Monday, May 7, 2007

NYC Dispatch/Desde Nueva York (1)

The purpose of "Latino Poetry Review" is to serve, if you will, as the weblog of Letras Latinas--the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Right now, suffice it to say that part of Letras Latinas' mission is to enhance the visibility and appreciation of Latino literature both on and off the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

Thus, this dispatch.

My four-day stint here originally centered around a reading I'm giving tomorrow night in the Bronx for ACENTOS, a reading series hosted by Rich Villar, who stepped in to curate after Oscar Bermeo moved to the west coast. I first learned of ACENTOS when I received an e-mail, out of the blue several months ago, by Villar asking for contact information for the poet, Steven Cordova. Rich wanted to invite Steven to read. When I went to the website to learn more about ACENTOS, it was gratifying to learn of its existence and mission. Right around that time Letras Latinas was in the midst of collaborating with the Guild Complex on PALABRA PURA. For more information on PP, stay tuned for an interview Lisa Alvarado is preparing for La Bloga.

I would like to think that ACENTOS and PALABRA PURA are siblings. My hope is that the spirit that sparked both of these initatives is replicated elsewhere--for reasons I won't dwell on right now. I'm grateful to Oscar and Rich for lighting this fuse.

Tonight, I had the pleasure of attending the latest installment of another series. Curated by Rigoberto Gonzalez, The Quetzal Quill, while not exclusively Chicano/Latino-focused, has featured Urayoán Noel, María Melendez, and Brenda Cárdenas--poets who have read in Chicago (or are slated to read) for PALABRA PURA, and who have read in the Bronx (or are slated to read) for ACENTOS.

The poets I had the pleasure of hearing last night were Cynthia Cruz and Ada Limón, who both read in PALABRA PURA's first season, and fiction writer, Manuel Munoz, who is promoting his new book, The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue. The reading took place at the Cornelia Street Café.

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