Saturday, April 10, 2010

AWP impressions, short & random

I'm hung-over, feet sting from hundreds of steps back and forth across the Colo. Convention Center and downtown Denver. Workshops, readings, panels, lit journal tables, accompanying literary tipos, Chicano and otherwise. Someone else can provide an organized report on AWP. These bits are what float my mind from the past two days:

Sudden Fiction Latino panel. Bloguero Daniel Olivas leads Lisa Alvarez, Stephen D. Gutierrez, Pedro Ponce, Alicita Rodriguez and Edmundo Paz Soldán. The readings are way too short; the authors and audience have come such a long way. I want to hear more, about Bisbee, climbing staircases, instructions on singing, the Chinese wall and more. I'll only get to do that from the book.

The panel moves fast to a fine discussion about Raymond Chandler's words:

"down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid. The detective in this kind of story must be such a man. He is the hero, he is everything. He must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor, by instinct, by inevitability, without thought of it, and certainly without saying it. He must be the best man in his world and a good enough man for any world."

I wonder if Chandler knew he was anticipating the New Latino 21st Century author. Or what all Chicanos have to be to live where we do?

Con Tinta Celebration honoring Alicia Gaspar de Alba, with a tribute to Lalo Delgado. Lalo's family fills half the room. A Chicano gathering of family, Chicanitos animados running the aisles, beer glasses tapping toasts. Not the best place for a reading. I'm remembering Lalo read Stupid America, decades ago; still seems apropos.

Today, platefuls of comida mexicana and hearing bloguero Jesse Tijerina tell of his daily dealings with cholos, gangs at the Colorado middle school where he works as principal. His kids clearly have an Advocate; Jes, a block, building our gente's future. So where's he find time to do La Bloga posts, I wonder?

Bloguera Lydia Gil's familial obligations will keep pulling her away from us. But, in bursts, the six of us will get to learn more of each other, literary pursuits, ongoing works, careers, family. But maybe not enough about how La Bloga keeps us collected on its site, doing these posts. Another time.

Melinda Palacio is working tables, biggest smile, holding her book, lovingly nagging everyone to buy a copy. We all do.

Reyna Grande is about. I remind her of the interview she did with my second graders one year, but she remembers it.

Sarah Cortez, editor. Charming. In mode. Time spent listening to her experience.

I get to sit across from Alicita Rodríguez and Stephen D. Gutierrez, two charming people.

Lunch with Manuel Ramos, Mario Acevedo, Sergio Troncoso. Plates of foo-foo southwestern/mexicano food, less impressive than listening to the three Latino novelists who somehow find themselves discussing German philosophy, followed by Chicano lit chisme and exchanges of where their muses take them. They make me realize it must be 2010. We'll never have to endure the ignobility of the 1950s again.

La Bloga, left to rt., Lydia, Ramos, yo, Jesse, Tatiana, menos Daniel, (vato, we missed you!) meets in a hotel bar for our unofficial official meet. That's where the cerveza pics are from. We find out too late the hotel's being boycotted by unions. Pinche suerte.

From 1 Poem readings - You had to be there. I lack the poets' texts to share here, so I just give recommendations about strong words that stayed with me from this event, from poems and poets you should find and read because their passion, rhythm, their Latino fire son encantados:

Jose B. Gonzalez reading, Where our shadows will wrestle through the night.

Juliana Aragón Fatula telling the audience to, Take a mother's word for it.

liz gonzalez, enchanting with The Mexican Jesus
Tim Z. Hernandez closing with, And what manner of love is this?
Kristin Naca reliving the, a capturing of the cardinals.

Gloria Vando ending with, No longer crab but butterfly.

Time talking with 2006 Colorado Book Award winner Teague Bohlen, author of The Pull of the Earth, a CU writing professor. He reassures me I'm still his only student whose class writing exercise ever got published (Memorabilia in Needles & Bones anthology).

Never enough time to sit with Warren Hammond, KOP author, one of the few gringos I feel managed to avoid the pitfalls of culturally appropriating us in his prose.

Lighthouse Writers reception at The Jet. It's late, bar's buzzing with inebriated lit talk. Ramos and I wander, Mario Acevedo's being Mario, himself buzzing from flower to flower. Sounds like he's in Felix Gomez mode.

We're hungry. Tired. Time to go.

Mucho más pasó, pero . . .
Es todo, hoy,


msedano said...

where's dan? and olga, liz--she's in puerto rico, me, i'm getting 2010 festival de flor y canto into shape. spread the word. grand report, fotos.


Mario Acevedo said...

Great time at the conference. We weren't discussing German philosophy so much as we were listening to Sergio the philosopher.

Manuel Ramos said...

Yeah, fine report. It was all you said, and more. Quite a buzz. The One Poem event was a genuine thrill - so many great poets in one room, loving one another with their words. And I have to say that listening to my fellow Aztlan panelists was a high point. One thing - I think the Raymond Chandler discussion happened in the Hit List panel - but it is a blur. Thanks for posting this, Rudy.

Manuel Ramos said...

I should have mentioned the participants in the Re-mapping Aztlan panel: Stella Pope Duarte, Michelle Otero, Alex Espinosa, and Rich Yañez (who put the panel together.) All excellent -

travian said...

By looking at the specifications it is really looking good and hopefully it will >

Daniel A. Olivas said...

My head is still swimming from the great time I had at AWP with all of you gente. Such talent to be around! On to AWP in D.C. 2011!

liz said...

Rudy G, Thank you so much for your kind words about Mexican Jesus and for including me in your discussion about One Poem. I'm glad you enjoyed your time at AWP.

Rebel Girl said...

It was all good. So nice to meet so many. So good to get home (we drove! two days!) and find this fine report that brought it all back - and more.