Thursday, October 31, 2013

New Huizache

Got home today to find the new issue of Huizache at my doorstep.  The third of the first three issues--absolutely beautiful.  The new issue features the artwork of Gronk.  The previous issue's cover art starred Patssi Valdez.  And the inaugural issue, the artwork of César A. Martinez.  Gorgeous.

And the writers, brothers and sisters, the writing.  Visit the website to see writers who have contributed and the submission guidelines.  

Dagoberto Gilb talks to the L.A. Times about Huizache here.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Vermin on the Mount Reading

I'm excited to be one of the readers participating in the Vermin on the Mount series at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Sunday, November 10th.  Big thank you to author Jim Ruland for the opportunity.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

San Francisco Lit Crawl Reading

L-R Me, Leticia Hernández-Linares, Deborah Paredez, Oscar Bermeo,
Laurie Ann Guerrero,  Juan Luis Guzmán
The October 19th reading in San Francisco, more specifically, at the Mission Cultural Center was a blast.  Leticia did an amazing job MC'ing that night, in addition to contributing beautiful song and poetry that filled up the room.  Deborah Paredez, one of the co-founders of CantoMundo, was present and also contributed amazing work.  Oscar Bermeo read from his slick work that always excites me to try new forms in my own stuff.  Laurie Ann read from her new book, A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying, as well as a new piece straight out of her journal.  And Juan Luis Guzmán read fantastic work from two manuscripts that I can't wait to get my eyes on.  I also want to share here an article that recently featured Juan Luis in its pages.  Be sure to read it here (pp. 84-86)!  The Fresno school continues!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Waltz #2 (XO),” the third song on XO (1998), is Elliott Smith’s certain masterpiece. It’s got a roadhouse, Wild West, player-piano feel to it. And the tune, with its staccato ¾ beat, takes Smith back to Cedar Hill, the suburbs of Texas with his mother, Bunny, and stepfather, Charlie. There’s love in “Waltz #2 (XO),” but a deeper impulse is anger, aimed squarely at Charlie. Brilliantly laid out in metaphorical cloakings, the song’s a secret life history, summarizing Elliott’s feelings about the Cedar Hill atmosphere and the intricacies of his relationship with mother and stepfather. He was always exceptionally worried about the possible hurtfulness of his lyrics. The thought that they might cause harm pained him. So a habit was established according to which he’d begin songs directly, explicitly autobiographically, then revise away from fact toward vagueness and abstraction. Choice specifics grounded the song, but meanings trailed off into obscurity. Emotionally, it was an elision of the personal—there but camouflaged—a self-erasure. He was in the songs, they were him, it was his personal past reconsidered, the sum total of who he was, but they were more too, a mix of voices, first, second, and third person, all getting a word in, all with something crucial to say. “XO,” as Smith told an interviewer in 1998, means “hugs and kisses,” the sort of thing people throw in at the end of letters. A more arcane, connotative meaning was “fuck off.” “But that’s a really rare meaning I didn’t know about,” Elliott explains, apparently sincerely.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

CantoMundo Reading at Lit Crawl SF

Looking forward to this Saturday (10/19) in San Francisco.  Reading at the Mission Cultural Center for Arts as part of the San Francisco Lit Crawl.  Going to be reading with the CantoMundo familia.  Can't wait to see other readings as well.  If you're in the area, drop in!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

I've been reading John Wieners over the last couple of days, more specifically, his Selected Poems 1958-1984.  The poem that always moves me is "Mother," which is below, from his book Ace of Pentacles (1964).  The distance and tenderness, the loneliness, love and heartache.  I've also been reading Will Alexander's book Compression & Purity.  His "My Interior Vita" is incredible.


talking to strange men on the subway,

doesn't see me when she gets on,

           at Washington Street
but I hide in a booth at the side

       and watch her worried, strained face --
  the few years she has got left.
     Until at South Station

    I lean over and say:
  I've been watching you since you got on.
       She says in an artificial
          voice: Oh, for Heaven's sake!

    as if heaven cared.

But I love her in the underground
      and her gray coat and hair
sitting there, one man over from me
      talking together between the wire grates of a cage.


John Wieners (1934-2002): My Mother, from The Ages of Youth in Ace of Pentacles (1964)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Big thanks to Professor Virginia Escalante for providing me with the opportunity to read at the San Diego City College International Book Fair.  The room was packed, diverse and energetic!