Friday, September 26, 2014

Shaking Up the Poetry Scene in Santa Barbara

Melinda Palacio

Emma Trelles, Mission Poetry Series Director

Emma Trelles is taking over the Mission Poetry Series in Santa Barbara. The Florida native is immersing herself in all things California, not just poetry. Last weekend, she volunteered with the Santa Barbara County coastal cleanup and helped collect 3,864 pounds of trash on the beach and 831 pounds of recyclable materials.

She sat down with La Bloga and discussed some of the exciting changes at the Mission Poetry Series. The series has always been a favorite of poetry enthusiasts in Santa Barbara and beyond. The poetry is always exceptional (disclaimer I am reading with Blas Falconer and Michelle Detorie this season; Emma herself read last year), and the series is generous with free refreshments and broadsides for the audience.

Emma Trelles is the 2011 winner of the Andrès Montoya Poetry Prize for her book, Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press) and the author of Little Spells.

Tropicalia by Emma Trelles 

La Bloga: 
How did you get involved with the Mission Poetry Series?

Emma Trelles:
I first read at the Mission Poetry Series in the fall of 2013 and hit it off with the series' co-founder and director at the time, Paul Fericano. He's a lovely and intelligent person, as well as a talented poet, who really cares about bringing quality poetry to the community. But he was moving full time to San Francisco and wasn't going to be able to continue directing the series from there, so he asked me to take over. 

Paul Fericano, co-founder and former director of the Mission Poetry Series

La Bloga:
Can you tell us a little bit about your poetry and how being in Santa Barbara has influenced your work?

Emma Trelles:
Moving to Santa Barbara was, in some ways, a huge change for me, particularly since I had lived in South Florida my entire life. Since "place" is a subject I've often addressed in my poems, I definitely see SB seeping into my lines now, mostly in subtle ways that have to do with its eco-systems and how they can be examined through the lens of myth and culture. While in Florida, for example, water was prominent in my poems and even my dreams. Here, its absence is now finding its way into my consciousness as well as my creative work. I never thought I'd say this, but I actually miss those muggy afternoon monsoons that would just pour down and wash the world clean. South Florida has some glorious rain...

Sister Susan Blomstad, Co-founder of the Mission Poetry Series

La Bloga:
The Mission Poetry Series began at the Mission, but has changed venues. Will you rename the series?

Emma Trelles:

I'd like to keep the series name intact to honor the place of its birth, the historic Old Mission in SB, and to recognize the hard work its founders Paul Fericano and Sister Susan Blomstad did in establishing it as a valued and respected reading. The Mission is one of SB's historic jewels and I love that the series reflects that in its own way.

Mission Santa Barbara

La Bloga:
Tell us about what you will maintain and the changes forthcoming in the Mission Poetry Series.

Emma Trelles:
I want the series to maintain the spirit of inclusiveness that Paul cultivated so well, as well as his attention to bringing poets of diverse backgrounds and ages in to read. I'd like to further develop that by including more Latino poets, especially because SB and its surrounding regions are so rich with Latino culture and talent. I'm also exploring how to add additional programming that would further serve greater Santa Barbara by connecting it with poetry through volunteer work, workshops, and more. It's all in the preliminary stages now, but stay tuned for more later this year, when MPS will likely announce on our Facebook page what we're up to!

Mission Poetry Series, Saturday September 27, 1pm

No comments: