"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


I'm on break from studying, so I'm giving my 1/2 or hr to you all. As some of you know, my alma mater UTEP has one of the only bilingual MFA programs in the nation. When I was at UTEP, the program was either/or, but it may have changed since then. But since I left, I think it's become its own department -- Creative Writing Department.

It's gained notoriety because of many of the writers that have gone through there. Check out the 2002 Austin Chronicle story: University of Texas.

Ben Saenz (Sammy and Juluiana in Hollywood) and Daniel Chacon (dibs on most creative web page name "soychacon.com") teach there. I think Emmy Perez is still lecturing. Leslie Ullman is there. Luis Arturo Ramos (Rainbows at Seven Eleven, Violeta Peru), one of Mexico's most famous contemporary authors, also teaches there.

I think Saenz and Alicia Gaspar del Alba (Desert Blood: The Juarez Murders) when through the previous incarnation of the program when it was an M.A. in Creative Writing or something like that. But I'm not sure if it was a real predecessor program or not.

Among the writers that have come out include Manuel Velez (Bus stops), the award-winning tatiana de la tierra (For the Hard Ones: A Lesbian Phenomenology / Para las duras: Una fenomenologia lesbiana), the award-winning Sheryl Luna (Pity the Drowned Horses), Guadalupe Garcia Montano, Yuri Herrera (Trabajos Del Reino - Concuros Nacional de Novela Joven de Mexico), Gabriela Aguierre (Premio Nacional de Poesía Joven "Elias Nandino"), award-winning Veronica Reyes, Olga Garcia Echeverria (When Skin Peals), and more. I'm not sure if Rosario Sanmiguel went through the program, but she's another good writer that came out of UTEP to keep your eyes and ears open for. I've lost touch with her.

We are not saying all these writers owe there talent to this program, and as some will tell you it was either beneficial or detrimental. But anyway, check out the UTEP MFA Student Organization website and the UTEP Creative Writing website. I think most of the people that run the literary journal BorderSenses come out of this program or somehow related to the English Dept there at the old school. Take care vatos.

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