Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The First Rule of Punk

By Celia C. Pérez

  •           Age Range: 9 - 12 years
  •        Grade Level: 4 - 7
  •        Hardcover: 336 pages
  •        Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (August 22, 2017)
  •        Language: English
  •        ISBN-10: 0425290409
  •        ISBN-13: 978-0425290408

From debut author and longtime zine-maker Celia C. Pérez, The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one’s watching. 

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school—you can’t fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malú (María Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School’s queen bee, violates the school’s dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

The real Malú loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malú finally begins to feel at home. She'll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

Black and white illustrations and collage art throughout make The First Rule of Punk a perfect pick for fans of books like Roller Girl and online magazines like Rookie.


“Extremely relatable and creatively inspiring, with a voice that is equal parts witty and sharp.”

"In The First Rule of Punk, Celia C. Pérez brings us Malú, a girl whose talents are as diverse as the images and words she snips for her zines. Malú is an irrepressible force, one that readers will long remember."
—Diana López, author of Confetti Girl and Nothing Up My Sleeve

Celia C. Pérez has been making zines inspired by punk and her love of writing for longer than some of you have been alive. Her favorite zine supplies are a long-arm stapler, glue sticks, and watercolor pencils. She still listens to punk music, and she’ll never stop picking cilantro out of her food at restaurants. Originally from Miami, Florida, Celia lives in Chicago with her family and works as a community college librarian. She owns two sets of worry dolls because you can never have too many. The First Rule of Punk is her first book for young readers.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Anniversaries. César A. Martinez in Chicago. On-line Floricanto.

Michael Sedano

The Moderators of the Facebook poetry community, Poets Responding to SB 1070: Poetry of Resistance, couldn't let the month go by without another opportunity to share Mother's Day poems.

I am remiss in not observing the seventh anniversary of the first On-line Floricanto on May 4,  2010. Back then, Francisco X. Alarcón and I were discussing the reunion Floricanto that would be convened at USC in the Fall. I had invited mostly local poets, with out-of-town writers footing their own bill to get to LA. Francisco was receiving hundreds of poems weekly. Many were outstanding quality. So he and I agreed time and distance was no reason poets should not be heard. Thus we began our collaboration between Poets Responding and La Bloga.

Today, the Moderators of Poets Responding continue the labor of love Francisco founded. Anywhere from a few dozen to hundreds of submissions come in weekly. Moderators collaborate via email and messages to select the work of five poets to comprise that week's La Bloga On-line Floricanto.

A final anniversary in May, the 48th anniversary of the photograph below. A late-May1969 field  training problem. Go into the boonies of Ft. Ord to a spot indicated on a map. Set up a pair of 25-foot antenna poles. Using an AM radio set, make morse code contact with a second team somewhere in the Monterey backwoods.

 I was pretty good at that stuff. As it developed, these were skills I never used.

Memorial Day 2017. Veterans salute one another. Veterans remember their comrades who didn't come home. Remember the good times. They were so young.


Martínez in National Museum Show

Mother Songs On-line Floricanto
Javier Pinzón, Jackie Lopez Lopez, Ralph Haskins Elizondo, Meg Withers, Odilia Galván Rodríguez

"Dulce Recuerdo" By Javier Pinzón "
Menudo” By Jackie Lopez Lopez
“We Belong To Our Mothers” By Ralph Haskins Elizondo
"Mother's Days" By Meg Withers
“Mother/Màthair” By Odilia Galván Rodríguez

Dulce Recuerdo
Por Javier Pinzón

tus palabras
las encuentro
en el ropero
entre blusas
pañales para niño

al desdoblarlas
tus alegrías
para ti cada día
era un triunfo

te fuiste
a que te operaran
y después
te recibimos
en la sección
de carga
del aeropuerto

tu ausencia
cubrió de gris
mi mundo;
me pesaron
los hombros

no has muerto
estás viva
como viento
de mi pecho

tu recuerdo
dulce miel
de mi vida

Javier Pinzon ,Mexicano,llego a Los Estados Unidos en la época de los ochentas ha publicado su poesía en periódicos comunitarios del área de la Bahía de San Francisco, y en diversas revistas literarias, entre ellas Revista Mujeres, de la Universidad de Santa Cruz, y la Palabra de la Universidad de Davis.

By Jackie Lopez Lopez

Your sweat,
my homemade stew,
was always given
and served to me
by your caring hands of
time circling round your children.
I remember, Mami,
when I danced with you
those warm nights you summoned
your spicy treasures
and sang mariachi
lullabies and held me
at your fragrant breasts.
In harmony, I fell asleep and woke up
dancing at my prom while
the breath of your kitchen
filled my lungs the red morning
I forged the application.
In English tempo, circling tiempo,
mixing time, you smiled in Spanish
and saw that it was good
tasting the American accent you gave
me, your little girl, that daydreamed
slept, melted into your aroma
and, oh, at night sleeps so well
remembering all the ingredients
a menudo.

Jackie Lopez became, somewhat, known as an activist poet, in mostly, Southern California. She has read for Janice Jordan, border activists, Centro Cultural de la Raza, The World Beat Center, N.O. W., and many other venues for over 20 years. She was founding member of the legendary Cabin Twenty writing collective headed by Luis Alberto Urrea. She is a UCSD graduate, and graduate school for her consisted of time in The New School for Social Research in New York and at SDSU in San Diego. She experienced a spiritual awakening in graduate school and dropped out. Luis Alberto Urrea is her mentor and she has learned much about writing through this remarkable mentee/mentor relationship. Her spiritual awakening transformed her into a mystic poet but one still in keeping with activism. Her journey has been one of a persistent search of truth, courage, magic, research, ecstasy, enlightenment, and justice in an unequal world. Her poems always end in faith that the light shall always overcome the darkness. She has been published in “La Bloga” twelve times, “The Hummingbird Review” twice, “The Border Crossed Us: An Anthology to End Apartheid” and other literary journals. “La Bloga” selected one of her poems for the “Best of 2015 La Bloga Edition.” You can contact her via email or facebook. Her email: and her facebook: Jackie Lopez Lopez in San Diego.

We Belong to Our Mothers
By Ralph Haskins Elizondo

More than to our fathers,

who gave us only half their genes;

and yet amidst the density of our DNA,

our mothers also gave us theirs,

as well as their cell and all that comes along,

the organelles, the mitochondria,

the mighty mitochondria with their own DNA,

belonging to our mothers, and to their mothers,

and to their mothers’ mothers.

They even give their bodies for us to grow inside

as parasites and tumors often do.

Mothers are funny that way,

always giving more of themselves.

Ralph Haskins Elizondo was born and raised in Monterrey, Mexico. His family moved to South Texas during the social turmoil of the 60’s. The new cultural challenges he experienced led him to express himself through poetry. Many of his poems touch the cultural and political issues of our times. His works have appeared in Puhnk And Miscellany Magazine, The Best Unrequired Reading In American Literature 2011 (Harcourt), Poesía En Vuelo, La Bloga (Poets Responding To SB 1070), and Poetry Of Resistance Anthology. Today, Ralph lives in McAllen, Texas where he supplements his poet’s income by moonlighting as a science teacher at a local high school.

Mother Days
By Meg Withers

When men came marching back home in ’45, children pulled
the uniform from your back stuck memories of burned
flesh of battle victims in Pearl Harbor cats clawed
your mind your heart opened new husband with alcohol
on his breath your wedding consummate conception next
generation of sailors and soldiers’ daughters who smoke
pot and drop acid response to the next war never called war
you feared glowing coals at the end of roach clips far more
than hell flinging itself from B-52’s that damned country
everyone knew the little girl running naked screaming
she was a communist’s kid – later you said if they legalized pot
you would try some – we couldn’t bring anyone’s burnt dead back
or put your uniform back on your slim shoulders were round now.

Giornis Della Madre
By Meg Withers

Quando gli uomini arrivarono a casa marciando nel ’45, i bambini
ti hanno tolto l’uniforme dalla schiena memorie conficcate di carne
bruciata di vittime di guerra a Pearl Harbor i gatti ti artigliavano
la mente il tuo cuore si aprì ad un nuovo marito con l’alcool
nell’alito la tua concezione consumata al matrimonio la prossima
generazione di marinai e soldati figlie che fumano
erba e ingoiano acido la risposta alla guerra successiva
mai chiamata guerra temevi i carboni ardenti ai mozziconi
di spinelli più dell’inferno che si gettava dai B-52 quello stato
maledetto tutti sapevano che la piccola correva nuda urlava che
era un esserino comunista – più tardi dicesti che se avessero
legalizzato l’erba ne avresti provata un po’ – non siamo riusciti a
riportare i morti bruciati né a rimetterti l’uniforme
le tue spalle magre erano rotonde ora.
--Italian translation by Anny Ballardini.

Meg Withers is a poet and publisher who teaches English and Creative Writing at Merced College. She has been published in journals and literary reviews, and has three published books of poetry.She is a community activist and fervent follower of the concept that: All the Voice Belong in the Room.

By Odilia Galván Rodríguez

you were deep roots of old trees
that never let us stray too far, no
you kept us tethered to hearth
even the housing projects a home
like a spider you had eyes everywhere
there was no place we could hide
complex those feelings of wanting love and
the fear of being smothered
as a child it’s difficult to understand
the lash as embrace later you would admit
it was just your way no child spoiled no child lost
we knew what was expected
no guessing games or riddles
as sure as there was always work to be done
there was something left for dreams
when the long sleep would finally come mercifully

Odilia Galván Rodríguez, poet, writer, editor, educator, and activist, is the author of six volumes of poetry, her latest, The Nature of Things, a collaboration with Texas photographer, Richard Loya, by Merced College Press 2016. Also, along with the late Francisco X. Alarcón, she edited the award-winning anthology, Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice, University of Arizona Press, 2016. This poetry of witness anthology, the first of its kind, because it came about because of the on-line organizing work of Alarcón, Galván Rodriguez, and other poet-activists which began as a response to the proposal of SB 1070, the racial profiling law which was eventually passed by the Arizona State Legislature in 2010, and later that year, HB 2281which bans ethnic studies. With the advent of the Facebook page Poets Responding (to SB 1070) thousands of poems were submitted witnessing racism, xenophobia, and other social justice issues which culminated in the anthology.

Galván Rodríguez has worked as an editor for various print media such as Matrix Women's News Magazine, Community Mural's Magazine, and Tricontinental Magazine in Havana, Cuba. She is currently, the editor of Cloud Women’s Quarterly Journal online; facilitates creative writing workshops nationally, and is director of Poets Responding to SB 1070, and Love and Prayers for Fukushima, both Facebook pages dedicated to bringing attention to social justice issues that affect the lives and wellbeing of many people and encouraging people to take action. Her poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, and literary journals on and offline.

As an activist, she worked for the United Farm Workers of America AFL-CIO, The East Bay Institute for Urban Arts, has served on numerous boards and commissions, and is currently active in Women’s organizations whose mission it is to educate around environmental justice issues and disseminate an indigenous world view regarding the earth and people’s custodial relationship to it. Odilia Galván Rodríguez has a long and rich history of working for social justice in solidarity with activists from all ethnic groups.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Lágrima roja

Lágrima roja

Xánath Caraza

Queridos lectores de La Bloga, hoy les comparto, con alegría, Lágrima roja, mi nuevo poemario que Editorial Nazarí me publica.  Es un gran honor para mí poder hacer oficial esta noticia en La Bloga para todos ustedes.

Lágrima roja
por Xánath Caraza
ISBN: 978-84-16764-28-0
Editorial Nazarí, Granada, Andalucía, España
Páginas: 61
Idioma de publicación: español
Imagen de portada: Miguel López Lemus

Este poemario se publica para junio de 2017 en España en Editorial Nazarí.  Lágrima roja es un poemario de brillo oscuro pero necesario ya que se enfoca en una preocupación personal, la grave situación que viven las mujeres en México, las desparecidas, mutilas, muertas, violadas.  Es un documento lírico sobre los feminicidios, solidario y doloroso.

Dice Editorial Nazarí lo siguiente de mi poemario:

Lágrima roja es una defensa de la mujer mexicana y por extensión de la mujer en el mundo: la crítica y la queja ante la machista actitud de una sociedad que permite y silencia los asesinatos de Veracruz o Juárez, o fuera de México, como en Centroamérica, causa estupor e indignación en nuestra poeta con el colorido, la lírica y la ternura que caracterizan a Xánath Caraza, esta mujer consigue un testimonio escrito del sentir popular desde México hasta España.

La artista total que es Caraza se solidariza con las familias de niñas, jóvenes, adultas o viejas desaparecidas e incluso recuerda y conmemora la desintegración de pueblos indígenas.

La palabra es el soporte vital:
Poesía, no las olvides:
                                                   que no se deshagan
                                                   con el agua.

Editorial Nazarí me recibe con una serie de presentaciones en Andalucía y Madrid.  Si andan por ahí, ojalá y me acompañen.  A continuación, el super cartel que han preparado con las fechas y lugares de las presentaciones de Lágrima roja.  Hasta la próxima.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Events - New Books

Spring is here and cultura is busting out all over.  Quite a variety this week, making for good exercise -- aerobic stimulation for the brain and heart.
Tierra Tinta Conference

Desierto Screens at the Roxy Theater in San Francisco

DESIERTO by Jonás Cuarón screens May 28 at Roxy Theater in San Francisco

The film will be followed by a Q&A with director Jonás Cuarón co-sponsored by the General Consulate of Mexico in San Francisco. Co-presented by Cine+Mas San Francisco Latino Film Festival, PODER SF, and CARECEN.

From Jonás Cuarón and Alfonso Cuarón, the acclaimed filmmakers of Gravity, comes a unique, modern vision of terror. Desierto is a visceral, heart-pounding thriller packed with tension and suspense from start to finish, starring Gael García Bernal (The Motorcycle Diaries and Y Tu Mamá También) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead, Watchmen).
What begins as a hopeful journey to seek a better life becomes a harrowing and primal fight for survival when a deranged, rifle-toting vigilante chases a group of unarmed men and women through the treacherous U.S.-Mexican border. In the harsh, unforgiving desert terrain, the odds are stacked firmly against them as they continuously discover there’s nowhere to hide from the unrelenting, merciless killer

Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Alondra Hidalgo.
Mexico, France. 2015. 94 min. DCP.

Showtime: May 28 6:00 PM Big Roxie SF

Finalists Announced for Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing
Restless Books believes passionately in the rich contributions immigrants have always made to our culture and literature. Now in its second year, we're delighted to announce the finalists for the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing, to be awarded this year for a debut work of nonfiction by a first-generation immigrant. We've been bowled over by the keen insight and wide diversity of experience that these writers have boldly brought to the page. After careful deliberation, judges Anjali Singh and Ilan Stavans have selected four finalists: 
  • King Leopold's Daughter, by Mona de Vestel
  • Far from the Rooftop of the World, by Amy Yee 
  • The Body Papers, by Grace Talusan
  • The Fifth Season, by Nikita Nelin
The winning writer will receive $10,000 and publication by Restless Books. Read more about these brilliant up-and-coming authors on our blog, and stay tuned for the announcement of the winner! 
Anjali Singh, Ilan Stavans, and the Restless Books team

And A Few New Books

First, modern stories from La Bloga's own Daniel Olivas -- congrats Daniel!

University of Arizona Press - September
[from the publisher]

A literary illumination of the City of Angels

Wanderers and writers, gangbangers and lawyers, dreamers and devils. The King of Lighting Fixtures paints an idiosyncratic but honest portrait of Los Angeles, depicting how the city both entrances and confounds. Each story serves as a reflection of Daniel A. Olivas’s grand City of Angels, a “magical metropolis where dreams come true.” The characters here represent all walks of L.A. life—from Satan’s reluctant Craigslist roommate to a young girl coping with trauma at her brother’s wake—and their tales ebb and flow among various styles, including magical realism, social realism, and speculative fiction. Like a jazz album, they glide and bop, tease and illuminate, sadden and hearten as they navigate effortlessly from meta to fabulist, from flash fiction to longer, more complex narratives.

These are literary sketches of a Los Angeles that will surprise, connect, and 
disrupt readers wherever they may live.

Daniel A. Olivas is the author of seven books, including The Book of Want: A Novel and Things We Do Not Talk About: Exploring Latino/a Literature through Essays and Interviews. He earned his degree in English literature from Stanford University, and law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1990, Olivas has practiced law with the California Department of Justice. A second-generation Angeleno, he makes his home in Los Angeles with his wife.

The Champions' Game
Saul Ramirez as told to John Seidlitz
Canter Press - May, 2017

[from the publisher]

In April of 2015, a team of 12 middle schoolers—border kids—from South-Central El Paso surprised the country by taking first place in the national chess championships.

The 11, 12 and 13-year-old chess players at El Paso ISD’s Henderson Middle School largely credit their success to one man: Saul Ramirez, a 30-year-old dad and husband who teaches art at Henderson during the day and coaches the chess team after school. The story of Ramirez and his students is chronicled in The Champions’ Game, a testament to the resilience and spirit of children who dare to dream.

Many of the 700-plus students at Henderson Middle School come and go from across the border in Juárez, where they live. A third of the students are English Language Learners, and over 96 percent are from low-income families, with all of the students at the school qualifying for the free lunch program.

For these kids, dreams of beating highly privileged students from “fancy” schools in upper-crust neighborhoods aren’t on the radar. They have bigger issues to deal with in life. Which is why it borders on the miraculous that they choose to voluntarily—even enthusiastically—commit countless hours every week to the practice of a game that they had known virtually nothing about until two years ago when Ramirez started a chess club at Henderson.

Ramirez’s genius is not so much the chess that he teaches (even though he’s a former Texas state chess champion), but in his ability to intertwine life principles with chess rules to expand the minds, the insight and even the future possibilities of the students he teaches. The book’s 14 chapters lay out Ramirez’s rules for life—and chess, introducing concepts like guard your queen, control your center and protect your king.

Ramirez grew up in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio, a neighborhood that might bring to mind Compton, or South Central, or 8 Mile, often noted as the poorest zip code in the United States. Ramirez seems to possess a singular ability to draw out the talents of his students, perhaps because chess is much more than just a game to him. In The Champions’ Game, he writes,

“I want to start a revolution. A revolution of the mind. I want to do what was done for me by [the people] who were always there for me when I was a child, guiding me, teaching me, showing me how to be a man, an artist, a teacher. I want to build children anew, from the mind up. That does not take genius. It takes love.” 

Saul Ramirez is the chess coach and art teacher at Henderson Middle School in El Paso, Texas, where he coached his students to win the national chess championships in 2015 and 2016.  When he discovered chess as a child, it created a pathway out of misfortune. Ramirez, like his current students, competed and became a champion in various tournaments. Ramirez graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) in May 2010 and started teaching at Henderson Middle School in August of that same year, where he continues to create new paths for the dreams of his students. He was recently named 2017 Secondary Teacher of the Year by the El Paso Independent School District. He lives in El Paso with his wife, Edna, and two children, Saul Jr. and Frida.

Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics
Frederick Luis Aldama

University of Arizona Press - October

[from the Publisher]

Toward a history and theory of Latinx heroes and their stories

Whether good or evil, beautiful or ugly, smart or downright silly, able-bodied or differently abled, gay or straight, male or female, young or old, Latinx superheroes in mainstream comic book stories are few and far between. It is as if finding the Latinx presence in the DC and Marvel worlds requires activation of superheroic powers.

Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics blasts open barriers with a swift kick. It explores deeply and systematically the storyworld spaces inhabited by brown superheroes in mainstream comic book storyworlds: print comic books, animation, TV, and film. It makes visible and lets loose the otherwise occluded and shackled. Leaving nothing to chance, it sheds light on how creators (authors, artists, animators, and directors) make storyworlds that feature Latinos/as, distinguishing between those that we can and should evaluate as well done and those we can and should evaluate as not well done.

The foremost expert on Latinx comics, Frederick Luis Aldama guides us through the full archive of all the Latinx superheros in comics since the 1940s. Aldama takes us where the superheroes live—the barrios, the hospitals, the school rooms, the farm fields—and he not only shows us a view to the Latinx content, sometimes deeply embedded, but also provokes critical inquiry into the way storytelling formats distill and reconstruct real Latinos/as.
Thoroughly entertaining but seriously undertaken, Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics allows us to truly see how superhero comic book storyworlds are willfully created in ways that make new our perception, thoughts, and feelings.

 Frederick Luis Aldama is the Arts and Humanities Distinguished Professor of English and University Distinguished Scholar at the Ohio State University. An expert on Latinx popular culture, Aldama is the author, co-author, and editor of twenty-nine books, including Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands, Your Brain on Latino Comics: From Gus Arriola to Los Bros Hernandez, and The Cinema of Robert Rodriguez.

Chicano Popular Culture, Second Edition: Que Hable el Pueblo
Charles M. Tatum 

University of Arizona Press - September

Updated and expanded to offer critical understandings relevant to today’s students

Since 2001, Charles M. Tatum’s Chicano Popular Culture has offered a window into popular culture among Americans of Mexican descent. Chicano Popular Culture, Second Edition provides a fascinating, timely, and accessible introduction to Chicano cultural expression and representation.

New sections discuss music, with an emphasis on hip-hop and rap; cinema and filmmakers; media, including the contributions of Jorge Ramos and María Hinojosa; and celebrations and other popular traditions, including quinceañeras, cincuentañeras, and César Chávez Day.

In addition, Tatum has updated and expanded each chapter, with significant revisions in the following areas:

• “Suggested Readings” for each chapter
• Chicanas in the Chicano Movement and Chicanos since the Chicano Movement
• Popular literature, including new material on Denise Chávez, Luis J. Rodríguez, Alfredo Vea, Luis Alberto Urrea, Richard Rodríguez, and Juan Felipe Herrera
• Theoretical approaches to popular culture, including the perspectives of Norma Cantú, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Pancho McFarland, Michelle Habell-Pallán, and Víctor Sorell

Featuring clear examples, an engaging writing style, and helpful discussion questions, Chicano Popular Culture, Second Edition invites readers to discover and enjoy Mexican American popular culture. 

Charles m. Tatum is a dean emeritus of the College of Humanities at the University of Arizona. He is the author or editor of many books, including Lowriders in Chicano Culture: From Low to Slow to Show and Chicano and Chicana Literature: Otra voz del pueblo.


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 Award. My Bad: A Mile High Noir was published by Arte Público Press in 2016.