Tuesday, March 06, 2012

TQS at 45. Bits & Pieces. Floricanto

Forty-Five Years of Chicana Chicano Literature Publishing

Michael Sedano

No other national literature comes with a precise start date except Chicana Chicano Literature. August 1972 marks the month editors Herminio Rios and Octavio Romano from Berkeley, California's Tonatiuh-Quinto Sol Press, published the 5th printing of El Espejo - The Mirror. Selected CHICANO Literature.

In June 1969, editor Romano published the first edition of El Espejo The Mirror. Its conventional subtitle, Selected Mexican-American Literature, reflects its contents. One striking example of a poet spanning the hyphen comes from the titles alone of Estupinian’s selections. “Sonido del Teponaztle” is followed by “Al Abrir ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’”, succeeded by “En Mi Barrio,” followed by “Ubi Sunt Profesores.”

Estupinian disappears when literature becomes “Chicano,” the French and Latin replaced by the emergent English of a migrant worker child in Ernie Padilla’s “Ohming Instick.” The edition must have been a dream for Romano and Rios, so much good stuff to put into print. More Alurista,  different Jose Montoya. Added also is a remarkably effective short fiction, Nick C. Vaca's "Martin," and the amusing epigram by Richard Olivas that ends, "if George Washington's my father / Why wasn't he Chicano?"

Not that high falutin’ language disappears altogether from the Chicano née Mexican-American vocabulary. The back cover relates how “the ever increasing voices of Chicano authors…which reflect Chicano experiences…make the presentation of this anthology of autochthonous Chicano literature imperative.”
Joseph Rios, working with La Bloga friend Javier Huerta and Gustavo Buenrostro, have organized an academic conference recognizing TQS and its role in the 45-year history of publishing Chicana Chicano literature. Click the poster graphic for a larger view and details of the April 6-7 conference.

All sorts of useful pedo broke out with the popularity of Chicana Chicano literature and El Espejo. Notably, the controversy over "canonical" and "non-canonical" writing led to intracultural inclusiveness that brought a latina latino perspective to United States literature, except for Arizona.

All of which would make interesting academic studies, and that might be forthcoming from the Berkeley conference.

In May, La Bloga celebrates the 40th anniversary of TQS' publishing Bless Me, Ultima with a week's columns and interviews. Joseph Rios and company's efforts come at a perfect time to observe both monumental benchmarks in Chicana Chicano literature.

Note: the "yerba buena" El Espejo is courtesy of my hero Melinda Palacio. The volume--once it was lost but now it's found--was given to me by Ms Palacio in an act of extraordinary generosity and used book alertness. To whomever borrowed my original copy--you know who you are--enjoy it. Melinda's got me covered.

Latinopia Updated Weekly

It is La Bloga "old homies" week over at the video site Latinopia. After taking in the new materials this week covering History, the First Lady of the Virgin Islands' gift to Michelle Obama, Rose Portillo's actor  reminiscences, scroll down to the icons for last week's coverage. There's the La Bloga interview with Michael Sedano, featuring Melinda Palacio's mugshot. Click the neighboring icon for some musica, and there, taking a solo on button accordion is Juan Tejeda, co-publisher with Anisa Onofre of Aztlán Libre Press, publisher of Alurista and last week's La Bloga-Tuesday review subject, Indigenous Quotient.

Michael Sedano had the pleasure of meeting Tejeda and Onofre at last year's National Latino Writers Conference, where writers were invited to pitch projects to publishers and agents.

NLWC in 10th Edition

Applications to participate in this May’s tenth annual National Latino Writers Conference, organized by the History and Literary Arts division of Alburquerque's National Hispanic Cultural Center are available via NHCC’s website, http://www.nhccnm.org.

This year NLWC adds a hundred-dollar understanding between a student-writer and selected faculty who will read and critique a selection of a student's project. Add that one-on-one critique to the opportunity to meet an agent and publishers, and the conference becomes a must-attend or break your heart event.

The National Hispanic Cultural Center is a national treasure and an ideal setting for a literary conference or a band of book smugglers performing from banned works. 

Book-Smugglers Defiant in Face of Book Ban

The State of Arizona and Tucson Schools. The foregoing is a sentence fragment and a fragment of the dark ages. You can fix the grammatical error by supplying your own verb, e.g. "suck," or "have lost their three brain cells," or "cannot stop ideas and books." The latter occupies the vision of a group of writer artists in Houston Texas seeking to illuminate the white plague striking at the Arizona mindscape.

Plans are firming for the Librotraficante Caravan leaving Houston on Monday, March 12 with stops and readings at El Paso, Mesilla, the NHCC in Alburquerque, and Tucson. Give money, check by mail or electronic plastic, by visiting the website.
Barrio Writers Now in Bluebonnet Country

Literacy promoter extraordinaire Sarah Rafael Garcia has launched the vitally important Barrio Writers program in the Texas capital. The Austin program extends from the ongoing program in California's Orange County.

If you're in a giving mood after helping to protest banning books from la cultura's finest writers, give a few dollars to support la cultura's newest writers.

Visit barriowriters for details and a link to an electronic card payer.

First Tuesday in March On-Line Floricanto

"The List" by Carolina Hinojosa
"Second Class Gringo" by Raúl Sánchez
"Dear World, Dear Ixcel..." by Alma Luz Villanueva
"Distancia y desierto" por Elizabeth Cazessús
"Undocumented Football" by David Romero

by Carolina Hinojosa

Another poem written in response
to the list of banned books in Arizona.

I skim the list of banned books
Familiar like te de yerbabuena

I bring my fingers to Anaya to
The C that begins Cisneros

And César Chávez marching
Through crop lands

Shaking hands with immigrants
Cultivating the soil to ensure

The potbelly master full
Of ripe blooming bright bulbs

Jimmy Santiago Baca’s mountains
Neglected and hidden beneath

Tarps of political plastic waste
Generations quieted like

The nuns slapping hands
With wooden metric rulers

You will not speak Spanish
In America you will not

Chant beneath the sun
To the unknown gods of earth

I pledge allegiance to the flag
And to this republic for which

I stand hidden beneath your
Histories and your inquisitions

The color war
The religious war
The secular war
The literary war
The homeless war
The birth controlled war

How many bombs do I drop
Before you wake up

How many lies do I expose
Before you speak up

The end of the list brings
The beginning of uprising

How many books are put to
Death before you declare war

My eyes fight starvation
They brand the utilities I

Call my luxuries
My mouth cries out to

The Chicana who will
Take her Anzaldúa underground

My hands take to the pen
For the Native American woman

Who will stash her Silko
Underneath her skirt

Today I declare war on you

Ojalá que estes preparado for this
Chicana outlaw armed with libros

And veins.

Second Class Gringo
by Raúl Sánchez

On the land of the bright sun
where Kukulcan and
Quetzalcoatl rule
my allegiance, doubtful
my identity, ignored
my features over ruled
my accent,

My umbilical cord buried
in that soil still
my roots never removed
to be bi-lingual
tri lingual, quad lingual
is a threat where only
one language is spoken
México or farther north

I look the same
I speak the same
I use different words
but I don’t speak Chilango Lingo
solo Español limpio
I’m bilingual

by eagles
by land
by air
by language
by pride
by stars
by nopales::
by me—

Yet, questioned:
do I feel more Mexican or
do I feel more, American or
do I speak Spanish or
do I write in Spanish or
do I feel like a gringo or
are you a new born Chicano?
y tu familia? what about your family?

Someone in the crowd yelled
“second class gringo”
many thoughts crossed
generations unraveled before my eyes
my mind a turmoil
my words brought clarity
to the ignorant darkness
excreted by someone’s lips

hidden in the darkness
of the shadows I felt
stoned on stage amidst
family and friends
new friends, poetry lovers
bilingual speakers
I am not a gringo of any class
I am from México-Tenochtitlán

©Raúl Sánchez February 28, 2012

by Alma Luz Villanueva

How fortunate I am
to be sitting in flower-filled
courtyard, as men and women
prepare for a wedding-

I'm not in Syria-

How fortunate I am
to watch them fill tables
with silver-edged china,
sprays of flowers carried,

I'm not in Syria-

How fortunate I am
to see them place goblets
by silver-edged china, the
teen balancing a weight his size,

I'm not in Syria-

How fortunate I am,
a young man strings silver
metal stars for light, to
bless the wedding, the night-

I'm not in Syria-

How fortunate I am
to watch the central fountain
flow, full stomach, in a country
not at war, preparing for a wedding,

I'm not in Syria,
bless the humans
who are,
sacred Ixchel.

Alma Luz Villanueva
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

por Elizabeth Cazessús

Es posible que la distancia no logre descifrar el enigma,
que el desierto siga cantando su poema a los amantes
que pasan buscando lo que la ciudad les arrebata
en un acto de violencia, de insurrección o de coraje.
Es posible que la distancia nos lleve por otros caminos
a los que no hemos ido por miedo a lo desconocido
y el ansia de descifrar ese todo envolvente que es la tierra.
Es posible, dime tú, habitante de las dunas y la sal
que este viento malherido que reseca mis labios
no es otra premonición de tiempos aciagos y débiles
donde convergen todas las contradicciones humanas.
Es posible que no sepa cantarle su poema al desierto
que sigue las huellas de esta voz diseminada entre las piedras
con su canto de granito y cantera, esa piel prehistórica de mar.

Undocumented Football
by David Romero

“Blue 42 - set - hike!”
A quarterback’s brown fingers
Tighten around the white laces of a football
Garfield vs. Roosevelt
Roosevelt vs. Garfield
They meet today
Upon an annual battlefield
Where local legends spell R-I-V-A-L-R-Y
In defensive and offensive patterns
Upon this old field
In this dirty stadium
Football sounds like East LA
Like Boyle Heights
Like years of pride and history
It sounds like Roosevelt is in motion
Miguel is with them
He’s ready for his moment
Clad in red and yellow
Crossing the line of scrimmage
He springs into action
His muscles tell a story
Miguel has always been running
From la migra
Las placas
Everyone who wants to
Stop him
Ask him
“Where are your papers?”
“¿Dónde están los papeles?”
He’s always too fast though
How fast?
Too fast
How fast?
Too fast
For limitations
Accusing eyes
Too fast
For borders
For laws
Too fast for checkpoints
Detention centers
Fences, ditches and walls
Too fast for the fool
Unfortunate enough to be D’ing him now
A fool chasing the dust
Left in his wake
Under the gazes of spectators
Miguel’s vision is clear
Through it all
Through the grunting
The clashing
Cheering, booing and screaming
Through the bars of his helmet
Past the glare of stadium lights
Miguel’s path is clear
With a selective vision
A maze of players
A clear lane down the field
Like a beam of holy light
Miguel is running towards the goal line
Because he loves this game
It gives him focus
Gave him purpose
He will be defined by this moment
He knows this
Miguel will be defined by this moment
No college will recruit him
His record does not scream “Draft Pick”
But that’s not really the issue
Miguel’s smart
But he never really cared for “politics”
He just loved his team
His coach
This game of football
Some people make political statements
Some live them
Miguel’s dream
To make a catch
In the only important game he could
For a touchdown
That will not win the game
In a game to be added to a losing record
A record that will make for a losing season
Today this catch made by Miguel
Will add to points
To win THIS game
To win THIS day
A game that will go down in rivalry history
Amongst casual fans and die-hards alike
A game that will be talked about for years
Just one game
Roosevelt vs. Garfield
Just one game
For Miguel
Undocumented football.

"The List" by Carolina Hinojosa
"Second Class Gringo" by Raúl Sánchez
"Dear World, Dear Ixcel..." by Alma Luz Villanueva
"Distancia y desierto" por Elizabeth Cazessús
"Undocumented Football" by David Romero

Carolina M. Hinojosa
Carolina M. Hinojosa is a bilingual poet committed to bringing awareness to social injustice and encouraging community activism.  She began seriously pursuing her passion for writing upon learning that her maternal grandmother had taught herself how to read and how to write in both English and Spanish.

Carolina was the first in her family to earn a college degree, earning a BA in English from University of Texas San Antonio.   Her poetry has been published in the Sagebrush Review, Zouch Magazine & Miscellany, and the former Firecracker Underground Magazine.  More recently her poem, “The List” was posted to POETS RESPONDING TO SB1070.

She currently teaches poetry to the talented students of the Teen Arts Puentes Project, a multidisciplinary arts and activism program in San Antonio, Texas.  She maintains a blog of her words at www.thisisnotdublin.blogspot.com.

Raúl Sanchez
Raúl Sánchez is a Seattle Bio-Tech technician, eschatologist, colletic, prosody enthusiast, hamartiologist, translator, DJ, and cook who conducts workshops on The Day of the Dead. His most recent work is the translation of John Burgess’ Punk Poems in his book Graffito. He has been a board member of the Washington Poets Association and is a moderator for the Poets Responding to SB 1070 Facebook page.
Raúl comes from a place south where the sun shines fiercely. He lives in a place surrounded by asphalt, cement, full of rushing cars, coffee houses, fancy houses, empty houses. Where seasons shine and hide in the winter months. Where birds stop on their travel south to the land of the sun. Where blessed rain, oh! blessed rain falls. His first collection of poetry will be released in early April by Moon Path Press under the title "All Our Brown-Skinned Angels"

Alma Luz Villanueva
Alma Luz Villanueva was raised in the Mission District, San Francisco, by her Yaqui grandmother, Jesus Villanueva- she was a curandera/healer from Sonora, Mexico. Without Jesus no poetry, no stories, no memory...
Author of eight books of poetry, most recently, 'Soft Chaos' (2009). A few poetry anthologies: 'The Best American Poetry, 1996,' 'Unsettling America,' 'A Century of Women's Poetry,' 'Prayers For A Thousand Years, Inspiration from Leaders & Visionaries Around The World.' Three novels: 'The Ultraviolet Sky,' 'Naked Ladies,' 'Luna's California Poppies,' and the short story collection, 'Weeping Woman, La Llorona and Other Stories.' Some fiction anthologies: '500 Great Books by Women, From The Thirteenth Century,' 'Caliente, The Best Erotic Writing From Latin America,' 'Coming of Age in The 21st Century,' 'Sudden Fiction Latino.' The poetry and fiction has been published in textbooks from grammar to university, and is used in the US and abroad as textbooks. Has taught in the MFA in creative writing program at Antioch University, Los Angeles, for the past thirteen years.
Alma Luz Villanueva now lives in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the past five years, traveling the ancient trade routes to return to teach, and visit family and friends, QUE VIVA!! And taking trips throughout Mexico, working on a novel in progress, always the poetry, memory.

Elizabeth Cazessús
Elizabeth Cazessús, Tijuana B. C. México. Lectora apasionada y performancera. Como poeta de frontera ha realizado varios montajes poéticos interdisciplinarios y lecturas en voz alta con su obra y de otros autores. Leyó textos de poesía alternadamente con Carlos Monsivais incluidos en en la conferencia que realizó en la Universidad de San Diego, Ca.“MAMA SOY PAQUITO”, Mayo, 2009.

Ha realizado rituales poéticos con su obra y otros textos.
Realizó Periodismo Cultural de 1985 al 1991 en Tijuana.
Es autora de 7 libros de poesía: Ritual y Canto,1994, Mujer de Sal, 2000, 20 Apuntes antes de Dormir, 1995; Huella en el Agua, 2001. “Casa del Sueño”, Gíglico ediciones, 2006; “Razones de la Dama Infiel”, Gíglico ediciones 2008, y No es mentira este paraíso, 2009.
Recientemente publicó ENEDIANA, 2011, editado por Giglico ediciones.

Su obra ha sido traducida al inglés y al polaco y está incluida en varias antologías: “Across the Line”, Junction Press 2003; Trilogía de Poetas de Hispanoamérica Pícaras, Místicas y Rebeldes, 2004; Memoria del Encuentro Internacional Chile Poesía, 2005; Antología Femenina de Poesía Hispanoamericana, “El Rastro de las Mariposas”, Lima, Perú, 2006; Antología de “Voces Sin Fronteras”, Montreal, Canadá, 2006; Mujeres Poetas de México (1945-1965), Atemporia, 2008; Revista de Poesía, La Nueva Región de los poetas (Nowa Okolica Poetow), Varsovia, Polonia, 2008; San Diego Poetry Annual 2008; Nectáfora, Antología del Beso en la Poesía Mexicana 2009

Ha participado en varios encuentros internacionales de poesía: Encuentro Internacional del Poesía de Los Angeles California, 2001; Mujeres Poetas en el País de las Nubes, Oaxaca, Oax. , 2001 y 2002;” Clara Lair con Julia de Burgos”en San Juan, Puerto Rico, 2003; Encuentro Internacional de Poetas en la Habana, Cuba UNEAC, 2004; Encuentro Mundial de Poesía, Chile Poesía, Santiago de Chile, 2005; Feria del Libro de San Juan Puerto Rico 2007. Poetas del Mundo Latino, Morelia Michoacán, 2010, Feria del Libro del Zócalo de México, 2010, Fil de Guadalajara 2010.

Obtuvo la beca del FONCA de B. C. 1998.
Ha obtenido los premios: Municipal de Poesía, en los Juegos Florales de Tijuana, 1992;
Premio de Poesía, Anita Pompa de Trujillo en Hermosillo, Sonora, 1995

David A. Romero
David A. Romero is an artist, activist and male model.

Romero is the author of Diamond Bars: The Street Version and Fuzhou two collections of poems released by Dimlights Publishing. His work has been praised by writers and poets such as the Tony Award winner Poetri, the author of Up the Street Around the Corner Besskepp, and the West Coast Editor of Rock & Rap Confidential Lee Ballinger.

Romero has opened for Latin Grammy winning artists Ozomatli and Latin Grammy nominated artists La Santa Cecilia. He has featured alongside Taalam Acey as well as with a number of HBO Def Poets, including Beau Sia, Paul Mabon and Thea Monyee.

Romero hosted Diamond Bars Open Mic in Diamond Bar and was also the host of Flowers of Fire Open Mic at Corazon del Pueblo in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles.

Romero is the President of David A. Romero Productions, a licensed 81 - Personal Services business through the city of Diamond Bar. He teaches writing and performance workshops on spoken word poetry.

Romero is an artist affiliate of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) and a member of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade (RPB).

"I enjoy performing funny poems, but I hope that after the laughs, people can stay and listen to the messages that I am spreading with my poetry against racism, against prejudice, against imperialism, against labor exploitation and against economic injustice. I believe in a world free from hunger or any other kind of scarcity."

Romero is a graduate of the University of Southern California, a double major in Film and Philosophy.

Check out his blog, "The Mexi-Asian Perspective: A Mexican's Guide to All Things Latin, Asian, or Both," on www.projektnewspeak.com

Visit his website, http://www.davidaromero.com/ for more.

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