Saturday, April 28, 2012

Letras Latinas is pleased to announce: 2 prizes

Laurie Ann Guerrero

FIRST AND FOREMOST, Letras Latinas would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to all the poets around the country who submitted their manuscripts to these two national prizes. From the beginning---by not requiring a fee to submit to either---we've wanted to create a different ethos than what the traditional contest circuit offers. Perhaps I'm being naive, but I'd like to think that the poets who invested the time and postage to send their work imagined themselves as part of that community "coming together in the spirit of shared experience" that Rigoberto González so eloquently alluded to yesterday in his generous blog post at Harriet

I think I got a virtual glimpse of it yesterday as Facebook blossomed with warm wishes for the poets whose manuscripts were chosen for publication---including from poets whose manuscripts were among those not, in the end, selected. 

Gracias, as well, to our judges, Francisco X. Alarcón and Orlando Menes; to University of Notre Dame Press, who said yes to our first book prize eight years ago; to Red Hen Press (thanks Kate) for joining the Letras Latinas familia as publisher of our second/third book prize; to the Ragdale Foundation (thanks Susan) for saying yes (see below); to the creative writing faculty at UTEP for saying yes (see below); to Lauro Vazquez, who assisted with the logistics of coordinating these two prizes; and, finally, to Laurie Ann Guerrero, Dan Vera, William Archila, Li Yun Alvarado, Adela Najarro, and Pablo Miguel Martínez: thank you for saying yes.
--fa
2012  Award Citation for the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize

A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying by Laurie Ann Guerrero is a stunning collection of moving poems.  Here, poetry is both universal and very local; the personal turns collective in the mode of Tomás Rivera’s Chicano classic …Y no se lo tragó la tierrra / And the Earth Did Not Swallow Him. The authenticity and the plurality of the poetic voices strike the reader for their uncommon accomplished originality.
This is the poetry of both saints and sinners (and even murderers). The poet conjures up Pablo Neruda, Gloria Anzaldúa, Sylvia Plath, and rooted in the best Latin American, Chicano/a, and contemporary American poetics, is able to render an effective poetic version of Nepantla, the land where different traditions meet, according to Anzaldúa. These poems make the reader laugh, cry, cringe, lose one’s breath, and almost one’s mind, at times. 
Tongue becomes the ever-present image. In the opening poem, “Preparing the Tongue,” a cow’s tongue is sliced in preparation for cooking, “…I choke down / the stink of its heated moo, make carnage / of my own mouth, add garlic.”  The poet handles pen and butcher knife with the same great dexterity.  Upon summoning up childhood memories, the poet pleads, “Open your jaw. / Let the eye of your tongue see … / how we licked the fat black olives from tamales…”  Yes, here, poems become ultimately licking tongues.
A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying is a collection of poems that would haunt the reader and won’t be easy to forget. I celebrate and praise the power of these poems that engage the great diversity of human reality with empathy, and do this, also with tremendous imagination.  These poems restore my faith in the power of poetry.
 Francisco X. Alarcón, final judge
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Our final judge assigned the distinction of Honorable Mention to the following three works submitted to the 5th edition of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize:
Words or Water 
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Twice Told Over
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 Brazos, Carry Me
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The Guide to Imaginary Monuments
to be published by Red Hen Press
in 2013
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The Gravedigger's Archeology
to be published by Red Hen Press
in 2015
Orlando Ricardo Menes will be writing an introduction for each book.
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Readings 
(subject to additions and modifications)
Laurie Ann Guerrero and Francisco X. Alarcón will be invited to read at the University of Notre Dame after the publication of A Tongue in the Mouth of the Dying.
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Letras Latinas is pleased to announce a new partnership with the Department of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso. The winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and the winner of Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize will be invited to read, jointly, in El Paso, TX upon the publication of their winning books. First pairing: Laurie Ann Guerrero and Dan Vera.


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Laurie Ann Guerrero will be invited to read in Kansas City, MO. Venue and host to be unveiled in 2013.
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Dan Vera will be invited to read in Chicago, upon the publication of The Guide to Imaginary Monuments. He will be joined by Orlando Ricardo Menes. William Archila will read in Chicago upon the publication of his winning book. Venue to be announced in 2013.
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Red Hen Press will invite Dan Vera and William Archila to read in Los Angeles upon the publication of their winning books. Venue to be announced in 2013.
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Letras Latinas will invite Dan Vera and William Archila to read in Washington, D.C. upon the publication of their winning books. Venue to be determined.
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Red Hen Press and Letras Latinas will invite Dan Vera and William Archila to read in New York upon the publication of their winning books. Venue to be determined.
Ragdale
The Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, IL will award the winner of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize, upon the publication of their winning book, a two-week residency at Ragdale.
Letras Latinas Fund
Letras Latinas is creating a modest fund from which winners of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize can be reimbursed for expenses related to readings they set up for themselves, upon the publication of their winning book.
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Letras Latinas relies on the generosity of its individual donors to carry out its programs. Among our current fundraising initiatives, as readers of Letras Latinas Blog know, is:

2 comments:

msedano name box said...

fabulous planning and excellent plans.
mvs

Andrea (Andee) Beltran said...

Happy I live in El Paso and will be able to attend these readings! Looking forward to it.