some of those whose voices were heard in September 1973. Here is the roll call of our friends, those whom we know are gone. Please call the roll aloud, wherever you are right now:

Tomás Rivera?

Oscar Acosta?

Marcela Trujillo?

Mario Suárez?

Ponce Xavier Ruiz?

Ricardo Sánchez?

Lynne Romero?

Omar Salinas?



On-Line Floricanto. Poets Responding to Arizona's Misbegotten Hate Laws.

1. "Isabel's Corrido" by Martín Espada
2. "Ghost Town: 24 Hours B4 SB 1070" by Gerardo Pacheco
3. "I Am Exactly Where I Am Supposed To Be" by Victoria Hovda
4. "Not My Mexican!" by Elena Díaz Bjorkquist
5. "Gringafication" by Cherie Lynae Cabrera
6. "Evolution of This Revolution" by Andrea Hernandez Holm
7. "In Full Flight" by Hedy Garcia Trevino

Martín Espada

Isabel’s Corrido

Para Isabel

Francisca said:
Marry my sister so she can stay in the country.
I had nothing else to do. I was twenty-three and always cold, skidding
in cigarette-coupon boots from lamppost to lamppost through January
in Wisconsin. Francisca and Isabel washed bed sheets at the hotel,
sweating in the humidity of the laundry room, conspiring in Spanish.

I met her the next day. Isabel was nineteen, from a village where the elders
spoke the language of the Aztecs. She would smile whenever the ice pellets
of English clattered around her head. When the justice of the peace said
You may kiss the bride, our lips brushed for the first and only time.
The borrowed ring was too small, jammed into my knuckle.
There were snapshots of the wedding and champagne in plastic cups.

Francisca said:
The snapshots will be proof for Immigration.
We heard rumors of the interview: they would ask me the color
of her underwear. They would ask her who rode on top.
We invented answers and rehearsed our lines. We flipped through
immigration forms at the kitchen table the way other couples
shuffled cards for gin rummy. After every hand, I’d deal again.

Isabel would say:
Quiero ver las fotos. She wanted to see the pictures
of a wedding that happened but did not happen, her face inexplicably
happy, me hoisting a green bottle, dizzy after half a cup of champagne..

Francisca said:
She can sing corridos, songs of love and revolution
from the land of Zapata. All night Isabel sang corridos in a barroom
where no one understood a word. I was the bouncer and her husband,
so I hushed the squabbling drunks, who blinked like tortoises in the sun.
Her boyfriend and his beer cans never understood why she married me.
Once he kicked the front door down, and the blast shook the house
as if a hand grenade detonated in the hallway. When the cops arrived,
I was the translator, watching the sergeant watching her, the inscrutable
squaw from every Western he had ever seen, bare feet and long black hair.

We lived behind a broken door. We lived in a city hidden from the city.
When her headaches began, no one called a doctor. When she disappeared
for days, no one called the police. When we rehearsed the questions
for Immigration, Isabel would squint and smile.
Quiero ver las fotos,
she would say. The interview was canceled, like a play on opening night
shut down when the actors are too drunk to take the stage. After she left,
I found her crayon drawing of a bluebird tacked to the bedroom wall.

I left too, and did not think of Isabel again until the night Francisca called to say:
Your wife is dead. Something was growing in her brain. I imagined my wife
who was not my wife, who never slept beside me, sleeping in the ground,
wondered if my name was carved into the cross above her head, no epitaph
and no corrido, another ghost in a riot of ghosts evaporating from the skin
of dead Mexicans who staggered for days without water through the desert.

Thirty years ago, a girl from the land of Zapata kissed me once
on the lips and died with my name nailed to hers like a broken door.
I kept a snapshot of the wedding; yesterday it washed ashore on my desk.
There was a conspiracy to commit a crime. This is my confession: I’d do it again.

Gerardo Pacheco

Ghost Town: 24 Hours B4 SB 1070

Doña Rosa left early this morning.
She loaded every thing she owned in her
car, and say good bye. She went to Utah.

The little girls, from the house next door,
don’t cry anymore. Yesterday, their mothers
took them away and went to Chicago.

The school, up in the hill, is empty.
The few children, who stayed today,
are not coming back tomorrow,
their parents will leave tonight.

The old Ramirez left last night, and planned
to drive all night to reach San Francisco.
I believed they have children up there.

Don Goyo sold all of his farming tools
and bought a ticket to go to New Mexico.
he has a son over there, he will be okay.

Los Pachecos told me they will leave
as soon as they fixed their old beetle,
and if they can’t fix it, they’ll hit
the road anyways….

Chucho, el carnicero, didn’t open
his store today. I couldn’t buy carne
de Puerco. I waited for him today,
but I think he is gone too.

La tamalera, Rosita, is gone. She used
to stand on the corner selling her tamales
dulces, but I am afraid she left too.

The church bells weren’t tolled
this morning. I think El Padrecito
left early too. I think he went
to a small village in Mexico.

Every body from La Bendicion
De Dios has left. They told me they will
come back soon, but the SB 1070

esta cabrona. It’s only hours away,
and I have to get out of here.

I need to hit the road too, or else,
hasta Mexico…puedo ir a dar…

Victoria Hovda


I am exactly where I am supposed to be...
and I am willing to share...
I did not want to live 'my country'
"AMERICA" summoned me!

to turn AMERICA into AMERIKKKA I won't let you!
I love you, but I 'll fight you like a Warrior!
in making me hate you, you will not succeed!
I am exactly, where I am supposed to be!

Call this Land whatever you want,
Native soil, the blood of my ancestors,
is underneath my feet!
I am exactly, where I am supposed to be!

Open your eyes! Look at yourself,
how sad and pathetic that you're stuck,
in the color of your skin....
Dare, to look beyond the cosmic mirror...

I Love you, my Heart, my soul knows no borders
it does not matter, that you don't love me...
I believe, LOVE is what you most need...
I am exactly where I am supposed to be

México! 'my country' is the place of my birth...
America! 'my country' summoned me...
I am here... because here...
Is EXACTLY where I am supposed to be!

~Victoria Pérez-Hovda~
July 29, 2010

Elena Díaz Bjorkquist

Not My Mexican!

Last week I explained to a friend
Who was pro-SB1070
What it meant to me,
Why I was against it.
She didn’t get it.

This week she told me
Her housekeeper was picked up.
“It’s racial profiling,” she said.
I asked what she meant,
Just to hear her response.

“She was arrested for being here
Illegally,” she said.
“A cop stopped her for a burned out taillight,
Demanded her papers, and arrested her
When she told him she didn’t have any.
She’s in the jail at Florence.
It’s racial profiling!”

A week ago, my friend didn’t understand
What that meant – how a cop could stop me,
Or anyone who looked like me,
And ask for papers.
“It’s not fair,” she said.

”No, it isn’t fair,” I said. “You can be stopped
For a minor traffic offense,
But if SB1070 goes into effect
And I’m stopped,
I have to prove I’m a citizen.”

“It’s not fair,” she repeated. “My housekeeper
Was here for 20 years, her daughters
Were even born here.
Now, I have to find a new housekeeper.”

I shook my head and decided not to push it.
One step at a time, at least now
She understands “racial profiling.”

The burning question remains, however,
How could she be pro-SB1070
Because she wanted illegal immigration stopped,
When for ten years, she’d hired an
“Illegal immigrant” to clean her house?

Cherie Lynae Cabrera


The machine that powers the gringafication of mi familia
Powers the beanification of hard workers with Spanish accents
It disconnects us
Separates us
Catalogues us
Labels us

Smoothly handing out shades of grey
Allowing pieces of paper to define ethnicity
Creating maps that gave borders significance
My destiny was manifested in 1846
When America fought its first war on foreign soil


Defined by Walker
The historian of that day
As a land of
"Mixed race...
Composed of every poisonous
Compound of blood and color"
That was the beginning
That is what they thought of us then
Is that what they think of us now
Is that what you think of us now

These are not Anglo names!"
Shouts my blacked haired
Filipino Teacher
With her Spanish last name
And her East coast accent

Tell me you don't need to be reminded
Tell me you remember
When you lost that land
When you lost us

In the beginning
We weren't white enough
Now we aren't brown enough
Not "colored" enough to understand
How dare you
How dare you accuse me
and my father
Of assimilation
When we are the true victims

While you retain your culture
Your land
Your language
Your dignity
We lost it all

I cannot even pronounce my own name correctly

Before you label me gringa
Before you steal away
What little pride I have left
Remember this
When you give me the title
You become part of that machine
That disconnects us
That separates us
That catalogues us
That labels us

I just have to wonder
Why you would want to claim back your land
And not your people

Andrea Hernandez Holm

Evolution of This Revolution

In Arizona
sorrows float with the sunlight.
Their heat on our flesh
is familiar.
We shift, shrug
ignore, accept
these generations of disappointment
too heavy to leave the atmosphere.

In Arizona
the fearful and hateful
use power
to further ignorance.

We stand up on the broken hearts
of those who walked before us.
Their songs of promise lift us:
We shall overcome
with peace
We shall conquer
with our humanity
There will be justice
because truth is ours.

Nothing changes.

We remain invisble
unless driving brown
or learning brown
or thinking brown
and then
we are reasonably suspicious

517 years, 6 months, and 29 days (approximately)
and we are done.
Ya basta.

Our children will not suffocate
on our sorrows
or your hate.

We rise in protest and wait,
ready to consume you.

~Andrea Hernandez Holm

Hedy Garcia Treviño


Dedicated to my sister Karla

Crossing Borders into eternity

We pass we cross from here to there
There are no borders to contain us
We are the people of the corn
We are the children of Quetzalcoatl
The children of the man-God that could fly
These ancient trade routes are imprinted like
the memories of maternal love.
We are the residents of Tollan we come
from the city of the God's
We pass we cross from here to there
We fly above the bones of those that came before
Like Jewels released from encrusted stone
We return to our origins and spiritual urge to fly
We pass we cross from here to there.

By Hedy Garcia Treviño


1. "Isabel's Corrido" by Martin Espada
2. "Ghost Town: 24 Hours B4 SB 1070" by Gerardo Pacheco
3. "I Am Exactly Where I Am Supposed To Be" by Victoria Hovda
4. "Not My Mexican!" by Elena Díaz Bjorkquist
5. "Gringafication" by Cherie Lynae Cabrera
6. "Evolution of This Revolution" by Andrea Hernandez Holm
7. "In Full Flight" by Hedy Garcia Treviño

Martín Espada
photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths
Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1957. He has published seventeen books as a poet, editor and translator. His collection of poems entitled The Republic of Poetry (Norton, 2006) received a Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A collection of essays, The Lover of a Subversive is Also a Subversive, is forthcoming from Michigan in 2010; his next collection of poems, The Trouble Ball, is forthcoming from Norton in 2011. He has received numerous fellowships and awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award. Espada is a professor in the English Department at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where he teaches creative writing and the work of Pablo Neruda.

Gerardo Pacheco

Gerardo Pacheco Matus was born in Huhi, Yucatan, Mexico. He is Mayan. Pacheco migrated to the United States, when he was fifteen years old. He was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college. Pacheco’s writing is influenced by his Mayan and Mexican heritage. He uses their magic & history to bridge two worlds that have been in conflict not only with their language, but their culture. Also, Pacheco's writing deals with migration and its social and cultural hardships. Pacheco had published poems at Cipactli Magazine and Transfer Magazine. He has been a Smart Cookie scholar since 2006. Pacheco is a candidate for the MFA Creative Writing- Poetry at San Francisco State University.

Victoria HovdaVictoria Pérez-Hovda
(Born María Victoria Pérez Pérez aka Vicky & 'La Zocoyota')

Born in México, in the State of Nayarit, under the Brilliance of a Full Moon Light.
Immigrated "in search of a better Life" to The United States at the age of 19.
Her Love for Nature and Poetry in action, began as early as the age of six.
As a child she spent hours in her backyard, observing, loving Nature,
she was known as,"The child who can speak to the birds"
This became her haven, her refuge, from the hostile world she lived in.

She lived in Tijuana, Baja California during very important formative years.
San Diego California has been her Home for the last thirty years...
whenever asked if she was a 'mother, or housewife' her response:
"Yes, I have the most important job in the world!"
"I am 'an architect of Human Character' I am passionately, lovingly,
raising my three kids into successful, kind, intelligent, caring, human beings."

Victoria is an avid Yoga and Meditation practitioner.
She believes in the therapeutic, healing power of Yoga and Poetry.
She believes above all, that her family is her Greatest accomplishment and gift.
A "Student of Life" is how she prefers to see herself.
Victoria is also a Certified Bikram Yoga Teacher, and because she believes in the
power of the spoken and written word, when she is asked, "how was work?"
...her response:
"I do not work... I Write, I Love, and I TEACH."

Elena Díaz Bjorkquist
Elena Díaz Björkquist was born in Morenci, Arizona. The town was demolished in the late 60’s to expand the copper mine. Elena is an author, artist, and historian who writes about the Chicanos of Morenci. Her books are Suffer Smoke and Water from the Moon. She is co-editor of Sowing the Seeds, una cosecha de recuerdos.
Elena is an Arizona Humanities Scholar and is also on their Road Scholars Speakers Bureau. She performs a Chautauqua living history program as Teresa Urrea, a curandera from the 1900’s. Elena also does two presentations on Morenci: “Growing Up Chicana in Morenci” and “In the Shadow of the Smokestack.” Both presentations are based on oral history interviews she conducted with Chicano elders of Morenci.
Her website is www.elenadiazbjorkquist.net.

Cherie Lynae Cabrera
Chérie Lynae Cabrera is a graduate from the University of Washington with a major in Social Science and a minor in Anthropology. She has spent most of her life exploring the written word, through poetry, journalism, and creative writting. She has more recently discovered her aptitude for the spoken word, and plans to continue to persue this path. She has spent the last four years of her life working as a Medical Assistant. Chérie's love for serving the sick and the injured has been a priority in her life. Her writing not only reflects this value but also her ability to overcome every obstacle put in her way. She believes in using her talents, compassion, and education to write poetry that will reveal topics that need to be discussed.

Andrea Hernandez Holm
Born and raised in the desert of central Arizona, Andrea is a writer of poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction. She is a keeper of stories and a teller of stories, most of her writing focusing on the exploration of identity. Andrea's family arrived in Arizona in the 1940s on a journey that began in their homelands of Chihuahua, Mexico. Her heritage is mestiza of Tarahumara, Nahuatl, and Spanish ancestry. Andrea is currently an Instructional Specialist at the University of Arizona where she works with students on all matters related to writing. Visit her at http://www.facebook.com/l/d6d77I35GHPWLT-Um1R_IwebueA;www.andreahernandezholm.webs.com

Hedy Garcia Treviño
Name Hedy Garcia Treviño (nickname Jaritta Little willow) because i spent my childhood in the river by the willows. Born in New Mexico. Hispanic Family was in New Mexico before this area was a territory of the U.S and native family has been here forever.

Mother of 2 wonderful children and 1 precious granddaughter who lives in Phoenix. I started writing poetry as a young child when i was hit with a ruler for speaking Spanish in school. So poetry has always been my 'healer' my medicine, and poets responding is my temple. Professionally I'm a substance abuse and mental health therapist.

I was raised by my Spanish speaking grandparents in rural new mexico surrounded by corn fields which sang to me. It was a blessed and fortunate event that my parents abandoned me to the care of my grandparents because i experienced the ancient histories of my familia due to that experience. I practice herbal healing and come from a long family history of 'healers' and gardeners and those who work the land. I feel best when my hands are connected to the blessed earth.


Call for Papers

2011 Conference on Modernity, Critique, and Humanism
February 12-13, 2011
California State University, Los Angeles

This conference is the result of a close collaboration between faculty from Cal State L.A., Universidad Michoacana (México), and the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa (México). The aim of the conference is to present a forum for the discussion of ways in which modernity, critique, and humanism can be contemplated, imagined, and practiced in a world that has become increasingly interdependent.

For further information, click here.

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