Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Honoring Luis Omar Salinas. Submit! August's Next On-line Floricanto.

In Memoriam for a Friend: John Martinez Honors Luis Omar Salinas

Luis Omar Salinas left giant footsteps across the landscape of Chicano Literature. Chronologically, Salinas' work stood both as elder and avant garde to el movimiento's thundering voice. Stylistically, Omar Salinas was the movement's lyric voice, favoring a personal subject matter often flavored with an indelible sense of humor. He was an Aztec angel, offspring of a woman who was beautiful.

At the 1973 Festival de Flor y Canto, Salinas stood next to Alurista and passed the baton when Alurista honored Salinas' greatness, declaring Salinas "our greatest poet." Salinas smiled, put his hand on the San Diego poet's shoulder. "You're the man," the great Fresno poet told the up-and-coming lion, the young Alurista.

La Bloga is happy to honor Luis Omar Salinas through the voice of Salinas' friend and erstwhile roommate, John Martinez. Click here to read a guest column about Salinas in his late years.

All rights reserved. No copying or duplication without express written permission.
Omar Salinas 1973: Festival de Flor y Canto, USC

By John Martinez

Para Luis Omar Salinas

The night is swollen
In the puffed chest of a sparrow
Manicured Bermuda
With mumbling cats,
Television heroes
Fade into pixel dust

And sleeping bankers
On leather couches, dream,
Of nothing

So, tonight, I salute
My wandering,
And call out to
The faraway coffin
Of Luis Omar Salinas

And think of his memory
In pastel yellow
And orange peel orange,
And bruised poems
Scattered like milk
Chocolate Kisses
Under the tin roof
Of Lindsay and for
The world to see

The bones of his Tia,
Forever trotting across
The tar knot streets,
Whispered to me in a dream

“Está Vivo, Luis Omar Salinas,
Durmiendo encima de un
Bus stop bench"

A caravan of ice cream trucks
And unborn babies
Falling from his pencil hand,
Stop signs moan and bend
Around him-
In life and in death

"Still, this god damned loneliness"

And Barbital itches,
And Navane, sueno,
And College girls
With unscripted secrets
Undressing to
To his romantic rue
In a cloud of Kool-

His stanza fingers

Let the tower of
The Catholic Church,
Near the liquor store
Ring its bell,
Scatter the derelict dogs,
The unemployed
Deer Dancer,
The cross dressed
Little boy and his mother,
A murdered scream
Of his father in a lunch box,
The pessimistic trucker
And his bipolar parrot-

Let them open
To the Quixotic belch;

"Omar, está vivo, en las calles de
Lindsay, Califas…”

En los llantas of trucks,
Bent chain linked fences,
Wooden houses on mud,
Politicians and their
Runaway tumbleweeds

“Huelga, Huelga,
Huelga, against the common grid,
The sculpted dream,”
Is the harmony they sing-
This flock of drugged pigeons
In white tuxedos-

"Está vivo,
Luis Omar Salinas"

Under the Orange tree
Behind his Tia's house,
Whining his shadow
Onto trawled stucco

Forever grinding
Lead onto paper

Spinning the world
Into flour dust metaphors,

Dressing dead soldiers
Of liberation in khaki clean,
And hands painted red,
Breaking the cell
Of Miguel Hernandez

This Gypsy poet,
This lazy eye, meaty faced,
On to us,
With a sinew smile…his smile,
That meant, only;
He loved us with his pain
(C) John Martinez 2016
All Rights Reserved

All rights reserved. No copying or duplicating without express written permission.
Omar Salinas and Alurista at 1973 Festival de Flor y Canto at USC. ©michael v sedano

John Martinez studied Creative Writing at Fresno State University, in the late seventies, early eighties with the late, Philip Levine. During this time, he also performed music with Teatro De La Tierra (Agustin Lira) and toured with them for 2 years. After four years, at Fresno State University, and touring, on and off with Teatro, Martinez began working with the, now, U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera, and they formed the Music-Art -Performance Group, TROKA and, subsequently, went on tour, performing throughout the United States. He then moved to Los Angeles to further his education, and to possibly attend Southwestern Law School. But, owing to economic obligations (he was a single parent, and had a child to support) be began work in a Los Angeles Firm as an Investigator. 3 years later, he was appointed Chief Investigator for that firm. In 1987, he met his wife, and they purchased their first home in Los Angeles. For the next 24 years, Martinez did not write poetry. It wasn't until the passing of his brother, award winning Novelist, and Poet, Victor Martinez, in 2011, that John Martinez begin to write again; a last promise to Victor. Since then, John Martinez has produced three books of poetry, two of which are being published by Izote Press and will be ready for AWP in Washington in 2017. In addition, he has produced an unpublished novel, Wilshire Rain, which covers white collar crime in Los Angeles in the late 80's, and chronicles the formations of Special Investigation Units that are now mainstays in most large Insurance Companies.

Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery Adding Rudolfo Anaya to Collection

This foto of Gaspar Enríquez' portrait of  Rudolfo Anaya appears in the Albuquerque Journal.

Visitors to next year's AWP in Washington, DC will want to carve out time to visit the National Portrait Gallery to see in-person Gaspar Enríquez' portrait of Rudolfo Anaya.

The commission, accepted by the Smithsonian board in May 2016, is slated for unveiling in November at the New Acquisitions exhibition.

Anaya's is the only portrait of a Chicano in the National Portrait Gallery. No Chicana portraits hang in the gallery. Director Kim Sajet's letter to Don Rudy attests to the portrait as "the first that we devote to a Hispanic figure." La Bloga looks forward to reporting the Smithsonian's second, and subsequent, commissions of raza notables.

Latinopia Adds Interviews, Essay: Anaya on Poetry. Hutton and Ortego on Geronimo. 

La Bloga values our relationship with Latinopia. We are text-oriented, Latinopia video. We are multidimensional, or multimedia, as both sites feature foto, video, and essay.

This week, Latinopia adds depth and immediacy to two recent La Bloga columns, Michael Sedano's review of The Sorrows of Young Alfonso, and his Interview with Rudolfo Anaya on recent works. Last week, Sedano's review of Paul Andrew Hutton's The Apache Wars, linked to a Latinopia interview with the historian.

Click these links to navigate to an interview with Anaya discussing poetry, an interview with Hutton on the inevitability of Apache defeat. The third links to Felipe de Ortego's essay on the inevitability of conflict and Unitedstatesian hegemony.

Rudolfo Anaya

Paul Andrew Hutton

Felipe de Ortego

Call for Papers
The Inter-University Program for Latino Research in co-sponsorship with The University of Texas at San Antonio’s Mexico Center will host in San Antonio, Texas on May 17-19, 2017 the sixth biennial Siglo XXI Conference on the Mapping of Latino Research.

For detailed instructions, visit the University's Call for Papers website here:

The proceedings from the conference will be included in a report on the state of Latino research which will focus on what we know, what we need to know on how to achieve new knowledge. This publication will be geared towards private and public funders of research. We encourage cross-disciplinary discussions as well as panels that include practitioners.

Awards and Ceremonies

The new publicity for the annual Latino Book Awards bills itself as "The Academy Awards of Latino Literature & Culture." More power to the academy, entonces.

The affair should be a fun gathering of author hopefuls, friends, familia, and the raza servers schlepping drinks and finger food to the paying guests.

The producer promises "we will be saluting Zoot Suit (the movie) and many of the cast and crew will be presenters for the Awards. This adds a special Hollywood effect for our first independent Awards to be held in Los Angeles and will create an evening not to be missed."

You can order tickets for the event at this link. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/YK9VDXS

Penultimate Tuesday of August 2016: La Bloga On-line Floricanto
Edward Vidaurre, Tom Sheldon, Tim WoZny, Elizabeth Marino, Ivonne Gordon

“Stray Bullets” By Edward Vidaurre
“cloudland” By Tom Sheldon
“The Emperor Has No Brains” By Tim WoZny
“Furrow” By Elizabeth Marino
“You Sang to the Sun” By Ivonne Gordon

When I was training salespeople the most challenging behavior was to ask for the order. The salesperson would do it all effectively and build to stressing the benefits and value of the proposal, and stop. The customer would say something like “that’s interesting” and the sales call was over.

Writers and writing is analogous, except instead of not asking for the order, some writers don't submit and don't get published.

What if they say no?

Do the math if rejection intimidates you. You have a 50-50 chance of a “Yes” if you ask. You have a 100% chance of “No” when you don’t ask.

The lesson about asking for the order comes out of today’s La Bloga On-line Floricanto, the fifth selection, “You Sang to the Sun.” Ivonne Gordon submitted the poem last year but it did not go into a floricanto. “You Sang to the Sun” had been submitted, thus the poem stood a 50-50 chance of nomination to the On-line Floricanto.

La Bloga On-line Floricanto is a joint project of La Bloga and the Facebook community Poets Responding to SB1070: Poetry of Resistance, founded by Francisco X. Alarcón qepd. In the community, poets submit poems on an Open Call. Moderators of the group read current submissions and review archived candidates. La Bloga limits the Moderators to five nominations per floricanto. It's not surprising some fine work doesn't get an immediate nod. This month, the Moderators decided Ivonne Gordon’s tribute to Francisco X. Alarcón had waited long enough.

Submit is easily typed, less so to do. In Los Angeles, Women Who Submit, an artivist collective of writers, invites peers to make submission a mutually-supportive community event. Writers don't have to be in LA to participate.  Visit Women Who Submit's Facebook page (click here to visit) and get details):

SEPTEMBER 10, 2016, JOIN US from 12-4pm at THE FACULTY: 707 N Heliotrope Dr., Los Angeles, California 90029.
"We, Women Who Submit, want to celebrate the last four years of submissions, rejections, and acceptances with one giant nationwide online submission party.
We are inviting all women and non-binary writers around the country to submit to at least one tier one journal on 9/10/16.
PARKING: Street parking is available, but there is restricted parking near LACC. MAKE SURE TO READ THE SIGNS. 
Let's inundate these top journals with our best work and shake up their slush piles."

Opportunities rarely knock after a few months. A regular flow of submissions keeps hope alive; every  submission has a 50-50 chance of being "Yes."
 - - Michael Sedano

“Stray Bullets” By Edward Vidaurre
“cloudland” By Tom Sheldon
“The Emperor Has No Brains” By Tim WoZny
“Furrow” By Elizabeth Marino
“You Sang to the Sun” By Ivonne Gordon

Stray Bullets
By Edward Vidaurre

Some people have
poems coming to them
in the form of shovels and graveyards.

In the form of broken
neck prose and romantic
death sonnets.

In molotov cinquains and
abstract chalk outlines.

In nonet form,
in a café
with a slow view of sundown.

The poem will hit you like
a bop and stray bullet
begging for a blood

A shadorma that leaves
the seventh line blank
with a sigh.

By Tom Sheldon

The trials and trying of my life

in one breath i am living and dying

I've been waiting for showers to fall

I've been standing on these shifting sands

reaching out for an open hand

gyros and lightning speak to me

perched birds breathing in secrecy ~ days drift into night...

seasons collide in change...

cloud generators and steam rise

a gentle rain falls

as night unfolds...droplets caressing stone

seedlings grow

the sun rises

one eye goes laughing,

one eye crying.

By Elizabeth Marino

Many fields lie fallow, waiting.
The hand lingers over
the pulse from the rounded belly.
Even when the potential is gone
the mystery remains.

No perfect child will unfurl tiny fingers here.
It goes to the heart of who we are, and beyond.
Imaging seeks and finds
one intact ovary. The other
hides behind fists of gristle and blood.

The hand lingers over
the pulse from the rounded belly.
Belly and hand are mine. Many fields
lie fallow, waiting.
I am legion.

The Emperor Has No Brains
By Tim WoZny

Sing a song of Trump/Pence,
A party full of hate,
Four and twenty liars
Start the world on fire.

When the fire started
The racists began to sing—
Wasn't that an ugly thing
We did to anoint our King?

The king was in the counting-house
Counting out his money,
The queen was at the beach
Stealing words for her speech,

The GOP was in an awful state
Now the party of no hope.
Neck deep in troubled waters
With no one to throw a rope.

You Sang to the Sun
By Ivonne Gordon

To Francisco X. Alarcón

You sang to the sun
and crossed yourself
with the moon. You heal,
you healed the leaves
wrapped in the trees.
You are the root
Edged on Mother Earth.
You are not alone.

Meet the Poets
“Stray Bullets” By Edward Vidaurre
“cloudland” By Tom Sheldon
“The Emperor Has No Brains” By Tim WoZny
“Furrow” By Elizabeth Marino
“You Sang to the Sun” By Ivonne Gordon

Edward Vidaurre is the author of four books. I Took My Barrio On A Road Trip, (Slough Press 2013), Insomnia (El Zarape Press 2014), Beautiful Scars: Elegiac Beat Poems (El Zarape Press 2015), and his latest collection Chicano Blood Transfusion (FlowerSong Books) was published this year. Vidaurre is the founder of Pasta, Poetry, and Vino--a monthly open mic gathering of artists, poets, and musicians. He resides in McAllen, TX with his wife and daughter

Tom Sheldon was born and raised in New Mexico and comes from a large Hispanic family. He has always loved and appreciated the gift of creating in various forms. Southwestern themes and landscapes are among Sheldon’s favorites—the wonder and beauty of New Mexico’s history and his surroundings continually inspire his artwork.

Tim Wozny started writing poetry on napkins at the coffee counters in his hometown of Chicago Heights. He eventually went on to publish "Heart of a Poet" in 1998 and continues to write poetry, take pictures and work hard at saving the world in Humboldt County California

Poet and educator Elizabeth Marino's work most recently appeared in print and online: LaBloga Best of 2014, The Significant Anthology (India), The Muse of Peace (Gambia), Overthrow Capitalism (RPB), 2016 Hessler Street Fair Poetry Anthology (Cleveland), Poets Responding to SB1070, and the online jazz poetry collection As Sweet as You Are. She studied with Juan Felipe Herrera at the first Las dos Brujas writing workshop."

Ivonne Gordon was born in Quito, Ecuador. Her work reflects her nomadic vision, which she expands to limitless inner geographies and borders. She is a poet, literary critic, and literary translator. She has a Ph.D. from UC, Irvine in Latin American Literature. She is a Professor of Latin American Literature at the University of Redlands. She has published: Cuerpos de Ceniza (forthcoming); Meditar de sirenas (Sweden); Meditar de sirenas Second Edition (Chile); Barro blasfemo (Spain ); Manzanilla del insomnio (Ecuador); Colibríes en el exilio (Ecuador). Has been invited to International Poetry Festivals in Colombia, Ecuador, Hungary, Nicaragua, United States and other countries. She was also invited to read her poetry on two occasions at The Library of Congress in Washington, DC. Her work has been included in several Poetry Anthologies published in the United States, Uzbekistan, Latin America, and Europe. Also published in poetry journals in the US, Europe, Africa and Latin America. Her work has been translated to English, Polish, and Flemish. She was Keynote Speaker at International Literature conferences at several universities in the USA. Was recipient of the Fulbright Scholar Award. Among her distinctions she received the Jorge Carrera Andrade Poetry Award in Ecuador, Finalist of the International Award Francisco de Aldana, and Finalist in the International Extraordinary Award of Casa de las Américas.

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