Friday, April 02, 2010

AWP and Denver Cultural News

Today's post is heavy on the AWP, rightfully so. Before I get to that, a few pedazos y pedacitos.

Mariela in the Desert
a play by Karen Zacarías, April 2- May 15 at the Ricketson Theater in Denver's Performing Arts Complex.

Set in on a ranch in the Mexican desert in the 1950s, Mariela, herself a painter, is caring for her ailing husband Jose, a painter whose fame eclipsed hers long ago. They inhabit the artistic circle of internationally-renowned painters Jose Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siquerios and Diego Rivera.

Mariela tricks her daughter, Blanca, into returning home by sending a telegram that her father has died. Blanca also is a painter who has recently sold one of her paintings for a significant sum of money. She returns with her fiancé, an American art critic who is her mother’s age.

Old jealousies are soon reignited: Jose’s paintings were never as inspired as Mariela’s; Mariela never had the career that Jose had and that Blanca seems destined for; and Blanca, in an artistic dry spell, has always envied her mother’s creativity. Add to this the mysterious death of Carlos, the couple’s other son, who haunts the play, and the prize-winning painting of “The Blue Barn,” which has been slashed and sits shrouded in the living room. As past grievances are rehashed and long hidden feelings rise to the surface, the characters go through an exorcism that either resolves in liberation or destruction.

April 2nd through May 1st

Join us in celebrating Santos art - one of the oldest, still living traditions of early, remote Hispanic settlements.

Opening Reception: April 2nd 5 - 10 PM

Book Release Party: April 7th 7 - 9 PM Celebrate with writer Tim Z. Hernandez in the release of his debut novel Breathing In Dust featuring readings by Lee Herrick, Michael Luis Medrano and Zuleman Inai. The public is welcome to attend!

Sabado de Santos: April 10th 2 - 4 PM Historian/Educator/Santero Jose Raul Esquibel. Call to register for this event.

Gallery hours are Wed & Thurs 10-4, Fri 12-6, Sat 12-4. Show is open to the public.
Chicano Humanities and Arts Council, 772 Santa Fe Drive, Denver

Meanwhile, the 12th annual XicanIndie Film Festival comes to Denver April 8-11 at Su Teatro's new home, the Denver Civic Theater, 721 Santa Fe. The full schedule is here - you owe it to yourself to check out the lineup of great movies, such as La Mission, starring Benjamin Bratt; Contracorriente, (The Undertow), a film by Javier Fuentes-Leon; and the classic golden age movie La Virgen que Forjó una Patria.

Click on the image for information about an exhibit dedicated to Negro League Baseball.

If you've been even only a casual reader of La Bloga you should know by now that the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Conference comes to Denver April 7-10. Hundreds of writers talking about writing; writers talking with other writers; maybe even some writing getting done. I thought it might be interesting to point out a few of the scheduled sessions - give you all a taste of the conference, although many of you are going to be here in my city celebrating the written word and so you will have the firsthand, personal AWP experience. Several contributors to La Bloga will be around and we plan to meet and do our own bit of celebrating. We don't get together all that often. Maybe one of us will report on our night out on the town. In any event, here are a few of the sessions that should be of some interest to La Bloga's readers. I know, the list is actually quite long but there are many more panels, readings, and events that could have been included - and I'm not even talking about any of the numerous off-site events, like the Con Tinta festivities or the Lighthouse Writers Workshop reception. More info and the entire schedule is here.

Decolonial Poetics: Womanist, Indigenous, and Queer Poets of Color on the Art of Decolonization. (Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, ku'ualoha ho'omanawanui, Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, Susan Deer Cloud, Ching-In Chen, Lisa Suhair Majaj) Many poets of color see art playing a vital role in the decolonization of our bodies, cultures, and landbases. In what ways do we use writing as an act of re-creation, alongside other forms of activism, organizing, and spirituality, by which to undo centuries of white supremacist, capitalist, and heteropatriarchal intrusions into the workings of our communities? How does poetry serve to decolonize our lives, and how must we decolonize our poetic traditions in order to live?

Class and Conflict on the Other Side of the World. (Masha Hamilton, Thrity Umrigar, C.M. Mayo, Rishi Reddi) As we become more globally linked, the role of fiction in providing a human and humane glimpse of "the other" becomes more important. But it is a challenging task. How do writers develop confidence to tell stories of cultures and countries where they don't reside? Why are such stories critically important? Authors—who between them write about everywhere from Asia to the Middle East to Africa to Mexico—explore this issue.

(WITS Alliance) Raising the Funds for Changing the World. (Amy Swauger, Michele Kotler, Robin Reagler, Amy Stolls, Elma Ruiz) This WITS Alliance-sponsored session focuses on strategies to fund creative writing programs for students in K-12 schools. This panel of funders and fundraisers will share their success stories in garnering support from individuals, foundations, corporations, government grant programs, and school budgets in order to place writers in the schools.

Writing History, Writing Race. (Eric Goodman, Michelle Boisseau, Lucy Ferriss, Brian Roley, Dolen Perkins-Valdez) Three novelists and a poet will discuss the special challenges and rewards of incorporating historical research in their work. Of special interest is the panelists' experience in writing both across racial boundaries and drawing on family history for representing centuries of a broader American past. Panelists will suggest research methods and confront head-on some of the most difficult issues facing writers today. Who owns whose past? How do you write about history and race in America?

Sacred Art: Writing to Change the World. (Norma Cantú, Sandra Cisneros, Ruth Behar, Michelle Otero, Carolina Monsivais, Liz Gonzalez) In Peace Is Every Step, Thich Nhat Hanh writes, "Each thought, each action in the sunlight of awareness becomes sacred." Panelists will discuss their commitment to provoke and encourage awareness of the world and self through writing. These panelists believe writing is not solitary but an act that is shared in community and service. These writers discuss how they weave spirituality into their work, both in the preparation and the process of writing, sharing strategies anyone can use in daily practice.

(WITS Alliance) Journey to Identity: Teaching Creative Writing to Immigrant Students. (Long Chu, Jose Luis Benavides, Margot Fortunato Galt, Ellen Hagen, Merna Ann Hecht, Sehba Sarwar) Beyond the debate on immigration, teaching writers have to deal with the very real issues of how to teach first and second-generation immigrant students. How do we encourage students to tell these often secret and untold stories? How do we create and manage trust? How do we navigate language barriers? This panel will explore these questions and other issues surrounding the topic. Panelists will share practical teaching ideas that writers can utilize in their classrooms.

Outposts and Exiles—A Reading by Award-Winning Latina Writers. (Chantel Acevedo, Jennine Capo Crucet, Patricia Engel, Lisa Wixon) Come hear award-winning Latinas read from their fiction and poetry. Varying widely in tone, scope, style, and geography, these five writers center their work on the cultural and political dance between Latin American and its North American outposts and of being American but at times not being fully American.

Poetry, Race, Ethnicity: A Conversation. (Lynne Thompson, Martha Collins, Susan Deer Cloud, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Fady Joudah, Frank X Walker) This multi-ethnic panel of poets discusses the impact race, ethnicity, and inter-ethnic dialogue have on their own work and the works of others. The panelists consider ongoing literary biases against those perceived as "other" and comment on how their own perceptions and representations of race or ethnicity may have changed in recent years. Throughout, they consider how, even as they honor each other's identities, they can transcend the limitations that such categorization may seem to impose.

Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America. (Daniel Olivas, Lisa Alvarez, Stephen D. Gutierrez, Pedro Ponce, Alicita Rodríguez, Edmundo Paz Soldán) Where is the best short-short fiction in the world being written? Authors whose work appears in a new anthology from W.W. Norton, Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, read their works and debate questions about short-short fiction and the influences between Latin American and U.S. writing.

La Otra Latina: A Creative Nonfiction Reading by Latina Writers. (Lorraine Lopez, Joy Castro, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Carla Trujillo, Teresa Dovalpage) Latino/a literature is often associated with immigration, magical realism, and a proliferation of rice, beans, pinatas, and abuelas endlessly rolling out tortillas. This association imposes constraints on artistic production and raises false expectations in readers. In honoring the complexity of cultural experience, these writers, as Gloria Anzaldua states, claim "the freedom to carve and chisel" their own particular faces and "claim a new space" for developing distinctive aesthetics.

Writing in More than one Language: Significance, Opportunities, Challenges, and Audiences. (Katerina Stoykova-Klemer, Ewa Chrusciel, Jennifer Dick, Pablo Medina, Simon Ortiz, Luisa Villani) Six bilingual authors of poetry discuss the creative process they employ in writing bilingual works, the challenges of translating between languages, the role of multilingualism in communicating to specific audiences, and how readers with different linguistic backgrounds react to the works. Each author on the panel will read poems in his or her working languages. Audience members will hear readings in Acoma, Bulgarian, English, French, Italian, Polish, and Spanish.

Justice, Community, and The Republic of Poetry. (David Mura, Martín Espada, Tara Betts) Martín Espada describes the Republic of Poetry as "a place where creativity meets community, where the imagination serves humanity." When poetry bears witness to the community and issues of justice, what is its purpose? How do we judge its effectiveness? What tools does such poetry require? What are the difficulties of writing such a poetry? How does it challenge certain definitions of poetics? Of audience? Of who may write poetry? What poems from our own work explore these concerns?

Indigenous-Aboriginal American Writers Caucus. (Simon Ortiz, Kimberly Blaeser, Laura Tohe, Brandy McDougall, Gordon Henry, James Stevens) With the flourishing proportion of Indigenous writers and academics participating in AWP and teaching in affiliated programs (including endowed chairs and program directors), the present time is highly conducive to impart field related celebrations and concerns as understood by Native writers from the Americas and surrounding island nations.

A Reading from Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery. (Sarah Cortez, Mario Acevedo, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Manuel Ramos, Sergio Troncoso) This reading by some of mystery fiction's most accomplished practitioners will be followed by a discussion of the current status of mystery writing and its use by Latino/a writers in creating discourse and revelation of self.

The Chicana Social Novel, the Border and the Americas: A Political Literary Forum. (Rigoberto Gonzalez, Stella Pope Duarte, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Reyna Grande, Emma Pérez) The border is the war zone that serves as the foundation for the Chicana novel. The Río Grande, the wall, the fence, the border patrol, are but superficial divisions for the long-contested birthright of the Southwest. These four novelists will give insights to the historical context of U.S.-Mexico relations and how this legacy fuels the Chicana writer's imagination. Their novels take a critical look at border culture, and an unflinching view of contemporary social and political conditions.

Latin American Poets in the USA. (Lila Zemborain, Mariela Dreyfus, Eduardo Chirinos, Víctor Rodríguez-Núñez, Carmen Valle, Eduardo Espina) This bilingual poetry reading (Spanish and English) aims to present six outstanding Latin American poets in mid-career. It is a very representative selection, with authors coming from strong poetic traditions all over the continent, namely Argentina, Cuba, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay. All these authors are long-time residents in the U.S and their poetry collections have been either partially—or fully—translated into English.

Editing Indigenous, Editing the Americas. (Janet McAdams, Diane Glancy, Katherine Hedeen, Gordon Henry, Víctor Rodríguez-Núñez, Susan M. Schultz) This panel brings together editors whose work focuses on writers from communities historically marginalized by American presses and publication processes, as well as the publishing world outside of the so called Americas. Presses and series represented include Salt Publishing (Earthworks Indigenous and Latin American literature in Translation), Tinfish (experimental writing from the Pacific Rim), Michigan State University Press (American Indian), University of Nebraska Press (Native Storiers).

In a Place of Bones: Indigenous Place-Based Writing. (Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, Linda Hogan, Deborah A. Miranda, ku'ualoha ho'omanawanui, Elaine Chukan Brown, Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano) Indigenous poets, novelists, nonfiction writers, and editors from North America, the Pacific, and Latinoámerica examine the ways place shapes and guides our writing. From the South to Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears to the missions of California and coasts of Alaska, and from the edge of the U.S.-México frontera to the encroached-upon, urbanized spaces of NYC and Hawai'i, we will discuss the connections between Nations and narration, our bodies (of work) and the lands from which we are born.

A Reading by Michael Nava & Achy Obejas, Sponsored by the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetrics, Naropa University. A Reading by Michael Nava & Achy Obejas.

Re-writing America: Complicating the Poetics of Identity. (Neelanjana Banerjee, Hayan Charara, Samantha Thornhill, Ching-In Chen, Tim Hernandez, Summi Kaipa) Even as the minority surges towards the majority in making up the New America, poets seek out the nurturing spaces of ethno-literary organizations like Kundiman and Cave Canem. Popular ethnic-specific anthologies are being published each year. Yet the work coming out of these cultural boundaries is incredibly diverse in style and influence. This panel examines the ways in which hyphenated American poets are rethinking the concept of identity and, in turn, shaping the national zeitgeist.

Translations of Contemporary Poetry from Latin America. (Kristin Dykstra, Urayoán Noel, Juan Manuel Sánchez, Mónica de la Torre, Daniel Borzutzky) We will present translations of contemporary poetry from Latin America. In addition to reading work from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico, and Chile, presenters will discuss cultural and historical contexts which are significant for understanding the poems and may, in some cases, influence decisions made by the translator.

Bilingual Writers and Their Aesthetic Choices. (Lucia Cherciu, Urayoán Noel, Brenda Cardenas, Hedy Habra, Emilie Pons, Claude Convers) The panel focuses on writing in two languages and analyzes the creative decisions made when choosing English or Spanish, French, or Romanian. How do writers switch between two languages? How does the language influence their writing style? What are the asthetic choices made when writing interlingually? Does writing in a second language offer distance and detachment? Does a writer negotiate between different voices?

Nation of Immigrants?: Spoken Word Artists Question the World. (Thien-bao Phi, Tish Jones, Diego Vazquez, Marcie Rendon, Robert Farid Karimi) In 2008, The Loft Literary Center's groundbreaking Equilibrium spoken word series released its first compilation CD, ¿Nation of Immigrants? The work featured on the CD seeks to question, challenge, and explode the notion that we are a "nation of immigrants"– a political buzz phrase that often buries the histories of those it pretends to represent. This reading features several poets from the CD.

Writing Beyond Race. (Veronica Gonzalez, Lara Stapleton, Gina Apsotol, Carl Hancock Rux) What does it mean to be an ethnic writer in our present time? Four writers of various racial backgrounds explore the clichés and stereotypes imposed on black, asian, and latino authors and their artistic production and the expectations with which their work is met. Is it time to move beyond a "racial" stance in the hopes for an art of subtlety and varied human nuance, regardless of the background of its author? Can we, through our work, take on the underlying constraints and shift toward a more subtle intellectual investigation of what it means to be human in the increasingly mobile and fluid 21st century?.

Re-Mapping Aztlán: Celebrating las Historias and the Landscape of Chicano Literature. (Michelle Otero, Stella Pope Duarte, Alex Espinoza, Manuel Ramos, Richard Yañez) The meaning of Aztlán has thrived since the historic Chicano Youth Liberation Conference in Denver forty years ago. From the declaration of an ancestral homeland to an emergence in artistic images to sacred space status, Aztlán remains a vibrant presence in Chicano Literature. The panelists will affirm their social history and cultural spirituality as part of their creative process. As writer-activists, their work cultivates and re-imagines the literary landscape of a political movement.

Reading from the Anthology, Primera Pagina: Poetry From the Latino Heartland, by the Latino Writers Collective. (Natalie Castro Olmsted, Linda Rodriguez, Gloria Vando, José Faus, Xánath Caraza, Gabriela N. Lemmons) Members of the Latino Writers Collective will read poetry from their 2008 anthology. The Collective provides creative support for members, organizes a series to showcase national and local Latino writers, and provides role models and instruction to Latino youth. A recent finalist for the USA Book News 2009 Award, ForeWord Magazine 2009 Award, and the Eric Hoffer 2009 Award, Primera Pagina: Poetry from the Latino Heartland is the voice of an often unheard community, Midwestern Latinos.

Fire and Ink: A Social Action Writing Anthology Reading. (Diana Garcia, Martín Espada, Toi Derricotte, Frances Payne Adler, Ray Gonzalez, Debra Busman) "(A)dvance the cause of justice, and therefore, peace..." activist poet June Jordan said. Come hear award-winning social action writers read in celebration of Fire and Ink: An Anthology of Social Action Writing, a pathbreaking new collection of 100 writers, edited by faculty at California State University Monterey Bay, and drawn from fourteen years of social action writing curriculum.


That's it for another great week on La Bloga. I'll see some of you at the AWP - and others at that breakfast burrito place ...



Daniel A. Olivas said...

I am really looking forward to my first visit to Denver. It will be fun, particularly with so many gente participating on panels. Thanks for this roundup.

Manuel Ramos said...

Be good to see you again, Daniel. Only hope that we have some of our famous beautiful Colorado weather, and not some of our famous Colorado crappy weather. Either way, though, next week should be a good time.