Monday, April 20, 2015

Ray Gonzalez in Minneapolis, Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015 y más

Xánath Caraza

Ray Gonzalez in Minneapolis

Spring has sprung; poems are flowing and La Pachanga has bloomed.  It is a pleasure to share with La Bloga community the Introduction that Natalia Treviño gave for La Pachanga Award Ray Gonzalez was given in Minneapolis, MN this year for all his outstanding accomplishments.  What is more, following are some must-read poems celebrating this year’s National Poetry Month.  Lastly are new book releases to watch for.

Natalia Trevino
Introduction by Natalia Treviño for Ray Gonzalez, La Pachanga & Award Ceremony 2015

Ray Gonzalez & Natalia Trevino

I was in a dark theater in downtown San Antonio, an undergrad, not really understanding what a poetry reading was. Nervous.

I walked to the stage, read my poems in a shaky voice, and stepped off to allow my friends step into this strange, new light.  

It was a Sunday afternoon. It was at The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Ray Gonzalez was in the audience. He was the literature director of the Guadalupe, and was actively working with the colleges to promote the careers of young writers.

That was in 1989.

After that reading, he invited me to read at other venues. He hired me to be a resident poet in various schools. He eventually published my work in two beautiful anthologies. Mirrors Beneath the Earth: Short Fiction by Chicano Writers was the first one. He included me in a list of names I had never heard of: Dagoberto Gilb, Denise Chavez, Sandra Cisneros, Luis Rodriguez, Rich Yanez, Lucha Corpi, Benjamin Alire Saez, Juan Felipe Herrera, Luis Alberto Urrea, Ana Castillo, Ana Baca. I thought this is what was normal kind of help given to all aspiring writers. I include this to say this is just the kind of thing he did-- for lots of us.
Richard Yanez, Ray Gonzalez & Lawrence Welsh
Ray's generosity has helped hundreds of writers during his career as literature director, editor, and professor. He has helped to hone thousands of Latino voices across the country.

When he left San Antonio, he left a gap that has not been replenished in our city-- but he now graces this city of Minneapolis and this chilly state of Minnesota as a flock of sacred heron might create a shimmer of shape, affirmation of motion, and the promise of light in an arrested, pale sky.

Quiet in his manner and daily life as a stern and loving professor here at the University of Minnesota for seventeen years, he is originally from El Paso, and while he misses that dry heat of West Texas, he said in an interview with CLA Today, "I do not have to live in west Texas or southern New Mexico to shape new poems about my past life there because the magical aspects of poetry have allowed me to bring the spirit of my home to Minnesota. Living in Minnesota has given me fresh perspectives about the area I came from… Perhaps my most powerful discovery in writing and teaching poetry in Minnesota is that all poets carry their homeland experience with them, no matter where they go.”

Ray simply has too many awards and publications to list in his amazing career as a champion of and major contributor to Latino Letters, but I will share a few today as we lift him up and hold him with this honor that Con Tinta bestows each year to a Latino writer who has served others through writing and who has had a lifetime of achievement. 

Ray Gonzalez

He is the persistent founder of the Camino del Sol series at the University of Arizona Press, which celebrated twenty years today at AWP just before this gathering. 

He is the author of numerous books of poetry, including The Heat of Arrivals, which won the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Book Award; Cabato Sentora, a Minnesota Book Award Finalist; The Hawk Temple at Tierra Grande; winner of the Minnesota Book Award for Poetry; Consideration of the Guitar: New and Selected Poems, another finalist for the Minnesota Book Award Finalist; Cool Auditor; and Faith Run.

His mixed-genre book Turtle Pictures received the 2001 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry; The Religion of Hands, a follow-up to Turtle Pictures, received a Latino Heritage Best Book of Poetry Award.

His poems have appeared in The Best American Poetry and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. He  is the author of Memory Fever from the University of Arizona Press, a memoir about growing up in the Southwest, a collection of essays, The Underground Heart: A Return to a Hidden Landscape, which received the 2003 Carr P. Collins/ Texas Institute of Letters Award for Best Book of Non-fiction.

Ray Gonzalez and George Kalamaras
This book was also named one of ten Best Southwest Books of the Year by the Arizona Humanities Commission, named one of the Best Non-fiction Books of the Year by the Rocky Mountain News, named a Minnesota Book Award Finalist in Memoir, and selected as a Book of the Month by the El Paso Public Library.

His students are here at their local hangout, the Bryant Lake Bowl, mixing their lives and hopes with his, and are joining us to celebrate him and note, not only his extraordinary talent, or his numerous, prestigious accolades, but to also note fora long time to come, his careful balance of beauty, his frank and comforting humility, his sincere friendship with them and with letters, his message to them through his work-- to strive, to dig, to think, to honor, to notice, to awaken.

We at Con Tinta are his colleagues, his friends, his writers, and his readers, and had no hesitation in selecting Ray as this year's award winner. We send him today with this award as a small gesture of gratitude, energia, aplauso, bendición, and honor.

Let us listen to our honoree, Ray Gonzalez.
Poetry by Ray Gonzalez
Gracias a todos who donated for La Pachanga & Award Ceremony 2015: Honoring RAY GONZALEZ in Minneapolis, MN.  Special thanks to the following donors & Supporters:
Adela Najarro
Daniel Olivas
Daniel Vera
Iyawo (Kristin Naca)
Jerry Holt
Kathleen Alcala
La Bloga
Los Nortenos Writers
Lucrecia Guerrero
Maria Miranda Maloney
Mouthfeel Press
Natalia Trevino
Norma Elia Cantu
Richard Yanez
Xanath Caraza


Lucrecia Guerrero & Jerry Holt

Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015
Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015: Poetry in L. A. Tia Chucha's Cultural Center

Next are some of the poems from the Con Tinta page, which have had the most readership.  Enjoy!

Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015: Poetry and More: (casi todos) Los Blogueros

Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015
La joven inmigrante
Por Martha C. Galván-Mandujano©


La misma historia de muchas mujeres,
mujeres mexicanas y centroamericanas
que tratan de cruzar por Cd. Juárez
para lograr llegar a tierras estadounidenses.

Muchas corren con suerte,
otras mueren antes de cruzar la frontera,
otras son violadas y asesinadas
por bandas o individuos criminales.

Muchas están desaparecidas,
Algunas son prostituidas,
otras se quedan trabajando,
trabajando en las grandes maquilas.

Otras logran llegar al lado norteamericano
y realizan el sueño americano,
como el caso de una joven potosina
que cruzó ilegalmente a las tierras texanas.

La joven cruzó en una cámara boca arriba,
empujada por un coyote,
un coyote que le decía:
Si nos agarran diles que sola venías,

Si dices que me conoces,
Te la verás conmigo cuando nos eche la migra,
Así que ruega que no nos agarren niña,
Y corre lo más que puedas después que crucemos las vías.

Al esperar en un lado de las vías,
la joven escuchaba atenta a otros que decían:
¿Recuerdas al joven que mataron ayer aquí?
Una mujer dijo, “Sí, aquel que drogas traía”.

La joven atemorizada escuchaba lo que decían,
pero más atemorizada estaba
cuando el coyote le repetía lo de la migra;
la hora llegó y la joven corrió y saltó una cerca,

una cerca metálica que era la única barrera
que le faltaba para poder ver a su madre
su madre que se encontraba del lado texano,
la madre que muchos años tenía de ese lado.

La joven logró llegar con vida,
pasaron los años y la joven
se graduó con dos licenciaturas y maestrías,
ahora ya casi es una doctora en Filosofía.

Aunque ya pasaron muchos años
la joven nunca olvidara o borrara ese día,
el día que cruzó la frontera mexicana-texana,
esa experiencia la marcara de por vida.

Por ello toma valor para plasmar estas palabras
Para compartir cómo muchas mujeres
Han cruzado ciudades fronterizas
Para llegar a estas tierras estadounidenses

Ojalá algún día otras mujeres inmigrantes
Puedan contar sus historias
Como lo ha hecho esta joven este día
este día como otros, cuando recuerda esa parte tan importante de su vida.

©Martha C. Galván-Mandujano


Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015
The Crying Time
By Yolanda Nieves©

My grandmother used to pull an old cotton cloth from her bosom
said, If you really need to cry wipe your tears with cotton,
only with cotton.

Entonces puedes llorar.
She flew on a plane over the ocean
only once in her life,
with one huge tear held inside. 
She gave it to me.

I think of her everyday
as I wash dishes, sort socks,
fold towels, and decide which perfume
to wear today-
I think about all the things that outline this life
how we grow old and close to each other
in time and in the life beyond time

with our little tears falling from the cheek
into an old handkerchief.


Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015: Poetry in El Paso, Viva Flores
Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015
Decimos Decir
Por Gloria Enedina Alvarez©

Son alas las palabras
Hiel y lluvia
Fuego y nieve
Con miel de día
De tarde a noche
Están trazadas
En tantos cuerpos
Desnudos  de olvido
En cada milímetro de
Memoria hormiga
Usamos palabras como escudos
Como frutas jugosas
Nos jactamos
Jugamos con ellas
Las tratamos con ternura
A veces les gritamos cuando
Nos llegan a la barriga
Silbido silente
Atorado en la garganta
Decimos decirlas auténticas
Con incalculable decisión

Y autoridad

Gloria Enedina Alvarez
En luna naciente, 2014


Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015
Recovery of Coatlicue
By Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs©

Pieced by fragments of herself,
she became one of the fingers of her hand,
after Huichilopochtli, after being broken by her children
she reigned, and ruled with one finger
the finger that points to the future
The one that is intrical for typing, writing, loving
With the other nine, she made do:
drove less than well, cooked acceptably,
knit unacceptably,
cried lovingly
one unharmed finger enough for all these tasks
throughout time,
what could she have accomplished unbroken?

Her daughter Coyolxauqui knew her well,  a fragmented woman she was,
a modern woman she is,
leaving her mother broken, yet whole, behind.
And the pieces of herself speak to herself and to others.
How many women can we be before we break again? 
Christ was crucified by his own people
Coatlicue was broken by her children…

Yet they both gave us their bodies

Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015: Poetry con Sonia Gutierrez

Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015
Laughing Monkeys
By Sonia Gutiérrez©
How did we
get here
you and me
sticking out
our tongues
and poking each
other’s eyes?

How did we
get here
you and me
rocks for kisses
and tugging
at each other's
tails and ears?

How did we
get here
you and me
throwing pebbles
at each other—
even in our

Changos riendo
Por Sonia Gutiérrez©
¿Cómo llegamos
tú y yo
nuestras lenguas
y picándonos
los ojos?

¿Cómo llegamos
tú y yo
piedras por besos
y jalándonos 
las colas y las orejas?

¿Cómo llegamos
tú y yo

hasta en nuestros

Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015: Poetry and more, La Casa Azul Bookstores, Aurora Anaya

Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015
Las Diosas                   
Por Viva Flores©


Las Diosas viven en casas de cartón;
papeles desechados.
Toman el agua que vive en
los charcos,
caminan solas por calles oscuras sin nombres

Las Diosas celebran
debajo de las revoluciones.

De periódicos cosen
vestidos y
hacen fiestas en los
construyen  moños de todos
los colores
bolsas de plástico y

Cuidan de las niñas
que viven sin dulces realidades,
vendiendo dulces
en galaxias siderales
en puentes de plomo que separan dos lenguajes
y unen los vicios

Cuidan de las mujeres
vendiendo su piel en las calles,
cuerpos sagrados

Corren detrás de carros
gritando ,
pero como todo hacen cantando

Las Diosas no duermen.

Esperan afuera de salones de baile por jovencitas
que están encomendadas a ellas por
humildes madrecitas.

Las Diosas viven en casas de cartón,
cajas de refri con palabras escurridas ,
son sencillas-
no existen sentadas en sillas Divinas,
o altares con fruta y
cosechas de milpas.

Dicen, “Dáselo a las vivas.”

Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015
Tirana Melancolía
Por Lourdes Soto©

Ya no te espero.

Porque de esperarte hay odio”

Silvio Rodríguez

Verte aquí callado
con el rencor en las manos
aferrado a una época
cercana en abrazos y caricias
me hace recordar
que siempre se regresa
con un adiós cargado
de tirana melancolía.
¡Pero te esfumaste! 
como el vapor de mis lágrimas
testigo silencioso del recuerdo
que escondo de tu voz.
Así que juro, viejo amor
qué hoy no saldaré mi deuda
y tampoco
pediré perdón.

Con Tinta NaPoMo 2015: Poetry in Kansas City, The Symphony at the Gem

In Other News: los libros

The Siren World by Juan J. Morales

Titanic by Mario Heredia (translated by Lawrence Schimel)

Beautiful Scars by Edward Vidaurre

Red Canyon Falling on Churches by Juliana Aragon Fatula

In Chicago, Poesía en abril 2015, Revista Contratiempo and DePaul University

DePaul University

Finally, in Seattle, WA on April 25: Growing Up Brown-- How do we tell our stories? By Donna Miscolta, join the conversation.

Donna Miscolta

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