Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize et al

The reading this evening featuring Gabriel Gomez and Valerie Martínez went without a hitch. Curiously enough, there was a journalist present from the newspaper at Indiana University South Bend (IUSB). I asked if she'd be willing to let me post whatever she writes. She seemed willing, so we'll see if she sends it along. Joyelle McSweeney, as I expected, delivered a very sharp introduction to Gabe's presentation. I'm going to ask if she'll let me post it, as well. One thing we did different this time, where the music was concerned, is that we asked each poet to curate a 15-minute selection of music. I loved how it turned out in that it gave us all a glimpse into the sensibilities of the poets as music listeners. Valerie, who read first, chose tracks from the soundtrack of Frida, which included a track by Lila Downs. Gabe, for his part, curated a selection that mostly consisted of blues, some of it out of New Orleans.

In the past, we'd ask each Chloe's Cabaret poet to read two separate 15-minute sets. But this time, since they each wanted to read from long poems, they each read on their own, with Valerie going first. Valerie read from her book-length poem, "To Each and Her"--a collage poem inspired by the murders of the women of Juarez. Gabe read two prose poems, and then read his entire title piece, "The Outer Bands." Afterwards, a quite lively Q&A took place (one of the best we've had) with the graduate MFA poets asking some very good questions. One thing that was made clear, by the end of the night, based on the eloquent answers that both poets gave, is that there is no one "Latino" poetry. I think the last word, for now, on this point is in the form of a question, which Valerie posed:

How does culture inhabit language?


I had a stimulating interview with Gabe for our Oral History Project in the morning, and Orlando conducted his with Valerie, though I did not sit in. I'll have to wait, as they say, for the DVD. And at some point, it'll get posted on the web here.

And speaking of interviews, Eduardo C. Corral has just posted his interview with Kevin A. González. And what an interview: Kevin provides some meaty, but also playful answers. In short, it's a fun interview to read, but also insightful for what it reveals about one of the most talented young writers today. After a stint at Eduardo's place, it will eventually get re-posted (and archived) over at Momotombo Press' website along with other Momotombo interviews.

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