Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A New Rhyme: Valadez/Melendez, or Maria to the rescue...

First things first: Letras Latinas and The Guild Complex trusts and prays that Javier Huerta and his loved ones are okay and that the nature of his personal emergency, which prevents him from reading in PALABRA PURA this evening, is not of a serious a nature. We will miss hearing him perform his fine work. But more importantly, again, we hope things in his orbit are back on the mend.


As luck would have it, poet and Momotombo Press acquisitions and managing editor Maria Melendez is currently on a plane heading to Chicago: she has graciously agreed to pinch hit at PALABRA PURA tonight. The evening, therefore, still promises to be a vital and interesting contrast of styles.

Maria was going to be present at the reading tonight anyway, along with fifteen very special guests: 15 school teachers from around the United States who are currently taking part in a four-week seminar on the teaching of poetry in schools at DePaul University, which is being led by Eric Murphy Selinger.

Tomorrow morning, Maria Melendez will be leading a three-hour session on the teaching of Latino poetry to k-12 students. This is what is bringing her to Windy City, and what is keeping me here an extra day. Among the texts the seminar participants have been reading are: The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry; Maria Melendez's How Long She'll Last In This World; "Gringo with Baedeker, Cortez in Kevlar" by Eric Selinger; the correspondence between Javier Huerta and Eric Selinger that was generated as a result of Selinger's aforementioned essay/review. In her presentation tomorrow, Melendez will also be using some of the poetry of Luis Valadez. I will be present, as well, and I am very much looking forward to meeting these generous individuals who want to make space for Latino poetry in at least 15 non-college classrooms around the U.S.


Here is Maria Melendez being interviewed by Steven Cordova as part of Letras Latinas' Oral History Project. Note: scroll down to the 11th interview.

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