Monday, November 30, 2009

Guadalajara Journal

Tonight I attended "Homenaje a José Emilio Pacheco" on the occasion of the poet's 70th birthday. It was fairly straightforward: a group of poets, including Pachco's long-time editor, formed a panel, which included Pacheco; they took turns reading a poem of his, offering a brief comment before each poem. Pacheco himself intervened when he felt it was relevant. It was quite an enjoyable session and I think it had to do with the tangible connection Pacheco establishes with his audience and the participants solid readings. Each panelist was adept at giving just the right length commentary before each poem. Here's a photo of Pacheco and his co-panelists before their session:

Marcelo Uribe, Emilio José Pacheco, Tamara Kamenszain,
Vicente Quirarte, Darío Jaramillo, Jorge Esquinca

During the day I attended a conversation between Spanish journalist Rosa Montero, and Turkish Nobel laureate, Orhan Pamuk. He was awarded the Nobel for literature in 2006. It was quite interesting dialogue that touched upon a number of subjects, including the role of politics in one's art, as well as how the Latin American boom was a huge influence on Pamuk's writing. His latest novel is The Museum of Innocence . At one point he quoted a Mexican author, whose name I failed jot down, but who had said something like, "A novelist is someone who hears voices..."


But mostly what I did today was hang out here:
LA Pavilion

The remaining two copies of Latinos in Lotusland (Bilingual Press) sold. The highlight, though, was engaging with a well dressed, middle-aged woman who was seated on one of the cushioned benches provided for visitors. She was paging through an English-language literary journal that includes quite a bit of poetry, which was my in:

---Le gusta leer la poesía en inglés?
---Sí, pero también los cuentos...busco algo que tenga un poco de todo.
---Si me permita, creo que tengo un libro para usted.

And with that I walked over to a book shelf and retrieved, Under the Fifth Sun: Latino Literature from California (Heyday Books), walked back and handed it to her and said:

---Este libro incluye tanto poesía como prosa Se trata de una antología que reune escritores de origin hispano pero que escriben en inglés, y que tengan una relación con California."

A native of Baja California, she ended up buying it, as well as, it turns out, De Amor Oscuro/Of Dark Love (Moving Parts Press) by Francisco X. Alarcón. Book sellers and librarians are slated to turn out in large numbers tomorrow.
One of the people I met yesterday was the Editor of Luvina, which is the University of Guadalajara's literary journal. His name is Victor Ortiz Partida, and he mentioned to me that their current issue is available online and is devoted to, what else, Los Angeles. Here's a link:


 And finally:

Daniel Hernández is a native of California and former journalist for the L.A. Times. He currently lives in Mexico City and is under contract with a New York house to complete a nonfiction book about the punk scene in DF. With his permission:

    We piled into a combi. These low-ceiling minivans converted into stop-and-go public transit units are as common to the long-range commute experience in Mexico City as the metro. Most people who live in the city's far-away suburbs in the State of Mexico use a combination of both---combi and metro---to go about their everyday lives. The insides of the vans are hollowed out and fitted with tiny carpeted seats. 
    "I want to show you something," Reyes said, pulling a new item out of his backback, a worn manila folder. Reyes held it as though it were a holy book. He handed it to me and I opened it delicately on my lap. Inside, page after page of old-school punk testimony. Drawings, crudely typed or scrawled personal histories, photocopied flyers and photographs. "I want to make a book," Reyes said, pressing his fingers against the papers inside. "The true history."
 an excerpt from The Lake of Fire by Daniel Hernández

Hernández made the trip to Guadalajara to hang out, and take part in one panel. He blogs HERE.



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