Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bravo, Hermanos y Hermanas and University of Arizona Press!

University of Arizona Press authors from across the nation earn acclaim at 2008 International Latino Book Awards

Since 1999 the nonprofit organization Latino Literacy Now has honored the many positive contributions being made to Latino literature by publishers and writers worldwide through its annual International Latino Book Awards competition. Attracting nominations from publishers across the United States as well as Mexico, South and Central America, and Spain, this competition highlights titles that exemplify literary excellence within the Latino community. Presented at BookExpo America, this year’s awards honored titles running the gamut of subjects from murders of innocent women in Juárez to the history of the Day of the Dead. Four University of Arizona Press titles were recognized as vital contributions to Latino history and culture.

Francisco Aragón’s "The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry" earned First Place in the Poetry in English category. In this groundbreaking collection, readers discover works by emerging Latino and Latina poets in the twenty-first century. Hailed by Booklist as a “ravishing collection,” this work introduces such highly acclaimed writers as Naomi Ayala, Richard Blanco, David Dominguez, Gina Franco, Sheryl Luna, and Urayoán Noel. The poems in this collection traverse tantalizing subjects ranging from living and traveling overseas to the nuances of living in suburbia and navigating life in the U.S.–Mexico borderlands. This rich and varied sample of young, talented North American Latino and Latinas embodies a freshness and mastery of language that is not to be missed.

Kathleen Alcalá’s "The Desert Remembers My Name: On Family and Writing" earned First Place in the Autobiography/Memoir in English category. In this delightful and rewarding collection of essays by an esteemed Chicana author, Alcalá lyrically explores the many meanings of “family,” while searching for significance in the histories of her family and other people who have influenced her life and writing. Although the essays are in many ways personal, they are also universal. Through her exploration, readers discover not only why Alcalá is a writer but also why she should be appreciated: because she helps others find themselves.

Blas Falconer’s poetry collection "A Question of Gravity and Light" earned Second Place in the Poetry in English category. In this debut collection, Falconer presents 45 poems that are emotionally forthright and linguistically evocative but written without affectation or subterfuge. Although he is a gay man who embraces his Puerto Rican heritage, he crafts poems that speak to all readers with engaging directness, free of pretense or posturing. In a review titled “The Exiled Voice,” the Nashville Scene calls Falconer an imagistic poet who does “a remarkably skillful job of exploring that space in the mind where passing sights and sounds make contact with the deeply buried self, creating a poignant depiction of a man who finds himself always a stranger in a strange land.”

Rodolfo Acuña’s "Corridors of Migration: The Odyssey of Mexican Laborers, 1600–1933" earned Honorable Mention in the History in English category. In this sweeping history, Acuña—the founding scholar of Chicano history—presents the culmination of three decades of dedicated research into the causes and effects of migration and labor activism. This well-written narrative documents how Mexican workers formed communities against all odds. According to Acuña, “this book is about the resilience of people who have been exploited and how they have overcome it.” In writing Corridors of Migration, Acuña traveled to Arizona, New Mexico, Mexico, and most of the major U.S. libraries and archives in Washington, D.C. The research and insight this book presents will surely make it a seminal study for years to come.

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.



The Spine of Califas: A Poetic Road Trip
If you only go to one poetry reading this year, this is it! Look at this line-up!

Los Illegals (Willy Herron, Xiuy Velo)

Richard Montoya (of Culture Clash)
Lysa Flores
Jade Ross
Paul Calderon
Rafael F J Alvarado
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo
Adolfo Guzman-Lopez (your driver for the night)

It's a night of music and poetry that'll take you on the freeways and by-ways of the state. The poets are the offramps. The music, by East L.A.'s legendary Los Illegals, is the 92 octane that'll power you through a scenic night of verse and song.
Get in, close the car door and put on your seatbelts, the poetry and music is about rev up
(it's cheaper than driving anywhere these days).

When: 8:00 p.m. Saturday, June 14th, 2008
Where: Tropico de Nopal Gallery Art-Space,
1665 Beverly Blvd., Echo Park

For more info: (213) 481-8112


Richard Montoya
Is one third of the unholy trinity known as Culture Clash. Since their founding nearly 25 years ago Culture Clash has become one of the foremost theater troupes in the country, commenting on social, demographic and political changes in plays performed around the country.

Jade Ross
Poet, painter, writer, songstress, designer- Jade Ross is an artist by birth, singer by trade, and emcee in conception. From South Africa to South Central she has performed for hundreds of audiences, capturing the essence of a spirit long lost in music. Early beginnings from Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall to The Temple Bar Santa Monica, her melodies make hips wind like something sexy, her rhythms make heads nod in affirmation that hip hop is more complex than you think, and her content makes you think...... damn!

Once a runaway now a youth advocate/outreach worker, her passion for social change can be felt within the energy and urgency of her lyrics using music to reach the people specifically inner city ghetto youth. She brings it raw, uncensored and unstoppable. Educating while empowering and uplifting, fusing hip hop with indigenous sounds in an effort to share some of the ancient teachings that remain after 515 years of colonization so that they may continue to be passed on and never be forgotten.

Paul Calderon & Rafael F J Alvarado
Has been producing poetry shows and hustling poetry for twenty years, He produces most of the shows on the World Wide Word Radio Network & hosts The Moe Green Poetry Hour. He's obsessive-compulsive about poetry & once in a while he manage to host a good show. Now & then poetry finds him and slaps him around.

Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo
Is a 28-year-old Los Angeles poet. Writing since she was six, but new to the scene she began seriously pursuing her writing when she was accepted into the MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry program at Antioch University Los Angeles. In addition to working on her writing she is a full-time high school Drama and English instructor and theatre director.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez
Co-founded the Taco Shop Poets in 1994. He's currently the arts and education reporter at KPCC 89.3FM


A Sunday afternoon of Poetry At
The Amsterdam Cafe
Sunday, June 22
hosted By Rafael F J Alvarado
at 3 pm

Amsterdam Cafe
10905 Magnolia Boulevard
North Hollywood, CA 91601
(818) 506-1938


Amaranth Borsuk
Hélène Cardona
Kate Durbin
John M. FitzGerald

Amaranth Borsuk
Amaranth Borsuk is a Ph.D. candidate in Literature and Creative
Writing at the University of Southern California. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in ZYZZYVA, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art,
Denver Quarterly, POOL, and She recently placed
third in The Atlantic's student poetry contest, and her manuscript,
Pomegranate Eater, has been a semifinalist for the Walt Whitman Award
from the Academy of American Poets, the Four Way Books intro prize,
and the Saturnalia Books poetry prize

A citizen of the United States, France and Spain, Hélène Cardona is fluent in English, French, Spanish, German, Greek and Italian. Born in Paris of a Greek mother and Spanish father and raised all over Europe, she studied English Philology and Literature in Cambridge, England; Spanish at the International Universities of Santander and Baeza, Spain; and German at the Goethe Institute in Bremen, Germany.

She attended Hamilton College, New York, where she also taught French and Spanish, and the Sorbonne, Paris, where she wrote her thesis on Henry James for her Master’s in American Literature. She worked as a translator/interpreter for the Canadian Embassy and the French Chamber of Commerce. She is also a teacher and dream analyst and has appeared in many films.

Her first book, The Astonished Universe, an uplifting and luminous collection of poetry about consciousness, is the first bilingual edition in English and French from Red Hen Press. Richard Wilbur writes that “each poem fully exists in two tongues at once, and this adds to the book’s great charm and visionary quality.”

Kate Durbin

Kate Durbin’s first collection of poetry, The Ravenous Audience, is forthcoming from Black Goat Press/Akashic Books in Fall 2009. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Drunken Boat, The Ledge Poetry and Fiction Magazine, The Elegant Variation and Boxcar Poetry Review. Currently, she is a staff writer for Asian American Poetry and Writing ( Kate received her MFA from the University of California in Riverside, and is working on a novel.

John M. FitzGerald
A dual citizen of the United States and Ireland, John M. FitzGerald is a poet and attorney
in Los Angeles. He attended UCLA and the University of West Los Angeles School of Law,
where he was editor of the Law Review.

His poems have been published in numerous journals and anthologies.
Spring Water, a novel in verse, was a Turning Point Prize selection.
His second book of poetry, Telling Time by the Shadows, came out in April 2008 from Turning Point Books. His other collections include The Mind, The Charter of Effects, and Question of Creation. He has just completed his first novel, Primate, and has turned it into a screenplay.

He has lived in England and Italy, and currently resides in Santa Monica.

Robert Nazarene, editor of the American Journal of Poetry, says
“SPRING WATER is to poetry what The Silence of The Lambs is
to filmdom: a harrowing, horrifying narrative trip which makes for
an absolutely compelling read...brilliantly delivered by one of America's
most promising new poets.”

And lastly, dear readers, don't miss Monday's guest post by Kathleen de Azevedo

Here's an excerpt....

...I know I am adding to, a literary landscape made rich by other Latino writers. I can pretty much know that for now, what I write is not being duplicated anywhere else. Like a pioneer, the writing experience leaves me both lonely and thrilled...

...I’d like to think I don’t play the identity card, but I do. As writers, we would like to think it is enough just to present our individual visions. But Brazilian as well other Latino writers are faced with a general population that has misconceptions about our culture, so in a sense, we are teachers as well. An added responsibility? Yes. And for this, the door for us to go through has got to be larger. The Latino literature landscape – from Aztlán to Tierra del Fuego – contains many voices begging to be heard.

Lisa Alvarado


msedano said...

Tropico de Nopal invariably sponsors breathtaking events, including one of the best evenings of poetry I've had in several years. Espresso Mi Cultura used to be the sine qua non of spoken word art. Looks as if Tropico de Nopal has donned the mantel. And what's this Amsterdam Cafe? Thanks for the lead on that. Ironic; Chicago tells California where to find a good time locally.

Thanx, mvs

Daniel A. Olivas said...

What a post, Lisa! And I offer my congratulations to all of the wonderful U of A authors. Finally, thanks for previewing Monday's guest post by Kathleen de's not to be missed.