Last night I had the pleasure of attending Palabras de Poder: Rebel Writers from the New Latin@ America at the San Diego Central Library. This event was a partnership between Calaca Press/Red CalacaArts Collective, UCSD's Chicano/ a Latino/ a Arts & Humanities Minor, the UCSD Center for the Humanities, and the San Diego Central Library. The reading and lecture was held on the third floor in a relatively small theater. I arrived 15 minutes late (because of parking) and got what I deserved--my back to a pared along the very back of the theater, because the place was packed, people. Packed, packed, packed for Poetry! Luckily, when I arrived, Brent Beltran of Calaca Press was just finishing up his introduction of Jorge Mariscal, UCSD Prof, and one of the organizers of this event. Mariscal, in his own introduction to the reading, talked about our current state of affairs, referring to the reign of the current administration over the last seven years as the "Dark Ages." I wish I had taken some notes, because I don't want to misrepresent his presentation, but some of the topics of the night included the war that has been waged not only against the innocent people of Iraq, but against the latino community as military recruiters and judges and wardens continue to welcome these young people with open arms. Other topics included the warped messages of the media, education, lesbian love, misguided, pseudo-activists, machismo, among others. Cesar Cruz recited a wonderful poem (from memory) about factions of the the hip hop generation whose main motivation is to acquire large mounds of bling, which consequently, sets up a twisted paradigm for the kids.
There were several poets. Here's the list: Irene Castruita, Cesar A. Cruz, tatiana de la tierra, Sara R. Eslava, Paul S. Flores, Olga Garcia Echeverria, and Leticia Hernandez-Linares
I'm not going to reflect on each of their readings, but I will say that I left the reading inspired and proud to know that these individuals have taken on the responsibility, with the greatest courage, I must add, (truth-seekers sacrifice self and are in constant danger--just think of Roque Dalton!) to carry the torch for our people through these "Dark Ages."