By Xánath Caraza
The recent wave of literary and cultural events through the Mid-West has included my brief book tour in addition to visiting prominent Chicana/o, Latina/o authors from around the U.S., and the annual Día de muertos celebration in Kansas City sparking once again this year. New York is on the horizon.
The feeling of having Lo que trae la marea / What the Tide Brings (Mouthfeel Press, 2013) in hand for the first time was pure joy. I received the recently printed copies of my short story collection the day before my book release at the Blue Room in the American Jazz Museum, in the historic Jazz District, 18th & Vine, Kansas City, MO on Tuesday, September 17, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. This was the beginning of my mini book tour through the Midwest.
Lonita Cook, on Loque trae la marea / What the Tide Brings, writes: “Caraza wields her weapons of mass instruction. She is an educator who brings with her world travels, multiple dialects, a zeal for culture and zest for all the nooks in which it can exist -- people, places, language and time.” You can read the complete book review by Lonita Cook here.
On a stormy Chicago evening, my next presentation was Wednesday, September 18, 2013 for Palabra Pura: Inspiration at La Bruquena Restaurant. This event was curated by Irasema González and Diana Pando from Proyecto Latina and fellow writers of Con Tinta. I had the opportunity to meet local poets and enjoy their poems. I met local poets, Xenia, Eduardo Arocho and Emmanuel among others. I also had the chance to see Miguel Lemus, Ivonne Canellada, Carlos Cumpián, and John Rich again and I had the pleasure of finally meeting Mary and Mike. Thank you Chicago poets and lovers of poetry for attending this event. I read from my full length book of poetry, Conjuro (Mammoth Publications, 2012) and Lo que trae la marea / What the TideBrings.
That same evening Remedios Bashi was brave enough to pick me up in Chicago and drive me to Appleton, WI. We arrived at her beautiful home at almost 2:00 a.m. with a wonderful full moon shining down on us. On Thursday, September 19 at 5 p.m. at Harmony Café, I presented Lo que trae lamarea / What the Tide Brings. What a beautiful café, the building had so much character and a warm audience was present. On Friday, September 20, I visited the school district in Appleton, WI and gave a workshop for high school students.
On Saturday, September 21, I was back in Chicago for the presentation of Lo que trae la marea/ What the Tide Brings and reading from Conjuro for the Butterfly Poetry Project at the Nitecap Coffee Bar on 1738 W 18th Street. I had the honor of being the featured artist along with local and talented, Pilsen singer/songwriter Mónica del Castillo. The Butterfly Poetry Project is coordinated by poet and artivist Sandra Santiago. It was a truly magical experience to read, comment and laugh with many talented Chicago women. Mil gracias.
On Sunday September 22, from 1 – 4 p.m., I had the amazing opportunity to work with a talented group of writers from Revista Contratiempo in the headquarters of their organization. Executive Director, Moira Pujols was instrumental in making this happen. Moira and I had talked about the possibility of my visiting Revista Contratiempo for nearly six months. It finally happened. What a sincere pleasure it was to work with such a devoted group of writers. Most of the writers who attended the session were already published authors, a combination of novelists, poets, short story writers, essayists and editors. During the session, participants shared their work and feedback was given to each person in a professional manner and at times with no mercy. I was gladly surprised to see the intense dynamic in this group. These are seasoned writers ready to expose their words and most importantly ready to listen to their colleagues’ comments. This was my final activity in Chicago before returning to Kansas City. Cerré con broche de oro.
Back in Kansas City
Montserrat Fontes author of First Confession and Dreams of the Centaur was invited by Norma Cantú to Kansas City. Fontes gave a presentation on Monday, September 23 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). This event was sponsored by the Latina/o Studies Program, the Bernardine Haskell Fund and the English Department. It was great to meet you Montserrat.
On Thursday, October 3, at 7 p.m. at the American Jazz Museum, Poetry at Park Presented: the Symphony, a group of marvelous poets and Cave Canem members, comenzando con Poet John Murillo, who I’ve learnt is in his lyaworaje or año de iniciación before becoming a Santero priest. For that reason no photos of Murillo this time. Also part of the Symphony are poets Randall Horton, Jamaal May and Marcus Jackson. Kansas City was honored to have them. They were all introduced by Glenn North, Poet Laureate of the American Jazz Museum.
On October 3, the Latino Writers Collective traveled to Columbia, MO and read from Primera Página: Poetry from the LatinoHeartland (Cucui Press, 2013). This event was sponsored by MU Latina/o Graduate Professional Network (LGPN)
Among other activities in Kansas City, the Day of the Dead Art Show opening at Mattie Rhodes ArtCenter & Gallery was on Friday, October 4 from 6 – 9 p.m. I have participated with my art work, altars para Día de Muertos at Mattie Rhodes for twelve years. This year, in order to honor Chicano poet, activist, educator and founder of the Royal Chicano Air Force (RCAF), José Montoya, I have dedicated my altar to him. José Montoya recently passed away on September 25, 2013.
Finally, I’d like to finish today’s post by inviting you all to the 2013 Festival Latinoamericano dePoesía Ciudad de Nueva York/ 2013 Latin American Poetry Festival in New YorkCity this annual event is coordinated by poets Karla Coreas and Carlos Aguasaco. I’m honored to be one of the featured poets. If you’re around, please join me for one of my presentations. I’ll be presenting on the following dates and places in the New York City area:
On October 10 at Columbia Secondary School MSE, 425 W. 123rd street, New York, N. Y., 100027
From 8:50 – 9:35 a.m.: Poets, Xánath Caraza and Amir Or
On October 10 at York College, 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd, Jamaica NY 11451 from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Poets, Xánath Caraza, Ricardo Ballón, Leticia Luna and Juan Sobalvarro
On October 11, Clausura y recital poético, Consulado de El Salvador en Long Island, 151 Alkier Street, Brentwod, NY 11717 from 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Poets, Xánath Caraza, K. Rodríguez, Mara González, Alejandro Urizar, Leticia Luna, Isabel Cadenas, C. Esteban Cana, Juan Sobalvarro and Otoniel Guevara. ¡Viva la poesía! Peace and Creativity!