Monday, February 9, 2009

Latinos and Latinas at AWP (part 3)

For those joining us late, let's re-visit the numbers:

57 Latino and Latina poets, writers, teachers, other literary folk are taking part on 34 panels.

In addition to the insider's glimpse of the 4 panels discussed previously by elena minor, Blas Falconer, and Gabe Gomez, here are 8 more panels involving 18 more Latino/as at this year's AWP conference:

THURSDAY, February 12

1:30 – 2:45 PM

"Building, Breaking, Rebuilding: Six Chicago Literary Landscapers."

(Ellen Placey Wadey, Erin Teegarden, Krista Franklin, Joel Craig, Jennifer Karmin, Irasema González) We are the bold sluggers who run Chicago's independent reading series. Set vividly against the established grid, we build literary communities in neighborhoods from the ground up. How are we thriving in the face of our challenges? Less like a panel and more like a virtual show-and-tell, organizers from a diverse group of popular, D-I-Y reading serieses discuss building, breaking from, and rebuilding Chicago's literary landscape.

3:00 – 4:15 PM
(3 to choose from)

"Something to Declare? Writers Discuss America's Internal Border."

(Stacy Leigh, Luis Alberto Urrea, Tyehimba Jess, Achy Obejas, Roger Sedarat) The United States sees itself as a land of racial, ethnic, and cultural convergences. Yet time and again, publishers doubt American readers' willingness to cross cultural borders, even for a good story. Many readers seem unaware of, or seriously misinformed about, the wealth of American perspectives to be found in all genres of contemporary writing. How do writers cope with these strikes against their work? How does persistent cultural amnesia on the part of American readers and perpetual skepticism on the part of critics and publishers affect the writer's approach to storytelling? Four writers tell of highs, lows and, ultimately, successes in bringing their stories to broad audiences.

"Writing Class / Writing Gender."

(Teresa Carmody, Selah Saterstrom, Corrina Wycoff, Ali Liebegott, Veronica Gonzalez) The stories of poor women have been traditionally written realistically, in order to faithfully depict the grind and grit of poverty to readers often presumed to be not-poor. What happens to the reality of poor women when rendered in non-realist, non-naturalist writing? Is realism actually more artificial than the sometimes surreal state of being a have-not? This panel presents five women writers whose work addresses the realities of social class and gender in a not-strictly realist style.

"Political Poets of Portland Reading."

(Frances P. Adler, Cindy Williams Gutierrez, Gerardo Calderon, Willa Schneberg) Poet-dramatist Cindy Williams Gutierrez retrieves subversive voices of historical Aztec and Mexican figures. Mexican American musician Gerardo Calderon accompanies her on pre-Columbian flutes and drums. Poet Willa Schneberg worked in Cambodia for free elections and bears witness to the killing fields. Frances Payne Adler, who exhibits activist poetry in Capitol buildings, founded a Creative Writing and Social Action program. Come hear these Portland poets perform for peace and social justice.

4:30 – 5:45 PM

Las Mocosas Gritan: A Reading by Macondista Snot-noses.

(Lorraine Lopez, Gabriela Jauregui, Angie Chau, Daisy Hernandez, Erin Badhand, Laura Negrete) This cross-genre reading will present poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by a group of emerging women writers, all members of the Macondo Workshop established by Sandra Cisneros in San Antonio, Texas. These authors, who come from around the country and abroad—brought together through creativity and community activism—will share a variety of original works inspired by and in tribute to this extraordinary homeland for writers of color and other creative spirits at the margins.

FRIDAY, February 13

noon – 1:15 PM

"A Polyphony of Voices: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Poetry Faculty Reading."

(Brenda Cárdenas, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Rebecca Dunham, Kimberly Blaeser, James Liddy) The poetry faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's PhD program will read from their work, diverse in cultural, aesthetic, and thematic concerns, yet each containing a polyphony of voices and perspectives. Critics have praised their poetries' magical naturalism, inter-lingual syncretism, and introspective ekphrasis and have noted influences from Irish Modernism to Anishinabe cultural traditions.

1:30 – 2:45 PM

"Not Your Usual Workshop."

(Bonnie Rose Marcus, Robbie Q. Telfer, Regie Cabico, Victoria Sammartino, Johnny Vázquez Paz) Writers with extensive experience teaching workshops in non-traditional settings outside academia discuss the challenges, joys, and methods of teaching in afterschool centers, homeless shelters, senior centers, hospitals, and prisons and consider how their teaching informs their work as writers.

SATURDAY, February 14

3:00 – 4:15 PM

Latinos in Lotusland: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern California Literature.

(Daniel Olivas, Manuel Muñoz, Kathleen Alcalá, Michael Jaime-Becerra, Estella González) Latinos in Lotusland (Bilingual Press, 2008) is a landmark anthology spanning sixty years of Los Angeles fiction that includes the work of thirty-four Latino writers. We're introduced to a myriad of lives that defy stereotypes and shatter any preconceptions of what it means to be Latino in the City of Angels. These actors perform on a stage set with palm trees, freeways, mountains, and sand in communities from East L.A. to Malibu, Hollywood to the San Fernando Valley, Venice Beach to El Sereno, CA

I haven't done any comparisons with previous editions of the conference, but I would venture to say that Latino and Latina writers are represented in ways that seem more various than in previous years. I view it is a good sign that there so many Latino and Latina writers taking part in so many panels that aren't officially presented as "Latino" or "Latina." It's evidence, at least where the AWP annual conference is concerned, that Latinos and Latinas are becoming a regular part of the landscape. It would be interesting to see how previous conferences stack up.

1 comment:

Linda Rodriguez said...


You and your colleagues on the AWP board and planning committees have done a great job with this.