Friday, April 22, 2011

The work continues: Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize Initiative

In the wake of Richard Montoya's visit to Notre Dame and the Institute for Latino Studies (ILS) in particular, now is as good a time as any to re-visit the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize Initiative.

Moments ago over on Facebook, Lee Herrick, who knew and was friends with Andrés, was kind enough to highlight the interview that Letras Latinas Blog had conducted back on February 16 with Daniel Chacón, an interview in which he gives a moving portrait of his friendship with the late California native. Daniel has undertaken the task of editing Colón-ization---a posthumous volume of poetry by Andrés Montoya. Part of the proceeds of our Initiative will go towards the cost of publishing this collection. The rest will go towards ensuring the long-term sustainability of the prize that honors Andrés' memory and supports the publication of a first book by a Latino or Latina poet.

Last fall in Los Angeles, readers of this blog may recall that Malaquias Montoya unveiled the silkscreen print he created, based on one of his son's poems, at the Latino Art Now conference. Here's Malaquias standing beside the print shortly after it was unveiled, which he framed himself and brought down to Los Angeles:

"Untitled" by Malaquias Montoya

The print was flown back to Indiana and Letras Latinas became its proud owner. That is: money from the Letras Latinas account has been set aside and earmarked for the Initiative. Thus, the first print was sold. The print now has a home in the reception area of the Institute for Latino Studies:

The vantage point above is just outside the entrance to the Institute's office. That is: we find ourselves standing in the area designated as Galería América, where the ILS holds its art exhibits. The print can be seen in the upper right corner of the photo above. Here's another view:

Here we find ourselves on the other side of the Institute's front door, in our reception area, looking out into our gallery space. And now, a closer glimpse:

This is new territory for Letras Latinas: selling art. And I knew that as a strategy was devised, and a list of potential buyers drawn up (both individuals and institutions), I could not, in good faith, stand on the sidelines... 

And so the second print was ordered and paid for. Malaquias was given notice, and the print was shipped, and then taken to a frame shop in Arlington, VA, and then brought home:

And unwrapped:

And hung:

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