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

Octavio Romano

Friday, August 06, 2010

Passing of Larry Garcia - AWP Panels of Interest - El Paso Writers Update

via Carlos Morton

August 1, 1955 - July 29, 2010

Garcia was the founder of Teatro Toviah, a Chicano teatro based in his home town of San Antonio, Texas. Larry, a self taught artist with no formal schooling, acted, directed, and supervised all technical requirements, a veritable one man show motivated by his love for teatro and his political activism.

One of his most popular productions was "Spray-O," a one act play he wrote and stared in that dealt with the problem of spray paint abuse among Chicano youth. Produced by the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in 1983, it toured the barrios and housing projects of San Antonio where the problem of spray paint abuse was most pronounced. He played the title character, Spray-O, a six foot tall spray paint can he helped design.

I first encountered Larry at a regional TENAZ Teatro Festival in San Antonio in the late 1907's and gave him the script of my play, "The Many Deaths of Danny Rosales," about police brutality in the small Texas town of Castroville. 

He produced it at great personal cost because he felt the story needed to be told. When he went to Castroville to take photos of locations mentioned in the play, he was threatened by one of the actual characters (Kiki Ventura). 

Another time he was playing the part of Sheriff Fred Hall, handcuffed one of the actors, but couldn't find the key. The police were called and Larry had to explain that it was "only a rehearsal" before they were able to get the actor free. 

In 1986, he got to play the part of Kiki Ventura in a professional staged reading directed by Marvin Feliz Camillo at the New York Shakespeare Festival Theater.

Other highlights of his career included playing the title role of Johnny Tenorio in 1983 in the premier produced by the Aztlan Cultural Arts Center of San Antonio. The following year he reprised the role and toured San Antonio and South Texas under the auspices of Teatro Toviah. He also played Juan Diego in the "Virgin of Tepyac" at the Guadalupe Church and the character of Dios in "EL Jardin."

Larry Garcia died of liver cancer surrounded by family and friends in San Antonio a few days short of his 55 birthday.

                                          ---- Carlos Morton

AWP Panels

Below are several panels of interest featuring Chicano(a) and Latino(a) writers at the next AWP conference in Washington, D.C. Also intriguing is the lack of use of the term "Chicana(a)":

Meta-Fiction Latino: Beyond Magical Realism
Daniel Olivas, Kathleen Alcalá, Xánath Caraza, Susana Chávez-Silverman, Salvador Plascencia
Meta-Fiction Latino: Beyond Magical Realism. The novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, is the seminal work of magical realism that has cast a long -- and sometimes constraining -- shadow over Latino writers. Yet meta-fiction, (which acknowledges the reader’s role in literature and often breaks the wall between fiction and memoir) has emerged from this shadow to stand on its own. The panelists will share their own works of meta-fiction and discuss its role in contemporary Latino literature.

Memoir and Latinidad
Joy Castro, Esmeralda Santiago, Luis Rodriguez, Gustavo Pérez Firmat, Rigoberto González
U.S. Latina/o memoir has developed a rich contemporary tradition that spans the political and stylistic spectrum from Richard Rodriguez to Gloria Anzaldúa. But what makes a memoir Latina/o? Does latinidad influence aesthetics and craft as well as content? Do Latina/o memoirists see themselves as inheriting the life-writing techniques and traditions of the U.S., Latin America, or both? How do writers navigate mainstream expectations that their memoirs will represent whole cultures and nations?

A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line
Emily Rosko, Raza Ali Hasan, Evie Shockley, John Gallaher, Emmy Perez, Cynthia Hogue
So much in poetry depends upon the line--one of the most contested and central topics in 20th-century poetics. This panel extends the discussion of this poetic fixture into the 21st-century. The concept of the line so often emerges as a kind of poetic and critical blank check--an aesthetic, socio-political, and metaphysical variable. Embracing this variability, the panelists will discuss how the line remains a crucial and generative force in their poetic work and thought.

CantoMundo: Building a Community of Latina/o Poets
Pablo Miguel Martinez, Carmen Tafolla, Deborah Paredez, Emmy Perez, Cynthia Cruz, Eduardo C. Corral
CantoMundo, a master workshop and retreat, strives to cultivate a community of Latina/o poets by providing a culturally-grounded space for the creation, documentation, and critical analysis of Latina/o poetry. In this session, founders and fellows will reflect on launching the retreat-workshop and will discuss the significance of CantoMundo's efforts to connect training in craft with a focus on Latina/o aesthetic and social concerns. The session will also feature a reading by panelists-fellows.

From the Home Front: Civilian Poets Writing on War
Juan J. Morales, Raza Ali Hasan, Laren McClung, Khaled Mattawa, Maria Melendez, Faisal Siddiqui
Six poets from different walks of life will read and discuss how warfare enters their daily lives and how they navigate their roles as writers, witnesses, the relatives of veterans, and as civilians. They will discuss the complications of taking a stance, the daily life of combat zones, the plight of the refugee, PTSD, the longing for peace all while reflecting on how poems depicting recent and past wars help them better scrutinize present representations of warfare composed on the home front.

Race in the Creative Writing Workshop
Cynthia Cruz, Michelle Valladares, J. Michael Martinez, Suzanne Gardinier, Thomas Sayers Ellis
Teaching in writing workshops, what allowances ought to be made for the artists, individually, and where do we draw the line? At what point do stereotypes of race get addressed? How does it feel to be the lone writer of color in a college writing workshop? What balance and/or added perspective can a teacher bring to the workshop experience? When does ‘teaching teaching ones race’ begin to interfere with one’s own opportunity to discuss craft?

Behind the Brown Wall: Chicana and Chicano Voices Rise Up
Richard Yañez, Kathleen Alcalá, Eduardo C. Corral, Carolina Monsiváis, Paul Pedroza
A reading by authors who declare the U.S.-México Border a part of their creative identity. The poetry, stories, novels, and essays of these respected Chicana and Chicano voices are rooted on both sides of the international boundary. In their publications, the borderlands symbolize a more complex portrait of America’s boundaries than sensationalized headlines of drug smuggling and illegal immigration. Come witness these talented writers and poets who celebrate people more than mere politics.

Camino del Sol: 15 Years of Latina and Latino Writing
Rigoberto Gonzalez, Marjorie Agosin, Kathleen Alcala, David Dominguez, Gina Franco, Sergio Troncoso
This reading panel is a celebration of the recently-released anthology that gathers the best selections from fifteen years of the University of Arizona Press' Latino literary series, Camino del Sol. During its tenure, the press published 100 titles, shaping the Latino literary landscape and becoming the most important Latino literary series in the country.

Caribbean Diaspora and Diegesis: Cristina Garcia and Irene Vilar
Fred Arroyo, Cristina Garcia, Irene Vilar
Cristina Garcia, prize-winning Cuban American novelist and editor of two Vintage Latino literature anthologies, and Irene Vilar, controversial non-fiction writer from Puerto Rico and editor of The Americas book series, combine brief readings from their works and discuss the Latino Caribbean Diaspora as it continues to find expression in new literary narratives. Moderated by Douglas Unger, co-founder of the UNLV Creative Writing International program.

A Reading by Junot Diaz
Junot Diaz
Junot Díaz was born in 1968 in the Dominican Republic and raised in New Jersey. He is the author of Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the John Sargent, Sr. First Novel Prize; the National Book Critics Circle Award; the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; and the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. Díaz has been awarded the Eugene McDermott Award, a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation, a Lila Acheson Wallace Reader's Digest Award, the 2002 PEN/Malamud Award, the 2003 U.S./Japan Creative Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the fiction editor at the Boston Review and the Rudge (1948), and Nancy Allen Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

We Wanted to be Writers: Lessons from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop
Eric Olsen, Glenn Schaeffer, Sandra Cisneros
A reading from We Wanted to be Writers, edited by Olsen and Schaeffer. This is a collection of interviews with 27 of the editors’ classmates and teachers from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in the mid-70s. The interviews are arranged into conversations on topics including the creative process, our years in the Workshop, and survival strategies after. Those interviewed include TC Boyle, Jane Smiley, Jayne Anne Phillips, Sandra Cisneros, Allan Gurganus, John Irving, Marvin Bell, and Jack Leggett.

LaChiPo and the New Latino Poetics/Politics
John-Michael Rivera, Rodrigo Toscano, Valerie Martinez, Roberto Tejada, Danielle Cadena Deulen, Carmen Giménez Smith
LaChiPo, an online forum for the Latino Diaspora, is the Latino’s 21st century answer to ‘new’ movements like Flarf and Conceptual poetics. Devoted to developing Latino letters, LaChiPo invites AWP attendees to resituate how they read, to relearn how identity is spoken, expanding their articulation of history, art and modernity. LaChiPo presents writers discussing Latino conceptions of internet community, identity and the avant-garde, reading individual and their collective poetry works.

Poetry of Resistance: Poets Take on Reasonable Suspicion (Arizona SB 1070)
Francisco X. Alarcón, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Odilia Galván-Rodríguez, Scott Maurer, Abel Salas, Meg Withers
On April 2010, in response to a controversial law in Arizona, a Facebook page, Poets Responding to SB 1070, was created. It is now literally a public forum for lively mixing of poetics & politics. Its poet moderators will discuss the political imagination of multicultural poetic expressions in support of a resurgent Civil Right Movement for comprehensive Immigration Reform. Come & see accomplished poets read some cutting edge poems posted on the FB page as well as from their acclaimed works.

Walt Whitman Award: Readings and discussion by past and present recipients
Eric Pankey, J. Michael Martinez, Nicole Cooley, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Ben Doller
The Academy of American Poets presents the Walt Whitman Award each year to a poet’s first collection of poems. Five poets at varying stages of their writing lives will read from their work and discuss the impact of the award, which publishes the book, distributes it nationally, and provides a prize of $5,000 cash and a month-long residency. The poets will examine the significance each element has had on their subsequent trajectory as writers and will address concerns of unpublished poets.

We(a)ve: Inter-Indigenous Sovereign Poetics
Ahimsa Timoteo Bodhrán, James Thomas Stevens, Lisa Suhair Majaj, Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, Elaine Chukan Brown, ku'ualoha ho'omanawanui
Sovereignty is both inherent, internally asserted by Native Nations, and inter-nationally recognized and affirmed by other Indigenous peoples. It is not only a political process, but also a continual act of Indigenous re-creation. A collective of womanist and queer Indigenous poets have been writing to each other, sharing writing prompts and assignments, engaging in experiments. The collective will share the poems that emerged, and discuss the collaborative process that wove them together.

Spanish American Poetry in Translation: from Post-Avant-garde to Postmodernism
Víctor Rodríguez Núñez, Forrest Gander, Katherine Hedeen, Gary Racz, Michelle Gil-Montero
In Spanish America, the terms Avant-garde and Modernism connote approaches to poetry remarkably distinct from what those terms generally mean to North Americans. And yet these approaches define the major literary works of a continent. This panel highlights the shift from Post-Avant-garde to Postmodernism, celebrating the last 60 years of Spanish American poetry and introducing some of the region’s best poets, read and commented on by their translators.

Trading Stories with the Enemy: Navigating the Cuban/American Literary Landscape
Patricia Ann McNair, Ruth Behar, Kristin Dykstra, Achy Obejas
The relationship between the US and Cuba is complex and ever-evolving, and this evolution is reflected in the stories and publications of Cubans and Cuban-Americans. While the two governments grapple with politics and policies, writers and editors continue to cross borders and boundaries in order to collect and share these stories. Our panelists have been actively engaged in this process for years, and will speak about the challenges and rewards of this work.

One Poem Festival Celebrating Rane Arroyo
Francisco X. Alarcón
A diverse selection of friends, fellow writers, and former students each perform a poem by poet, playwright and professor, Rane Arroyo, to celebrate his life and work. The session will open with an invocation by Chicano poet and educator Francisco X. Alarcón.


As listed above, Richard Yañez and Carolina Monsiváis will read at a reading at the AWP conference in D.C. in February: Behind the Brown Wall: Chicana and Chicano Voices Rise Up.

Raymund Paredes was quoted in a story, Hispanics, blacks trail in college enrollment: "The populations of blacks and Hispanics continue to grow in Texas, but their numbers lag at in-state colleges and universities." READ MORE.

A Facebook Page was created for Oscar Zeta Acosta. Go to page.

C.M. Mayo is featured in the Sol: Literary Magazine: C.M. Mayo: notes to the novel excerpt, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire.

You can also catch a trailer of her book Miraculous Air. See trailer.

Check out the Syndic No.1, an online literary journal. Rafael Jesus Gonzalez is featured in this issue. See Gonzalez' works.

Some news we mentioned on b before: "American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), Magic Theatre, and Marin Theatre Company (MTC) are selling trilogy packages for Tarell Alvin McCraney's The Brother/Sister Plays for a limited time only through August 31."Part II will be directed by Octavio Solis.

David Romo was featured on The Story, of American Public Media, which is connected to this article in Texas Monthly. READ MORE 

John Rechy's City of Night was listed in the LA Times  20 classic works of gay literature.

The 30th annual Steinbeck Festival stared yesterday and run into this weekend. There will be two performance of Pasture of Heaven by Octavio Solis based on the novella by John Steinbeck of the same name: Read More.

The Cutting Ball Theatre celebrates its 10th Anniversary with the Vanguadia Festival. It will featured the work of living Latino playwrights: Kristoffer Diaz (author of Pulitzer-finalist The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity), Marisela Treviño Orta, El Paso native Octavio Solis, Caridad Svich, Enrique Urueta (of the recent Impact Theatre hit Learn to Be Latina), and Karen Zacarías. READ MORE.

Cinco Puntos Press' blog posted a reprint of an article Bobby Byrd wrote for VOYA Magazine: Cinco Puntos Press: Publishing Multicultural Books for American Teens.

Also, check out Ben Saenz' Confessions: My Father, Hummingbirds, and Franz Fanon on Poets.org.

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