Saturday, April 30, 2011

Centro Victoria en Tejas

Hosting television, film, literature & music stars

As the demographic slice of the Mexican-American pie grows larger, Centro Victoria at the University of Houston-Victoria wants to celebrate artistic contributions from this group.

The center, established last year at the university, invited Hollywood personalities Jesús Salvador Treviño and Josefina López; “dean” of south Texas Literature Rolando Hinojosa; and alternative musician Davíd Garza to Victoria from April 19 to 22 for a celebration, or “Community Pachanga.”

Centro Victoria is a group of writers and educators whose goal is to introduce Americans to cultural and artistic contributions of the Mexican-American community in the U.S.

Treviño, whose credits include “Babylon 5,” “New York Undercover,” “Law and Order Criminal Intent,” “Prison Break” and “Bones,” gave a frank discussion to high school and university students about growing up in Los Angeles in the 1950s without any Mexican-American role models.

“I began to hate myself for being Mexican,” Treviño said. “I saw no one who looked like me on television. There were no positive Mexican-American role models.”

His career began with the public television station, and he got a big break directing an after-school special for CBS. Treviño insisted on casting Mexican-Americans in positive roles, as well as using minority crew members where they had previously had little opportunity. Having broken into major television drama work, he has helped change the landscape and open doors for other minority actors, directors, producers and crew members.

López, who also flew in from Hollywood, mirrored Treviño’s sentiments in her intimate discussion after the screening of her movie “Real Women Have Curves.”

“If Latinos are constantly the bad guys, servants, or ‘Latin Lovers,’ it robs of us our humanity in the eyes of those watching these stereotypical representations,” she said. “Movies are not just entertainment; they hypnotize people into believing what they see on the screen is real.”

During the ABR Reading Series, Hinojosa addressed the lack of Mexican-American representation in literature. He, like Treviño and López, took it upon himself to write about his community. He crosses genres − fiction, poems, mysteries, academic novels − as a way of showing that Mexican-American writers produce more than activist or immigrant stories.

Guitarist Garza gave Victoria residents his ingenious infusion of songs that blend the Mexican ballads he was weaned on with Tejano music, classical, folk, techno, folk, rock and blues music. His musical talents have been touted in Rolling Stone and The Village Voice, and have been captured on TV commercials and TV and movie sound tracks.

Dagoberto Gilb, Centro Victoria’s executive director, who conceived of the idea for the center and brought the artists to Victoria, also invited Chicano artist César A. Martínez to UHV to visit with the experimental English composition class featuring he and three other faculty members: Charles Alcorn, Diana López and Christine Granados. Martínez shared his paintings, photos and prints of South Texas culture with students and the public.

“It is not often that any of us gets to meet the legends of art history,” Gilb said. “For us, which means most of our UHV students, a class visit by a Mexican-American artist of his stature is like a visit by painter Paul Gauguin. He’s that big.”

The Crossroads hosted a lot of talent during the Pachanga, and it is just the beginning of what is to come from Centro Victoria. The week also coincided with the publication of the American Book Review’s “Latino West” April/March issue. Gilb was the focus editor and devoted the issue to works by Mexican-Americans.

For more information about future events and initiatives, visit

Friday, April 29, 2011

Poetry Matters: Free Foley

by Melinda Palacio

When I lived in Chandler, Arizona, I started freelancing for newspapers and magazines. The biggest problem I had was someone grumbling that they didn’t say what I quoted. I recorded all my interviews and could prove my quotes and sources. I only experienced minor downsides of being a freelance writer and not having a badge with my picture on it or a boss telling me which stories to cover and when. Nothing like what James Foley must be experiencing. Foley, on his own accord, entered Libya and wrote stories and shot video footage, some of which ended up on the CBS evening news. He began by embedding himself with the National Guard and selling stories to Indiana hometown newspapers of the National Guard troops he befriended. His connections led him to continue freelancing in Afghanistan. Last month, he and three other journalists were arrested in Tripoli.

James Foley (USA), Clare Gillis (USA), Manu Brabo (Spain), and Anton Hammerl (South Africa) have been detained in Tripoli for 25 days and counting. The capture of these four journalists would have been forgotten had it not been for La Bloga’s poet friends: Luivette Resto and Yago Cura, who are organizing a poetry reading for their friend James Foley. Yago and Luivette went to college with Jim Foley. As graduate students in Massachusetts, the three were heavily influenced by Martín Espada.

As a poet, Yago feels that his work is similar to that of a journalist, “We speak for people who cannot speak,” he said. Yago was moved to help his friend and the three other international journalists by raising awareness and enlisting other local poets to partake in a poetry reading at Avenue 50 studio, Saturday May 7, from 6pm to 8pm. Next Saturday’s event features readings by Luivette Resto, Yago Cura, Rafael Alvarado, Billy Burgos, Dennis Cruz, S.A. Griffin, Jeff Rochlin and Annette Cruz.There are many other Free Foley events.

Yago Cura, like Luivette Resto, is a poet from New York. He admits that there’s little that ties James to California, but the more people who hear of his friend’s plight, the better. Although Clinton has asked for the release of the journalists detained in Tripoli, everyday day they are detained makes their detention that much harder for the journalists and their families.

Free Foley Poetry Reading, Avenue 50 Studio, May 7, 6pm.

The public is invited to Beyond Baroque Literary/Arts Center for a celebration of Latino L.A. art and performance on April 30, 2011 at 7pm with a screening of Eloy Take Two (Oregel Films), a documentary celebrating the work of L.A. based muralist and musician, Eloy Torrez, best known for the Victor Clothing Company mural, The Pope of Broadway—a tribute to the legendary Mexican-American actor, Anthony Quinn—a cultural fixture of Downtown since 1984.

This cultural event will include poetry from some of L.A.’s most notable Latino literary voices including acclaimed author Luis J. Rodriguez, Always Running, La Vida Loca, Gang Days in LA, Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, KPCC 89.3 education and arts reporter, Gloria Edina Alvarez, La Excusa/The Excuse, and Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, as well as live music by Eloy Torrez. Following the screening the audience will be treated to a Q&A with Torrez and the filmmaker, Roberto S. Oregel as hosted by Mat Gleason, $15.

On Saturday, April 30, from 2-5 pm, Sandra Cisneros will be at Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural.


On Sunday, May 1, the Paloma Room Poets at 6pm, 624 Whittier Blvd, Montebello, CA 90540. Host Rolando Ortiz.

On Tuesday, May 3, Mehnaz Turner reads at the Cobalt Café, 22047 Sherman Way, Canoga Park at 9pm.


Where I’ll be reading this week:

April 29, the Contemporary Arts Forum in Downtown Santa Barbara’s Paseo Nuevo for the poetry month grand finale, 7pm.

May 3, Pasadena City College’s CC lounge. Poetic Interval: Poems in Spanish, English and Spanglish, 6 pm.

May 7, Connecting Cultures at Beyond Baroque, 681 N Venice Blvd, Venice, CA 4pm.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Canción de la muerte

A History of the S.P.M.D.T.U.

By José A.Rivera

Photography by Daniel Salazar


Book Signing and Platica.

DATE: Saturday, April 30, 2011
TIME: 2:00-5:00 p.m.
LOCATION: Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204
n 1900 Celedonio Mondragon and several other San Luis Valley residents formed the Sociedad Protección Mútua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU) to help prevent the usurpation of Hispanic land ownership and to combat discrimination against wage laborers. The SPMDTU rapidly grew into a tristate organization with sixty-five local concilios (lodges) in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. Hispanic mutual aid societies proliferated at the turn of the twentieth century, providing such services as financial aid, burial funding, low-cost insurance, and fraternal support. The SPMDTU consolidated relief and support services and became a powerful force in helping families survive the transformations wrought by the influx of Anglos, the federal government became the primary welfare service provider for rural communities, but the SPMDTU has survived in the Southwest, continuing its traditions of fellowship and support.

Beginning with the social and economic conditions that gave rise to La Socieda and culminating with its centennial anniversary in 2000, J
osé Rivera examines the SPMDTU as a case study of collective action in the context of a pluralistic American society, rapid social change, and the dynamics of mobilization for cultural survival. Rivera's study explores the core values that have bonded SPMDTU members across generations and have sustained the organization for more than a century and addresses the question of whether or not La Sociedad will survive the twenty-first century.

Royalties generated by book sales will go towards the SPMDTU Concili Superior Building Conservation Fund. The Concilio Superior building is located on main Street in Antonito, Colorado.

Sposored by the S.P.M.D.T.U., Concilio No.7, Denver, Colorado.

Museo de las Americas
861 Santa Fe Drive
Denver, Colorado 80204

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A NEW Must-Have Poetry Anthology by Alma Flor Ada

Todo es canción: Antología poética
(Everything is a Song: Poetry Anthology)

Alma Flor Ada
Illustrated by María Jesús Álvarez

ISBN: 9781616051730
Grade Level: K–5
144pp. | PB |
Trim: 6" x 7"

This delightful book gathers a selection of the most notable poems written by Alma Flor Ada—Latina writer, teacher, and passionate advocate for bilingual and bicultural education in the US. Organized by curriculum themes, this anthology is a fundamental tool for teachers who rely on imagination, play, and creativity to expand concepts and to enrich students’ vocabulary. Some of the themes included in the anthology are the parts of the body, numbers, vowels, family, animals, the city and the countryside, food, nature, bilingualism, and much more.

Themes:Poetry & Riddles, Language Concepts, Animals/Pets, Family, Friendship, Math Concepts, City/Country Life, Food, Ocean Life, Humor, Nature and Ecology 


Please come and say ¡hola!

Saturday April 30
10-12 noon
Booth #574
Children's Area

¡Nos vemos!

Gustavo Arellano, William Nericcio & Mextasy
Coming to the Fullerton Public Library,
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Click for more info:

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

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.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Big Night Out for AIDS Service Center Pasadena is coming April 30

The AIDS Service Center Pasadena presents the 14th Annual Big Night Out on Saturday, April 30. This unique affair explores the charm and elegance of Pasadena and surrounding area by hosting approximately twenty exclusive dinner parties in some of the region’s most distinguished and historic settings benefiting AIDS Service Center (ASC).

BIG NIGHT OUT has become one of the region’s most enthusiastically anticipated events and ASC’s premiere fund raising event. The concept is simple: 700 guests gather at a central location for a gala reception, which precedes the evening’s activities. This year’s gala reception is being hosted at the Keating Residence, a stunning contemporary home in the heart of San Marino, California, adjacent to The Huntington. The kick off gala includes auctions, hors-d'oeuvres, and hosted bars. The auctions include a range of must-have items which include travel, home décor, fine dining and luxury goods. Some of the featured auction items this year include a one week stay at Mi Besito, a B & B in San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, a vintage Vespa and over 40 Asian Fine Art Antiquities.

Following the gala reception you will make your way to one of 20 privately themed dinner parties, including A Night in Aztlan, A Tribute to MGM Musicals Under the Stars, a Night of Mad Men, A Rocky Horror Picture Show, A Night on the Kasbah, and A Taste of California, among many other unique dinner parties. The kickoff reception begins at 4:30 p.m., and then the guests depart at 7:00 to the individual dinner parties.

So, I will make a plug for one of these 20 privately themed dinner parties…yes, you’ve guessed it: A Night in Aztlan! Hosted by Gloria Castro, Yolanda DeGarcia, Alberto Mendoza, Marva Brannum and Ryan Mendoza. Come enjoy music, art, dancing and literature including readings by me from my new novel, The Book of Want (University of Arizona Press). Dinner will be provided by El Portal Restaurant, and there will be live Latin entertainment and cocktails to set the mood.

For more information, visit here. To purchase tickets, visit here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's No Yolk: CVS Welcomes Easter with Pro-Military Huevos

Olga García Echeverría

I don’t know what’s worse--BP still trying to hide its tar balls or CVS camouflaging its huevos.

Rumor has it there are plastic, military-camouflaged Easter eggs that come with toy soliders at CVS. Not that I'm a fan of Easter baskets or egg hunts, but this is something I have to see for myself. Also, I'm feeling super huevona this mornning and lagging on my Sunday post, so I opt for making a quick stop at the local CVS to hunt out a possible, last-minute Easter story. Even if I'm not religious, goddamn it, I want to write an Easter blog today.

When my girlfriend and I arrive at CVS in Lincoln Heights, the Easter shelves look like they've been ransacked. Only Easter rejects remain. A couple of Pepto-Bismol-colored wicker baskets thrown asunder; a plundered bag of fake grass, its shiny plastic guts splattered on the floor; a dark chocolate bunny with a caved-in skull; yellow marshmellow baby chicks with hollow stares; and a few, football-sized, pastel-colored, stuffable eggs.

“They went really fast this year,” says the store manager when we ask about the pro-military eggs. She's on a mission to help us find them, though. She calls Highland Park and the 24-hour CVS on Sunset. They're all sold out as well. Bummer. I wanted to do my own photo shoot, but instead I have to go online and borrow Nancy Aykanian's military huevo shot. Thanks Nancy!

Confession: I wanted to take home a pack of the eggs. You know, for future proof that this shit is for reals. Now, I'm moping down the CVS aisle, cursing at all the military consumer fanatics who hogged up the war eggs. True, we're in three wars and war eggs on Jesus Resurrection Day are popular. But what am I to do without the llema of my story? Easter sucks.

Then I see them.

Dear Bloga Readers, if you still need to make a last minute Easter gift run for the kids, you’re in luck. True the huevos are gone, but still in stock is the military camouflaged Snuggie blanket for kids. It has sleeves! Let the military wrap its warm arms around your child as he/she melds into couch potatoness and gets hooked on multi-media crack.

And for the younger ones, there's the Do-It-Yourself Sock Monkey. Give your favorite child an early start on their military indoctrination. The Sock Monkey comes with its very own military attire. Que cute! Notice the peace sign sticker. There's also a "Save Our Planet" logo on the "eco-friendly" stuffing material, because as George Orwell reminds us in 1984, War is Peace and Peace is War.

Also at your local CVS this early afternoon, Easter Bunny in a bathrobe with his cronies, Jack Daniels and the Coke brothers. This is a great basket stuffer for the wild-child. Hey, if they're old enough to start dressing monkeys in military gear or wrap themselves in snuggly army camouflage, they deserve a stiff drink or two.

Yeah, it's all kind of surreal and disgusting, but it is Easter Sunday in America. And as I always say, if you can’t beat them, fry them.

Bueno, that's all folks. This huevona is going back to bed to dream up another world. Have a happy huevo day.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Houston the Texan & Houston the author

Tejanos Unidos!

If you're from Texas, like me, you received a public school indoctrination, practically from the delivery room through graduating from high-school, in one version of the history and culture of the state. Their version. The website aims to correct dominant, Anglo historical revisionism with facts, facts, facts. Here's info from their homepage:

"Hola! Bienvenidos a Tejas!" (Hello! Welcome to Texas!) That is how our Spanish Mexican ancestors welcomed Anglo U.S. citizens who first moved to Texas. The second part of the greeting was: "Mi casa es su casa!" (My house is your house.) The only problem is that our ancestors didn't think the Anglos would take the offer so seriously.

"Tejanos Unidos is committed to preserve early Texas history. We have a great story to tell. We are Tejanos (descendants of the first Spanish Mexican citizens of Texas). Our Roman Catholic Tejano ancestors established thriving communities from Louisiana to the Rio Grande from the Gulf of Mexico to the San Elizario area in West Texas where the First Thanksgiving in the U.S. was celebrated in 1598. These early settlements include the early communities of Los Adaes, Nacogdoches, Bexar (San Antonio), La Bahia (Goliad), and the communities of the Villas del Norte on the Lower Rio Grande.

"Modern-day Spanish-surnamed people whose ancestors originated in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, California and other parts of the U.S. Southwest are the product of the strong inter-marriage between the Spanish and the Native American people. We are united by our Spanish names and language, as well as a common heritage that is bonded by both Old World and New World characteristics. Additionally, many Tejanos have Anglo, French, Italian, Irish, German, and many other non-Hispanic names. Our extended family runs deep into Central Mexico, since that is where our ancestors came from. Like the "coat of many colors", we are united in our "keep it simple" purpose. That is, to re-discover and share pre-1836 Texas history.

"The more that Spanish Mexican descendants learn about their lost history, the higher their self-esteem. The more that others learn about early Texas history, the more they will see that "Texas history without Tejanas and Tejanos is like a story with no beginning".

Their website contains an extensive listing and summaries of books on state history, bios of tejanos that played significant roles despite Anglo dominance, and other materials.


The truth about the Battle of San Jacinto

If you go to another site, for the Rio Grande Guardian, you can search for the Wed. March 16, 2011 article about historian and civil rights activist José Antonio López, a member of Tejanos Unidos, where he takes "exception," to a Texas state senator's jingoism about "remembering the Alamo." As Lopez states, "It’s time to stop using ‘Remember the Alamo’ slogan." Turns out, Sam Houston didn't lead any great cavalry charge against Santa Ana's army. Plus, there's more. I love it when the truth comes out.


Call for Submissions

The publishers Heyday are looking for first-rate fiction or nonfiction written by an emerging author. Friends and family of the late Santa Cruz author James D. Houston have established a fund to honor his memory and further his legacy. Known as a masterful writer in both fiction and nonfiction genres, Houston was also a dedicated teacher and passionate promoter of emerging authors. The James D. Houston [no relation to the Texan] Legacy Fund will support publication of books by writers who reflect Houston’s humane values, his thoughtful engagement with life, and his literary exploration of California, Hawaii, and the West.

The first James D. Houston book will be published in the fall of 2012, and the writer whose manuscript is chosen will receive a $5,000 advance upon submission of a mutually acceptable final manuscript.

The fund will be administered by Heyday, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit publisher, which will publish one book per year in honor of James D. Houston. The following are examples of the types of manuscripts we are looking for: novels, literary memoirs, creative nonfiction (book length or collection of essays), short story collections. The editorial committee especially favors works by emerging writers (this would be his or her first or second published book). Works with a California focus would play best to Heyday’s strengths.

To submit a manuscript for consideration, please mail a hard copy of the following to Acquisitions—James D. Houston Legacy, Heyday, P.O. Box 9145, Berkeley, CA 94709:

• a cover letter (concrete ideas and opportunities for the promotion of your book would be appreciated; please include an email address if you want us to acknowledge receipt of your proposal);

• a summary and outline (especially for collections of shorter pieces) of the project, including estimated word count(s);

• an excerpt of the proposed manuscript not to exceed thirty pages (double-spaced, standard font and font size);

• a CV, especially listing previous publications;

• a SASE to notify you if our decision. (Please include the necessary postage if you want your materials returned to you; otherwise, our policy is to recycle proposals that do not meet our needs.)

Submissions are due by June 1, 2011. There is no entry fee. Decisions on publications will be made collegially by Heyday’s publisher, Malcolm Margolin, by the Houston family represented by Houston’s wife Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston, and by friends of the late author. If we are interested in a full manuscript, we will contact you by July 15, 2011. Please, no phone calls or emails.

Friday, April 22, 2011

It's All Good - News That Fits

The Metropolitan State College of Denver President's Office of Institutional Diversity and the Department of Chicana/o Studies present the 4th Annual Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival - "Man on a Mission" - April 25, 2011, 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM at St. Cajetan's Event Center, Auraria Campus.

Metro will celebrate Delgado’s life and career (he taught there for seventeen years) with a variety of events led by Chicano scholar Joe Navarro and punctuated with appearances by Delgado’s family, Metro officials and Lieutenant Governor Joseph Garcia, along with numerous readings and tributes from local poets. All events are free; for more information, call Metro’s Chicano Studies department at 303-556-3124.

PROGRAM: Lalo: Man on A Mission

MC Adriana Duran-Hodge

9:00 - 9:15 a.m. Prayer, Jim Garcia

9:15 - 9:30 a.m. Blessing Ceremony - Azteca Groupo Chimaltonalli

9:30 - 9:45 a.m. Introductions - Amanda Duran

9:45 - 10:00 a.m. Lalo's Poem "La Llorona: Ronnie Ortega

10:00 -10:30 a.m. Guest Poet: Joe Navarro, Chicano Scholar

10:30 -11:00 a.m. Dr. Luis Torres, MSCD Deputy Provost Academic Affairs

Poetry Readings - Lalo's Great-Grandchildren: Lalito Ayala, Mariah Jo Bradley, Daniel Jugret, Evelyn Ramirez, Aliana Inez Velasquez, Michael Alexander Vidal

11:00- 11:15 a.m Poets-

11:15 - 11:30 a.m. Dr. Steven Jordan, President MSCD

11:30 - 11:45 a.m. Colorado Lt. Governor Joseph Garcia

11:45 - 12:15 p.m. Lunch - Grupo Folklorico Sabor Latino

12:15 - 2:00 p.m. Poets: Ricardo Lafore, Amadeo Miera, Dr. Ramon del Castillo, Ken Arkind,

Renee Bryant, Sarah & Ryan Jones

2:00 - 2:30 p.m. Award of Lalo Delgado Scholarships: Professor Steven Cantu

In the spring issue of AARP VIVA, Carlos Fuentes expounds on a wide variety of topics. Here are a few quotes from the magazine:

On retiring: “Retiring is the worst thing you can do for your mind. Then what? You ride around on a bicycle? You have to work until the very end.”

On his grandparents’ legacy: "They gave me two things. On one side was a severity, punctuality and discipline; the other gave me joy and creativity.”

On the importance of education: “Without education, there’s no knowledge. Without knowledge there’s no development. Without development there’s no progress. Everything is linked.”

On being a writer: “First comes love, for one’s wife, children, family and friends. Then comes what we do as writers. Without that life, I couldn’t have written those books; without those books, I wouldn’t have lived.”

April 27 Wine of the Americas Tasting Event. Come hear Executive Director Maruca Salazar talk about art of the Americas while the wine experts from Divino Wine and Spirits enhance your taste for wines from the rich soils of Argentina, Chile and New Mexico. $20 suggested donation, all proceeds benefit our education and community programming. 5:00- 7:00 p.m. Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204. A glass of Malbec sounds good right about now.

This event is special, so I am repeating the information from the Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book.

Widely acknowledged as Latin America's greatest living poet and activist, Ernesto Cardenal, will make a stop in Denver as part of a 12 city North American tour to celebrate the release of his newest collection of poetry, The Origin of Species and Other Poems (Texas Tech University Press, 2011).

The author of more than thirty-five books, many translated into multiple languages, Nicaraguan poet Ernesto Cardenal was ordained as a Roman Catholic priest in 1965. His studies with Trappist monk Thomas Merton and his involvement with the Sandinista movement in his home country have informed his writing and political activism. He lives in Managua, Nicaragua, where he is vice president of Casa de los Tres Mundos, a literary and arts cultural organization.

Colorado Humanities & Center for the Book, in partnership with Museo de las Americas, is pleased to present this Hispanic Heritage Live special event in honor of National Poetry Month. The event will take place at Museo de las Americas and be presented in the round, so the audience has the opportunity to engage with the author. Following the reading there will be a Q&A moderated by Irene Vilar, editor of The Americas Series at Texas Tech University Press.

Reading and discussion with the author at Museo de las Americas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204 on Friday April 22, 2011 at 6:30pm. For information: Tim Hernandez, or 303.894.7951 x19

Breathing, In Dust Wins Premio Aztlán

This excellent novel, reviewed on La Bloga at this page, is the recipient of the Premio Aztlán for 2010. On the same page you can also find an interview with Tim Z. Hernandez, the author of Breathing, In Dust. The review noted: "Tim Z. Hernandez is the latest writer I have read whose promise is obvious, whose talent is rich, and whose honest and unflinching debut novel, Breathing, In Dust, deserves a wide-readership and critical attention." Winning this award should help on both points.

According to Facebook and Wikipedia:

The Premio Aztlán Literary Prize is a national literary award for emerging Chicana/o Chicano authors, founded in 1993 by Rudolfo and Patricia Anaya. The award was originally sponsored by the University of New Mexico, but was moved in 2008 to the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

The award is limited to short-story collections and novels (but not children's or young-adult novels) published by a professional press during the previous calendar year. Moreover, the author must be living and must not have published more than two books. The winner receives $1,000 and presents a lecture at that year's National Latino Writers Conference.


Tim Hernandez is one of the primary organizers of the Ernesto Cardenal event (see above). Tim recently returned to Denver and is now the Center for the Book Program Coordinator. Congratulations, Tim - many of us are eagerly waiting for the next one.

That's it - go out there and make your own good news.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sandra Cisneros To Read at Tia Chucha's and the May Festival Scoop

Special report from Melinda Palacio with Michael Sedano

Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural and Bookstore in San Fernando Califas provides an intimate space for readings, art displays, and buying books and cultural mementoes. On Saturday, April 30 from 2-5 pm, Sandra Cisneros will be at Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural. The celebrated author makes a rare appearance at Tia Chucha's next weekend.
Sandra Cisneros (center) with Mary Rose and Eddie Ortega at the Border Book Festival earlier this month.

Tia Chucha's may be a little out of the way, the San Fernando Valley, but the space is truly a Centro Cultural. Take advantage of the study hall, writers workshops, danza azteca, poetry readings and open mics, guitar and son jarocho workshops, community events and films, and more.

Coming May 21, not to Tia's but to Los Angeles Mission College, is Tia Chucha's 6th Annual Celebrating Words Festival.

The Festival promises six hours of song, performance, spoken words.

I'll allow the posters to tell their own stories. And wow, every poster tells a story, these posters are spinning tales whose beginnings and endings will draw you to the northeastern edge of the San Fernando Valley to find for yourself.

To see more for yourself, click the poster images.

Friday Bloguera Melinda Palacio will present her new novel at the event and moderate another fiction panel. For details of Ocotillo Dreams, visit

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Review: Frida Kahlo Her Photos. On-Line Floricanto: Japan. Conjunto Update.

Review: Frida Kahlo. Her Photos. Ed. Pablo Ortíz Monasterio. México DF, Editorial RM, 2010.
ISBN : 978-607-7515-51-7 (Spanish) / 978-84-92480-75-3 (English)

Michael Sedano

Readers do not come to photography books for text, particularly with the title Frida Kahlo Her Photos. Turn page stop enjoy, turn, enjoy, after page, 401 photographs in all.

So many faces, places, and still lifes. Some instantly recognized, others sublimely anonymous. Editor Pablo Ortiz Monasterio has filled his six hundred pages amply with both. Mejor, Editorial RM ordered 130-gram Lumi Matt Art paper that holds detail superbly in the warm-toned grayscale and sepia reproductions.

Three preliminary essays set the context for the collection. When Diego Rivera died, he directed a friend to hold the material fifteen years. Instead, the thousands of fotos remained locked in a disused space at La Casa Azul for fifty years.

The collection amasses personal snapshots typical of any family album. As well, the collection includes signed work by such photographic luminaries as Man Ray, Imogen Cunningham, Edward Weston, Tina Modotti. Some images are signed by Kahlo, others most likely are her work but unsigned. Several defaced fotos display Kahlo's active involvement in images as tokens of enmity or other emotional connection.

There’s also a trove of historical images purchased by Rivera and Kahlo of European and Soviet history. The section essayist avers such artifacts inform a view of the collectors' interests and values. Maybe. That section could easily have waited for another volume, its pages instead taken with more family, friends and at-work subjects.

Ortiz divides the book in seven sections, each with a leading essay. The essays are helpful and adequately brief. Still, to consume and enjoy these images, no other knowledge required but eyes to see.

Nonetheless, historically aware readers will recognize Frida, Diego and numerous famous people. Famous people know famous people, and Diego and Frida were really famous so there's no dearth of famous faces to learn or acknowledge. Connecting faces with art, O'Gorman and Orozco, for example adds to the book's multiple pleasures.

The collection presents a significant number of bled-to-the-edge fotos and a few double truck pages reproducing exceptional frames. Descriptive text with fotos adds context, leading to numerous “So that’s what Mrs. Trotsky looked like!” moments. (326)

As mementoes, fotos act as a kind of prosthesis for memory, for example, a photograph of a drawing. Enhancing the point, facing that there's a foto of the artist, Miguel Covarrubias, and Kahlo.

Another image, signed by Kahlo, appears twice in the collection, a deluxe double truck on 202-203 and on 384-385 back and front. On a straw mat, a doll lies on its back, a toy horse kicks back its rear legs breaking loose from its carreta. The essayist suggests it a metaphor for the accident that put Kahlo in pain for the rest of her life, as well as a reminder that Kahlo’s pain occupies a central role in her art.

Ensuring against failed memory, many gente turn the print over and document the obverse. Delightfully, Ortiz photographs the backs, too. Lipstick imprints, autographs, dedications further contextualize the image, and if one can make out the cursive hand, read Kahlo’s thoughts on the subject for oneself.

Despite a photographer's best intentions, inevitably anonymity infects a memory. There’s the smiling woman on page 289, sprawled on a chaise, legs spread offering her crotch. She’s autographed her snapshot, “My normal position in life.” Perhaps a reader will have a “there’s bis-abuela!” moment and send in granma’s name. Per the publisher’s invitation, several subjects remain unidentified. Should you possess any information regarding these issues, please contact: That would prove delightful. An unidentified foto is a lot like Ozymandias, without the inscription.

Kahlo’s face has generated a large market for painters and other graphic artists. Frida Kahlo Her Photos comes with dozens of new images probably never seen heretofore. There’s Frida at two years old (left), the first plate in the book. Somewhat later, there's Frida circa 1952, which may be the most recent portrait in the collection. One troubling feature of the collection is the non-chronological layout within the generally organized sections. Then again, the lack of sequencing allows each image to stand on its own.

Obviously, this collection is a marvelous tribute to Frida Kahlo. Diego Rivera makes his de rigueur appearances here and there. But this is Frida's book. One three page sequence editorializes sin palabras their relationship:

A somber Kahlo looks into the lens on October 16, 1932, confronting anyone who will look into her eyes.

Turn the page. On the left, 298, there’s Diego, arms crossed, crinkled eyes and contented smile. He’s looking off the page to the right. On the right, 299, there’s a naked woman--Nieves Orozco--sitting on a straw mat in pura mujer profile, face obscured by an arm, her back to the contented Rivera's eyes.

La Casa Azul in Coyoacán was one of those places, the one time I visited Frida Kahlo’s home in el Defie, that forbids cameras on the grounds, check your lente at the door. And don’t think for a moment I don’t want my own fotos of the pad. I want that bookshelf with titles Frida and I both read. I want to memorialize those alcatrices in the garden. No, and no. No photography. That is irony.

On-Line Floricanto - Japan
Guest Editor: Odilia Galván Rodriguez

On Thinking of Japan

by Devreaux Baker

I begin to pray

Even the birds will listen

The flower unfolds

Sometimes tears will fall

Even the moon falls sometimes

Trees let their leaves fall

Do not be worried

This morning I heard a lark

It made me grow calm

Ancestors call me

I hear their voices in wind

The world disappears


by Francisco X. Alarcón

the wings of the seas

weep so furiously inland—

tears mix with sea mist

water ignites fires—

buildings, orphan houses burn

out of shaking grief

waves carry this grief

to all the Pacific shores—

one Earth family


por Francisco X. Alarcón

las alas del mar

barren furiosas tierra

lágrimas, brisa

el agua incendia

edificios, casas huérfanas

arden de dolor

olas con dolor

van a todas las costas—

todos familia


by Francisco X. Alarcón

snow flecks weep over

the wreckage of erased towns

along Japan's coast

silence all around

is now only broken by

the sobbing of trees

a lone cherry tree

is getting ready to bloom

in spite all this doom


by Francisco X. Alarcón

cópulos de nieve

lloran los destrozos de

pueblos costeños

el silencio es roto

sólo por el lloriqueo

de los árboles

un cerezo solo

se alista a florecer

entre tanta pena

Tanka for Japan

by Elizabeth Marino


Two groves --a cartographer's dream

Your blooms --a sudden sweetness

Here, your openhanded gifts

thrive under our militant sun.

Cherry blossom dreams.

Cherry blossoms, heavy water

Fall from legacy saplings.

In a moment, the earth

Rose and met the sea.

Time's idea meets

Your blooms --a sudden sweetness

Our pinks singed by snow.

Four Haiku, the Earth, Turtle Islands

By Alma Luz Villanueva

Earth spring dances sweet

new axis, new birthing time,

salt, roses, one song.

* * * *

Children jump the waves,

innocent as dolphins leap,

claim our oceans back.

* * * *

May the greedy shrink

to fit their wallet's shadow,

stay there for-ever.

* * * *

May the sharing ones

flow over time space to love

the other, the one.

Fukushima Daiichi 1

Por Xánath Caraza

Al oscilar la tierra

Caen las casas

La gente desespera

Hacia la isla noble

Corren las olas

Agua cubre la tierra

De reactores sale

Yodo radiactivo

Agua marina cerca

For Japan

by Lorna Dee Cervantes


Butterfly wakes, bees

Still, hearts go out with a surge

Melt down the hours


Single mourning dove

Kura who who who who who?

Green river, no town


Ocean apart: same

Surge as cherry trees shudder

Sad sunrise waiting


Turtle Island wakes

Stretches of waves take life while

She paddles. Love her.


Cherry blossoms' pink

Shrouds quake, ocean becomes wind

Wood shreds. So many lives!

Rising Sun

by Ivan Torres

for Japan...

The sun needs to rise

to help heal all the people

shaken, awakened.

- - -

The sun needs to rise

and so do we, earth siblings

to mend the broken east.

"Warrior Zen of the Dishes"

by Meg Withers

"I however, am a woman of warrior descent." (Shido, c. 1304)

Do not forget

you are handling a knife.

The window disappears

into steam.

Wet yellow plates squeak

new shoes.

What has this moment to do

with ancient texts?

Haiku for Japan

By Sabrina Vourvoulias

Petals on each face,

white and fragile spring flowers.

Uncertain beauty.


by Raul Sanchez

Steel sky turns iridescent shades

heaven's torch emerging

across the horizon blinding me

Five Senryu ~ an offering to Ocean

by Odilia Galván Rodríguez

on wings of ocean

water gives life or destroys ~

they were carried skyward

ocean endless

with no bottom to speak of

she cannot be blamed

for mysteries of life painful as they are deep

clouds without answers

mighty ships sinking

as if gravity were no more

a chasm

earth-water fissures

a breach in realit

your safety lost

©Odilia Galván Rodríguez, 2011

In A Few Words ~ Poems for Japan

Weeks after northern Japan was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami, the number of confirmed dead and people missing has surpassed 28,000, and the nuclear crisis continues to threaten even more lives. We know that we are but a tiny part of this grand web of life, and that what has happened to Japan affects us all.

In response to this tragedy, in addition to prayers, Poets Responding to SB 1070 asks that the community also continue to offer any other forms of assistance that they can lend.

Additionally, in mid-March we organized a call for Haiku and Senryū poems to be dedicated to the people of Japan, with some to be selected for a special edition of La Bloga's weekly floricanto to be published on April 19th. Odilia Galván Rodríguez, one of our moderators, agreed to coordinate the effort and we extend to her our heartfelt thanks.

Our solidarity, condolences and prayers continue to be with all of the people of Japan.

United in struggle ~

Sí, se puede!

The moderators of Poets Responding to SB 1070

A note on the Haiku and Senryū and Tanka (Waka) forms:

There are many forms of Japanese poetry, three of the forms most popularly written in the English language are haiku senyru and tanka (waka). Both haiku and senryu are expressions of what is called the “The American Haiku Moment."

The Japanese equivalent of syllables are much shorter and carry less informationthan in the English language. The 5-7-5 format, which is traditionally employed in writing these forms, is difficult to achieve and many Western writers of haiku feelthat a 12 syllables, with a 3-5-3 syllable meter, achieves the same quality as theJapanese form, both forms are used and are acceptable.

Senryū poems are similar to haiku, except they reveal an aspect of human nature juxtaposed with an image of nature. In contrast, haiku are short poems that inviteus into a shared experience of nature. In the Japanese tradition, seasonal words areassociated with haiku. The use of seasonal words may or may not be used in thesenyru genre of poetry. The waka or tanka, is an unrhymed verse of thirty-onesyllables or sound units. It is given rhythm by writing to a pattern of 5/7/5/7/7syllables and employ similar themes as those of haiku or senyru.


Devreaux Baker is a writer who lives in Northern California. Her most recent book is "Red Willow People" published by Wild Ocean Press.

Francisco X. Alarcón, award winning Chicano poet and educator, is author of twelve volumes of poetry, including, From the Other Side of Night: Selected and New Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002), and Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation (Chronicle Books 1992) His latest book is Ce•Uno•One: Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press 2010). His book of bilingual poetry for children, Animal Poems of the Iguazú (Children’s Book Press 2008), was selected as a Notable Book for a Global Society by the International Reading Association. His previous bilingual book titled Poems to Dream Together (Lee & Low Books 2005) was awarded the 2006 Jane Addams Honor Book Award. He has been a finalist nominated for Poet Laureate of California in two occasions. He teaches at the University of California, Davis. He is the creator of the Facebook page POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070 that you can visit at:

Alma Luz Villanueva was raised in the Mission District, San Francisco, by her Yaqui grandmother, Jesus Villanueva- she was a curandera/healer from Sonora, Mexico. Without Jesus no poetry, no stories, nomemory...
Author of eight books of poetry, most recently, 'Soft Chaos' (2009). A few poetry anthologies: 'The Best American Poetry, 1996,' 'Unsettling America,' 'A Century of Women's Poetry,' 'Prayers For A Thousand Years, Inspiration from Leaders & Visionaries Around The World.' Three novels: 'The Ultraviolet Sky,' 'Naked Ladies,' 'Luna's California Poppies,' and the short story collection, 'Weeping Woman, La Llorona and Other Stories.' Some fiction anthologies: '500 Great Books by Women, From The Thirteenth Century,' 'Caliente, The Best Erotic Writing From Latin America,' 'Coming of Age in The 21st Century,' 'Sudden Fiction Latino.' The poetry and fiction has been published in textbooks from grammar to university, and is used in the US and abroad as textbooks. Has taught in the MFA in creative writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles, for the past eleven years. And is the mother of four, wonderful, grown human beings.
Alma Luz Villanueva now lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the past five years, traveling the ancient trade routes to return to teach, and visit family and friends, QUE VIVA!! And taking trips throughout Mexico, working on a novel in progress, always the poetry, memory.

Xánath Caraza is a traveler, educator, poet, and short story writer. She has published her original work and essays in
, Pegaso of the University of Oklahoma 2010 and 2009, Pilgrimage Magazine, Quercus Review, Thorny Locust, Antique Children, La Bloga, Latino Poetry Review Blog, Present, El Cid, Utah Foreign Language Review, and elsewhere. Additionally, her work has been published in the following anthologies: Woman’s Work: The Short Stories (Girl Child Press, 2010), Cuentos del Centro: Stories from the Latino Heartland (Scapegoat Press, 2009), Primera Página: Poetry from the Latino Heartland (Scapegoat Press, 2008), and Más allá de las fronteras (Ediciones Nuevo Espacio, 2004).

Meg Withers grew up in a small northern California town She has traveled a lot, living in England and all over the continental U.S.A. She lived in Hawai`i for nine years. She earned her MA and MFA from San Francisco State and currently teaches at Merced Community College – Los Baños campus – an island in the middle of cotton fields and dairy farms. She considers herself a really lousy example of Buddhist practice, but her first book of poems, Must Be Present to Win, based on Buddhist practice, was published by Ghost Road Press in 2006. Her second book of poetry, A Communion of Saints, based on her life working in gay bars in Hawai’i, in the midst of the AIDS epidemic of the 80’s, was published by TinFish Press in 2008. Forthcoming this year is a book of poems based on her simultaneous love and complete ignorance of the language of math and science, particularly theoretical physics. It is entitled Particular Odyssey: In Search and will be published by Slack Buddha Press.

Sabrina Vourvoulias was born in Bangkok, Thailand -- the
daughter of a Mexican-Guatemalan visual artist and an
American entrepreneur. She grew up in Guatemala and moved to
the United States when she was 15.
Her poetry has appeared in Dappled Things, Graham House
Review and in Scheherezade's Bequest at Cabinet des Fees;
her fiction in Crossed Genres #24, the Crossed Genres Year
Two anthology and forthcoming in GUD magazine. Read her blog
at Follow her on twitter

photo credit: Dan Vera
Odilia Galván Rodríguez, is a poet/activist and healer. She has been involved in social justice organizing and helping people find their creative and spiritual voice for over two decades. Odilia is a moderator and one of the founding members of Poets Responding to SB 1070. She also co-hosts "Poetry Express" a weekly open mike with featured poets in Berkeley, CA.

Cultura es Conjunto! Make San Antonio Plans Now.

From Juan Tejeda, this update:

Camaradas: we're a little less than a month away from the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center's historic 30th Annual Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio 2011, and we hope you're making plans to be here.

The updated TCF Schedule includes the Free Seniors Conjunto Dance on Tuesday, May 10; the free Roland workshop on Wednesday, May 11 (digital accordions).

Conjunto Music Hall of Fame Dinner & Baile on Thursday, May 12, features performances by Hall of Famers. Hohner Accordion Tuning, Repair and Maintenance workshop on Saturday, May 14 at the Guadalupe Theatre.

The return to our original conjunto musical showcase line-up, Friday-Sunday, May 13-15, at Rosedale Park will feature 25 of the very best conjuntos, plus, a student recital, special presentations by Dwayne Verheyden from the Netherlands and Conjunto J from Japan.

First-time-ever: Accordion Conjunto Jams at the end of each night; accordion raffles, food and beverage booths, plenty of dancing and fun for the entire family.

You can order your tickets online by going to scrolling down and clicking on Tejano Conjunto Festival, or by calling 210.271.3151. Please spread the word and hope to see you here next month. Gracias. En conjunto carnalismo, Juan.