By Xánath Caraza
For this occasion, I am excited to share with everyone the cover of my new chapbook, Noche de colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems (pandora lobo estepario Press, 2014), a recap about my poetry presentation in the city of Puebla de los Ángeles in the state of Puebla in Mexico, about my visit to La Biblioteca Palafoxiana, and one personal pendiente to read my short story about La China Poblana at her actual house in Puebla. In addition, I want to wish everyone a happy end to 2013 and all the best for the upcoming New Year 2014.
As for the year’s end and our new year, personally, I feel thankful for such an incredible 2013. For me, it’s true that I’m always busy, as most of us all, and I love simple details in the rush of a hectic day, such as enjoying a sunset, listening to my mother on the phone or reading a text message from my father.
Noche de colibríes: Ekphrastic Poems
I cannot stop thanking all my editors, TL Press, Mammoth Publications, Mouthfeel Press and pandora lobo estepario press, for the great support of my work. I’m happy to see finally my first short story collection in print, Lo que trae la marea/What the Tide Brings (Mouthfeel Press, 2013). I’m also excited about my new poetry collections, a chapbook, Noche de colibries: Ekphrastic Poems (pandora lobo estepario press, 2014), and a full length book of poetry, Sílabas de viento, both up-coming in 2014.
Several friends have asked me what I’ve been working on lately, and at the moment I’m giving the final touches to my second short story collection, not sure about the title yet, I have two in mind, but I will certainly keep everyone posted on this development.
La poesía en Puebla
At Colegio D’Amicis in the greater area of Puebla, Puebla, Mexico, I was invited to present some of my poetry on December 16, 2013 by and along with poet, Javier Gutierrez Lozano. In addition to reading our own poetry, we read the poems of the finalist for the first Concurso de Poesía D’Amicis (poetry contest).
The sizeable audience that attended our poetry reading notably impressed me. The 120 seats available were filled and there was standing room only. However, learning the event was voluntary for students came as a significant surprise to me because of such wonderful attendance. The event was open to the public too, in addition to parents and several of Javier’s friends.
Immediately after reading our poetry, we had a Q&A session and I was deeply moved by the observations and questions by the young audience. For example, several young women were deeply moved by my poem “Sihualt/Mujer”, from my book Conjuro (Mammoth Publications, 2012), since they felt a strong connection to the central theme of women’s rights in this poem. Several students wanted to know more about “Yanga” and its rhythms in the poem itself. Additionally, “Yanga” was moving for one particular student who noted his family connections to the regions of Mexico where African ancestry has been more visible.
With regard for the school administration involved in the Concurso and reading, I had the opportunity to meet Cristina Montes de Oca, President of the Colegio, and Cristina González Mayorga, High School Principal. I’d like to take a chance to thank them for their support for this event and for what I understand is the beginning of an annual poetry contest and poetry reading. I’m looking forward to see the development of this important event.
Of the school faculty, congratulations Javier for your hard work and for developing the Concurso and reading. It’s wonderful to see your idea come to fruition.
Other sponsors of the Concurso were Valparaíso Ediciones, FIP, Revista Reflejo, Círculo de Poesía and, representando también, La Bloga.
La Biblioteca Palafoxiana
One of the several reasons I wanted to go to Puebla was to visit La Biblioteca Palafoxiana. Previously, I had tried on three different occasions over the last several years to visit and was unable due to closures because of renovations. Finally on December 17, 2013, I was able literally to walk through la Biblioteca Palafoxiana where it has been since its beginnings.
Historically, La Biblioteca Palafoxiana was founded in 1646 by Juan Palafox y Mendoza. It was the first public library in the Americas. It is located in the Antiguo Colegio de San Juan in Puebla proper. In 2005, it was declared by UNESCO as part of the Programa Memoria del Mundo. I certainly enjoyed this treasure of Mexico.
El cuento: “China Poblana”
One of my other personal motivations to visit Puebla was to be able to sit in the house of La China Poblana and read my short story, “China Poblana” from my short story collection, Lo que trae la marea/ What the Tide Brings (Mouthfeel Press, 2013). So, I did, and for that reason I’m also thankful.
Esto es todo por hoy. Wishing everyone lo mejor para este Nuevo año, 2014. Peace and much creativity.