Tuesday, November 18, 2008

In Praise of Partnerships--Old and NEW

Four years ago, on the Notre Dame campus, my boss asked me to sit in on a conference call by speaker phone. Afterwards, those of us present in his office weighed in on a possible partnership between the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) and a Spanish-language monthly in Chicago.

I’m speaking of contratiempo.

A week later contratiempo’s then Executive Director and associates drove to South Bend to tell us more about their journal. The partnership was sealed and, since then, in every issue, contratiempo translates into Spanish an ILS article from our department of research and publishes it. Our section is called, latinidad. The journal, which I would describe as multi-faceted and progressive, is broken up into various sections: editorial, dossier, the aforementioned latinidad, mirada cómplice, tiempo extra, tiempo de sobra, and a literary section: deshoras which, in one issue, published a selection of poems by Francisco X. Alarcón. I remember him specifically telling me he'd read, cover to cover, the issue in which he appeared. He was very impressed. Its circulation goes well beyond Chicago and, for that matter, the United States. Currently at the helm of contratiempo is Moira Pujols, whom I've had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with at various events in Chicago.

With the Guild Complex, it was the same: I got a phone call, followed by a visit to South Bend from Executive Director, fiction writer and Macondista Ellen Wadey and current board president and poet Michael Puican. Over lunch we hammered out the details of our collaboration. PALABRA PURA was born. We will be launching season four the day after Barack Obama takes office.

But as coincidence would have it, the Guild Complex had also reached out to contratiempo and they, too, have helped promote PALABRA PURA in their pages and have helped the local curation committee by recommending Spanish-language poets in the Chicago area. In other words, the partnership between the Guild, Letras Latinas and contratiempo has been flourishing now for four years. My sources tell me that the Guild had a modest hand, behind the scenes, in helping spark the beginnings of a new partnership---one that merits our attention and support:

contratiempo and Poetry

Tomorrow, at Café Efebos in Pilsen in Chicago, contratiempo and Poetry magazine will be presenting a bilingual poetry program---a program featuring, to be sure, two PALABRA PURA alums: Jorge Frisancho, who will be reading the poems of the late Roberto Bolaño and Jorge Sánchez (who has a poem in the November issue of Poetry), who will reading his own work. So if you’re in Chicago, please consider checking this out; if you’re not and you know someone who is, encourage them. In short, spread the word.

CLICK HERE for more information.

Any literary partnerships out there worth knowing about?

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