Friday, May 01, 2015

Anaya Documentary. Rodriguez Honored. Coming Out. Crossing Over. New From San Anto Poet Laureate.

I recently received a note about the Rudolfo Anaya documentary that was released in 2014.  I watched the film and I highly recommend it.

Only twenty-seven minutes long, it is a concise summary of Anaya's life, writing career and writing philosophy.  The photography is excellent. Since much of the footage includes the beautiful New Mexican landscape, the images are striking; the visuals expertly match the "magic" of the words spoken by Anaya and others.  Included in the film are La Bloga friends and guest contributors María Teresa Márquez and Roberto Cantú.

The film also features readings by Anaya from several of his works including The Silence of the Llano and Bless Me, Ultima. 

The film is perfect for the classroom where the lessons are about Anaya, Latino or Chicano Literature, writing, the writing life, or probably another dozen or so subjects.

Rudolfo Anaya continues to amaze with his prolific output.  His devotion to the preservation and documentation of New Mexican life and traditions is well-known.  The Anaya legend will live forever -- this film is a perfect way to celebrate the legend.

[from the film's producer]

New Mexico's storytellers reflect the vast spectacle of its landscape, history and cultures.  Rudolfo Anaya, one of its most beloved sons, has created an exemplary body of literary work -- novels, short stories and children's books -- exploring Hispanic life in the Southwest.  Influenced by a crossroads of cultures -- Native American, Spanish, Mexican and Anglo -- his fiction is infused with spirituality and has universal appeal.  

Anaya was the first Hispanic American writer to achieve major publishing success with his landmark novel, Bless Me, Ultima, in print since 1972.  The Nation magazine called it "a timeless work about youth and the rites of passage."  The Los Angeles Times praised the author as "an extraordinary storyteller."

A passionate advocate for the appreciation of New Mexico's Hispano traditions, Anaya has become a beloved part of the cultural landscape -- a familiar and welcoming to his audience as the Southwest's endless blue skies, adobe buildings or watermelon-colored sunsets.

Still writing at 77, his eloquence, wisdom and charisma are unmistakable and make him a beguiling subject for this documentary film.  Rudolfo Anaya:  The Magic of Words is a vital reference to the authentic culture of Hispanic New Mexico.  And while the wellspring of Anaya's stories is New Mexico, his insight is invaluable to understand the quest by all Hispanic American for cultural identity, recognition and respect.

To order a copy of the film:

Dave Ellis
Ellis Film
P.O. Box 9051
Santa Fe, NM  87504
(818) 216-6554

$25.00 plus $3.00 shipping


More Honors for Luis J. Rodriguez



6th Crossing Over Symposium

9th to 10th October 2015
Cleveland, Ohio
Contact person: Antonio Medina-Rivera

Cultural Borders, Political Borders. Educational Borders, Religious Borders, International Borders, Intranational Borders, Linguistic Borders, Ideological Borders, Age Borders,Tribal Borders, Social Class/Caste Borders, Neighborhood Borders.

Luis Alberto Urrea is the scheduled keynote speaker.

Organized by: Cleveland State University
Deadline for abstracts/proposals: 15th May 2015

Check the event website for more details.


New From San Antonio Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero

 [from the press release]

San Antonio, TX: Aztlan Libre Press announces the publication of San Antonio Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero’s new book, A Crown for Gumecindo. Published in a special hardbound edition, A Crown for Gumecindo is a heroic crown of sonnets dedicated and addressed to the author’s grandfather, Gumecindo Martínez Guerrero, who passed away in 2013. The sonnets chronicle Guerrero’s first year of grief following the loss of her beloved grandfather, the family patriarch.

 Through 15 linked sonnets, journal entries and meditations, Guerrero reexamines the lessons she learned from her grandfather, both intentionally and unintentionally, and in the process, carefully dissects the complex inheritance of their multigenerational, multilingual, and multifaceted male-female relationship. Guerrero draws upon various histories – personal, social, literary – in order to expose the uncertainties encountered in a time of mourning.

Award-winning visual artist, poet and professor Maceo Montoya from California contributes 15
paintings to the book. Inspired by Guerrero’s sonnets, Montoya’s paintings offer readers a layered experience of the tender and often shocking revelations of grief.

Tim Z. Hernández, author of Natural Takeover of Small Things, who writes the Foreword to this
book, states that: “A Crown for Gumecindo will hold its rightful place among the list of pivotal tomes that readers and writers alike will find themselves returning to time and again: a classic.”

Laurie Ann Guerrero was born and raised in the Southside of San Antonio, Texas and was named
Poet Laureate of the City of San Antonio in 2014 by former mayor, Julián Castro. Her first full-length collection, A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying, was selected by Francisco X. Alarcón as winner of the 2012 Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 2013. Guerrero holds a B.A. in English Language & Literature from Smith College and an MFA in Poetry from Drew University. She is the inaugural Poet-in-Residence at Palo Alto College in San Antonio and continues to live and write in her hometown.

A national book launch will be held on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 from 6:30-9pm at the Southwest School of Art Coates Chapel (300 Augusta, 78205). The event is free and open to the public and will include an author reading, multi-media presentation and book signing, music by DJ Despeinada, free food and a cash bar.

For information, call 210.710.8537 or e-mail



Bonifacio "Bonney" López -- an old friend of my parents and a former board member of radio station KUVO (Denver); author of The Life and Loves of Bonney Lopez. Rest in Peace.

Today (May 1) I team up with Mario Acevedo for the REFORMA mini-conference in the Denver Public Library -- we are supposed to talk about Northside Noir. Maybe I'll see you there.


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