Friday, June 10, 2016

Lit Happens

A few choice events and announcements - from celebrating a renown Cuban poet to short fiction born in East Los Angeles to a dark gathering of noir writers and fans to fresh borderland verse.

June 29 @ 7:00 pm
Community Bookstore
143 7th Avenue

[from the publisher - Archipelago Books]

One of Cuba’s most celebrated poets, Dulce María Loynaz (1902-1997) is admired by many for her life as much as her poetry. Loynaz published most of her works in Spain, where she achieved great success. After the triumph of the Cuban revolution in 1959, Loynaz chose to remain in Cuba but was ostracized when she refused to join the Communist Party. For the next thirty years, she lived in seclusion in her Havana home, unpublished and virtually forgotten. Loynaz was a 90-year-old widow when Spain's Royal Spanish Academy unexpectedly awarded her the 1992 Premio Miguel de Cervantes—the highest literary accolade in Spanish literature—nearly six decades after her first poems had been published. It was only after the prize that Cuba finally published Loynaz's complete works.

Absolute Solitude
is the first major English-language translation of the prose-poetry of Dulce María Loynaz, who Juan Ramón Jiménez described as “archaic and new, a phosphorescent reality of her own incredibly human poetry, her fresh language, tender, weightless, rich in abandon.” Elevating solitude to ecstatic heights, Loynaz creates a picture of landscapes and private emotion, where the physical, spiritual, and visionary realms of poetry meet. Translator James O’Connor and Cuban writer Pablo Medina join us to discuss the work and legacy of this luminous Spanish-language poet.

Salon: True Noir: Writers Duke It Out

[from Lighthouse Writers Workshop]
[an event of the Lighthouse Lit Fest 2016]

June 15, 2016

Panelists: Ben Whitmer, Mario Acevedo, Manuel Ramos, Ellen Byerrum

What’s noir, exactly? Dennis Lehane once famously defined it as “working-class tragedy.” Eddie Muller said noir simply calls for “a willingness to go to the darkest places and remain compassionate in the face of hopelessness.” In this panel, authors of noir, urban fantasy, and mystery will dig into the issue and look at how going dark and getting to the edge of comfort can inform our work.

The panelists will read from their works 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM.

A catered meal and beverages are included in ticket price, available starting at 7:00 PM. Panel discussion begins at 8:00 PM.

Cost: $20.00 members / $30.00 non-members
Location: Lighthouse Writers Workshop - Lit Fest Book Fair Tent
1515 Race Street, Denver, CO 80206

Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul
Bryan Allen Fierro

University of Arizona Press -- September

[from the publisher]
Portraits of love, loss, and longing in East Los Angeles 

Two brothers bury a statue of Saint Jude for their grieving nana. A Griffith Park astronomer makes his own discovery at an East L.A. wedding.  A young man springs his Cherokee-obsessed grandfather from the confines of senility. The common thread? Each is weaving their way through the challenging field of play that is living and loving in Los Angeles.

In Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul, Bryan Allen Fierro brings to life the people and places that form the fragile heart of the East Los Angeles community. In the title story, a father’s love of Dodger baseball is matched only by the disconnect he must bridge with his young son. In another story,
a young widower remembers his wedding day with his father-in-law. The boys and men in this collection challenge masculine stereotypes, while the girls and women defy gender roles. Hope and faith in their own community defines the characters, and propels them toward an awareness of their own personal responsibility to themselves and to their families, even as they eschew those closest to them in pursuit of a different future.

Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul is a tour de force—the first collection of an authentic new voice examining community with humor, hope, and brutal honesty.

Bryan Allen Fierro holds an MFA from Pacific University in Oregon. He grew up in Los Angeles and now splits his time between L.A. and Anchorage, Alaska, where he works as a firefighter and paramedic. Fierro is the recipient of the Poets and Writers Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award in Fiction.

With the River on Our Face
Emmy Pérez

University of Arizona Press -- October

[from the publisher] 
An intimate and poetic look at borderlands

Emmy Pérez’s poetry collection With the River on Our Face flows through the Southwest and the Texas borderlands to the river’s mouth in the Rio Grande Valley/El Valle. The poems celebrate the land, communities, and ecology of the borderlands through lyric and narrative utterances,
auditory and visual texture, chant, and litany that merge and diverge like the iconic river in this long-awaited collection.

Pérez reveals the strengths and nuances of a universe where no word is “foreign.” Her fast-moving, evocative words illuminate the prayers, gasps, touches, and gritos born of everyday discoveries and events. Multiple forms of reference enrich the poems in the form of mantra: ecologist’s field notes,
geopolitical and ecofeminist observations, wildlife catalogs, trivia, and vigil chants. “What is it to love / within viewing distance of night / vision goggles and guns?” is a question central to many of these poems.

The collection creates a poetic confluence of the personal, political, and global forces affecting border lives. Whether alluding to El Valle as a place where toxins now cross borders more easily than people or wildlife, or to increased militarization, immigrant seizures, and twenty-first-century wall-building, Pérez’s voice is intimate and urgent. She laments, “We cannot tattoo roses / On the wall / Can’t tattoo Gloria Anzaldúa’s roses / On the wall”; yet, she also reaffirms Anzaldúa’s notions of hope through resilience and conocimiento.

With the River on Our Face drips deep like water, turning into amistad— an inquisition into human relationships with planet and self.

Emmy Pérez earned her MFA from Columbia University and her BA from the University of Southern California. She is an associate professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, where she teaches in the MFA in creative writing and Mexican American studies programs.


Manuel Ramos is the author of several novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction books and articles.  His collection of short stories, The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories, was a finalist for the 2016 Colorado Book AwardMy Bad: A Mile High Noir is scheduled for publication by Arte Público Press in September, 2016.

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