I've just received word that The Wind Shifts will be going into its second printing, which I think is pretty good considering it's only been out a little over a year. I bring up The Wind Shifts because a few months ago, out of the blue, I got a very nice e-mail from Fresno-based poet, Lee Herrick, just to let me know how much he was enjoying the anthology. Herrick is the founding editor of In the Grove, a literary journal based in California's Central Valley. In the Grove is coming out with a special issue on the late Andrés Montoya. Herrick was recently interviewed about his journal, Andrés Montoya, and the very special event taking place this Thursday in Fresno, to honor Andrés' memory. I love how Herrick relates the origin of his magazine's name. Here's the interview. Herrick is the author of the poetry collection, This Many Miles from Desire, which was profiled in one of Rigoberto González's "shout outs" during his blogging stint at the Poetry Foundation.
And speaking of Andrés Montoya: now is as good a time as any to re-vive, here---"here" being Electronic Poetry Review---one of the very few reviews I've penned: on Andrés' touchstone of a book. And as Martín Espada deliberates with the finalist manuscripts of the third edition of the prize that honors his memory, here is the online piece that tells the story of how the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize came to be, along with profiles of its first two winners. And to close out this section, here is the first Montoya Prize winner reviewing the second Montoya Prize winner, or: one El Paso-native reviewing another El Paso native in, where else, the El Paso Times!
Poetas y Pintores in Utah and other Logan notes
This was the seventh stop of the tour. As usual, the most gratifying thing about attending the opening reception and events surrounding it, was meeting new friends and seeing old ones. María Meléndez and I couldn't quite pinpoint when we last spent time with Demetria Martínez, but it was around, we thought, four or so years ago when she came to Notre Dame for a Catholic writers conference. On this occasion, I felt honored to share the stage with a her and poet Aleida Rodríguez at a poetry reading that was a part of the O.C. Tanner Symposium, which I mentioned a couple of posts ago. Another highlight was visiting the gravesite of the poet May Swenson, and listening to Aleida Rodríguez read one of her own poems there, to honor this under-appreciated (Swenson) poet. I have to admit that I was not overly familiar with Swenson's life and work. But after my time in Logan, that is going to change: among the new friends I met was poetry scholar, Paul Crumbley. It seems that Crumbley, in part on the occasion of this symposium, decided this semester to dive right in and teach a senior seminar on Latino literature, even though it was not a field he was familiar with. Judging from my extended conversations with him (and one of his students, William), it seems to have been such an enriching experience that his interest in Latino poetry, in particular, has taken wing.
Crumbley is a leading Emily Dickinson scholar and perhaps the person most responsible for bringing renewed attention to the life and work of Swenson. He is author of, Inflections of the Pen: Dash and Voice (on Dickinson), and the co-editor of, Body My House: May Swenson's Work and Life. In short, it did not take much persuasion, on my part, to ask him to consider future collaborations with Latino Poetry Review. As he shared with me: doing close readings of poems is what he most enjoys. Amen to that.