Sunday, January 6, 2013

Letras Latinas’ Look Back at 2012

Happy New Year! Before we resume our posting for 2013, Letras Latinas would like to offer you an end-of-the-year-review of the stories that most moved and intrigued our readers in 2012. The posts I’ve profiled and linked to below are posts that both showed the highest amount of traffic for each particular month and that also reflected what are called “Letras Latinas Presents” events (these functions together  form a roster of events and partnerships with literary allies around the country that comprise our “season” at any given academic year) and also reflected Letras Latinas’ commitment to enhancing the visibility, appreciation and study of Latino literature both on and off the campus of the University of Notre Dame. Without further delay:


FLORICANTO ISSUE of Beltway Poetry Quarterly

Letras Latinas/ Red Hen Poetry Prize winner Dan Vera’s poem “If You Want To Purify America’s Textbooks of Ethnic Studies,” is one of the twenty-six poems you’ll read in this winter issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly, an issue that aims to profile what was the February 4, 2011, event called “Floricanto in DC: A Multicultural Response to SB1070”—in reference to Arizona’s anti-immigrant law.

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Emma Trelles interviews Emily Pérez

Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize winner and author of Tropicalia (University of Notre Dame Press) interviews Rio Grande Valley native, critic and poet Emily Pérez. In this interview Emma Trelles profiles Pérez chapbook Backyard Migration Route (Finishing Line Pres). Here is an excerpt from the poem “Heritage:”

            It bore no return address, no
vaccination tags. It smelled somewhat
like imposters, or improbability.
It grew pale in the flashlight’s beam
and would not say its name.
We soaped and scrubbed, but
it would not come clean. We requested
that it wear a robe or hat, that it fold
its hands upon its lap, feet under its seat.
And where to keep it?

Latino/a Poetry Now: 3 Poets Discuss their Art

Installment one of Latino/a Poetry Now kicked off with rich and poignant conversation moderated by Maria Melendez between poets Eduardo C. Corral, Rosa Alcalá and Aracelis Girmay on the Poetry Society of America’s “3poets discuss their art” roundtable in anticipation of the kick-off reading at Harvard University.

Here is an excerpt from Maria Melendez moving afterward:

“It seems that Whitman's claim—I am large, and contain multitudes—applies to the poets here, whether it be that the individual person contains multitudinous stories, histories, relationships and experiences, or that the individual exists at the point of multitudinous connections between his own and others' (real and imagined) stories, histories, relationships and experiences.”

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Daniel Borzutzky @ ND

Chicago-based Chilean-American poet and translator, Daniel Borzutzky—a palabra pura reader featured at the guild literary complex—kicked-off the 45th edition of the Notre Dame Literary Festival.

Daniel Borzutzky is the author of The Book of Interfering Bodies (Nightboat, 2011); The Ecstasy of Capitulation (BlazeVox, 2007) and Arbitrary Tales (Ravenna Press, 2005). His translations include Jaime Luis Huenún’s Port Trakl in 2008 and Raúl Zurita’s Song for his Dissapeared Love in 2010 and both published by Notre Dame’s very own Action Books.

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Portrait of Generosity: Manuel Paul López

CantoMundo fellow and author of Death of a Mexican and Other Poems (Bear Star Press, 2006), Manuel Paul López was not only profiled for being awarded a San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst Fund Individual Artist Fellowship but also for his generosity in contributing to the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize Initiative, a biennial Letras Latinas initiative which supports the publication of a first book by a Latino or Latina poet; and the publication of a posthumous book of poetry by Andrés Montoya, edited and introduced by Chicano writer, Daniel Chacón.

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On Monday the 16th we had the honor of introducing the winner of the fourth edition of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, Emma Trelles, who read alongside judge, Silvia Curbelo at McKenna Hall, the building housing the Institute for Latino Studies here at Notre Dame. Click below for a gallery and account of this milestone event:

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 Letras Latinas is pleased to announce: 2 prizes

Letras Latinas gives a shout-out to the finalists and judges (Francisco X Alarcón and Ricardo Orlando Menes) who submitted to the 2012 edition of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize and the first edition of the Letras Latinas/ Red Hen Poetry Prize and of course to the winners Laurie Ann Guerrero (Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize) and Dan Vera and William Archila (Letras Latinas/ Red Hen Poetry Prize).

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Ms Gimenez-Smith Goes to Washington

CantoMundo fellow Carmen Gimenez-Smith visited Washington D.C. to read for the NPR initiative “NewsPoet” and to read from her four published books (three poetry, one prose) for a Letras Latinas initiative: recording U.S.-based, Letras Latinas-affiliated writers for the “Archive of Hispanic Literature on Tape.”

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LETRAS LATINAS is pleased to announce…

Sara Campos is a fiction writer of Guatemalan descent. Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in a number of publications, including St. Ann’s Review, Rio Grande Review, and San Francisco Chronicle. In June she was announced the 2012 recipient of the Letras Latinas Residency Fellowship. She was thus in residence at the Anderson Center in Red Wing Minnesota in July and a received a $1000 stipend. This annual distinction is part of an ongoing partnership between Letras Latinas and the Anderson Center.

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An Interview with Melinda Palacio

Letras Latinas had to pleasure of hosting Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize finalist Adela Najarros interview with novelist Melinda Palacio author Ocotillo Dreams for which she was awarded the Mariposa Award for the Best First Book at the 14th Annual Latino Book Awards 2012.
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An Interview with Javier O. Huerta

Letras Latinas profiles Javier O. Huerta’s America Copia: An Immigrant Epic (Arte Público Press). “I am going to the grocery store.” That was the line poet Javier O. Huerta was asked to write during his citizenship interview process. That simple line, years later, would become American Copia: An Immigrant Epic, Huerta’s second collection of poems. Using a vignette form, a play, and even text messages, Huerta weaves together a poetic narrative that breaks the illusion that we live in a land of bountiful substance. Here, a mere trip to the grocery store unveils the political, cultural and economic nuances hidden away between the aisles of our supermarkets.

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Xánath Caraza: A Book Review, An Interview

Letras Latinas reviews and interviews Xánath Caraza author of the bilingual chapbook Corazón  Pintado (TL Press). In her bilingual chapbook Corazón Pintado (TL Press, 2012) traveler, educator and short story writer, Xánath Caraza, conjures up a collection of ekphrastic poems which summon both the indigenous and African roots of Mexico and which take the reader through a trip of visual and rhythmic narratives which   descend “in to the heart of things” and celebrate art works by visual artists Israel Nazario, José Jesus Chán Guzmán and Thomas Weso. Click below for an interview and book review profiling Caraza’s work.

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Mi testimonio es así…

First year CantoMundo fellows reflect on CantoMundo. In introducing—for the second time now—these brief testimonios by first year CantoMundo fellows, I keep going back to CantoMundo’s mission statement: “Through workshops, symposia, and public readings, CantoMundo provides a space for the creation, documentation, and critical analysis of Latino/a poetry.” And I again keep going back to the word “collaboration,” this word more than any other word captures for me the spirit of CantoMundo 2012. Collaboration for me implies a creative friction, a flint of the imagination that can light the fireplace of what has truly become a home for Latino/a poetics.

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“Letras Latinas Presents:” 2012/2013

Letras Latinas announces its “season” for the academic year 2012/2013. What “Letras Latinas Presents” is in essence is a roster of events and partnerships with literary allies around the nation that together form a Letras Latinas “season.” With the exception of Latino/a Poetry Now, which is a multi-year “season” of sorts, as well as a partnership, this list of events mark a Letras Latinas season. For a full list of events click below:

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Letras Latinas welcomes Lynda Letona

During the month of September Letras Latinas had the honor and pleasure of meeting and welcoming Lynda Letona to the Institute for Latino Studies family at the campus of Notre Dame. Raised in Guatemala and California, Lynda Letona is a poetry candidate in Notre Dame’s M.F.A. program in creative writing. Below is a link to an interview for Letras Latinas which Lynda graciously agreed to.

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Fred Arroyo @ ND

Sponsored by Letras Latinas, the Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies, the José E. Fernández Hispanic Studies Caribbean Initiative, and the Creative Writing Program, “Western Avenue: Fred Arroyo reads from his fiction,” was—with standing-room only—nothing short than a success.

Fred Arroyo, assistant professor of English at the University of South Dakota, is the author of The Region of Lost Names: A Novel (University of Arizona Press). A recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, he has published fiction, poetry, and essays in various literary journals (Crab Orchard Review, Pinyon, Washington Square, North Dakota Quarterly).  In October Letras Latinas had the pleasure of hosting Fred for a reading from his newest collection of short stories, Western Avenue and Other Fictions (University of Arizona Press). Click below for a re-cap and gallery of the event.

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Latino/a Poetry Now: installment 3: Saint Paul

Rigoberto González, Xochiquetzal Candelaria and Lorena Duarte kick-off the third installment of Latino/a Poetry Now at Macalester College in Saint Paul Minnesota. This particular installment of Latino/a Poetry Now not only marked a half-way milestone in this multi-year national reading series but also raised the bar as far as integrating the work of these poets with the academic curriculum at Macalester College—the on-site partner for Latino/a Poetry Now. Click below for an account and gallery of the event.

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Letras Latinas Roundtable: Nayelly Barrios and Lucas de Lima

This Letras Latinas roundtable (modeled after the Latino/a Poetry Now roundtables featured over the Poetry Society of America) was born from a gesture in keeping with Letras Latinas’ mission of collaborating with individuals in projects that seek to indentify and support emerging Latino/a writers, in this case we present you with a roundtable interview featuring Nayelly Barrios and Lucas de Lima, in conversation with myself (Lauro Vazquez) as moderator.

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An Interview with Carmen Calatayud….

Letras Latinas interviews Carmen Calatayud author of In the Company of Spirits (Press 53). In the Company of Spirits is Carmen’s debut collection of poems and in it we find a voice that weaves a poetry of testimonio which is—as one could expect—both personal and political but which also blurs the line between the world of the sacred and the spiritual.

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