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

Octavio Romano

Monday, October 23, 2006

El Paso’s Chicana Writers’ Spotlight: Sheryl Luna

El Paso’s Chicana Writers’ Spotlight: Sheryl Luna

It looks like we just left this series of articles flat.

So, it’s about time we get back to it. Who better to restart this tour than with the latest award-heavy poet: Sheryl Luna.

I first met Sheryl when she first came to UTEP. I remember my friend Diana Moran telling me that this poet was someone to watch. Boy were those words true.

For most of those outside of UTEP, Luna first came to your ears when she won the Andrés Montoya Prize in 2004 (which was judged by Robert Vazquez by the way) for her poetry collection Pity the Drowned Horses.

But many of you don’t know is that she was already winning awards long before that with her poetry.

She was well published with poems in The Georgia Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Puerto de Sol and more. She had been a finalist for the National Poetry Series book awards and for the Perugia Press Intro Award for women poets.

Also to her name are: Semi-finalist for the 2003 Brittingham Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press, 2003 Cleveland State Poetry Prize, and 2002 Crab Orchard First Book Prize.

I read somewhere that she will be coming out with an anthology of more of her work on the University of Arizona Press. She is currently at Metropolitan State College in Colorado. What better poet to take up the reins there since

Abelardo Delgado, who taught there, walked on. I guess they needed another El Pasoen.

Sheryl’s blog “Chicana Poetics” is regularly updated, so it nice to see what is running through a poets mind. Check it out at: http://sherylluna.blogspot.com/

She grew up in EPT. She tells us her high school experience is a “long story,” but, like Carolina Monsivias, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Jeanette Monsivias, Jack Handy (Deep Thoughts) and I, she ended up graduating from Eastwood High School. We are all spread out at Eastwood, but most likely Mrs. Sherwood was still teaching there.

I read somewhere Luna ran track or cross country and went to college on a track or cross country scholarship. She graduated from Texas Tech University and later got her master’s degrees from Texas Woman's University and the University of Texas, El Paso. She also has a doctorate from the University of North Texas.

"Sheryl carves out of the El Paso landscape the music of the borderlands where loss and acceptance converge," said poet Robert Vasquez, the final judge for the prize. "She exquisitely captures, like no other poet before her, the unsung positive capability of the desert."

You can see some pics of a reading Luna gave in June 2005 in the HOMETOWN at the Women Writers Collective website.

Just a note, the second Andres Montoya Prize was also won by a Paseño, Gabriel Gomez.

Raúl Niño releases Book of Mornings on March/Abrazo

Here’s the news release below. I’m not sure it came out on time, but worth checking out. Check out March Abrazo’s website.

New Release from March Abrazo, Raúl Niño's exquisite chapbook Book Of Mornings is nearly ready and will be available by mail order on Oct. 1. The press says: “Niño has taken time to meditate over and perfect these gems, and has also designed the portada cover. (Image will appear in a few weeks). If you can't make his readings where the chapbook will be available, send a money order for $12.00 to March Abrazo Press, Post Office Box 2890, Chicago, Illinois 60690.

Niño will autograph and dedicate your chapbook, if the buyer includes instructions. Niño's first poetry collection Breathing Light was published by March Abrazo in 1991, ISBN 1-877636-10-X. Copies are extremely rare, also available by mail order for $20.”

3rd Annual A River of Voices Rising

If you are in El Paso, make sure to attend the 3rd Annual A River of Voices Rising reading, October 24 (That’s tomorrow), 2006 at the Center Against Family Violence. Stay tuned to http://www.womenwriterscollective.org/calendar.html since time and details are TBA.

Carlos Morton and Jorge Huerta and others in Poland

Carlos Morton told me that he was headed off to Poland for a Fullbright and I think Jorge Huerta was going along. We’ll get a report to see how it went.

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