Monday, August 08, 2005


Monday’s post from Daniel Olivas

Ariel Robello’s first book of poems, My Sweet Unconditional was released this spring by Tía Chucha Press. In 2002, she was awarded an Emerging Voices Rosenthal Fellowship with PEN West. She is the founder of Full Moon Phases, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational women’s poetry cipher. Robello has featured at the World Stage, the Los Angeles Poetry Festival, and Voz Alta. Her poems have appeared, or are forthcoming in Urban Latino Magazine, el Aviso Magazine, The Sense of Site Project produced by Writers at Work, Poetry Is Not A Luxury, an Anthology of Poems by Women of Color in Los Angeles, the Luna Xol Anthology cd and the Never Ending Battle (produced by 5th Battalion). Robello teaches poetry in local high schools with PEN in the Classroom and the HeART project. Her poetry has been featured in several issues of the online journal, poeticdiverstiy. Robello is based in Echo Park. This is her poem, “Window Shopping on Broadway, Downtown Los Angeles” which appears in the February 2005 issue of poeticdiversity:

she stares at her reflection in the window
a showgirl’s figure superimposed
on her own round silhouette
her huipil is stained with red clay
black birds dance across her chest
their caws fending off men
who lean in with mamacitas and bonitas
their accents and beer steaming the glass

there is no harvest of wool here
no poppy seed dye
crushed red grasshopper
no loom between her legs
here women’s feet press cold steel pedals
their sewing machines hidden
behind garage doors here women
dress their worn fingers with band-aids

at the ends of each arm
she sees the palms that once shuttled rainbows
the lines of yarn held tight to the loom
she remembers the rug underbid
by another weaver two stalls down
and her grandmother’s plum-stained hands
waving to clot the bleeding sky as her bus pulled out

betrayed by their own uselessness in this new world
her hands press up against the warm glass
beyond her reflection a rack of leopard print
and pants suits cut to hug a size six
calling on her to begin the day
in someone else’s body

REVIEWS: Rigoberto González reviews Salvador Plascencia’s debut novel, The People of Paper (McSweeney’s) for the El Paso Times. He observes that entering this novel “is like inhabiting a poem that tantalizes with its brilliant imagery and imaginative leaps. Although the novel's conceptual narrative and structure claim lineage to magic realism, it stands firmly on its own as an original book.” ◘ Speaking of Rigoberto, I give him a great review in the summer issue of the Multicultural Review for his new children’s book, Antonio's Card/La Tarjeta de Antonio (Children’s Book Press). I note that “González’s story teaches not only tolerance but also reassures children that a household filled with love is something to cherish.”

NUEVO NOMBRE: Due to a change in the structure of the company formerly known as Espresso Mi Cultura Books & Coffee, the owner and founder of the coffeehouse, Ramon Pantoja, has changed the name of his business to Sabor & Cultura Café. The old name, Espresso Mi Cultura, has been retained by Josefina Aguilar, former partner and founder of the bookstore. Josefina has moved on to pursue her own interests and intends to use the name Espresso Mi Cultura on a future venture. Ramon’s business still remains in the same original location in Hollywood: 5625 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028; (323) 466-0481.

All done. Until next Monday, enjoy the intervening posts from my compadres at La Bloga. ¡Lea un libro!


Anonymous said...

daniel; i appreciate your continuing coverage of women writers, poets, performers. poetry occupies a special place in my reader's heart, and chicana poets in particular. our best writers. have you checked out calaca press' chapbooks? los beltran have published quite an assemblage of chicana and chicanesqua poets.

it's good to see tia chucha getting into publishing on paper. how big a run is this volume?

daniel olivas said...

thank you. i know calaca press (in san diego, no?) and should buy a book or two. i don't know how big the press run of "my sweet unconditional" was. gotta get to work! hasta.