Monday, September 29, 2014

This Weekend: Starts With Arts in El Centro

I'm very excited for this Saturday's (10/4) reading and all-ages writing workshop at El Centro's Starts With Arts Foundation.  It's an amazing arts organization led by amazing people.  Thank you dearly for the opportunity to share the afternoon with you!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

New book review of The Yearning Feed in World Literature Today!

I've been reading a lot of Alice Notley and Anne Waldman lately.

I'm excited for the fall.

This weekend I'm excited for my bed, and I'm excited for the Padre-Dodger match ups (M and I are baseball junkies), and I'm excited to continue work on my new manuscript.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Just got back from a week at the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony.  It was warm, I'm not gonna lie, but the time spent writing, reading, drawing, watching, and painting hours upon hours a day in the Horton cottage was delicious time.  Dinner with Robert and Janice one evening (resident artists) was especially wonderful, too.  Saw a deer, a couple of rabbits and a dead rattlesnake (not cool).  

A couple of novels I want to finish reading before I return to work: Texaco by Patrick Chamoiseau and Jim Ruland's Forest of Fortune.  Bad ass!

Man 'o man I can't get Shabazz Palaces' Lese Majesty out my head.  I just want it in my ears 24/7.  It's beautiful, strange and brilliant.

Check out this single-shot short from a few years back:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Who said multi-tasking was ineffective, inefficient or something like that?

If interested, you can find Mylets here.

And then, of course, there's Nick Reinhart and Tera Melos:

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Will Alexander new Poet Laureate of Los Angeles

Will Alexander has been nominated Poet Laureate of Los Angeles.  How cool is that?

Here's a line from a new poem of mine called The Warriors:

"The warriors were too hip for war, so they stayed up all night drinking hot tea and reading books by Will Alexander"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Just finished Tarkovsky's Voyage in Time.  Wonderful documentary about the incredible director and his homie, screenwriter and poet, Tonino Guerra, and the making of their film Nostalghia.  Tarkovsky's views on art and cinema are always fascinating to me.  I'm going to pick up his Zerkalo today.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Just finished Tim Z. Hernandez' beautiful novel Manaña Means Heaven.  It's about the love affair between Jack Kerouac and Bea Franco, a relationship mentioned briefly in Kerouac's On the Road.   This novel masterfully mixes fiction and fact, due to Hernandez' years of prodigious research and interviews with Bea Franco and her family.  The novel explores farm labor in California's central valley, familial loyalty and dishonor, and the pursuit of self-preservation in the most dire of circumstances.  What I loved most is that the gargantuan scribe Kerouac mythology that we've all come to know is muted in this book.  As a matter of fact, Hernandez portrays him only on a few occasions scribbling in a notebook.  In other words, the story is about Bea Franco and her relentless spirit and passion.  I can honestly say that I was driven to tears at least twice while reading this book.  Grab it!

Other books I'm reading:
Federico Garcia Lorca: Impossible Theater
Stigmata: Escaping Texts by Helene Cixous
Selected Poems by Tomas Transtromer
Sermons and Homilies of the Christ of Elqui by Nicanor Parra
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Books I want to read:
Give It to Me by Ana Castillo
from unincorporated territory [guma'] by Craig Santos Perez
Angels of the Americlypse, ed. Carmen Gimenez Smith and John Chavez

Please support the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize Initiative by doing the following: CLICK HERE.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

El Salvador

We just got back from El Salvador. Bishop Romero's tomb, the coast, and the busy streets of San Salvador.  We intended to visit Santa Marta but fell short.  M visited an elementary school just outside of La Libertad and was taken by the experience. We also met a super cool artist named Fernando Jule.  He calls his style "industrial surrealism."  He's drawing a portrait of Lorca for me.  Really excited.  The Palacio Nacional had a room devoted to the authors who have won the Cervantes Prize.  Several beautiful portraits alongside excerpts, biographies and analysis.  The Alberti portrait is just one from the group that I snapped.  Many thanks to our hosts, Julio and Jill!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Trouble sleeping again, and when I do, trippy nightmares.  My eyes have felt so swollen, my head, a pillow squeezed between its ears.

Been reading some cool books by Gabriela Jauregui and Douglas Kearney.  The titles are Controlled Decay and The Black Automaton.

Absolutely bummed Tony Gwynn passed away.  Met him as a kid in Yuma, Arizona when the Pads used to have their spring training there.  Hearing some of the stories about his commitment to the game is beyond belief.  Is there anything more beautiful than a base hit in the 5.5 hole just out of reach of a teeth-gritting shortstop?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Sun Ra

Listening to Ra and his Myth Science Arkestra tonight.  The rhythms on this album always make my blood churn a little harder.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


"Political imagination goes beyond protest to articulate an artistry of dissent.  The question is not whether poetry and politics can mix.  That question is a luxury for those who can afford it.  The question is how best to combine poetry and politics, craft and commitment, how to find the artistic imagination equal to the intensity of the experience and the quality of the ideas."

Martín Espada
from "Poetry Like Bread: Poets of the Political Imagination"

Monday, June 2, 2014

Special thanks to the Denver Quarterly for taking a section of "The YouTube Narratives"  Really happy!

This summer I want to work on some translations.  They will be primarily from this great little anthology called fusiles y palomas: selección de poesía revolucionaria de nuestra américa published by Ocean Sur in 2009.  Here's the first stanza of one of my favorites by Michele Najlis, poetisa y maestra de Nicaragua.

"Quiero un poema sencillo y bueno"

Quiero un poema sencillo y bueno
como el pan
caliente y oloroso
con ese olor de gente,
de harina,
de manos amasando
y de un gran fuego rojo en el cielo del horno.

Decided to pull my signed copy of Peter Hook's Unknown Pleasures down from its pedestal last night and began reading it nonstop.  The first chapters retell the importance of the Sex Pistols first three shows.  Hook repeats several times that attendees were lucky to leave with their lives.  More when I finish it.  I'm trying hard not to abuse the spine like I do with all my books.  I was that kid with the beat-ass baseball cards.

Also reading The Writer of Modern Life, Essays on Charles Baudelaire by Walter Benjamin.  It's like walking into a room full of cabinets, knowing there are various treats and surprises behind every door.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Maceo Montoya's "Letters to the Poet from His Brother"

Maceo Montoya strikes again!  His new book, Letters to the Poet from His Brother, has just been released by Copilot Press, and it is absolutely breath-taking.  In this book, the painting, the poem, the prose are all intertwined, musing simultaneously.  As the poeta, Ángel Sandoval, always signs off--this is "Puro Chicanao Love!"

So in the spirit of gift-giving, purchase two books if possible: one for yourself, and one for someone you love dearly.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

M and I will be visiting El Salvador and Nicaragua this summer.  We're really excited.

Driving to work yesterday, I began thinking of Jack Agüeros and his Lord, Is This a Psalm? for no other reason but the immeasurable love of his work.  ¡Presente!

This weekend I want to visit the ocean.  One of my favorite spots in this city is the Sunset Cliffs.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Jennifer Tamayo's Poems Are the Only Real Bodies

Reading Jennifer Tamayo's Poems Are the Only Real Bodies.  Boom, for real!  An e-book version is available; the physical book has been sold out.

Listening to Brian Eno's Before and After Science, and aching for huevos rancheros this morning.  Lots to do today, and I'm suffering from a bad case of denial.

Friday, May 16, 2014


Just got home and trying to escape the momentary heat.  I'm listening to Slayer and typing this while on a break from Paul Auster's City of Glass.  Just finished chapter 9, the how malleable is language chapter.  Dialogue sounds like Beckett.  "Raining Blood" is on, and I'm bobbing my head thinking about chapter 10, and if I'll actually get back to the new manuscript tonight (halfway done!).  Overall, I'm excited as the guitar solo kicks in.  Will I practice my horn tonight?  I'm trying to learn "The Eraser" by Thom Yorke.  So much to do that it makes me thirsty.  Very thirsty.  I think I need to change the music now (just pushed shuffle) because my heart is beginning to race.  It's Cesaria Evora's "Sodade!"  Ahh, I think I will get back to the book and manuscript and horn tomorrow morning.  The music's too good to sit in a dark room on a Friday without a beverage in hand moping or hoping like a tiny action figure gripping a sword that isn't there.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Maceo Montoya Mural at Youth Facility


Mom and Dad
Spent the weekend celebrating my mother's birthday and mother's day that fall on the same day for her.  The cake was magnificent!  The carne asada and pollo asado the night before was awesome too.  I was on bbq patrol while the stuffed, I mean stuffed, ice chest squeaked my name every so often.  Beautiful weekend con la familia.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Ernesto Cardenal

Something's up with YouTube.  It's not allowing me to embed videos, but here's a special segment on the incomparable Ernesto Cardenal.  I absolutely love this!


Also up at Quietus--a review of Swans new album To Be Kind.

This tune, however, is an old favorite of mine.  I can't help being moved every time I hear it.

Poetry is not dead

Two Luna Miguel poems over at Quietus.  I especially enjoy "ROTTING OF THE HEART, OR BLACK HEART."

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Mercedes Sosa

We'll be watching Mercedes Sosa: The Voice of Latin America this week.  I can't wait!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Indie Cindy

I've been listening to the new Pixies album like a fiend.  So far, this song is the one I can't get enough of--

Monday, April 14, 2014

Every evening the face of First and Boyle reawakens
as streams of brown faces walk the calles' capillaries
Mexican men dressed in black mariachi suits seep
through the bloody arteries that breathe life into L.A.

from Verónica Reyes' "Mariachi Plaza 1990"

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The Los Angeles Times Book Fest and Chopper! Chopper!

I spent some time at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival this Saturday and picked up Verónica Reyes' Chopper!  Chopper!  I'm so excited to read this new collection.  From what I've read so far, the poems sizzle.  Reyes uses the long, muscular line, mixing Spanish-English bien suave.  

I also caught readings by Mei Mei Berssenbrugge and Garret Hongo.  Super cool!

Really want to catch Harreyette Mullen's reading and presentation Sunday, but couldn't be there.  Damn.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Just saw this documentary and was blown away.  The amazing artists ("spiritual warriors") Jodorowsky was able to gather for this ambitious mission is astounding.  The grandest sci-fi picture that was never made.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Currently reading:

Break it Down by Lydia Davis
Life of Dante by Giovanni Boccaccio
Selected Poems by Robert Desnos
Sorrowtoothpaste Mirrorcream by Kim Hyesoon

Friday, April 4, 2014

Thursday, April 3, 2014

SHS Visit

My visit to Southwest High School in El Centro last Friday was amazing.  The students were alive and full of fantastic questions.  Seeing former colleagues was great, too.  The love and support were certainly in the rooms I visited.  Thanks so much!  The Southwest High School Theater is beautiful!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

On My Way to Visit Southwest High School

Headed to El Centro to see family and friends and present/read at Southwest High School tomorrow morning.  I'm excited and nervous as always, but I'm sure it'll be fun.  One must just be a BELIEVER in situations like these!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

San Antonio's New Poet Laureate

A heartfelt abrazo to Laurie Ann Guerrero who will be sworn in as San Antonio's new Poet Laureate in April.  Congratulations!

I finally got my hands on a trumpet.  One I can call my very own.  Been practicing scales, trying to strengthen the lips.  I've been adding accompaniment to my favorite songs by Elvis Depressedly, such as this one and this one and this one.  Or the lullaby I sing to my wife before we go to sleep.

Just finished watching Guy Maddin's Brand Upon the Brain.  I had to watch it in segments--it's a visual assault in a good way--and eventually got through it.  I wish I could've experienced the film at the theater with the live orchestra and the live narrations.  The film was fantastic, though I prefer The Saddest Music in the World.  

I can't wait for Friday.  I will be visiting my old school, the school I used to teach at, that is, called Southwest High School in El Centro.  I'll be doing a presentation and reading.  It's been several years since I've been back, and it will be great to see old friends, and of course, the current students.
I snatched this great video from Silliman's blog about "Bucky" Fuller's association with Black Mountain.  It's a great introduction to Fuller's ideas about education and the importance of "learning by doing."

NBC News on Border Gridlock

I ran across this article on NBC News this morning.  It details the grueling day that day laborers experience between Mexicali, the Imperial Valley, and Yuma, Arizona.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Empire of Neomemory

I'm currently sixty pages into Heriberto Yépez's book The Empire of Neomemory.  It's a fascinating interrogation of Charles Olson's work and its various connections to Mexico.  In addition to Olson, Yépez considers others who have spent considerable time in Mexico, such as Burroughs, Artaud, Lawrence, Melville, and Bradbury.

From the back cover: 

Yépez begins with Olson in Mexico, with the possibility that he might be writing a study of Olson, a study of Olson's Mexico-philia.  But what he writes instead is a breathtaking investigation of the relation between USAmerican poetry and Empire that careens idiosyncratically through the great men of empire--not just Olson, but those many other men who also travelled to Mexico...This work is a dismantling of Olson, and of empire, and yet it is also clearly an inside job, a book that could only be written by someone who had spent hours thinking with and through--and beyond--Olson.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Two New Books

I'm currently reading two books published this year by Action Books.  First is SORROWTOOHPASTE MIRRORCREAM by Kim Hyesoon and translated by Don Mee Choi.  And the second is Rain of the Future by Valerie Mejer, edited by C.D. Wright with translations by Forrest Gander and A.S. Zelman-Doring.  Rain of the Future also includes an intro/forward by none other than Raul Zuríta.  

Both of these books, as I am reading them together in tandem, are swimming in my bloodstream like two high-powered stimulants.  I can't put them down.  They're in the water I drink.  They're in the toothpaste.  They're in the papercut I suffered opening an envelope yesterday.  They're all over my sunburned face after playing a few sets of volleyball this weekend with the homies.  They're in my hands right now as I type this post with my nose and read them with my peripherals.  Such strange, visceral, frightening beauty!

More later when I finish.  Until then, here's an interview with Kim Hyesoon and a YouTube of Valerie Mejer.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

from Ted Berrigan's Sonnets, XLIII, opened at random

in my paintings for they are present
Dreams, aspirations of presence!  And he walks
Wed to wakefulness, night which is not death


Monday, March 3, 2014

Interview and Asco

Check out this short interview I did with poeta Lauro Vasquez a few weeks ago at Letras Latinas. There's mention of east L.A.'s Asco, the mega cool group that tore it up for so many years.  Below is a video I found that I've never seen until today.  

Saturday, March 1, 2014

I was a little behind on this one, but I'm really enjoying Thundercat's album Apocalypse.  Dude is super smart, brilliant!, and someone I'd just love to listen to talk comics, music, etc.  

Speaking of music, Silvio Rodríguez is going to be in Rosarito this month.  O goodness!

Friday, February 28, 2014

The rain and wind is finally pounding San Diego, and all of the streets are wet, and the trees are swaying, and if I could just reach out and grab the pair of shoes I left on the flower pot!  My avocado tree is slumped over, ducking, cursing maybe, its little avocado buds bathing like little green christmas lights in the corner, saying rain is good, rain is good, we'll be fine.

Thought I'd post one of my favorite John Cale songs.  This is a version I actually like more than the original.  I've been really into Cale lately, more so than ever, I suppose, for what reason, I have no idea.

Tonight feels like a perfect night to work on some poems.  Or to watercolor.  Or to cross my legs and shut my eyes and evict all thoughts of neutrality.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Last Few Days

Last week's readings at the University of Notre Dame and New York University were an amazing experience.  Although the weather threatened to halt the trip altogether on a couple of occasions, everything worked out.  I met a lot of wonderful people who made the trip exceptional. 

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!

Frosty Notre Dame

NYU's Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House

I've been reading and enjoying immensely Joe Ceravolo's Collected Poems.  Before this, I'd only read the offerings provided by the first edition of the Norton Postmodern American Poetry Anthology.  This book is certainly a treasure.

I've also been reading Will Alexander's Compression & Purity.  It makes my head spin in a benevolent intoxication.  I return to his "My Interior Vita" periodically and relish the passages detailing his introductions to jazz and lit.  

While waiting for a tire rotation and oil change yesterday, I sat and read from one of my prized possessions:

Sunday, February 2, 2014

February Readings

I want to share a few readings I will be participating in the month of February.  If you're in the area, please drop in and check it out.

February 12th 
University of Notre Dame

February 14th 
New York University
with Laurie Ann Guerrero and Javier O. Huerta

February 15th 
El Taller Latino Americano, New York, New York
with Laurie Ann Guerrero and Javier O. Huerta

Thursday, January 23, 2014

New Cesar Chavez Documentary

New documentary about Cesar Chavez will be hitting the Sundance Film Festival.  Watch Richard Ray Perez discuss his new documentary here at Democracy Now.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Embrace the Hypnotic Towel

You can purchase The Yearning Feed now as we speak.  You can purchase The Yearning feed now as we speak.  You can purchase The Yearning Feed now as we speak.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wanda Coleman Tribute

This Saturday will be Wanda Coleman's tribute at the Mark Taper Auditorium-Central Library in Los Angeles.  I really want to attend this very special event.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

S. O. S.

Be sure to click on the links:

SHOULD rap lyrics be used in court as evidence of a crime?

Next week, the Supreme Court of New Jersey will hear a case that could help decide just that. At issue is a prosecutor’s extensive use of rap lyrics, composed by a man named Vonte Skinner, as evidence of his involvement in a 2005 shooting.

“If you believe that I'm a cop killer, you believe David Bowie is an astronaut.” 
― Ice-T

Here's another article to consider on this very important birthday:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Frank Lima

I found this great title by Frank Lima at the new Central Library here in San Diego.  Pow!

And this is the cool author's pic on the back sleeve.   

Friday, January 3, 2014

I'm determined to catch  Slavoj Zizek and The Pervert's Guide to Ideology this Saturday or Sunday.  It's gonna be interesting, I'm sure.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

Who's surveilling whom in 2014?

I just finished John Yau's In the Realm of Appearances: The Art of Andy Warhol.  I read the entire book in a single sitting New Year's Eve morning.  Fascinating analysis and overview of several key aspects of Warhol's life and work.