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

Octavio Romano

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

El Paso Chicano(a) Writer News: Pat Mora, Ray Gonzalez, J.A. Burciaga, Ben A. Saenz, and more


Pat Mora Visits the Hometown

The El Paso Community College Literary Fiesta was a success and it was good seeing Pat Mora and other Chicano(a) writers, Macio Dailey, the folks at BorderSenses, Mouthfeel Press, and Cinco Puntos Press.

Speaking of Pat Mora, the Books for Sale Blog posted some info on children's lit. They mention Pat Mora and post her 2007 America's Award for Children's Literature. SEE IT NOW. Pat Mora's books Pablo's Trees, Library for Juana: The World of Sor Juana Ines, Love to Mama: A Tribute to Mothers, and Dona Flor made the Hispanic Heritage Book List for Preschool - 2nd Grade from education.com. Other Chicano(a) author include Francisco X. Alarcon's Laughing Tomatos and Other Spring Poems; Gary Soto's Chato and the Party Animals, Chato's Kitchen (Chato y su cena),  by  Gary Soto, Snapshots from the Wedding, and Too Many Tamales; and Mice and Beans by  Pam Munoz Ryan. SEE THE ENTIRE LIST.

On the Ages 3-5 Reading list, you can find:

Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers - Pat Mora
Calling the Doves/El Encanto De Las Palomas - Juan Felipe Herrera
Iguanas in the Snow and other Winter Poems - Francisco X. Alarcón 

Middle School (6-8)

Breaking Through - Francisco Jiménez
Baseball in April and Other Stories - Gary Soto
Becoming Naomi León  - Pam Muñoz Ryan
My Daughter, My Son, the Eagle, the Dove: An Aztec Chant - Ana Castillo

High School (9-12)
Jesse - Gary Soto
Laughing Out Loud, I Fly: Poems in English and Spanish - Juan Felipe Herrera
Bless Me, Ultima - Rudolfo Anaya
Taking Sides - Gary Soto
Curse of the Chupa Cabra - Rudolfo Anaya 
Accidental Love - Gary Soto 
The Importance of a Piece of Paper: Stories Jimmy Santiago Baca 
Crazy Loco - David Talbot Rice

Adult Reading
Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez  - Richard Rodriguez
By the Lake of Sleeping Children: The Secret Life of the Mexican Border  - Luis Alberto Urrea

There are a host of Latino(a) and Latin American writers included. See the entire list.

The Rosco from RIF Blog featured Rafael Lopez who illustrated Pat Mora's book Book Fiesta. READ THE GUEST BLOG NOW.

Has Ray Gonzalez Disappeared?

A short piece, "Let Me Disappear," was posted on Poets.org: "According to scientists, astronauts get taller when they are in space and in Albania, nodding your head means "no" and shaking your head means "yes." This says I am going to disappear and become a parrot, sitting on my perch in some strange woman's living room, ready to imitate everything she has to say to her illicit lover over the phone." 

Burciaga on Display with others

Jose Antonio Burciaga's work, along with other Chicano(a) artists, will be on display at the Galleria 4.0 A Retrospective. The opening reception will be held on Thursday, September 24, 2010 from 7:30 to 10:00 pm. The exhibit will be on display through January 29, 2011 and is free and open to the public. 

Ben Saenz' Monsters and PEN USA awards

The Reading Rumpus Blog reviewed Benjamin A. Saenz' Last Night I Sang to the Monster. "Last Night I Sang to the Monster's writing is hypnotic, filled with emotional depth and intensity. Author Benjamin Alire Sáenz has a beautiful style," says the Reading Rumpus. READ MORE.

The El Paso Times reports that Sáenz Monster's is finalist in PEN USA awards.

"Benjamin Alire Sáenz's young adult novel Last Night I Sang to the Monster (Cinco Puntos Press) was a finalist in PEN USA's 2010 Literary Awards competition.

Skid on the Brown Buffalo

Oscar Zeta Acosta's Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo made it on SkidMarquez Blog of books he recomments. Other authors included Junot Diaz, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Tomas Rivera. SEE LIST.

Although only briefly mentioning the Brown Buffalo (Oscar Zeta Acosta), Barbara Jane Reyes does a very good analysis and commentary of Juan Felipe Herrera's A Natural History of Chicano Literature: "The democratization of poetry is interesting to me," says Rayes, "in terms of it being much needed, i.e. wresting it away from academic institutions, and expanding the definitions of American Poetry to be more inclusive of poetries that expand genre and use of language, poetries that are inextricable parts of social and political movements." READ MORE.

 Raymund Paredes, budgets, grants, higher ed, and Hispanic dropouts in Texas

Of course when higher education funding is in the news in Texas, Raymund Paredes name is connected to it at Commissioner for Higher Ed in Texas. "As low-income students flock to Texas colleges and universities in record numbers, an estimated $18 billion budget shortfall threatens to sap the state's chief grant program for needy students," says the San Antonio New Express. ""It would be catastrophic ... if we cut financial aid just as that front edge of the changing demographic hits our colleges," said Raymund Paredes, Texas commissioner of higher education. "Those students will go home to their neighborhoods and say, 'Higher education is not for me.' That could have a negative impact on educational attainment." READ MORE

"Just more than half of Texas’ college students will graduate in six years, a dropout rate Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes calls “just as severe” as the high school graduation rates garnering attention across the state." from the Abilene Reporter News Online. READ MORE. in their article "State's college dropout rate a concern."

"And while the grants were spared from a 5 percent cut ordered by state leaders earlier this year, Raymund Paredes, the state's higher education commissioner, isn't resting too comfortably knowing the program could yet come under pressure to shrink...." from "Higher ed grants key to states economic future" MySA.com. READ MORE.

In the Abeline Reporter News Online, in the article "Remedial courses frequst at local colleges," the story says
"At an education summit at the Abilene Country Club Monday, Paredes said just 20 percent of college faculty think high school students are ready for college. He believes that could be one reason Texas colleges and universities have a six-year graduation rate of 56 percent.
'I think you all agree that’s completely unacceptable, and we are putting the pressure on our institutions to do better to help our students achieve their academic roles,' he said.
Remedial courses are one way colleges are trying to fill that gap." READ MORE.

In "Financial Aid Could Decrease," the NTDaily.com states: "Along with public colleges, agencies such as the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board were ordered to project possible budget cuts, said Raymund Paredes, the Texas Commissioner of Higher Education. The board allocates money in its budget for programs, scholarships, loans and grants to make higher education more accessible and could possibly experience hardships with a 10 percent budget cut, Paredes added." READ MORE.

 Romo and Bixler-Marquez

We caught this one after the fact, but David Romo on Sept. 16 at the El Paso Museum of History on "Mexican Revolution Sites of Memory: The Legacy of the Revolution in El Paso." 

Romo and UTEP director of Chicano Studies, Dennis Bixler-Marquez were both quoted in the El Paso What's Up in their article "Patriotic festivities come at difficult juncture in Mexican history."  "In Mexico, commemorations marking the juncture of the historical anniversaries – costly plans for bicentennial celebrations that have been in the works for years – will most likely be done quietly in closed venues and controlled environments, said Dennis Bixler-Marquez, director of the UTEP Chicano(a) Studies Program." READ MORE.

John Rechy Interview

From 2008, but might as well mention it. Lambda Literary posted an interview with John Rechy:

Casillo: How did the confusion and anger you felt growing up looking Caucasian—but having a Mexican background—and the prejudices you witnessed, affect your life and career choices?

Rechy: It is naïve to claim that appearances don’t matter. Many of the experiences I have had had been possible by the fact of genetics, what made me look the way I do. Alter appearance, and you redefine the possibilities of experience.

READ MORE of John Rechy's interview with Lambda Literary. 

FOCUS ON Alicia Gaspar Del Alba

Check out this paper "Memory Tricks: Re-Calling and Testimony in the Poetry of Alicia Gaspar de Alba by Susana Chávez Silverman on the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Webiste. READ IT NOW.

Joe Olvera featured in Spotlight

A neat article on Joe Olvera in the El Paso Spotlight which was posted to Scribed. Click here for the link. Pretty good photos of Joe.

Pat Mora at UNM Bookstore, Oct. 7

Pat Mora will do a booksigning at the University of New Mexico Bookstore on Oct. 7 at 2pm. The UNM Book­store is located at 2301 Cen­tral Ave., NE at the inter­sec­tion of Cor­nell and Cen­tral. Park­ing will be val­i­dated in the park­ing struc­ture for up to one hour with pur­chase. Call Lisa Walden at (505) 277‑7494 or e-mail lwalden@unm.edu for more information. READ MORE.

from the El Paso Times:
Author Pat Mora at National Book Fest

"Pat Mora, an El Paso native and award-winning author and poet, will be among the featured children's book authors at the 10th annual National Book Festival Saturday on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Mora, now of Santa Fe, founded the family literacy initiative 'El día de los niños / El día de los libros.'

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama are honorary chairs for the Library of Congress event.:

BorderSenses to release another farmworker book of writings

"Memorias del Silencio," the sixth in a series of books showcasing the creative writing of migrant farmworkers in the El Paso area, will be presented at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Chamizal National Memorial, 800 S. San Marcial.

The book features more than 20 stories and seven local artists who provided artwork.
"Silencio No Más," a play inspired by the book series, will be presented the same day.
The literary organization BorderSenses and El Paso Community College's Community Education Program started the project in 2005. Information: memorias.bordersenses.com.

Sandra Cisneros, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and Martín Espada to be featured at Border Book Festival

The El Paso Times reports, "The Border Book Festival, a nonprofit literary, literacy and arts organization based in Mesilla, has lined up the featured authors for its annual book festival April 8-10. They are best-selling author Sandra Cisneros, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, an award-winning author and poet, and Martín Espada, a prominent poet, essayist, editor and translator.
The festival has produced 17 annual festivals, which have brought almost 6,000 writers, artists, storytellers and musicians to the border region. Information: 575-523-3988 or borderbookfestival.org."

EPCC Literary Fiesta 
Above, Pat Mora accepts Literary  Legacy Award 

Poet Carolina Monsivais reads from her book Elisa's Hunger (Mouthfeel Press)

Children's readings

Conversation with Pat Mora

Dr. Maceo Dailey and Selfa Chew

The Byrds (Cinco Puntos Press)

more photos tomorrow folks

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