Thursday, April 28, 2011

"I close the book. I'm going out for a walk."
--Nausea, Jean-Paul Sartre


To walk, ah nah,
to ride bike and listen to Obits' right now
on iPod even though
I've been pulled over on occasion
with warnings to remove ear buds
while riding
or else


"But her! But him! But them! What about them?"



Friday, April 22, 2011

Cherríe Moraga at UCSD

Had the opportunity to listen to Cherríe Moraga last Thursday night at UCSD. It was a 2 hour presentation that included readings from her new book, A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness: A Decade of Discourse-- to be published by Duke University Press in Spring 2011, and a 30 minute viewing of her mixed-media play,La Semilla Caminante (The Traveling Seed).

Moraga's overall presentation opened my head and centered me in a way that I needed, as she spoke of loss, the (re)membering of the (dis)membered, the attack on ethnic studies in Arizona, among other equally engaging topics. (I recorded parts of the presentation and intend to include more specifics soon)

I'm glad I made the long drive to La Jolla after a long day of work--I nearly caved to the post-jale yawn. There were many in the audience and the vibe was beautiful.

This was my first opportunity to hear Cherríe Moraga in person, and it was a magnificent experience. Looking forward to her new book.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hope to catch Olga Garcia Echeverria today at UCSD as part of their New Writing Series. Hope she reads "Conversation Between Two Dead Bilingual Roaches."

************************************************************************************** from I ASKED by James Schuyler
I want to take my dishes to the stream and wash them.
I will wear my overcoat and a green silk square and gloves.
I will sing songs we learned at school and my dishes will float and sing among rocks to become houses for trout. I will come home.
It will be as before, for who wishes the love
in his heart to die lives in terror of its death.

from the collection Other Flowers: Uncollected Poems

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Calexico reading this weekend was wonderful. Thank you to The Calexico Cultural Arts Center, headed by Sandra Tauler and the dedicated staff, all of whom created a great space to usher in National Poetry Month. I also want to spotlight SDSU MFA grad student, Angel Sandoval, originally from Brawley, for making it happen. His contagious enthusiasm and profound love for the Word is gonna pump inspiring works into our community, clearly evident in his emcee duties and poetry reading on Sat. For those of you not from the area, the Imperial Valley/Mexicali took a huge hit by a 7.2 earthquake exactly 1 year ago today. I'm sure it's on many people's minds there, but they continue to walk forward courageously, alongside the still visible destruction in certain parts of these towns. A good friend of ours lost her brick fireplace and chimney. So what does she and her husband do, they use the brick to build a beautiful porch. I wasn't in town for the earthquake, so I can't really comprehend the scale. You just have to wonder about Japan, Haiti, and Chile. Coping with loss. Reconstruction. Displaced and frightened children. To consider poetry and poetry readings and National Poetry Month seems almost insignificant in comparison to the devastation that has affected so many, but to paraphase Mr. Sandoval, poetry has properties that are medicinal; therefore, it is absolutely necessary.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Parrot in the Oven by Victor Martinez

I just finished rereading Parrot in the Oven over the last couple of days and I am still floored by the control and restraint in the writing, the exquisite metaphors, and of course, the resilient narrator. The scene when Manny's father picks up Magda and places her in the bathtub still punches me in the gut. (Don't want to ruin so I'll stop here) It's stunning! Over the years, several of my high school students have read this book and loved it, many recommending it to friends. "Lopez, I liked it when..." "Lopez, that sucked when Manny..." "Lopez, I gave it to my little sister to read." Unfortunately, Mr. Martinez recently passed. To read about Victor Martinez's passing, read here. And here. What a loss, but he certainly left something beautiful behind. Read this book if you haven't already. And if you have read it, read it again.