Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Apprentice's Tale. Mailbag. On-line Floricanto.

Portrait of the Apprentice with the Artist

Michael Sedano

Fortune smiles on the serendipitous photographer. In one of the busiest arts weekends of 2013, tough choices forced me to abandon plans for a big Saturday with the lens.

Poesia Para La Gente had commandeered a pedestrian tunnel in Cypress Park for a major poetry reading with art show and musical entertainment, scheduled for 6 pm. At 7, Avenue 50 Studio would be opening a pair of gallery shows, "Chispas" & "Mt. Washington Plein-Air Painters." I had plans to flit from event to event, camera in hand, continuing with my ongoing project to photograph writers reading to audiences, in search of the perfect public speaker portrait.

Six o’clock came and passed and I was homebound. Things cleared up and I was able to make a quick get-away and headed to Avenue 50. It was well past seven. As usual for late arrivers, parking was a challenge. As delightfully usual for the early or the tardy, Avenue 50 Studio was packed shoulder to shoulder.

The women’s show, “Chispas” hung impressive work. Priced in the thousands, collectors with the lana will be rewarded in a few years as artists like CiCi Segura Gonzalez gain added fame. Segura’s abstract work ranges from the sublime to the super intriguing. Margaret Garcia had a very large interpretation of a repeating figure from her oeuvre. Margaret was not present, she is mourning her mom’s death, qepd.

In the Annex gallery, the plein air show displayed dozens of masterfully rendered impressions of the bridges, craftsman architecture, river and mountain scapes that give Highland Park and Mt. Washington their visual character. My head was spinning at the quality in both exhibitions.

But the best element was serendipitous. I wandered into Two Tracks Studio where Pola Lopez and Heriberto Luna work. Pola was surrounded by admirers so I nodded her way and walked over to greet Heriberto. He stood in front of several works in progress, and next to him was a teenager. The girl stood quietly, drinking in the busy scene as artists and collectors exclaimed over the work. Luna introduced me to her with pride, telling me Catalina Bolivar “can draw you right now.” That’s how good she is already, at 15.

Catalina lives next door to Avenue 50 Studio, in a two-story stucco warren with no yard, no play area for all the kids growing up there. One day, 12-year old Catalina wandered into Two Tracks Studio looking to sell a drawing she’d produced. It didn’t sell, but Luna saw something in her work and in her determination. He invited her to hang out, learn art by doing studio chores.

Today, Luna praises Catalina's work, confiently assigning her layout and detailing tasks on Luna's magnificently intricate canvases, like those in progress being prepared for several major museums and galleries. Catalina’s is the classic apprentice tale. One day, she’ll return the favor as an accomplished artist and mentor other kids who wander in from the block looking for respite.

I love this foto of Catalina and Heriberto, their look of mutual respect and personal pride. The portrait stands as a reminder that, beautiful as all that art on the walls, the most genuine beauty is the love Pola Lopez and Heriberto Luna share with Catalina and, over the years, lots of neighborhood kids who’ve come to the studio, joined mural projects, prepped canvases, brainstormed ideas. Kids who learned that arte is not about the brush strokes or pallet, it’s all about love, and in fact, is puro alma for one’s gente and ideas.

E-mail Bag
Workshopping Writers

La Bloga friend Marcela Landrés, Cofounder of the 2013 Comadres and Compadres Writers Conference, reminds gente that Wednesday, August 14, is the cut-off date to receive an earlybird discount to attend the conference scheduled for Medgar Evers College, Brooklyn, NY on Saturday, October 5, 2013.

The conference provides Chicana Chicano Latina Latino writers access to published authors like the keynote speaker, Reyna Grande, as well as agents and editors with proven track records publishing Latina Latino books. Participants this year include Erin Clarke, Executive Editor, Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers; Adriana Dominguez, Agent, Full Circle Literary; Toni Kirkpatrick, Editor, Thomas Dunne Books; Nancy Mercado, Executive Editor, Roaring Brook Press; Andrea Montejo, Agent, Indent Literary Agency; Lukas Ortiz, Managing Agent, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency, Inc.; Jeff Ourvan, Agent, Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency; Diane Stockwell, Agent, Globo Libros Literary Management; Johnny Temple, Publisher, Akashic; and Stacy Whitman, Publisher, Tu Books.

The Pitch Slam, described in the program as “Writers will have thirty seconds or less and get instant feedback from agents and editors”, is the kind of on-your-feet training absent from many conferences. The session prepares a writer for the most important half minute of one’s career, a make-or-break first impression. A good 30 seconds makes the difference between “thank you for coming” and “tell me more.”

Landrés refers the eager, the curious, the prospective attender, to visit Las Comadres’ website for additional details and applications.

Absent from the Comadres Compadres program is training I think urgent for writers: a session on reading your own stuff. This is the big lacuna in a writer’s career training, and an achilles' heel of a writer's marketing efforts. Congratulations, you've been published. How are you going to sell those books? People hate to be sold, but they love being helped to buy. Reading your own stuff to that bookstore crowd is the key.

You’re on a panel of five authors. Fifty people are in their seats. One person in the audience is going buy all five books. Six people will buy one book, their friends’. How does a writer convert the forty-three nonbuyers into readers, buyers tonight? Do a “knock their socks off” reading and a writer achieves the purposes of the appearance: people notice your work and want more. Those are the gente who buy the book.

Latinopia Update
Francisco X. Alarcón On Poetry

In September 2010, the University of Southern California hosted el Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow, a reunion of poets who'd launched the floricanto movement in 1973, at the Festival de Flor y Canto, organized by Mary Ann Pacheco and Alurista, in association with El Centro Chicano de USC.

Joining the veteranas and veteranos from that day was a wonderful group of inheritors of that literary herencia, including La Bloga friend Francisco X. Alarcón, founder of Poets Responding to SB 1070 Poetry of Resistance and a leading light in contemporary bilingual poetry.

Latinopia creator Jesús Treviño filmed the three-day event. I am working with Jesús and the USC library to disseminate to USC's Digital Library those 2010 performances, in time for the anniversary of the 2010 reunion floricanto. I have initiated preliminary explorations to hold a third floricanto at USC, details to emerge.

Here's an interview Jesús and Francisco completed during Festival de Flor y Canto. Yesterday • Today • Tomorrow:

Reading Your Own Stuff: David A. Romero

Over the past few years, I've had the honor of conducting "reading your own stuff" workshops at the National Latino Writers Conference. As part of my preparation and followup from those, I've posted lecture notes for three oral performance topics, "Reading off the Page" for manuscript dependent events, "Memorization" as a strategy for improving effectiveness, and "Delivery"to address voice, posture, gesture, eye contact, confidence and poise.

From time to time, I'll be enlarging the scope of La Bloga-Tuesday's coverage of reading your stuff, principally through good examples of solid performances. Advice to writers: when you see a writer doing something you admire, copy and adapt what you see to your own work. 

La Bloga friend and poetry impresario David A. Romero’s video of his superb poem, Undocumented Football, stands as a model for poets who want to improve their own oral performance. The most important elements are Romero’s careful articulation and deliberate, but varied, rate. Every word, every phrase arrives clean and crisp, never a moment’s pause to ask “what did he say?” He’s not rushing through the words but gives each expression time to make its impact and fit into the fabric of the piece.

Note the poet’s use of vocal variety achieved through five- and seven-syllable phrasing, dispersing emphasis throughout the lines, sometimes hitting first words, sometimes the middle, often at the end of a line. That phrasing establishes a pleasing rhythm that sets up aural expectations. Approaching the climax, he abandons heavily accented syllables, adopts a conversational style that relies upon subtle emphasis while providing respite from expectations. This contrast heightens the impact when he repeats the opening spondee, “don’t. drop. the ball.” And segues smoothly to the closing phrases and its terminating molossus, “so. darn. hard.”

Significantly, Romero ends the recitation right. Instead of saying it, “thank you,” the poet nonverbally thanks the audience with his eyes and an acknowledging nod of the head. The technique honors the poem by allowing the last words their own space, free of the distraction of extraneous crap. Romero then pauses, a signal the performance has concluded, silence allowing the poem to sink in. In a live performance he would stand in silence, and only then walk off stage. Likewise the opening; in a live performance, the poet takes the stage, gets to the starting spot, polarizes the audience (I’m the speaker, you’re the listener) with eye contact and attitude, and only then begins to speak.

Sadly, You Tube ruins the effect of closing silence by tagging Romero’s video with an invading soundtrack from some other poet whom I did not choose to hear but is forced upon me by You Tube. How sad that You Tube ruins the impact and effectiveness of Romero’s reading with this irritating tag. It’s the media equivalent of walking off stage still talking, puro distraction and disrespectful to your art.

Meet the Poet
David A. Romero is a proud Pocho/Chicano spoken word artist from Diamond Bar, CA. He is the host of Between the Bars Open Mic at the dba256 Gallery Wine Bar in Pomona, CA. He is the second poet to be featured on All Def Digital, a YouTube channel from Russell Simmons. Romero has opened for Latin Grammy winning artists Ozomatli and Latin Grammy nominated artists La Santa Cecilia. His poetry has been published with poet laureates Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jack Hirschman and Alejandro Murguia.

Romero is the author of Diamond Bars: The Street Version and Fuzhou, two collections of poetry released by Dimlights Publishing. His forthcoming book, My Name is Romero, is due in spring 2014. Romero teaches writing and performance workshops on spoken word poetry.

Romero has led workshops for the Say What? Teen Poetry program of the Los Angeles Public Library, high school activists at the Santa Monica Mountains Peace Camp and students at the Juvenile Detention and Assessment Centers in San Bernardino, CA.

Romero is an artist affiliate of the Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC) and a member of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade. "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. Romero is a graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), a double major in Cinema-Television and Philosophy.

For booking, contact: davidaromero@gmail.com Visit www.davidaromero.com for more poetry and enjoyment.

La Bloga On-line Floricanto
Francisco X. Alarcón, Maritza Rivera, Irma Guadarrama, tara evonne trudell, Tina Subia

For this antepenultimate in August La Bloga On-line Floricanto, the moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070 Poetry of Resistance send along six lovely pieces illustrating a rich variety of styles from  five poets.

"Borderless Blue / Azul sin fronteras" by Francisco X. Alarcón
"Stand Your Ground" por Maritza Rivera
"Our Birth Rite (for Gloria Anzaldua)" by Irma Guadarrama
"Untitled"  by tara evonne trudell
"What Do You See?" by Tina Subia

Francisco X. Alarcón

like the sea
at dawn

like the sky
at dusk

like sadness

like hope

like White
Black, Brown


like the little
blue dot

from afar
in outer space—

Earth jewel

the vast

Francisco X. Alarcón

como el mar
al amanecer

como el cielo
al atardecer

como la tristeza
la soledad

como la esperanza
la felicidad

como blanco
negro, café

sin fronteras

como el puntito

desde la lejanía
sideral —

la Tierra
joya reluciendo

la vasta

© Francisco X. Alarcón
July 28, 2013

Francisco X. Alarcón, award winning Chicano poet and educator, is author of twelve volumes of poetry, including, From the Other Side of Night: Selected and New Poems (University of Arizona Press 2002), and Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation (Chronicle Books 1992)  His latest book is Ce•Uno•One: Poems for the New Sun (Swan Scythe Press 2010). His book of bilingual poetry for children, Animal Poems of the Iguazú (Children’s Book Press 2008), was selected as a Notable Book for a Global Society by the International Reading Association. His previous bilingual book titled Poems to Dream Together (Lee & Low Books 2005) was awarded the 2006 Jane Addams Honor Book Award. He teaches at the University of California, Davis. He created the Facebook page, POETS RESPONDING TO SB 1070 . http://www.facebook.com/pages/Poets-Responding-to-SB-1070/117494558268757?ref=ts

Stand Your Ground
Maritza Rivera

La poesía
alimenta el alma
dándonos fuerza.

MARITZA RIVERA (aka Mariposa) is a Puerto Rican poet who lives in Rockville, MD.  She has been writing poetry for over forty years and is the creator of a short form of poetry called Blackjack. Maritza is the author of About You; A Mother’s War, written during her son’s two tours in Iraq; Baker’s Dozen; Twenty-One: Blackjack Poems and her work appears in literary magazines, anthologies and online publications. Maritza is a contributor to Poets Responding to SB1070, a supporter of the Memorial Day Writers Project (MDWP) and participates in the Warrior Poetry Project at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD.  She was the recipient of a 2012 BID International Writing Fellowship in Bahia, Brazil and has been accepted to attend the 2013 Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Sicily.  Maritza also serves on the Board of Directors of Split This Rock in Washington, DC and hosts the annual Mariposa Poetry Retreat at the Capital Retreat Center in Waynesboro, PA.

Our Birth Rite (for Gloria Anzaldua)
Irma Guadarrama

Pieces of earth puzzled into
mosaic revelations of
gaps and stops;
the human stride hampered
by a matching duo of
transnational bridge and border wall;
for every bridge a wall and still,
migration rebounds like
the ebb and flow of relentless
time and space, and
the rebirth cycle of
day and night. Never stopping:
like a lake that cradles
the spewing brew, or
a river that collects cascading water,
or fresh sprouting trees
fused with fossilized stumps.

Humans’ undeterred spirits
run their gamut like water flowing,
roots reaching, and rivers
morphing into oceans,
deep, vast, and free.

Featherless flying beings we are,
embracing the essence
of our birth rite.

Copyright 2013 Irma Guadarrama. All rights reserved.

Irma Guadarrama recently retired after a 44-year career of teaching and research, starting out as a bilingual teacher and finishing as a professor at various universities, the last ones being the University of Houston and the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Texas. She received a bachelor’s degree from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Master’s degree from the University of Texas in San Antonio, and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Born in Cd. Juárez, México, Irma grew up in central and north Texas. She lives in Houston with her two children and works as a writer/researcher for Bilingual Frontera and Mujeres, Fronteras y Sus Historias/Women, Borders and Their Stories. 

tara evonne trudell c/s 4 de agosto 2013

my strand
of beads
the scattering
of life
in all directions
losing some
in the process
of loss
and self
the load
man left
on me
alone providing
against all
of surviving
a world
of broken
woman strand
of beads
the brilliance
coloring life
circular opening
reflecting luster
of light
weaving thread
the patterns
of together
the many colors
of sisterhood
relating heart
in homeland
trusting colors
breaking away
societal patterns
the abuse
of words
the stress
of disease
of woman spirit
relating earth
the worth
of precious
beading colorful
essential parts
of sisterhood
picking up
rolling beads
the restringing
of woman
in beadwork
onward energy
in the eye
of the needle
sisters gathering
to tell
being left
the arc
of woman
all odds
of brutal
man wars
on women
gathering around
earth circle
and daughters
bead talk
of women
in this

Tara Evonne Trudell, a mother of four, is full-time student at NMHU working on her BFA in Media Arts with an emphasis in film, audio, and photography. It is through this expression of art, combined with her passion for poetry that she is able to express fearlessness of spirit for her family, people, community, social awareness, and most importantly her love of earth.

What Do You See?
Tina Subia

What do you see,
When you look at me?

Do you see that I yearn for a better life?
That I am willing to risk my life?

Does the color of my skin tell you that I am insincere?
When you look closer, can you see my fear?

Fear for my family and their future?
You want me to make things right, 
To go through proper channels,
But will you help to clear the way?

The wait is long, 
the journey is worth taking,
Meanwhile, there is injustice and prejudice standing in the way,

I am not asking for favors, 
Just fairness, 
I am not responsible for American jobs that are taken overseas, 
Or the fact that the cost of living increases faster than the rate of pay,

I am not responsible for the crimes of my brothers,
I only want a better life for my family, 

I am stuck between a corrupt government,
And a home of the free,
Which would you choose?

I do not have the power to change my 
Place of birth,
And I may not have the power to change your mind,

But I hope and dream that I can at least give my family a better life.

My name is Christina M.Subia and I was born and raised in Morenci, Arizona. I am married and have two grown sons, a daughter in-law and one rambunctious grandson. I have been a nurse for twelve years and before that a hairdresser and real estate agent. Throughout the years I have enjoyed writing poetry in my spare time, but never really shared it with anyone. Facebook has allowed me to connect with people and also share my thoughts and art,  which have been received positively. 

When I wrote "What do you see?" I tried to express the feelings and emotions that I would feel if I were an immigrant trying to make a new and better life for my family.


Unknown said...
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Unknown said...

Thank you, Em Sedano, for including the video with me directed and edited by Jesús Salvador Treviño. You made that possible by organizing the 2010 Flor y Canto Festival at USC. You are a true model of dedication to Chicano/Latino letters and Arts. Muchísimas gracias carnal por todo lo que haces--Francisco