Saturday, January 27, 2007

Friday, January 26, 2007

I think someone should make a CD to go along with this book. That would be very cool! A cd with some songs by Lydia Mendoza, Freddy Fender, Selena, and featuring the poems of Sheryl Luna, the short fiction of Christine Granados, and a bunch of the Tejana/o writers in this collection. I bet it would sell as a great companion to this anthology. Wish San Marcos were just a tiny bit closer so I could attend this event! So close yet still so far. If you're in the neighborhood, get yourself there!

at Texas State University-San Marcos
celebrates the publication of
An Anthology of Texas Mexican Literature
Edited by Dagoberto Gilb
from the University of New Mexico Press

Discussions, readings, and performances featuring
Sandra Cisneros and Dagoberto Gilb
plus special guests

The Southwestern Writers Collection celebrates the new book with an exciting day full of discussions, readings, book signings, and performances-lunch included. Special guests Sandra Cisneros and Dagoberto Gilb will be joined by Conjunto Aztlán, Tony Díaz, Christine Granados, Rolando Hinojosa, Santiago Jiménez, Jr., Sheryl Luna, Arturo Madrid, Macarena del Rocio Hernández, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, raúlrsalinas, and Carmen Tafolla.

The event is free and open to the public. Attendees are asked to please RSVP to, or call (512) 245-2313. The SWWC is located on the seventh floor of the Alkek Library at Texas State University-San Marcos. Access directions online at Books will be for sale at the event courtesy of Texas State University Bookstore. (7" x 10", 544 pages, 30 color plates, numerous halftones, $29.95, hardcover)


10:00 am - 11:30 am
Morning Panel Discussion
Sheryl Luna, Benjamin Alire Sáenz, raúlrsalinas,
and Carmen Tafolla moderated by Tony Díaz

11:30 am - 1:00 pm Lunch and Exhibit Viewing
12:00 noon Performance by Conjunto Aztlán

1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
Afternoon Panel Discussion
Sandra Cisneros, Dagoberto Gilb, Christine Granados, and
Macarena del Rocio Hernández moderated by Arturo Madrid

2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Remarks and Readings by Dagoberto Gilb and
Sandra Cisneros introductions by Rolando Hinojosa

3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Book signing with the guest authors
Performance by Santiago Jiménez, Jr.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

Tia Chucha's Cafe to Close--How you can help

Help our community- repost repost! Tia Chucha's Statement:

Tia Chucha's must move--but our Spirit, Creativity, and Unity are intact. Just after the holidays, Tia Chucha's Cafe & Cultural Center was served with a notice forcing us to move. We have to leave by February 28, 2007. A powerfully energized and thriving bookstore/cafe/performance space/cultural center is to be replaced by high-tech laundry machines. The laundry company is apparently investing $8 million in the strip mall, something we can't compete with. Maintain a vibrant community space? Of course not! Instead, make way for another laundry outlet! That's capitalism. Money follows money, not needs, not literacy, not community, or cultural expression. In the world we've inherited, most creativity and expression has to make big money, or it's out.

We created a space that requires a lot of personal and community investment. The community came to embrace Tia Chucha's and make this space its own. We plan to take the spirit, creativity, and unity we helped nurture to a temporary site as we plan and prepare to obtain a larger permanent site in the Northeast San Fernando Valley .
This is a time to come together, strategize, and work to keep Tia Chucha's viable as a cultural center while we explore our options. We will not give up. We will find a temporary space; we will also curtail our retail operations while we concentrate on our programming, events, outreach, fundraising, and growth.

We ask that you strengthen our efforts and sign this petition in support of Tia Chucha's coming back stronger, bigger, and better endowed than ever. We need this written support to show the various developers; city, county, and state agencies; and foundations that this community will fight for the arts, music, dance, theater, writing, film, publishing, and a vital gathering place where we can share ideas, history, politics, economics, and our indigenous traditions and thinking. Our strategy this year includes implementing a fundraising plan with a 5th Anniversary event at Tia Chucha's on February 17. We will also have another "Celebrating Words: Written, Performed & Sung" festival at Sylmar Park on May 19. And we have been approved to do a benefit event for Tia Chucha's at the Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood on July 29. Sign up for our e-mail newsletter here on our website up at the top, or call 818-362-7060 for more information.

--Luis J. Rodriguez Co-founder and Creative Director, Tia Chucha's Cafe & Centro Cultural

How You Can Help!!! *Come into the cafe and sign the petition!!! *Attend a community meeting held at Pacoima Beautiful located at 11243 Glenoaks Blvd., Suite 1 Pacoima, CA 91331 on Wednesday, January 17@ 12 noon. Voice your opinion and let the city of Pacoima know that you support Tia Chucha's and request that they consider us as a prospective bussiness for the new shopping center being built on Paxton St. on the old Price Pfister Factory site. *Volunteer!!! We will need assistance at our Anniversary Celebration and with the transition to our new temporary space. Interested volunteers can email Tia Chucha's at or call (818)362-7060 and ask how you can help!!! *Donate and re-invest in your community!!! Donations like yours will assist Tia Chucha's in its struggle and continued survival!!!

Tia Chucha's Cafe Cultural
phone: (818)362-7060

Monday, January 08, 2007

Eduardo interviews Rigoberto González about "Mr. Plath" and Rigoberto's new poetry collection Other Fugitives and Other Strangers -- a beautiful book! I'll post more on this work soon.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

"Ruin" by Cythnia Cruz sounds like a wonderful debut poetry collection. It's in my shopping cart at amazon. Looking forward to reading it.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Women of Juárez and beyond

photo of Justicia para nuestras hijas at a march in el paso to juárez last dec.

Check out Amalia Ortiz's excellent short video/poem "Women of Juárez" (click on video link in right hand corner). If you teach, at any level, please consider sharing this video link with your classes this semester to help raise awareness about this important issue. For more information about the murders and for more about organizations that are working to help end the crimes and working with the families of victims, please visit Amigos de las Mujeres de Juárez website.

Some Chicana and Latina authors who have contributed their voices to raising awareness about the murders include Alicia Gaspar de Alba in Desert Blood: The Juárez Murders, Carolina Monsivais's poem "Somewhere Between Houston and El Paso" from her poetry collection by the same name and Marjorie Agosin's Secrets in the Sand: The Young Women of Juárez. Check out these books and I know there are more to come. Some poems in Sheryl Luna's Pity the Drowned Horses and María Meléndez's How Long She'll Last in the World also help raise awareness in addition to beautiful writing throughout. Stella Pope Duarte also has a book in the works and Diana Washington Valdez wrote Harvest of Women: Safari in Mexico which I need to read soon. Cecilia Balli's article Ciudad de la muerte: ten years of murder is available here. Michelle Otero has also written about the murders, and her excellent chapbook Malinche's Daughter, while not specifically about the murders, should be on the reading list to help get the larger converstation going about sexual assault and silence in the mexican and chicana/o cultura and throughout the world.

If your school library does not have a copy of Lourdes Portillo's Señorita Extraviada, Missing Young Woman, please try to suggest they order this important documentary.

Also contact Lee Rhyanes for Youth Addressing Justicia, a documentary made by the youth and Lee with ¡Aqui Se Puede! at NMSU. Lee also recorded spoken word poetry by youth on the issue and has written poems on the subject. The students' poems are available on cd and in a poetry/photo chapbook called A Realization of the Truth | A Struggle to Tell.

I'm sure there's more literature out there (and artwork!)... If you know of other poets, fiction writers, artists, journalists' work, please let me know, as I'm always on the lookout for work to share with my classes. There are many academic articles on the subject as well, which are easily found in electronic library databases for those with access. It is important to read the academic articles but I find that poems, stories, and essays are more immediate and effective in community workshops and literature classes.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

It rained all day yesterday with old testament-like thunder very early this morning. This afternoon, in contrast, was sunny and gorgeous. Such a beautiful day in the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. Everything still feels so clean—-the air, the streets. Sunflowers growing in fields, by the roadsides, like in summer in Navajo country after monsoon rains. A truly special day. When I first arrived here a few months ago, I needed to see the river, to find it even if it was only a few miles away because the land is so flat and unlike El Paso. Today I realized that now my body naturally wants to head east--the gulf coast a continental pull. I usually want to head west or further south, but the rio flowing east towards the larger body of water compels me like a magnet these very recent days. The environment is forgiving on days like today and I want to give myself patience to learn it, that forgiveness, that openness.

Richard Hugo's "The day is a woman who loves you" was the most beautiful day for me before the actual day arrived today.

Growing up in Cali, I always gravitated furthermost west to the Pacific. Then living in Manhattan was like its own globe—-I was conscious of the Hudson and East River always, but geography beyond that was not really part of my consciousness beyond faces, young and old, on the subway. Living in Navajo country, I gravitated south to El Paso. In El Paso, I gravitated to the lower valley in Ysleta, to the roosters crowing in the west side of my brain and beyond, and to the south to Mexico. In the Rio Grande Valley, I want to ride the rio to the gulf. It’s cool to learn that a lot of the Rio Grande’s water comes from Rio Conchos via Mexico at Presidio. Just mentioning Presidio makes me think of Aristeo Brito’s El diablo en Texas / The Devil in Texas. It was a treat to hear him read a poetic chapter at the border book festival last year. Wow, that was something else. Another kind of amazing day near the river.

Destruction of La Gloria in San Antonio

Link to an article by Yolanda Chávez Leyva... the short documentary at the end of the article is very informative too:

The decision not to declare La Gloria a historical landmark, and the ultimate destruction of the important community treasure, raised critical issues regarding so-called economic development at the expense of the cultural and historical needs of the Mexicano/ Chicano community in San Anto. As artist and community organizer, Deborah Vasquez wrote after witnessing the demolition of La Gloria, “Orale Mi Gente, you now know how the powers in San Antonio feel about our history…” Another witness to the destruction, Manuel Diosdado Castillo, Jr., commented on the race and class elements of the destruction. “If La Gloria were in King Williams, Alamo Heights or Terrell Hills this would not have happened…City ‘leaders’ listen and sell their souls, our blood and our water to faceless out of town corporations whose only concern is making money on the backs of the poor.” Thousands of San Antonians experienced the demolition as a profound act of disrespect for the Chicano/ Mexicano community and our history.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

happy new year

"You cannot discover new oceans unless you are willing to lose sight of the shore." works for me, the fortune cookie. time to swim out there - way out there.

had a good trip to NY then to EPT.

snowing in ept today upon departure. great to see many friends these past few days. good to hear the roosters crowing each morning, afternoon, evening. jackrabbit sprinting superfast in the old cemetery. good to decorate gravestone with pinecones and bird-cracked pecan shells.

"urban owl" (wish this pic were sharper) in the parking lot of the two dollar movie theater a few days ago. te quiero mucho.

i am impressed with the work of artist francisco delgado, the paso del sur group, and community members in the segundo barrio. here's a picture of a small section of the new mural they're working on at sacred heart church:
Here are more shots of the project from the paso del sur website and a note about the paso del sur group's renewed mission for the new year despite the city-approved paso del norte group's so-called 'revitalization' plan that seeks to destroy the heart of the segundo barrio surrounding the church through community displacement and destruction via the likely abuse of eminent domain: "HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone. May our New Year's resolution be to fight against the forces of destruction that threaten our binational community. May we do it with creativity and persistence. Let's fight for a new vision of what our city and our neighborhoods can be like; a vision that is not based on displacement, arrogance, usurpation and division. Let's demonstrate that the Segundo Barrio community too has a vision for how to better itself through art, culture and community-inspired revitalization projects that include everyone—residents, artists, small business owners and all who want to show solidarity in a spirit of respect..."

With much peace and love for a healthy, happy 2007.