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

Octavio Romano

Thursday, April 21, 2011

El Paso Writers Update and Chicano Writers News for Week of April 17

El Paso Writers Update
Cross Over Water reading Tomorrow Night

Rich Yañez will be reading from his new novel Cross Over Water tomorrow night at UT El Paso at 7pm. Reading with him will be UTEP MFA candidate Mari(a) Gómez, another El Paso native, who after graduating with her BA went to live in Ireland for some time. UT El Paso Student Union, 3rd Floor, Templeton Suite.

Chicana Historian to Lecture on Saturday

On Saturday at 11:30am to -1:30pm. Yolanda Chavez Leyva will be giving a lecture. The UT El Paso History department is presenting a series of discussions on the Casasola photographic exhibit in the El Paso Public Library focusing on the exhibit, and on the issues, both historical and current, it raises concerning immigration, and immigrant and border culture. The discussions will be led by people connected to the History Department, both past and present. The one on Saturday, April 23rd, will be given by Yolanda Leyva. Lunch will be served to the first 50 to grab for them.

Poemic this weekend

Also this weekend, from 7:00pm - April 24 at 12:00am. Poemic. Nerds of El Paso Unite! Poemic is a fundraising integration of poetry and comics. This is a celebration of the 2 subcultures and finding what makes them so similar. Features include: A videopeoma performance by Leon de la Rosa and Gabriela Duran, a nerd slam, impromptu slam poetry, tacoholics taco truck, a live comic reading, live panel painters, artists and vendors of all shapes and sizes. VENDING BOOTHS ARE FREE and limited! If you are interested in performing or vending please contact jen shugert at 915-494-6762.

Denise Chavez to read next week

Moving a little north of El Paso to Mesilla, On April 29, the Alamogordo Speaker Series presents Denise Chavez and Michael McGarrity discussing the spirit of New Mexico literature in fact and fiction. Book signings follow. Free.Info:http://www.alamogordospeakerseries.com. 

Belated news on Solis and Vazquez visits to Austin

Some times our news is late, but Octavio Solis read in Austin last night. To see a bit on his reading, go here. Also from the looks of this article, Diego Vazquez, Jr. was in Austin giving a workshop to students. Read it now.

Rafael Jesus Gonzalez to read at Save the Earth Reading, April 27 in Berkeley

Next week, Rafael Jesus Gonzalez will take part in a reading based on CAN POETRY SAVE THE EARTH?: A Field Guide To Nature Poems by John Felstiner. "Felstiner's [Can Poetry Save the Earth?] is a series of deep reflections on some of the finest, steadiest British and American poets of the last five centuries . . . It is not about their ideology or activism, but their seeing of the actual world . . .their deeply felt love for it."-Gary Snyder, poet, Beat, Pulitzer Prize winner. Cost: FREE.Who Should Attend: Open to the Public.When/Where: Wednesday, April 27, 2011,7:30pm,Ecology Center Bookstore, 2530 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley (San Pablo at Blake St., just south of Dwight Way).Accessibility: Public transportation-Buses on San Pablo Ave. and Dwight Way; street parking, wheelchair access.For More Information: (510) 548-2220 ext. 227; www.EcologyCenter.org.

New Books has Chapters by UT El Paso Communications Profs 
Native El Pasoans and UT El Paso professors Richard Pineda, Roberto Avant-Mier, and Stacey K. Sowards have been have a chapter publishes in New Book: Latina/o Discourse in Vernacular Spaces: Somos de Una Voz ( (Race, Rites, and Rhetoric: Colors, Cultures, and Communication Series Lanham, MD: Lexington Press, 2011), edited by Holling, Michelle, and Bernadette Marie Calafell.

Taking up the charge to study discourses of marginalized groups, while simultaneously extending scholarship about Latina/os in the field of Communication, Latina/o Discourse in Vernacular Spaces: Somos de Una Voz? provides the most current work examining the vernacular voices of Latina/os. 
The editors of this diverse collection structure the book along four topics_Locating Foundations, Citizenship and Belonging, The Politics of Self-Representation, and Trans/National Voces_that are guided by the organizing principle of voz/voces [voice/voces]. Voz/voces resonates not only in intellectual endeavors but also in public arenas in which perceptions of Latina/os' being of one voice circulate. 
The study of voz/voces proceeds from a variety of sites including cultural myth, social movement, music, testimonios, a website, and autoethnographic performance. By questioning and addressing the politics of voz/voces, the essays collectively underscore the complexity that shapes Latina/o multivocality. Ultimately, the contours of Latina/o vernacular expressions call attention to the ways that these unique communities continue to craft identities that transform social understandings of who Latina/os are, to engage in forms of resistance that alter relations of power, and to challenge self- and dominant representations.

Chapter 7: Latinidad in Ugly Betty: Authenticity and the Paradox of Representation by Stacey K. Sowards and Richard D. Pineda

Chapter 8: Of Rocks and Nations: Voces Rockeras [Rock Music Voices] and the Discourse of "Nationality" by Roberto Avant-Mier

Troncoso lecture posted: Don't Throw Those Scholastic Catalogs Aways

Check out this Youtube vidio of Sergio Troncoso giving his speech, "From Literacy to Literature," which was given in Boston, MA to the American Library Association on January 16, 2005. 

Troncoso discusses how the culture and values from his family, and free libraries and reading, helped him to traverse the chasm between the poverty of the Mexican-American border and the Ivy League. He also explains why he writes stories focused not on caricatures but complex characters. 

His goal is not only to give a fuller portrayal of Mexican-Americans but also to challenge that community to question what it values. I could not embed it, so here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sWu_zjG4KAo. The quote that stood out to me, was Sergio reminising about his mother giving him money to buy books from the Scholastic book catalog. I remember those days and thank my father for buying me books from this catalog, as well as the Troll catalog.

On Sergio Troncoso, it looks like he will have a novel coming out in the fall on the University of Arizona Press called From This Wicked Patch of Dust. Here's the description: "In the border shantytown of Ysleta, Mexican immigrants Pilar and Cuauhtémoc Mart'nez strive to teach their four children to forsake the drugs and gangs of their neighborhood. The family's hardscrabble origins are just the beginning of this sweeping new novel from Sergio Troncoso.

Spanning four decades, this is a story of a family's struggle to become American and yet not be pulled apart by a maelstrom of cultural forces. As a young adult, daughter Julieta is disenchanted with Catholicism and converts to Islam. Youngest son Ismael, always the bookworm, is accepted to Harvard but feels out of place in the Northeast where he meets and marries a Jewish woman. The other boys -- Marcos and Francisco -- toil in their father's old apartment buildings, serving as the cheap labor to fuel the family's rise to the middle class. Over time, Francisco isolates himself in El Paso while Marcos eventually leaves to become a teacher, but then returns, struggling with a deep bitterness about his work and marriage. Through it all, Pilar clings to the idea of her family and tries to hold it together as her husband's health begins to fail.

This backdrop is then shaken to its core by the historic events of 2001 in New York City. The aftermath sends shockwaves through this newly American family. Bitter conflicts erupt between siblings and the physical and cultural spaces between them threaten to tear them apart. Will their shared history and once-common dreams be enough to hold together a family from Ysleta, this wicked patch of dust?"

Jim Rutter: Review of Solis' "Lydia" and "Illegals"

The Broad Street Review has a thorough review of Octavio Solis' Lydia, specifically its Amaryllis Theatre Company production. Jim Rutter writes the review and kindly refers to undocumented immigrants as "illegals" and champions assimilation. Read more.

Luis Arturo Ramos Reading

A lecture by Luis Arturo Ramos is posted on Youtube.com. Ramos radsleyendo de su novela, Mickey y Sus Amigos. Viernes April 1, 2011. See it now. The same who posted Ramos, you can find some video of Michael Luis Medrano's visit to UT El Paso: See it now.

Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival Next Week

I saw this in July, check out this video made for the Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival. See now.

Speaking of the Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival, check out this Westworld article by Jef Otte, "Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival." "When Lalo Delgado immigrated to America with his parents at the age of twelve, he spoke no English and couldn’t read or write. It was a pretty hardscrabble beginning for a boy who went on to become a poet, a professor and a towering figure in the Chicano community. During his life, Delgado was a passionate advocate of immigrants’ rights who worked with César Chávez and Dolores Huerta; an author of fourteen notable volumes that remain some of the earliest and best examples of the Chicano literary movement; and an educator who worked to start Chicano Studies programs at universities all over the southwestern United States." READ MORE. Also see "Free Lalo Delgado Poetry Festival at Metropolitan State College of Denver" for the festival schedule.

Oscar Zeta Acosta and Satchmo: One Night Only

Someone posted this one of Oscar Zeta Acosta reading to Louis Armstrong's rendition of the "St. James Interlude." Well, from me a Satchmo fan, the song is called "St. James Infirmary," which Jack Teagarden called the "oldest blues I've ever heard."

The Rain God Facebook Page

A Facebook page has been created on Arturo Islas' The Rain God. See it now.

Raymund Paredes and the Texas Public Higher Education Almanac

The first edition of the Texas Public Higher Education Almanac was unveiled. The almanac compliments an existing online Accountability System established for higher education institutions about seven years ago.

"The 2011 Almanac is a snapshot that will not only allow us to better identify our successes, but also assess areas for improvement," said Texas Commissioner of Higher Education Raymund Paredes in a press release.

Women of Juarez and Gaspar de Alba quote
Alicia Gaspar de Alba's Desert Blood is quoted at this site on the murdered women of Cd. Juarez. Check it out.

Ben Saenz' A Perfect Season for Dreaming
Not sure if this is an ad or what, but this page has some stuff on Benjamin A. Saenz, A Perfect Season for Dreaming.

Video posted of Monisvais reading
There is a video at this link on Facebook of Carolina Monsivais reading at El Paso Community College. It may have been the reading she did two weeks ago. See it now.

Chicano Writer News

Rigoberto Reviews Baldwin and article on Harriet

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Check out this book review by Rigoberto Gonzalez of 'The Cross of Redemption Uncollected Writings' by James Baldwin. Also see Rigoberto Gonzalez' article on the poetry foundation: "I Aspire to Kwame-ness (Ode to the Desk).": "Prolific output is my weakness, and writers who can crank out poems, pages, chapters, books are my inspiration. They mirror my hunger for more of anything literary, they represent the labor hunched over the desk — backaches, neck pain, the late night struggle of kicking sleep off the face. But, oh what sweet pleasure." Read more.

Manuel Munoz feathered in Harvard Magazine and new novel

Harvard Magazine has an article posted on Manuel Munoz. Check out "Echoes of the Central Valley": "Yet Muñoz, who worked hard to move away from a life in the fields, is wary of labels. His debut novel, What You See in the Dark, published in March, is neither essentially gay nor Chicano"

Richard Montoya

Letras Latinas has a posting on Richard Montoya. Check out Richard Montoya @ Notre Dame (1). Check it out.

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