Showing posts with label U of AZ Press. Show all posts
Showing posts with label U of AZ Press. Show all posts

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Poeta de Colombia y Wisconsin

Maurice Kilwein Guevara and Poema

Gente: About two weeks ago I was fortunate enough to read for Paul Martinez Pompa (Pepper Spray/Momotombo Press) at Triton College in River Grovee, IL. I was paired with Maurice, and loved his sly, insightful, lyrical, muscular writing. Below is a brief description of who Maurice is, and below that, samples of the poetry that made me laugh and stirred my soul.


Maurice Kilwein Guevara was born in Belencito, Colombia in 1961 and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee, where he teaches in the MA and PhD Programs in Creative Writing as well as in the Latino Studies Program. Previously, he has taught at Vermont College, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Universidad de las Américas (Mexico), and Universidad del Norte and Universidad Javeriana (Colombia).

His first book of poetry, entitled Postmortem (U. of GA Press), won the National Contemporary Poetry Series Competition and was published in 1994. His second volume, Poems of the River Spirit, was published in the Pitt Poetry Series in 1996. Autobiography of So-and-so: Poems in Prose came out in 2001 with New Issues Press. POEMA, his fourth collection, was released in 2009 by the University of Arizona Press.

A dynamic presenter of his own work, Kilwein Guevara has given poetry performances and workshops in Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Spain, Cuba and throughout the United States. His work has appeared in Poetry, Parnassus, Ploughshares, Exquisite Corpse, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, and The Journal of the American Medical Association. His poetry has been anthologized in Touching the Fire: Fifteen Poets of Today’s Latino Renaissance (Anchor/Doubleday), American Poetry: the Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon University Press), The New American Poets: a Bread Loaf Anthology (U. Press of New England), and No Boundaries: Prose Poems by 24 American Poets (Tupelo Press), among others.

In 2009, he will be a Senior Research Grantee with La Comisión Fulbright en Ecuador, doing background research for a novel and a play. .He has served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) and was the first Latino to be elected as its President. He is married to the poet Janet Jennerjohn; they have two sons and live in Milwaukee.


Hector the Colombian Who Butchered the Hair of Juan Ramón

You don’t know him? Oh, I figured cause he’s Colombian too.
I don’t get my hair cut from him no more. Used to.
Used to sit down with him in his shop over on
Lincoln Avenue, and he cut my hair, I guess he cut my hair
like maybe twenty twenty-five times, you know for least ten years,
y fueron cortes de pelo de calidad buena.
See the thing is Hector the Colombian he can bullshit so much
you need waders after a while, him talking about his village in the Andes,
and his mother who wears a crown of thorns cause she’s a
super-duper Catholic lady and sees angels in the Tupperware,
and his bother that’s a narcoleptic mechanic, and his six sisters in Colombia who is so beautiful they still ain’t married, and he says that’s the difference between Colombia and every other country in the planet is how beautiful the Colombian women is, etcetera. But the last time I got my hair cut by Hector he looked terrible like he ain’t slept in a week, and I can smell the aguardiente through the cheap cologne and gold chains. Snip snip clip clip he starts up again on how perfect like an emerald ripped out of the belly of the mountain the Colombian women is clip clip. Now he starts crying saying God the Almighty and/or Jesus Christ and even the Holy Mother is jealous of Colombia because the Colombian women is so beautiful like gold shimmering in the sunshine, and God’s jealousy is the reason why Colombia has earthquakes and mudslides and more blood than a butcher shop clip clip clip when out of the blue he says Who am I kidding? She left me porque yo soy un verdadero pendejo and I drink too much and I’m a mess and a bad person clip clip, and I start feeling the hot tears falling on my head and neck drip clip, and I give a quick peek at the mirror and it’s a mess. He’s fucking up big time, cutting big ugly bald shapes into my scalp like I got a dog disease, and it’s all uneven clip drip with drops of blood. The problem, Juan Ramón, is I am afraid I am too democratic and love all the women equal, but for some reason they don’t feel the same way about democracy as I do clip clip. But I say, Hector look man my head’s all fucked up, chingado, you fucked up my head man check it out, and he wipes his eyes, puts the scissors and comb down by his side, and I say I ain’t paying for that shit. That’s a shit-job you done, and he says in a low, empty voice: You’re right, Juan Ramón. You look the way I feel. This one is on me, totalmente gratis.

Poema cubano con cara vieja

La red
La red
Poema cubano
Con cara café
Face note
Net of creases
Come come
Comes out
Crops up
A stogie
A brown stump
Faces out
Time-net a brown face
De la pared
Un puro
Comes out
A brown face
Crops up
Out of the white
Out of the white plaster
A leathered rolling
Cheekbones slope of forehead
Looks down
And comes a brown face
A brown face comes out of the white
Out of the wall
Brown pores
A galaxy
Damp old puro
Eyes hooded
Looking down
A brown face comes out of the white plaster, stump of puro in his mouth

POEMA, University of Arizona Press (2009) 978-0-8165-2725-

Lisa Alvarado

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Valadez is on the truth

what i'm on
Luis Humberto Valadez


Publication Date: March 19, 2009

Camino del Sol: A Latina/Latino Literary Series
64 pages
6 x 8
ISBN: 978-0-8165-2740-3, $15.95 paper

Luis Humberto Valadez is a poet/performer/musician from the south side of the Chicago area whose work owes as much to hip-hop as it does to the canon and has been described by esteemed activist writer Amiri Baraka as "strong-real light flashes."

His debut poetry collection
what i'm on is frankly autobiographical, recounting the experiences of a Mexican American boy growing up in a tough town near Chicago. Just as in life, the feelings in these poems are often jumbled, sometimes spilling out in a tumble, sometimes coolly recollected. Valadez's poems shout to be read aloud. It's then that their language dazzles most brightly. It's then that the emotions bottled up on the page explode beyond words. And there is plenty of emotion in these poems. Sometimes the words jump and twitch as if they‚d been threatened or attacked. Sometimes they just sit there knowingly on the page, weighted down by the stark reality of it all.

José García
put a thirty-five to me
my mother was in the other room
He would have done us both

if not for the lust of my fear


This new Mexican American/Chicano voice is all at once arresting, bracing, shocking, and refreshing. This is not the poetry you learned in school. But Valadez, who received his MFA from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poets at Naropa University, has paid his academic dues, and he certainly knows how to craft a poem. It's just that he does it his way.
Luis Humberto Valadez works as a coordinator and consultant for the Chicago Public Schools Homeless Education Program.

Recordings of Valadez performing his poems can be found at, Reverb Nation, and other Internet sites.
VALADEZ BLURBS: “Brave, raw, and exposing of a young mans consciousness. Luis’s work is not confessional in the limited, put-it-in-a-box way that big publishers like to market their material to liberal guilt.” -Andrew Schelling, author of Tea Shack Interior

“In voices colloquial and church, reverent and riotous, serious and sly; in rap and fragment, sound and sin; from gangs and minimum-wage jobs to astrology and Christ, Luis Valadez makes his fearless debut. This poetry is a painfully honest disclosure of identity and anger, and it is as mindful of falsity and as hard on itself as it is playful, loose, and loving. Sometimes the language is clear and cutting, while other times it disintegrates into sonic units and primal utterances: Luis calls upon the whole history of oral and verbal expression to tell his story—going so far as to write his own (wildly funny and disturbing) obituary.” —Arielle Greenberg, author of My Kafka Century

“On the trail blazed by innovators like Harryette Mullen and John Yau, Luis Valadez sends wild, canny, charged, and vulnerable prayers from the hard camp of contested identities. Each line, each word, is a blow against “impossibility” and the heavy pressure to be silent as expected. Interrogations of tradition(s) as well as celebrations, the irresistible poems in Valadez’s first collection exist at the exact fresh moment of deciding to live and to love.” —Laura Mullen, author of After I Was Dead

“Valadez’s work is not simply fierce language poetics… here is a writer—the genuine article—whose style is that of a truth-speaking curandero, offering sacred cantos to anyone interested in illuminating that inner revolution called corazón. To read his work is to discover the future of American poética! “
—Tim Z. Hernandez, author of Skin Tax

“Valadez’s impressions abruptly transport the reader from swaggering elucidation to raw pain. In a sometimes-resigned glance around for divinity, what I’m on triggers equally sudden heart-rippings, laughter, and cinematic naturescapes.”
—Claire Nixon, editor Twisted Tongue Magazine

Holly Schaffer, Publicity Manager
University of Arizona Press

355 S. Euclid Ave., Ste. 103
Tucson, AZ 85719
Ph: 520-621-3920, Fx: 520-621-8899


Lisa Alvarado

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Juan Felipe Herrera Continues To Amaze

Book News - The University of Arizona Press For Immediate Release: Holly Schaffer, Publicity Manager # 520-621-3920,

Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems JUAN FELIPE HERRERA
Publication Date: July 17, 2008
Camino del Sol: A Latina and Latino Literary Series 288 pages 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-8165-2703-8, $24.95 paper + CD

“The rich, chromatic imagery, the lyrical tone, and the flowing rhythm
make the reading of this collection a profound experience, an experience not easily forgotten.” —Luis Leal, author of A Luis Leal Reader

For nearly four decades, Juan Felipe Herrera has documented his
experience as a Chicano in the United States and Latin America through stunning, memorable poetry that is both personal and universal in its impact, themes, and approach. Often political, never fainthearted, his career has been marked by tremendous virtuosity and a unique sensibility for uncovering the unknown and the unexpected.

Through a variety of
stages and transformations, Herrera has evolved more than almost any other Chicano poet, always re-inventing himself into a more mature and seasoned voice. Now, in this unprecedented collection, we encounter the trajectory of this highly innovative and original writer, bringing the full scope of his singular vision into view. Beginning with early material from A Certain Man and moving through thirteen of his collections into new, previously unpublished work, this assemblage also includes an audio CD of the author reading twenty-four selected poems aloud.

Serious scholars
and readers alike will now have available to them a representative set of glimpses into his production as well as his origins and personal development. The ultimate value of bringing together such a collection, however, is that it will allow us to better understand and appreciate the complexity of what this major American poet is all about.

Juan Felipe Herrera holds the Tomás Rivera Endowed chair in the
Department of Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside. For the last thirty-five years, Juan Felipe has been writing, publishing, reading, performing, leading workshops, and organizing literary broadsides, journals, and publications in home communities and universities in California and throughout the nation. He is the author of 24 books, and he has more than one-hundred articles, poems, reviews, and essays in print.

The University of Arizona Press, founded in 1959, is a nonprofit publisher of about fifty books each year, with over 800 books in print. Publications include scholarly and trade titles in Native American and Latina/o studies, anthropology, archaeology, nature writing and environmental studies, regional history, Latin American studies, and space sciences. The Press publishes two critically acclaimed series in fiction and poetry, Sun Tracks: An American Indian Literary Series, and Camino del Sol: A Latina and Latino Literary Series.

Lisa Alvarado

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Palabra Pura News -- New Latino Poetry on Tour

Palabra Pura, Chicago's home for cutting edge, innovative Latino poetry is evolving in exciting ways, with its 2008 calendar of stellar talent solidly in place. While still basing itself at the California Clipper, Palabra Pura will begin to also hold events at Latino venues throughout the city. This month, join nationally know poet and performer, Tim Z. Hernandez and Chicago actor, poet and activist, Stephanie Gentry-Fernandez.

February 20th. 8 pm
Decima Musa Restaurant
1901 S. Loomis St.
Chicago, IL

About the poets:
Tim Z. Hernandez is a writer and performer originally from central California. His writing and performance texts have appeared in numerous anthologies and publications, and his performances featured at prestigious venues across the nation, including: LA’s Getty Center Museum, The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Stanford University, and the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. In the past, he has been commissioned by major groups such as the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to write and perform his original plays on issues of homelessness and poverty. Currently, he’s working in tandem with Poets & Writers Inc, and California Center for the Book, offering bilingual poetry workshops across the United States.

He is the recipient of several notable awards including: 2006 American Book Award for his debut collection of poetry Skin Tax, San Francisco Foundation’s James Duval Phelan Award, a Best Solo Production Award for his one man show, Diaries of a Macho, and the Zora Neal Hurston Award for writers of color dedicated to their communities.
In the interest of artistic development, Hernandez’s focus is on excavating stories that bring to light the limitless potential of the human capacity, stories of physical and metaphysical journeys, with special attention to marginalized populations. When he’s not busy teaching creative writing and performance, he’s touring the country, collaborating with his word-music-theater collective, Brown Lotus, and offering workshops to Universities, arts groups, cultural centers, foundations, and libraries. Tim holds a B.A. in Writing & Literature from Naropa University, the first accredited Buddhist School in the west.

Currently, he resides in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two daughters.

What People Are Saying About Tim Z. Hernandez

"Tim Hernandez is one of the finest and most exciting new talents to emerge from the new generation of Latino writers!”- Bloomsbury Review, Ray Gonzalez

“It’s too reductionistic to call Tim Hernandez a performance poet…though his voice and rhythms surely benefit from the energy behind a microphone, the complexity of his ideas merit the slower pace study made possible through the written pages of Skin Tax.” - El Paso Times Book Review Rigoberto Gonzalez

“Tim Hernandez is a dynamic force as a writer and performer!” - Gary Soto Author of, Nickel & Dime

“Hernandez is a poet of obvious and quickly realized skills…his images are brilliant, sharp, and concise, his language spare yet rich. Poetry of the here and now, Brown Lotus is the kind of task that should have been undertaken long ago!” - Amiri Baraka, Author of, Transbluesency

“I like Tim’s boldness, his willingness to be raw and trust the content of the poem to make it real and legitimate, his words sizzle and spark with excitement, targeting with a relentless passion his desire to express what he is trying to convey.” - Jimmy Santiago Baca, Author of, A Place To Stand

“[Tim Hernandez] …represents a whole new direction in the Latino literary world!” - Juan Felipe Herrera, Author of, Notebooks of a Chile Verde Smuggler, and 187 Reasons Mexicans Can't Cross the Border

“[Skin Tax] is poetry not for delicate sensibilities, unafraid, it dares to stand out and speak of subjects commonly eschewed by other poets.” - Midwest Book Review


Stephanie Gentry-Fernandez is a poet and performer from the South Side whose male side you may recognize from Teatro Luna's recent production of "Machos." She has a deep personal commitment to anti-oppression work and currently works at the Broadway Youth Center.


Letras Latinas, The Wind Shifts and a National Tour!

Letras Latinas, The Guild Complex, and the University of Arizona Press
are proud to present

The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry ON TOUR

“In the hour of extremes, long live these brave wordsmiths of American letters.”
— Sandra Cisneros

February 23, 2008, Palm Beach, FL
@The Society of the Four Arts

Eduardo C. Corral

Kevin A. González

Sheryl Luna

May 31, 2008, Minneapolis, MN
@The Loft Literary Center

Urayoán Noel

Carl Marcum

Adela Najarro

Emmy Pérez

September 25, 2008, Seattle, WA
@Richard Hugo House

Richard Blanco

María Meléndez

Steven Cordova

Deborah Parédez

The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry ON TOUR” is supported in part by the Ford Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Southwest Airlines through a grant from the NALAC Fund for the Arts.

Letras Latinas is the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. The Guild Complex is a community-based literary organization in Chicago.

The Wind Shifts gathers, for the first time, works by emerging Latino and Latina poets in the twenty-first century. Here readers will discover 25 new and vital voices including Naomi Ayala, Richard

Blanco, David Dominguez, Gina Franco, Sheryl Luna, and Urayoán Noel.

The writers included in this volume have published poetry in well-regarded literary magazines. Some have published chapbooks or first collections, but none had published more than one book at the time of selection. This results in a freshness that energizes the enterprise. Certainly there is poetry here that is political, but this is not a polemical book; it is a poetry book. While conscious of their roots, the artists are equally conscious of living in the contemporary world—fully engaged with the possibilities of subject and language.
The variety is tantalizing.

There are sonnets and a sestina; poems about traveling and living overseas; poems rooted in the natural world and poems embedded in suburbia; poems nourished by life on the U.S.–Mexico border and poems electrified by living in Chicago or Los Angeles or San Francisco or New York City. Some of the poetry is traditional; some is avant-garde; some is informed by traditional poetry in Spanish; some follows English forms that are hundreds of years old. There are love poems, spells that defy logic, flashes of hope, and moments of loss. In short, this is the rich and varied poetry of young, talented North American Latinos and Latinas.



“In the hour of extremes, long live these brave wordsmiths of American letters. Hallowed be the poets when the news is diffused in the name of susto. Viva the citizens of truth. Hallelujah the devotees of language, the languished souls enamored of the syllable.” —Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street

“The poets in this anthology seem as though they just want to write poems, not specifically Latino poems. They are much too cross-pollinated for that—we all are, if truth be told—which is what makes that synthesis possible, the marvelous marbling at the core." —Aleida Rodríguez, author of Garden of Exile

“Here it is again, the shock of the new, eager as always to unsettle the present, to reconfigure the past while redefining the future. Ah, the impetus of the young!” —Ilan Stavans

“At last, a 21st century anthology that confirms the breadth and depth and diversity of contemporary Latino/a writing. The poems in this collection defy any stereotypes about ‘Latino poetry’ and testify to the rich variousness of the American Latino/a experience. Readers—rejoice!" —Valerie Martínez, author of Absence, Luminescent and World to World

“With jagged beauty, this collection expands our consciousness: documents and honors lives often absent from American poetry. In these pages, we join souls in struggle, almas luchando." —Pat Mora

"The title of the ravishing collection of poems by 25 Latino and Latina writers can be read as an allusion to change and to the fact that poetry is a force, like wind, that knows know borders. Whether inspired by family, love, despair, poems by Rilke, or a painting by Jose Clemente Orozco, the poets gathered here are involved in the infinite possibilities of language."

"This is a compelling and exhilarating addition to Latino letters."— El Paso Times

Lisa Alvarado