Letras Latinas, the literary program of the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), has partnered with Noemi Press to launch the AKRILICA series, which will showcase new books by Latino/a writers.
The inaugural volume is Boxing the Compass by Sandy Florian, who read from her work at Notre Dame in 2006 and took part in the Letras Latinas Oral History Project.
The new imprint aims to complicate the perception of contemporary Latino/a letters in order to fully represent the complexity of Latino/a histories, politics, and aesthetics. “The seed for AKRILICA was planted in the fall of 2010 when I had extended conversations with Carmen Giménez Smith and J. Michael Martínez, who is Noemi’s poetry editor,” said Letras Latinas director FranciscoAragón. “It was during an NEA-funded residency at Ragdale for Latino poet-editors, and we talked about wanting to create a space for work that thwarts common expectations when a term like ‘Latino poetry’ is uttered or discussed.”
Sandy Florian is the author of On Wonderland & Waste (Sidebrow), Prelude to Air From Water (Elixir Press), The Tree of No (Action Books), Telescope (Action Books), and 32 Pedals & 47 Stops (Tarpaulin Sky Press).
Bin Ramke had this to say about the collection: Sandy Florian’s gorgeous meditation, Boxing the Compass, begins with kinds of unfolding, a sort of anti-origami of intention and desire: like love letters or lover’s bodies, exposing and withholding simultaneously. Any reader who opens herself, himself to this book is risking a special kind of pleasure. But the presiding engagement is not pleasure itself, but experience of unfolding, which can also be violent—an earthquake is a cosmic origami, and an accurate account of the mind awakening in this extraordinary book.
The next book in the series will be Titulada, a bilingual collection by Los Angeles-based writer elena minor, who was also present at the Ragdale poet-editors gathering and is the founding editor of PALABRA: A Magazine for Chicano & LatinoLiterary Art.
The series name commemorates and revives a groundbreaking volume of poetry published in Santa Cruz, CA in 1989, a collection in which the Spanish-language original was rendered into its English-language counterpoint by a team of five translators which included the author himself: Juan Felipe Herrera.
Noemi Press, founded in 2002 by award-winning writer and editor, Carmen Giménez Smith, strives to publish between 4 and 6 titles a year and administers two national book prizes for poetry and fiction, respectively. Noemi has also published chapbooks, including Heterotopia by 2009 Letras Latinas Residency Fellow, John Chávez.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering with Letras Latinas,” said Giménez Smith who, in addition to its founder, is Noemi Press’ publisher. “The AKRILICA imprint is going to be an important new presence, contributing to the ongoing conversation about identity and contemporary poetry,” she added.
Letras Latinas seeks to enhance the visibility, appreciation and study of Latino literature both on and off the campus of the University of Notre Dame, and is particularly interested in projects that identify and support emerging voices.
Noemi Press is a literary arts organization based in Las Cruces, New Mexico, dedicated to publishing and promoting the work of emerging and established authors and artists.
Carmen Giménez Smith: firstname.lastname@example.orgFrancisco Aragón: email@example.com