Friday, October 18, 2013

Prison Writing - Author Events - Gratitude

One of the many good things about participating in literary events is the chance to meet people who are living their dream; taking on new and exciting challenges in the world of books. At the recent LibroFEST in Houston I was introduced to Maria De Jesus, Project Manager of Vidahlia Press & Publishing. That press has a lot of ambition and ideas. Although traditional publishing is often considered on its last legs, it's refreshing to hear someone talk about several writing and publishing initiatives.

Here's what the press says about its mission:

"Vidahlia Press & Publishing House is an innovative press designed to identify talented artists worldwide. While the digital age has brought an increased number of entertainment options and online outlets of every description; the search for quality content and intellectual property offers unprecedented commercial opportunity. Vidahlia is obsessed with identifying new and unexplored literary talent."

Spread the word. Visit Vidahlia's web site and see how you might be able to support the cause.

Maria send me the following announcement about one project.

Vidahlia Press & Publishing House announces its first literary contest for those incarcerated in federal, state, or county prison. Approximately 2,000 federal and state correctional facilities in the country are participating in the Contest.

The Prison Writing Contest will offer prizes including one year tuition payment to an online or correspondence fine arts or creative writing program at a selected college to the first place winners. Submissions can be in any of the following categories: Poetry, Fiction, Drama, Nonfiction and Graphic Novels. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2014. Winners will be announced on July 4, 2014.

Winning submissions will be published in an Anthology: From These Many Rooms, it will be available August of 2014. We are very excited about this one of a kind contest and hope you will be able to join us in supporting this event.

Vidahlia Press & Publishing House Inc.
800 Town & Country Blvd.
City Centre, Suite 300
Houston, TX 77024
(832) 431-3170


Tim Z. Hernandez Visits The Tattered Cover For Mañana Means Heaven

[from the Tattered Cover website]

 Oct 18 2013 7:30 pm

Colfax Avenue: Award-winning writer Tim Hernandez will read from and sign his new novel Mañana Means Heaven (University of Arizona Press), a visionary portrait of Bea Franco, the real woman behind famed American author Jack Kerouac’s On the Road character “Terry, the Mexican girl.” Hernandez’s book deftly combines fact and fiction to pull back the veil on one of literature’s most mysterious and evocative characters. Inspired by Franco’s love letters to Kerouac and Hernandez’s interviews with Franco, now in her nineties and living in relative obscurity, the novel brings this lost gem of a story out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
Can’t make it to the signing? Request an autographed copy here:

2526 E Colfax Ave Denver, CO 80206
(303) 322-7727


Poet Laureate of Texas, Rosemary Catacalos, in San Antonio
[from Wings Press]

Come meet and hear the 2013 Poet Laureate of Texas, Rosemary Catacalos, at the Central Public Library, 600 Soledad Street, on Tuesday, October 22, at 6 p.m.  Naomi Shihab Nye will introduce Ms. Catacalos. Music will be provided by Aaron and George Prado. A reception and book signing will follow.

Rosemary Catacalos is the first-ever Latina poet laureate of Texas, and the first San Antonio poet to hold the position in four decades.
Her first book, Again For The First Time, won the Texas Institute of Letters Poetry Prize. It has just been re-issued in a special 30th anniversary edition by Wings Press. Her newest book, Begin Here, is a limited edition hand bound chapbook featuring handmade paper covers printed by letterpress.

“The poems of Rosemary Catacalos, richly layered, passionately and particularly observant, hold notes unsung by anyone else, remaining firmly rooted in the minds of readers. Why? Because they are among the richest, most humane and thoughtful texts ever encountered. And we need them.”   —Naomi Shihab Nye, from the Foreword to Again For the First Time.

This event is sponsored by the San Antonio Public Library, the San Antonio Library Foundation, the City of San Antonio Department of Culture and Creative Development, and the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library.


Orlando Ricardo Menes and Dan Vera read at the Poetry Foundation

 Reading celebrates the inaugural Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize 

CHICAGO — Dan Vera, the inaugural winner of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, and Orlando Ricardo Menesjudge of the prize, will read at the Poetry Foundation on Thursday, October 24, 7 PM. A booksigning and reception follow the reading.

Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, has partnered with Red Hen Press in Pasadena, CA, to offer the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize in support the publication of a second or third full-length collection of poems by a Latino or Latina poet.

Dan Vera, the winner of the inaugural Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, is a writer, editor and literary historian living in Washington, DC. In addition to his winning volume, Speaking Wiri Wiri, he is the author of The Space Between Our Danger and Delight (Beothuk Books, 2008). Vera receives a $1000 award, a contract from Red Hen Press, and a two-week residency from The Ragdale Foundation.

Orlando Ricardo Menes directs the creative writing program at the University of Notre Dame. His third full-length collection, Fetish, won the 2012 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry and was published in 2013 by the University of Nebraska Press.


About the Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

Follow the Poetry Foundation and Poetry on Facebook at or on Twitter @PoetryFound.

POETRY FOUNDATION | 61 West Superior Street | Chicago, IL 60654 | 312.787.7070

Media contacts:


New "Book" From Daniel Chacón

Daniel Chacón's latest newsletter contains a bit of intriguing information. Always something new happening with this guy. Here's the info:

I hope to complete the new “book” by the end of summer, 2014.
Why do I put “book” in quotes?
It’s going to be a bit different.
Are you ready for this?
Imaginary Water is going to be a hybrid collection of flash fiction in text and video. Although there may be hard copies, the book is designed to be enjoyed on an electronic notebook or other e-reader.
You’ll be reading a story when suddenly you’ll come across a link, with the instructions, like this.

Did you click it?
Most of the stories in text are already written, but the videos are still in production.


I want to give a shout out to several folks who invited me to two special events in the last couple of weeks. I was honored to appear at LibroFEST in Houston and on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, MN.  I had a great time in Texas with the Arte Público crew including Marina Tristán, Carmen Peña Abrego (now with the Houston Library,) Gabi Baeza, and Dr. Nicolás Kanellos, plus talented writers René Saldaña, Jr., Sarah Cortez, and Guadalupe Garcia McCall. Houston was hot and cookin'! Muchisimas gracias.

And over in Marshall, thanks for the large dose of Midwestern hospitality that I got from many people including Dr. Neil Smith, Chair of the English Department and noir writer extraordinaire; Marianne Zarzana, Director, SMSU Creative Writing Program; students Samantha Lemmerman and Todd Chalmers; fellow writer and presenter Lori Armstrong; and my last minute life saver, Saara Myrene Raappana. Thank you one and all. In the midst of the rain and clouds, the light shone through. I had a good time, hope you did too.


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