Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Feria del Libro de Los Angeles; On-Line Floricanto

Feria Focuses on Spanish Language Books

Excitement builds for the USC era of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Thousands of people will traipse across USC’s blissfully flat terrain and enjoy the campus’ easy access via rapid transit (one train and a bus).

There will be no Spanish language forums and authors in the Times’ spotlight, but likely some titles on sale. However, just up Figueroa from USC (USC is on the corner of Figueroa and Jefferson), LéaLA is staging a major literary event at the Convention Center. LéaLA, Feria del Libro en Español de Los Ángeles, runs three days, Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1.

LéaLA, a creation of Foundation of the University of Guadalajara in the United States, promises a fabulous event. Even gente not in LA will want to browse the event’s website for its trove of intriguing discussions. Here’s a link to LéaLA for detailed datos.

Los Angeles was invited to centerpiece Guadalajara’s Feria Internaciónal del Libro in 2009, spurring the UDG Foundation folks to a visionary plan to grow this year’s event to become a northern counterpart to Guadalajara's FIL. In a strong signal of support for the effort, El Gobierno de Jalisco is this year's Invitado de Honor

Beyond the commercial vision, the organizer sees the event as a cultural watershed, a point featured in Spanish-language newsmedia. Both Azteca Noticias and El Informador picked up LéaLA’s PR lede:

Concebida como una alternativa cultural para que los hispanos redescubran sus raíces a través de la literatura, la Primera Feria del Libro en Español 'LéaLA' reunirá en un mismo espacio a escritores como Paco Ignacio Taibo II, Carmen Boullosa, Xavier Velasco, Sandra Lorenzano e Isabel Allende, entre otros.

USC charges ten dollars to park in its lots. The nearby shopping center se usa grua mercilessly, far preferable to a sign I saw on a residence in Guadalajara, “ponchamos llantas gratis," so plan to pay to park or take your "extracar" (in a former RTD vernacular).

For a couple of dollars the region's Red, Purple, and Blue lines get visitors to the 7th Street Metro Center. At the NW corner of Flower and 7th Street, take the $0.35 DASH F line to the Convention Center. These crosstown buses run to USC, circle the campus, and retrace the route past the Feria del Libro and the hoopla of the Staples arena (if the Lakers are still playing), thence to 7th Street Metro Center.

On-Line Floricanto April 26, 2011
©Magu. Used as theme graphic for Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow.
It's a pleasure welcoming seven poets today as On-Line Floricanto nears its first anniversary of poets contesting racism with alma. We're ahead, 50 weeks to zero. This week: Elena Díaz Bjorkquist, Daniel Sosa and Christopher Perez, Tara Evonne Trudell, Abel Salas, Carlos Parada Ayala, Jesus Cortez.

As always, the poets welcome your comments and remarks on their work. Click the Comments counter below to share your experience.

1. "Guns in Arizona" by Elena Díaz Bjorkquist

2. "Ill Eagle... Cries in the Sky" by Daniel Sosa and Christopher Perez

3. "Borders" by Tara Evonne Trudell

4. "I Am" by Abel Salas

5. "Viper" by Carlos Parada Ayala

6 ."The Hummingbird" by Jesus Cortez

Guns in Arizona

by Elena Díaz Bjorkquist

Don’t feel safe in restaurants
People carrying guns
Claiming it’s their right
Their Constitutional right
To defend themselves if need be

What’s my right?
To sit in fear?
To plan my escape
If the gun toter goes postal?
Will the table stop bullets?

Guns in holsters
Aren’t as scary
As hidden guns
In Arizona you can
Carry them either way

Not knowing
If someone is carrying
Knowing I look like a target
Makes me think
Best to stay home

Elena Díaz Bjorkquist ©2011

Ill Eagle... Cries in the Sky

by Daniel Sosa and Christopher Perez

With a predator's hunger,
a writ of wrath in its beak.
A malnourished eagle searches to seal the fate
of fathers providing, mothers working, students.
Descending swiftly to capture, arrest
and deport an unprotected people.

Rising over our nation crying..illegal ...illegal...illegal

Dropping the olive branch
to clamp this talon claw law on the humble.
Gripping, lifting them from family.
Off their feet to a far journey.
Turning a blind eye to injury,
torment and pain firmly held.

Illegal ..illegal..illegal....the screeching echoes

O proud law makers,
flock of the high and mighty
soaring high on that ill wind
which brought an ill conceived law.
Keen eyes could not see
the crime in discrimination?

Gathering slander sticks
twisted truth twigs
splintering our nation
to build your lofty perch.
Look down at the true, quick
and violent criminal.
So easily detected from above.
showing himself a more fitting prey.

What made you sick ? ill eagle...
A malaise in your morals?
Tainted raw patriotism?
Stop this pursuit of a humble
more peaceful people.
Stop this sickening screech.

Preen the stain, this dirty business.
Search for justice again.
Sate yourself on fairness,
Release the immigrant
to a path of citizenship.
With arrows in hand,
target the true criminal.
Pick up the lost olive branch.

And we will look up, seeing
the majestic symbol of our nation.
Soaring peacefully above
the banner in its beak
gently flapping.

Where it is written

Out of many....One

By Daniel Sosa
& Christopher Perez


by Tara Evonne Trudell

lines drawn
telling us
where to stand
to serve
to exist
to call ourselves
to die
with guards
trigger happy
shoot to kill
don't cross back
to the motherland
don't know your roots
confused by the terms
building borders in your mind
it's not Hispanic
it's not Spanish
it's not Latino
it's the Mexican blood
the Indian blood
that has been drained
into the land
the home
of my heart
my ancestors
my roots
my soul that knows
no borders

Tara Trudell April 14, 2011

*thanks for the inspiration Odilia... your pictures hit home in my heart

I Am

by Abel Salas

I am Emma Tenayuca AKA Lil Red organizing pecan sheller
Women in San Antonio for worker rights and maternity leave
I am Corky and Joaquin no longer lost because we represent
a generation of proud pochos who know how it is.
I am Abelardo Delgado and the poem Stupid America
I read in sixth grade. See that Chicanito shouting curses
In the street? He is a poet without pen and paper
Who will explode because I am also Ruben Salazar
Behind an Olivetti typewriter in an LA Times newsroom
Still blind to my existence and undying resistance
I am Cherrie Moraga and Josefina Lopez working as
Mothers and playwrights to right the wrongs
We as men have committed and keep committing
I am my mother Juliana Vela Zepeda who picked
Cotton and taught her sons it was okay to cry
I am Xicanindio poet Raul Salinas in a prison
With Leonard Peltier and Rafael Cancel Miranda
Where the truest Americans and boricuas shared
A revolutionary dream fueled by Xicano warriors
And pinto poets in cell block conversations
I am Francisco Alarcon and queer Xicano Pride
I am Reies Tijerina and Cesar on opposite ends
Of the struggle for dignity and peace and life
That we could celebrate with forever floricantos
I am Dolores and the Mujeres de Maiz who
Bridge the song and the word for those who
Come after in the name of all our ancestors
And I am Xicano in every tongue and every
Memory of like the blossom of fire and blood
That made murals and altars as if to say
In the words of one maestro, I respect your
Having been my Maravilla, Boyle Heights,
Segundo Barrio in El Chuco, Barelas of
Burque and all the Xicano barrios that
Once existed, somewhere someone remembers
And we remember you, ese, we remember you.


Border weighs upon me
Slowly bending down my back
At thirteen I’m an old man hunching down towards the future
Slowly bending down towards the shadows
My voice becomes a hissing
And my body is a limbless spine
I slither through the dessert
Venom fills my head
Day by day
I shake my rattle
In celebration
After the fact

©Carlos Parada Ayala

The Hummingbird

by Jesus Cortez

Calloused hands remind
me of the past, present
and future of laborious
hours under a scorching
Sun who looks at my
forehead drenched in
sweat from my brow
that flows into my eyes,
burning as memories of
childhood under a different
sun—she appears with
her wings defying the
pain in my eyes with
her loveliness, refreshing
the air itself among the
flowers; she flows with
the wind with the melody
of hope in freedom that
I’ve yet to feel.

© 2011 Jesus Cortez


1. "Guns in Arizona" by Elena Díaz Bjorkquist

2. "Ill Eagle... Cries in the Sky" by Daniel Sosa and Christopher Perez

3. "Borders" by Tara Evonne Trudell

4. "I Am" by Abel Salas

5. "Viper" by Carlos Parada Ayala

6. "The Hummingbird" by Jesus Cortez

Elena Díaz BjörkquistElena Díaz Björkquist, a writer, historian, and artist from Tucson, writes about Morenci, Arizona where she was born. She is the author of two books, Suffer Smoke and Water from the Moon. Elena has been on the Arizona Humanities Council (AHC) Speakers Bureau for ten years performing as Teresa Urrea in a Chautauqua living history presentation, and doing presentations about Morenci, Arizona and also the 1880’s Schoolhouse in Tubac.
Elena is co-editor of Sowing the Seeds, una cosecha de recuerdos, an anthology written by her writers group. The project was funded by AHC. She is nearing completion of another collection of Morenci stories entitled Albóndiga Soup and has co-edited a new anthology entitled Our Spirit, Our Reality; celebrating our stories by the Comadres of Sowing the Seeds.
A SIROW Scholar at the University of Arizona, Elena conducted an oral history project funded by AHC; “In the Shadow of the Smokestack.” A website that she created contains the oral history interviews and photographs of Chicano elders living in Morenci during the Depression and World War II. Another project funded by AHC and the Stocker Foundation is “Tubac 1880’s Schoolhouse Living History Program.” Her website is www.elenadiazbjorkquist.net/.

Elena is one of the poet moderators for the Facebook page “Poets Responding to SB1070.

Daniel SosaAs a boy, I was raised in the eucalyptus tree lined streets and farms of Oxnard Calif. Moving to the Los Angeles in the 1960s where the majority of my family lived. The next 48 years were spent living and working in central and southern Calif. A newly blossomed poet, inspired by the call from Poets Responding to SB1070 and the 40th anniversary of Ruben Salazar’s death. Only a few poems have had the pleasure of leaving my computer.

Tara TrudellTara Trudell lives in Northern New Mexico. She is raising her four children, rebuilding her life as a single mother and has returned to college to seek her BFA in Media Arts with an emphasis in Film/Audio combined with Visual Communications. She feels she can learn the tools necessary to document life and capture the stories and awareness that is vital in creating art on a social awareness level.
She has rediscovered her passion in life and in writing poetry she has allowed the courage of self-expression to flow and heal the inner parts of pain, that many times exist forgotten, in a world that cares only to divide and conquer. Tara is very proud of her Mexican roots and the more society says it’s wrong to be here, the louder her voice shall rise and that of her children. No longer will there be shame to claim the Mexican part of her /our history. It is of vital importance that Tara passes this on to her own children and future generations.

Carlos Parada Ayala
(San Juan Opico, El Salvador, 1956)A recipient of Washington, DC’s, Commission on the Arts Larry Neal Poetry Award in 2005, Carlos Parada Ayala co-edited the anthology Al pie de la Casa Blanca: Poetas hispanos de Washington, DC published by the North American Academy of the Spanish Language in New York in July 2010. Co-edited with Argentinean poet Luis Alberto Ambroggio, the US Library of Congress selected this anthology to celebrate 400 years of Hispanic poetry in the United States in September of 2010. Parada Ayala graduated from Amherst College, Massachusetts, with a degree in Spanish, Latin American and Brazilian literature. He is a member of the Salvadoran poetry collective Late Night Hour, and is a founding member of ParaEsoLaPalabra, a collective of writers, artists and activists whose goal is to promote the arts, music and literature in the Spanish speaking communities of the Washington, DC metropolitan area.

Ganador del premio de poesía Larry Neal de la Comisión de las Artes de Washington, DC, Carlos Parada Ayala es co-editor de la antología Al pie de la Casa Blanca: Poetas hispanos de Washington, DC publicada por la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española (Nueva York, julio de 2010). Esta obra, co-editada con el poeta argentino Luis Alberto Ambroggio, fue seleccionada en septiembre de 2010 por la Biblioteca del Congreso de Estados Unidos para celebrar 400 años de poesía hispana en Estados Unidos. Parada Ayala tiene una licenciatura en literatura española, latinoamericana, y brasileña de Amherst College, Massachusetts. Es miembro del grupo de poetas salvadoreños Alta hora de la noche y es uno de los fundadores de ParaEsoLaPalabra, un colectivo de escritores, artistas y activistas cuyo objetivo es promover las artes, la música y la literatura en las comunidades de habla hispana de la zona metropolitana de Washington, DC.

Jesus CortezJesus Cortez is a poet from West Anaheim, California. He uses poetry to communicate with the community the issues that he finds within the communities he is a part of. His Poetry has strong Hip Hop influences, but is also influenced by life as a son of a single mother, and from the various experiences found in the urban landscape. The poetry of Jesus Cortez explores the ways immigrants react to humilliation, frustration, condemnation, segregation, and persecution. This poem, "The Hummingbird" was inspired by his grandmother who passed away when he was only four years old, because he feels that is how She communicates with him in his times of sadness and hopelessness.

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