Monday, April 23, 2012

A wonderful visit to Rockhurst University located in beautiful Kansas City, MO

Last Thursday and Friday, I was a guest author at Rockhurst University, Kansas City, MO.  Oh what a wonderful experience it was for me.  Above is a photograph (taken Thursday night) of me with the students and faculty members who were celebrating 15 years of the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi.  I was made an honorary member in a touching ceremony where Xánath Caraza de Holland and I read poetry (see photo below of me reading).  Xánath was the prime mover in getting me to Rockhurst University, and for that I will be forever grateful.

The next morning, I was a guest of Dr. Rocio De la Rosa Duncan (Associate Professor of Spanish) and her class where I read some of my short stories.  The students asked great questions and made me feel right at home despite the early hour.

After class, I had a little tour of the campus, and then lunch with a group of students which was organized by Sigma Delta Pi and the Student Organization of Latinos.  Here, I had a chance to hear the students discuss their experiences studying abroad in Spanish speaking countries.  I was enthralled by their stories, and I felt honored to have had the opportunity to hear what they had learned in their travels.  I also had the wonderful opportunity to meet and chat with Professor Kathleen Madigan, Chair of the Foreign Languages Department.

Then it was on to the Science Center where I read a chapter from my novel, The Book of Want (University of Arizona Press), to a wonderfully attentive group of students and faculty members.  This event was sponsored by the Latino Writers Collective, Sigma Delta Pi and the Student Organization of Latinos.  As you can see from the above photo, I was quite the professor.

And thanks to Xánath, I also had the chance to spend time with Professor Miguel A. Carranza, the founding director of Latina(o)/Chicana(o) Studies Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  What a fine and interesting discussion we had.  UMKC is lucky to have Prof. Carranza at this historic time.

In the evening, since it was National Poetry Month, I did a reading with poet and scholar, Andrés Rodríguez, at The Writers Place (group picture above).

Afterwards, as the evening grew late, we hit a jazz club, where we listened to some great, old school funk and soul.

The next morning, I had brunch with Xánath and her husband, Steve Holland-Wempe (who teaches at UMKC and is working on  his Ph.D).  There is a well-established Mexican community in Kansas City, so we had great Mexican food before heading off to visit the Mattie Rhodes Art Gallery (photo above).

We then visited the Guadalupe Center which was founded in 1919 to establish a volunteer school and clinic for the underprivileged Mexican immigrants who had settled in the Westside of Kansas City.  In the photo above, I pose near some of the old photographs of those who were assisted decades ago.

My trip ended with Xánath and Steve taking me to the magnificent Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  Here I pose with one of the many fine examples of Rodin sculptures.

I am back in Los Angeles, my head still swimming with images and sounds and tastes of Kansas City, MO.  I hope to go back, some day…


Linda Rodriguez said...

We loved having you in Kansas City, Daniel! I hope it won't be your last visit!

Daniel A. Olivas said...

Thank you, Linda. And best of luck on your forthcoming novel!

JackieKC said...

Thank you so much for visiting! We are very fortunate to have Xanath here at Rockhurst University and we are so grateful for all of her work in bringing you to Kansas City this past weekend.

Thank you for sharing your poetry, part of your novel and even some great advice about law school with me.

We hope to see you again soon!

Jackie Saavedra
Student Organization of Latinos @ Rockhurst University

Tim Duncan said...

Great to have you in KC, Daniel! I loved your curiosity about KC in general, and the long, rich story of midwestern Hispanics, specifically. I also enjoyed your readings a great deal.

Thank you, again!

Tim Duncan

Francisco Aragón said...

KCMO rocks....Happy to hear you had the pleasure of experiencing their hospitality first hand...

Xánath Caraza said...


Students are still talking about your presentation. Kansas City is honored with your visit and great energy!!

We hope you can come back in a near future!

Peace and Creativity,


Isabella Fassi said...

I thoroughly enjoyed your beautiful and inspiring reading at the Writer's Place, and it was quite a treat to hear your stories afterwards! Thank you for visiting Kansas City and thanks again for the delicious appetizers!

Best wishes,

Nick Jones said...

It was so great to have you in the city over the weekend, Daniel. Your poetry was truly amazing and you were a great person to get to meet. Remember us and please visit again soon!

Xánath Caraza said...


Congratulations for the FIRST PLACE at the Latino Books to Movies in the Romantic Comedy category for The Book of Want: A Novel. Well deserved!!


Miguel M. Morales said...

Daniel, what a wonderful reading with you and Andres on Friday. Thanks for visiting with the Latino Writers Collective family and thanks for acknowledging and supporting the work we do in the Midwest.

Daniel A. Olivas said...

Mil gracias for the kind comments. I hope to make it back to KC someday!

Gabriela said...

The next time you come to KC, we will go dancing!! It was great seeing you again!