Sunday, December 30, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
His poem "For Joe Brainard" made me return to Brainard's I remember, a book I used (excerpts) in a high school creative writing class a couple of years ago. I remember some of the stuff that came out that semester--incredible! One student from that class is now a poetry editor for Westwind at UCLA. Young Amy Sanchez, a dynamo we'll certainly be hearing a lot of in the future. Oh, and Betsy, whose marathon readings of Hamlet made me say "damn," is now a literature student at UCSD.
I remember another project we did that semester based on Juan Felipe Herrera and Artemio Rodriguez' "Loteria Cards and Fortune Poems--A Book of Lives." The artwork and poems were incredible! A great project I recommend to all. I hope to do it again this year.
My first day off, and here I am writing about my students.
Good health to all!
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
From the Institute for Latino Studies
at the University of Notre Dame:
the literary program
of the Institute for Latino Studies
at the University of Notre Dame,
is honored and pleased to announce
as the final judge for the third edition
of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize.
To learn more about our distinguished judge
Deadline: January 15, 2008
Please read our guidelines for more information.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Monday, November 26, 2007
From the backseat of a cab just outside of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.
Good to see Ian Curtis headlining again. I recently posted that I watched Control, the biopic about Joy Division. If you don't know Ian Curtis' story, there it is in all of its tragic beauty, according to a scribbler and film director, of course. There were several beautiful shots--all black and white. And when the music rumbled, specifically "Love Will Tear Us Apart," "Disorder," and the obvious closer "Atmosphere," everyone sat speechless (At least that's what I want to think. I want to think that everyone sat speechless. That everyone is capable of sitting speechless(ly) over the duration of a song or two). I caught a man in his mid to late 40s, who was sitting in front of me and three seats to the right, sobbing, sobbing, sobbing to an ending most people know who know Joy Division's music. I'm sure he knew the ending. I'm sure he knows the music and that's why he cries. Maybe he was crying for another reason. I wanted to pat him on the shoulder and say "Hey, don't cry. Bernard kicks ass, too. I bet you danced your ass off to Bizarre Love Triangle back in the day." But I decided not to, I let him be. To be honest, I had to fight back the waterworks. Between him, the music and the scene, who wouldn't?
O, but how the scenario changed, the vicissitudes of life at work. Guess who was tearing up a giant hot dog with everything on it at the concession stand as I shuffled out the theater? The thing was enormous. It looked like a flotation device. Relish reached the ceiling. The onions! The jalapenos, the ketchup! O praises for everything else buried beneath the teeth!
Life wasn't so bad for that guy, I thought. For one, how many people can afford a hot dog at a theater? For another, how many can laugh mightily with a group of good friends, all who are enjoying great-looking hot dogs (and nachos), after watching a (decent) movie about a band that created incredible music? All of us alive.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Thursday, November 22, 2007
* * *
I've been sick over the last few days and haven't really had the energy to do anything. I had such big plans for this week. Damn. Anyway, I returned from Chicago last Thursday after reading at Palabra Pura. It was a wonderful experience. Ellen of the Guild really made me feel welcome and comfortable. (I hope she found the other half of my turkey sandwich under the passenger seat). It was also great to read with Eduardo Arocho who tore it up on stage. He's working on an interesting new project that I won't go into here, but I can't wait to see/hear it completed. We also talked about Humboldt Park, and some of the projects he's involved with to preserve the rich, cultural history of the area. The peeps he introduced me to were marvelous--warm, interesting, and obviously, talented gente. And then there was the MC of the night Johanny Vasquez Paz. She's funny and energetic, and just makes it a pleasure to be around her. We swapped books after the reading, and I read her Streetwise Poems/Poemas Callejeros twice on the way home. Git-it! And then Juan, who has ties to s. Cali, and who read an incredible longer poem in multiple parts. I can't wait to read it on the page.
Although it was a quick trip, I had a great time, and I'd like to thank Francisco Aragon for involving me in this beautiful project. What an experience.
On the way to Chicago:
Drunk by Noon by Jennifer L. Knox
Breaking the Alabaster Jar conversations with Li-Young Lee
Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau
On the way to San Diego:
Streetwise Poems/Poemas Callejeros by Johanny Vasquez Paz
Teeth by Aracelis Girmay
Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau
* * *
I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving. Paz.
* * *
Is this good?
Monday, November 12, 2007
@ Bluefoot Bar & Lounge, 30th & Upas, North Park
d'shire dance Monique Fleming & Frank Thaheld Cela Nash & Ben Willetts Lux Boreal Matt Amar Lorena Santana
This should be interesting. I know Matt Amar will be performing a bit from his play and documentary about Lenny Bruce entitled Looking for Lenny.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
think. I think I'm much more selective about what I choose to put around
me, musically, in the same way that I'm much more selective about the music
that I make. I think that is a getting older thing, I sense more that I
won't tolerate having just OK music around me. It has to be life-changing
or I don't particularly want to hear it. I've probably narrowed down my
listening to other people's work to just what stimulates me.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Friday November 2
Only $7 ($5 students/seniors/patrons)
Come celebrate Dia de los Muertos with some of San Diego's finest literary talents including:
Pablo Jaime Sainz
Manuel J. Vélez
Michael Cheno Wickert
Sara R. Eslava
Click here for full size flier
Organized by the Red CalacArts Collective www.redcalacartscollective.org
Hosted by the Centro Cultural de la Raza
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 7-9 pm
City Heights Rec. Center4380 Landis (at Fairmount)
Free and open to the public
Celebrated historian Mike Davis is the author of In Praise of Barbarians,Planet of Slums, Ecology of Fear, and many other influential books. In thisprovocative talk, he shows that as soon as the fires started, right-wingpoliticians in San Diego, Sacramento, and around the nation began to applytheir spin.The media coverage has glorified the "heroic" Republican leaders of SanDiego, contrasting them to "corrupt & ineffective" Black Democrats in NewOrleans. Bush and Schwarzenegger have been scrambling for chances to hug firefighters for the cameras. And every chance they get, they crow about how San Diego's evacuation was "orderly and civilized" (versus some other places).These same politicians are responsible for pro-sprawl policies that site subdivisions in the middle of natural fire zones. They're also responsiblefor the anti-tax stance that's starved fire departments and other emergencyresponders of equipment and personnel.Instead of acknowledging that they set the stage for an unnatural disaster,they've hammered the theme of homeland security, even implying thatundocumented immigrants might be responsible for the fires. Half the county has burnt to the ground but the politicians and news anchors haven't stopped grinning for a minute. They're trying to spin this disaster as a triumph of Republican values. But it's really a bonfire of right-wing vanities.Sponsored by Haymarket Books and the International Socialist Organization
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Friday, October 12, 2007
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Caught Amiri Baraka reading along with the great sax player Charles McPherson this weekend. Also playing along with the Gilbert Castellanos Quintet. Baraka read over tunes by Monk, Coltrane, and others, and created a helluva head space for me at least. Bought his new book of stories. Haven't bitten much from it yet--'cept his intro that says when he speaks of some of his fav. story men "We see what they love and what they hate, what they think ugly and what they think beautiful," and I like that. Not some overly cerebral analysis of what that "that" is in art.
Baraka ended with the poem that got him in trouble in Jersey, and other places too, I guess. But S.D. gave him a standing O.
Saw Quincy Troupe read on Friday night. Also Adrian Arancibia who completly lit up the place.
Also got a chance to see Batwings over the weekend. A band that keeps getting better and better and better. Listen to 'em live and you'll see/hear what I mean.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Saw some cat wearing a Jawbreaker shirt the other night on L.A. Ink. I admit it, I watch it--Rich girl turned bad-ass tattoo artista. Anyway, "Condition Oakland" was a great one. Hope the mythical sands of time do not cover this band's tracks. They were a good one.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
"David Shapiro is one of our greatest poets. Finally we have a perfect volume of new and selected work--pages filled with his indelible music, imagined landscapes, and unsettlingly exquisite dreams." --Jim Jarmusch
Dead Man was a favorite discussion piece for me and my wife's late great! grandfather Mike Carey. Another one--one that wasn't Jarmusch's--was the flick based on Kipling's "The Man Who be King" with Connery and Caine. Mike was a large man, tough, a gravel voice. In his day he was someone you wouldn't want to f---- with over a debatable poker bet. But he was also a literary man who swept through mountains of paper with his eyes, and earned the trust of children and small animals, a tenderness that can't be faked.
Pure magik! We'd talk for hours, usually with a baseball game on tv inching toward completion in the background.
And Mike taught me great words like "pigsticker" and "smoking a lefty" and "hootch." Shit you just can't fake on paper or in crowds. Those times were wonderful.
Monday, October 1, 2007
I'm not going to try and relive the night here, explaining what I heard, how I felt. I'll just say this--even though I nearly threw a plate of tuna at four idiots yapping on the second floor while the piano man was playing some serious, introspective bars in remembrance of the vanished spirits of Katrina, I left that place cleansed, once again a fan and believer of Big Mama Art. The inconsiderate jerks were asked to shut up by the door man, by the way, but then left soon after as if they'd been wronged.
Overall, the show was magical. The money I dropped that night was worth every penny.
Here are some pictures of Arturo Sandoval playing Anthology.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
I tore my ACL when I was 21 years old trying to chase down a loose ball during a basketball game. The recovery isn't fun, and no matter what they tell you, your wheels will never be the same after you've snapped one of those bastards.
Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Thursday, September 6, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Tuesday, September 4, 2007
Sunday, September 2, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Friday, August 24, 2007
A Poem for Jesse
your face like
gets caught in my voice
and i draw you up from
taste your face of a
see you smile
a new season
hear your voice
a wild sea pausing in the wind.
You see what I mean? Boom!
I can't wait to buy David Shapiro's Selected. It's dope. I've always enjoyed his work.
* * *
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
I consider HSJ one of the greatest. His shit comes at you like a semi in flames racing down a Friday night blvd. Although I can't read Last Exit to Brooklyn anymore because I've lost my stomach somewhere over the years, nor can I read The Demon, because it simply scares me, I return to The Room from time to time to step into something deep for a few hours. It's been written that this is his masterpiece. Though I'm not qualified to make such a declaration about any art form, this book fills me with much anxiety. Good.
Sunday, August 5, 2007
With the Ipod set to Nortec Collective, and in near perfect weather, I returned to my new place.
Monday, July 30, 2007
"And your name?
Let me guess--
Of all the damn luck.
Alright, let me hear it, come on."
Of course, Mother Cabrini.
Let's keep it going, come on,
come on, I don't have
"Alright, alright, let's stop this game right here and now! How many Cabrini's are left? Ok. Now explain this to me: how the hell can there be that many Mother Cabrinis on one goddamn bus at one goddamn time? Will one of you Cabrinis answer me that? Go on, answer me, Cabrini!"
Saturday, July 28, 2007
I can't even express how this quote affected me when I first read it years ago. I felt a certain loss, I remember. For me, it's been among the most memorable images in literature, at least from what I've read so far. My pops revisits this book at least once a year.
I also read somewhere that it's Robert Smith's favorite book. órale! (What up with these definitions and examples? Mensos.)
Monday, July 23, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
In celebration of the paperback of Honey Blonde Chica, Michele Serros will be hosting a Mid-Summer's Flojo Dream. In addition to reading excerpts from her latest Young Adult novel, Honey Blonde Chica, Serros will be offering free copies of HBC and a pair of one of kind flojos (flip flops) designed by herself, given to those wearing flip flops in the following categories: the fanciest, the ugliest and the most creative.
HONEY BLONDE CHICA -- selected as one of The New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen Age 2007
"(a) chick-lit title with a Latina flair that captures the confusion of privileged yet vulnerable teens... provides a balance to the white-bread world often pictured in this (young adult) genre.– School Library Journal
Monday, July 16, 2007
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
My wife and I just decided to move to San Diego. It's been nearly ten years since I've lived there. We're trading the desert for the ocean, at least for a while. To be honest, I can't stand the beach sun. It's everywhere, a person can't find a shadow. The sun creeps up your pant leg and burns your kneecap. And that dreadful sand--eating at the beach is the worse. No, no, no, we'll be somewhere in University Heights or North Park. Hopefully this will all be taken care of tomorrow.
I'm going to miss El Centro--of course, we'll be visiting frequently. I'll especially miss Mexicali. I'm going to miss my family. My friends. My old coworkers. My students. My students. My favorite restaurants like La Fonda and Mandolino's. My mailbox, even though it brings me bills and rejections but I love it just the same. My favorite jogging route where the same owl greets me each day at the exact same spot on the ditch bank. My favorite convenient store where the same cashier greets me each Friday at the exact same counter where I set my tall cans...
But will I miss the heat?
T. Berrigan wrote a beautiful poem called "Farewell Address" where he wrote goodbyes to the Buffalo he knew after staying there for some time. It's so pure. And the rhyme thang he's got going on in it is cool, too.
Anyway, I have to go. I'll drop by later.
Hemingway's been in a slump,
can't hit a curve ball
I'm dropping him to the 6th
I'm putting Celine in
he's inconsistent but when
he's good there's no
Hamsun I'm going to use
in the number 3 spot,
he hits them hard and
lead-off, well, lead-off
I'll use e.e. cummings,
he's fast, can beat out a
I'll use Pound in the
number two spot, Ezra
is one of the better
hit and run men
in the business.
the 5 spot I'll give to
he's a heavy hitter, great with
men on base.
the 7 spot I'll give to Robinson
Jeffers, can you think of anybody
he can drill a rock
the 8 spot, I've got my
catcher, J.D. Salinger,
if we can find
how about Nietzsche?
been breaking all the tables
in the training
I'll take Kierkegaard and
but none know this
when we field this team,
it's all over,
we're going to kick some
ass, most likely
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
NALAC Fund for the Arts deadline July 16, 2007
NALAC members who are Latino working artists, ensembles and small and mid-sized Latino arts and cultural organizations are eligible to apply. Grants range in size from $2,500 to $10,000. NFA grants provide organizational support to help build the internal capacity of Latino arts organizations, support the creation and presentation of works by Latino independent artists and ensembles, and strengthen communities by investing in the creative and cultural assets of Latinos in the U.S.
Applications can be submitted in English or in Spanish. The NFA application and guidelines are available on the NALAC website (http://www.nalac.org).
The NALAC Fund for the Arts is supported by the Ford Foundation and the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and new NFA partners Southwest Airlines and the City of San Antonio Cultural Collaborative.
For more information contact:
NALACGrant Program Manager 1208 Buena VistaSan Antonio, TX 78207E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, June 25, 2007
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Selected Prose and Prose-Poems by Gabriela Mistral
Edited and translated by Stephen Tapscott
University of Texas Press, 2002
6. Make yourself necessary; become indispensable. This is how you get stability in a job.
8. If we don't achieve equality and culture in the school, where else can such things be required?
9. A teacher who does not read has to be a bad teacher. She's reduced her job to a mechanical function, but not renewing herself spiritually.
10. Each time your principal repeats a job assignment, however kindly it's done, is a warning and a sign of a shortcoming.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Selected Prose and Prose-Poems by Gabriela Mistral
Edited and translated by Stephen Tapscott
University of Texas Press, 2002
Here's a partial list of Mistral's Pensamientos pedagógicos/Thoughts on Teaching for those who educate. There are 46. Some of these are tough, asking much from the individual. Most of them, though, are magnificent and inspiring.
1. Everything for the school; very little for ourselves.
2. Teach always, in the courtyard and on the street, as if they were the classroom. Teach with your demeanor, expression, and words.
3. Live the beautiful theories. Live with kindness, energy, and professional integrity.
4. Brighten your lessons with beautiful words, with a pertinent story, and relate each piece of knowledge to real life.
5. Make it unnecessary for your principal to supervise you. The person who is not supervised is trusted.
to be cont'
Monday, June 11, 2007
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Just Cruisin & Writin
at seventy miles
on the pennsylvania
can be spiritual
fun, if you don't
run into any
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
I read at the 2nd Annual Small Press Book Fair at The Church in Ocean Park (Santa Monica). It was an all day event. I recognized several of the presses and journals present, and even heard a few readings. I read along with a few others who have published in Rattle. The interesting, though, was Charles Bukowski's daughter's mother (not sure if they were married) was in the audience. FrancEyE was in the front row for much of the time I was there (also in the audience), checking it all out. I wanted to approach her, but thought, nah, what for--I'm awkward like that. One of her chapbooks was put out by Pearl Editions, the same group that has put out work by David Hernandez, Denise Duhamel, and the recent gem by Ada Limon called this big fake world.
I have to catch the tera melos this time around.
And Portugal the Man, too. I was in Wasilla, Alaska once--once and only once. Nearly frozen solid while being attacked by a wild band of Alaskan Huskies with nothing but attitude--they tried to get to the saladito stash I hid beneath my tubesocks, homeboy! It got ugly, but desert boy prevailed when he pulled out the Imperial Valley sun from his pocket and blinded those little bastards, raising that shit up like a Gary Soto orange.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
This book demonstrates a wit and critical analysis faster than a Ricky Henderson/Vince Coleman (my personal fav) snag. Test your arm, baby, and see if you can keep up.
Friday, May 25, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
An assembly of fragments utilising piano, cello, violin and viola, alongside antique electronics, spoken word passages and the occasional field recording. The album is a series of bittersweet articulations that seem suspended somewhere between a certain dreamy sense of wonder / awe and a heavy melancholia.
Peppered across the music like diary entries are a number of literary texts from Kafka and Czseslaw Milosz. These were recorded by acclaimed British actress, Tilda Swinton, long time collaborator with the late Derek Jarman, and star of 'Adaption', 'Orlando' and 'The Garden'. These brief passages muse over time, memory, and the impermanent nature of things.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Just finished reading Daniel Alarcon's War by Candlelight. Impressive. Now I'm ready for his novel. Also reading everything Berrigan.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Neruda news. I wonder that look.
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Anyhow, beautiful weather and wonderful wine.
Here's a poem (scroll down) called "Amen." by Venus Jones. I think it's perfect for these times of ours. Awoman
Friday, April 6, 2007
Thursday, April 5, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
"When I was nineteen, I had published a story in L. Rust Hills’ magazine Quixote and I thought fame was just days away. That turned out to be the only fiction I ever published."
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Saturday, March 24, 2007
Friday, March 23, 2007
Here's something else that's going on in Mexicali tonight and tomorrow. I'm going to try and make tomorrow afternoon's show(s).
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
I had a chance to see a few of Gronk's pieces at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla, California a few years ago, and I was blown away by the sheer power/beauty/tragedy of the paint and the hallucinatory effects it had on my mind's eye. Great stuff by a great artist.
The book's physical weight is just right, too. I have a certain affinity for books that can smash windows.
Saturday, March 10, 2007
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Thursday, March 1, 2007
Lots of strong winds over the last couple of days and my hair's been a bit Jack Nance. Come to think of it, this morning I shook a few pigeons, Eucalyptus trees, and 'publicans out my hair and now I feel fine.
* * *
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Friday, February 23, 2007
I recently read my poem called "Canto Borracho" at a reading. A section in the poem reads "...my cousin and his band...covered Jawbreaker's "Kiss the Bottle" twenty-six times at a party in one of the old slaughterhouses in Heber..."
After the reading a homeboy came up to me and asked: "Yo, who's Jawbreaker?"
"Gotta check them out, man. They really worked the word and song."
Abraham Rodriguez used one of their lyrics for an epigraph in his Buddha Book a few years ago. Needless to say, this put a smile on my face.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
The San Diego State University reading went great, and I send much love to those who were responsible for making it happen. The students and faculty were great, lots of energy and good, blessed vibes.
Monday, February 12, 2007
Thursday, February 8, 2007
In the air behind my body
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Saturday, February 3, 2007
"Yes, writers are supposed to be into the environment."
"But why drive a truck?"
"I drive it, because it's the only way I can lug around my metaphors."
"It's the only way, you see."
"But I don't see anything, man. Metaphors are supposed to be robust and ponderous."
"I don't know--should they?"
"Of course they should. What kind of writer are you? There's nothing here. The bed of your truck is empty. You spend so much on gas. I just don't get it."
"But listen, since you have all of this room, obviously experiencing some kind of writer's block, do you think you can give me a ride to the bar?"
"Sorry. I don't have any room."
"Ok, ok. Well, take it easy, and say hi to your wife for me."
"I will. Take it easy."
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Seriously, check it out; it's a wonderful mission:
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I will be posting some photos over the next week by Paul G. Sanchez, a photographer and educator living in San Diego. Most of these were shot while he and his girlfriend were living in San Miguel de Allende, Guadalajara, and the city of Guanajuato My wife and I visited them about a year and a half ago. Our laughter's probably still echoing in those cantinas.
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Anyway, Kronos Q was incredible. There were violins, viola, cello, barking sled dogs, electric sanders, saws, iron fences, hammers, drum loops, a keg of beer, scary human voices, and so many other troubling devices--so many thoughts ran through my mind: creepy beauty, anxiety, more anxiety. At one point, I wanted to stand up and yell like Nacho: "Hey, take it easy!"
If you haven't heard them play Phillip Glass's "String Quartet No 3 (Mishima)," though, you should. It's very bewtful. And their stuff with Gronk, the badass Gronk, and Cafe Tacuba, and Requiem for a Dream, which they played, oh Lawd, stop me!
Well, my wife and I took my parents, and it was a strange, yet wonderul, night.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Monday, January 15, 2007
I assigned King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail to my students on Friday, as well as the letter written by a group of clergymen that inspired his response. We are currently studying argument and persuasion. I can only hope they are persuaded by the man's call.
We'll see tomorrow.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Seriously, check these dudes out if you haven't already. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWqkUG5r7XU
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Tuesday, January 9, 2007
"Los animales avisaron, intentaron hablar
y no entendimos las señales."