Letras Latinas owes its presence at the Word for Word reading series to Paul, who contacted me out of the blue around three years ago. Paul's curatorial vision is an admirable hybrid model whose underpinning is collaboration. It's a mixture of curating slates of readers himself, to inviting an entity such as a press or collective to curate an evening, to establishing a theme, and then curating a slate--but always with input from people in the field.
When I was first invited to curate a Letras Latinas slate, Aracelis had to decline an invite as she was going to be out of the country. Instead she recommended a fine poet (Ruth Irupé Sanabria), who later went on to form part of the Latino/a Poetry Now initiative. It was special to finally be able to enjoy a reading by Aracelis in Bryant Park.
Just last night, I was on Cornelia Street in the Village and walked past the Cornelia Street Café: it was at this venue in around 2004 or thereabouts that I first met Urayoán. We shared a stage with Rigoberto González at an event curated and organized by the good folks behind the bilingual literary journal, Terra Incognita, edited out of Madrid, Spain and Brooklyn. At the time, Ura was promoting his singular art-object chapbook, Las Flores del Mall.
Kim Roberts, poet and editor of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, threw a party at her home in DC shortly after I arrived in the summer of 2007...where I met Dan Vera. What wasn't mentioned during introductions two nights ago at Bryant Park is that Dan is the inaugural winner of the Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize. He's slated to be back in New York next March 16, reading at Poet's House, with new book in hand!
Reading Room, Bryant Park
The gentleman in the foreground with his back to us, on the right, is John Fuller, store manager of the New York branch (located near Bryant Park) of Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore chain---the official Word for Word bookseller! You'll find him at every reading, selling books--all around nice guy.
Photos courtesy of Peter Montgomery.