Friday, March 01, 2013

Two East Coast Conferences and Two West Coast Professors. Martín Espada Lagniappe.

Next week, on the East Coast, there is an exciting conference happening at John Jay College of Criminal Justice City University of New York (CUNY), March 7-9. I'm not talking about the one that's pricing our hermana Olga out, although I will shortly discuss AWP as well, but the 1st Biennial U.S. Latina/o Literary Theory and Criticism Conference,Haciendo Caminos: Mapping the Futures of U.S. Latina/o. The also has a literature component that would be of interest to non-academics. However, Friday's session is most thrilling because the panel includes scholarly work by Dr. Cristina Herrera at CSU Fresno on none other than a little novel by Melinda Palacio, titled Ocotillo Dreams.

Friday's Session 5 at 3:30 features a panel titled, Chronicles of Transnationalism, Citizenship, and Social Justice in Daniel Alarcón, Melinda Palacio, and Junot Díaz.
The panel came about the way many great collaborations happen, through friends. A colleague of Cristina Herrera's approached her about submitting a panel proposal relating to the themes of citizenship and identity. Herrera's paper is titled, “Constructing Chicana Daughterly Agency: Maternal Activism and Estrangement in Melinda Palacio’s Ocotillo Dreams.

Cristina Herrera, CSU Fresno

Herrera says she still gets a little nervous when presenting a paper, but like most performers, the feeling quickly disappears.

"I love attending conferences, but I admit that I still get a little anxious just before I'm about to present. I find that once I begin reading my paper, though the anxiety slips away, and I can relax and enjoy myself while I share my work with other conference participants and panelists."

At next week's conference, Cristina Herrera will try to attend as many panels that deal with her scholarly fields of study, including themes of gender, family, and feminism. La Bloga friend, Javier O. Huerta, will also present a paper on Friday titled, 'Hyperdocumentation: Toward a Literature of the Undocumented.' Cristina Herrera's colleague at CSU Fresno, Alex Espinoza, plans on attending both the conference at CUNY and AWP in Boston.

Espinoza has new novel out this month, TheFive Acts of Diego León. At the NY conference, Espinoza will be on the Latina/o Fiction Panel Saturday at 11:00 a.m., along with Helena María Viramontes, Ernesto Quiñonez, Manuel Muñoz, H.G. Carillo , and Angie Cruz. Alex's two panels at AWP include one on writing place and regional fiction with Susan Straight and Stuart O'Nan and a second panel on enthnocentrism and the writing workshop with Nami Mun. His historical novel sheds light on the long and significant influence Latinos have had in Hollywood. "As we witnessed from the most recent Academy Awards show, we've made many great strides in the industry, with Oscars going to "Inocente" and "Searching for Sugarman," said Espinoza, "but have yet to be fully recognized and respected. Here I'm thinking of Lupe Ontiveros' snub from the show's "In Memorium" segment."
Espinoza shared some of his experience with writing his second novel:

Alex Espinoza's new novel, The Five Acts of Diego León
"Writing "The Five Acts of Diego León" was an entirely different experience than writing "Still Water Saints," but I think every book presents its own challenges and opportunities. And that's how it should be if you want to grow as a writer. Because it is historical--tracing my protagonist's evolution as an artist, which begins in revolutionary Mexico, follows him through the Cristero Rebellion of the late 20s, and ultimately wraps up in Hollywood during the nascent days of talking pictures."

Richard Perez, one of the organizers of the 1st Biennial U.S. Latino/a Literary Theory and Criticism Conference said they already have the date for the next conference, March 15, 2015 at John Jay College in NYC.  "We are looking forward to three thought provoking days of panels, papers, and conversations," Perez said.

"Our only wish is that the conference continues to grow and becomes one of the signature events in the field.  A place where scholars, young and old, come to share ideas and celebrate the rich literature we all love."

Martín Espada reads his poem to Howard Zinn. The entire segment aired on PBS a couple of weeks ago.


Upcoming Opportunities to hear How Fire Is a Story, Waiting and Ocotillo Dreams :

March 14, UC Davis, class visit

March 16, UAA Luncheon, Santa Maria, CA

March 24, Avenue 50 Studio, 2pm

No comments: