Friday, October 30, 2009

THE WIND SHIFTS winds to a close...

The journey began in the winter of 2004 at a group dinner in Chicago during the AWP conference. Patti Hartmann, editor at University of Arizona Press, sat across the table from me and patiently heard my pitch. The 60-page proposal I later put together that summer included bios, poems, and a rationale for the book. The proposal went for review. A contract was signed. 2004 ended. 2005 came and went. 2006 came and went. In the meantime, I assembled the manuscript, another review took place, another contract was signed. And then the waiting began.

We had what I considered two launches: one took place in South Bend, IN at the home of Gil Cárdenas, my boss. Maria Melendez and Steven Cordova agreed to travel to the midwest to interview each other for the Letras Latinas Oral History Project, and then they read from the anthology in Gil's home gallery to a group invited guests, including Notre Dame's MFA students. Food was served. Libations flowed. The other launch took place at the CON TINTA gathering during the AWP Conference in Atlanta. Roughly half of the anthology contributors were present and each read a poem. Patti Hartmann was on hand and sold quite a few books. The Wind Shifts had arrived. This would have been the spring of 2007.

Shortly thereafter I put together and submitted a grant proposal to the National Association of Latino Art and Culture (NALAC). We landed a modest award, which we supplemented with private donations. We launched year One of "The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry ON TOUR" in February 2008 in Palm Beach FL at the Society of the Four Arts. My thanks to Richard Blanco for suggesting what ended up being, in the end, one of the tour's most welcoming venues. For year Two, we counted on the generosity of private donors once again, and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). My thanks to Ellen Wadey and the Guild Complex for submitting the consortium grant proposal, and for being our full partner in this enterprise.

The tour came to a close last night at Poet's House in New York. I wasn't there, feeling under the weather from an insane travel schedule. But reports indicate a good time was had by all. Thanks are in order:

Thank you to Rich Villar for stepping in to moderate the panel (in addition to already being a participant) at 6:30 PM. He was joined by Urayoán Noel, Gina Franco and Brenda Cárdenas. David Dominguez and Scott Inguito joined Brenda and Gina for the reading itself, which took place at 8:00PM

Thank you to Ellen Wadey, the Executive Director of the Guild Complex---our partner on this tour. She was able to travel to NYC for the finale and saw to final logistical details. Ellen is winding down her stint as ED of the Guild and she will be missed.

Thank you to Stephen Motika at Poet's House. I contacted Stephen about including Poet's House on this tour over two years ago! Stephen graciously organized the after-reading dinner at a nearby restaurant-café.

The meals, whether held after or before the readings, were an integral part of this tour: creating a space for the poets in the anthology to meet each other, often for the first time. Steven Cordova was present last night as I could hear his voice in the background when Ellen called to say how the evening had gone. I also know that Tara Betts was there, who made it to the dinner after her reading with Rachel McKibbens at The Bowery. I'm told that Poet's House video recorded the evening's proceedings. Stay tuned. I'm anticipating photos. Meanwhile, here's a quick visual re-cap from the past two years:

 Eduardo C. Corral reading at the King Library
at the Society of the Four Arts
in Palm Beach, FL (Feb. 2008)

 Sheryl Luna, Kevin Gonzalez, Eduardo C. Corral
at Society of the Four Arts
in Palm Beach, FL (Feb. 2008)

 Carl Marcum in Minneapolis, MN (May 2008)
beneath The Loft's marquee announcing The Wind Shifts tour.

 Emmy Pérez, Urayoán Noel, Francisco Aragón,
Carl Marcum, Venessa Fuentes (who works at the Loft),
Lorena Duarte (Loft board member) at the Loft
in Minneapolis, MN (May 2008)

      FA, Steven Cordova, Maria Melendez,
Deborah Paredez, Richard Blanco
      at Richard Hugo House in Seattle, WA
(Sept. 2008)

Paul Martinez Pompa and Lorna Dee Cervantes
at Moe's Bookstore in Berkeley, CA (Feb. 2009)

 Adela Najarro reading at Moe's (Feb. 2009)

Venessa Fuentes reading at Moe's (Feb. 2009)

 John Olivares Espinoza reading at Moe's (Feb. 2009)

 Paul Martinez Pompa and Venessa Fuentes
at pre-reading dinner in Berkeley, CA (Feb. 2009)

 Kevin A. González, Carolina Monsivais, Rosa Alcalá
at Decima Musa in Chicago (May 2009)

 Carolina Monsivais reading  (May 2009)

 Paul Martinez Pompa and Rosa Alcalá
at Decima Musa in Chicago (May 2009)

 John Olivares Espinoza, Brenda Cárdenas, Francisco Aragón
at the Kansas City Public Library before the penultimate reading (Sept. 2009

book signing in Kansas City after the reading (Sept. 2009)


Stay tuned for images from New York

And to all who made it to one of the readings in Palm Beach, Minneapolis, Seattle, Berkeley, Chicago, Kansas City, and/or New York:  Gracias!

A special final thanks, as well, to Scott Inguito, Adela Najarro, John Olivares Espinoza, and David Dominguez, for the anthology readings they organized and took part in, in California.


Suzanne said...

Wonderful recap, Francisco. Congratulations!!

Francisco Aragón said...

Thank you, Suzanne. It's been a long ride; it was fun and it was a privilege working with, and meeting along the way, all the great poets and supporters---in short, buena gente.

j. pluecker said...

Felicidades Francisco. The book is amazing.