Friday, June 03, 2016

Chicanos in Spain and Spanish Connections

Melinda Palacio
Program Cover for X Congreso International sore Literatura Chicana y Estudios Latinos
Madrid 30 de mayo-1 de junio de 2016
Facultad de Filologia, Universidad Complutense de Madrid

When a text comes at 4 am that says, 'Do you know they are talking about your book in Spain?,' it's hard to go back to sleep. But I did. I like to turn off the internet in the evening and don't care to check on anything before 8 am. I also try to leave my phone in another room as to avoid the vampire effect of constantly checking social media well into the wee hours. If you're trying to reach me, bankers hours are the best. I made an exception for this business about people in Spain talking about my book. Two hours later, I checked my phone and I wasn't dreaming. My friend, Reyna Grande, was texting me that my novel, OcotilloDreams, was being discussed at the X Congresso Internacional Sobre Literatura Chicana y Estudios Latinos, an academic conference in Madrid about Chicano Literature and Latino Studies. The three-day conference offered over a hundred different panels on Chicano and Latino literary studies.
Norma Cantu, Romana Radlwimmer, Ricardo Vivancos-Perez, Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz

To answer Reyna's questions, I had no idea my work was being discussed at conferences as far away as Spain. In a session on Identity Transformation in Chicano Literature, three panels were offered: Alejandra Rengifo from Central Michigan University presented, "El libro de los americanos desconocido de Cristina Henriquez y La distancia entre nosotros de Reyna Grande: testimonio de la marginacion y exclusion social en la nueva literatura latin@; Vanessa de Veritch Woodside from the University of Washington offered "Prickly Politics and "Becoming" Chicana in Palacio's Ocotillo Dreams;" and Adrianna Simone of the University of California, Santa Barbara presented, "Storytelling as Transformation: Disrupting Cycles of Violence through Feminist Sites of Remembrance, Love, and Forgiveness in Emma Perez's Forgetting the Alamo, Or, Blood Memory."
Opening remarks for the conference

Reyna Grande (right) 

When Reyna first mentioned that she was going to Spain to discuss Chicano Literature, my first thought was the missed opportunity to send my books with her. However, that wasn't necessary as one of the panels discussed my work and Gary Keller from Bilingual Press had also taken copies of Ocotillo Dreams to the conference. Although I wasn't personally present, through my book proxy, I represented Chicano Literature in Spain.
Ocotillo Dreams

Several sessions covered Reyna Grande's work, including one by Rita E. Urquijo-Ruiz from Trinity University in San Antonio, "Chican@(Im)migrant Voices: Memoir and Anzaldúan Theory in the Writings of Reyna Grande and Rigoberto Gonzalez. Of the conference, Rita says, "it's exciting to know that for twenty years the organizers have been working hard at finally making important and necessary transatlantic connections between Spain and the Chicano/a communities in the U.S." This year marked the conference's 10th anniversary. Reyna was very impressed with the event and said she loved it:

            "What I loved about the conference is that it was completely bilingual.
            The presentations were in Spanish, English or a flow of both, and in the
            q&a sessions the audience asked questions in either language, without
            having to translate anything to the audience. This was a beautiful celebration
            of Chicano literature."

Hours after receiving Reyna's text, the Spain connections to my work continued. La Bloga's Xanath alerted me to the fact that a poet from Madrid, Ana Gorría, had translated one of my poems on a Spanish Journal, La Galla Ciencia. This unauthorized translation was much more puzzling than the academic paper. After all, academics don't need to ask permission to study your work. However, last I checked, it is proper to ask for permission before translating a poem and publishing it without the poet's permission. Perhaps, the translator received permission from the Academy of American Poets, the original publishers of the poem? I didn't really investigate, given the old maxim that all publicity is good publicity.
A surprise to find my poem translated in La Galla Ciencia

The Coiled Serpent Anthology (Tia Chucha Press)

Happening Next Weekend in Long Beach, CA at Gatsby Books
The Coiled Serpent Anthology Tour in Long Beach!
Los Angeles Poet Society and Tia Chucha Press
present a reading of the Coiled Serpent Anthology

I'm proud to be part of this anthology. I will read along with several poets in the Long Beach celebration for The Coiled Serpent: Poets Arising from the Cultural Quakes and Shifts of LosAngeles.

Date: Saturday, June 11
Address: 5535 35 E Spring St, Long Beach, CA 90808
Time: 6-9pm
6pm Reception
7-9pm Reading

Read more about this anthology on La Bloga Archive.


Chris Wiltz said...

This is all great news, Melinda! It is quite exciting when you find out your book has somehow made it across the pond and is being read in a place like Spain. Keep us posted on any other happenings abroad! I don't think this will be the last!

Unknown said...

Brava Melinda! I hope your book will be translated and published in Spain and then fins a huge Spanish speaking readership in Latin America. From Argentina top Chile up North to Central America, then Mexico. I wish that for you.
Mucha suerte, tu amiga Karin

Unknown said...

Brava Melinda! I hope your book will be translated and published in Spain and then fins a huge Spanish speaking readership in Latin America. From Argentina top Chile up North to Central America, then Mexico. I wish that for you.
Mucha suerte, tu amiga Karin