Last March at AWP in Boston I had the pleasure of meeting, for the first time, someone who had taught Andrés Montoya at Fresno State University when he was a student there. I told Connie Hales about the volume of Andrés' poetry, edited by Daniel Chacón, that Bilingual Press was going to publish. I told her that our hope and goal was to hold a one-day symposium on Andrés and his work, upon the publication of this book, perhaps at Fresno State. I told her about the Malaquias Montoya print--inspired by Andrés' poetry--that Letras Latinas was selling to help underwrite the expense of publishing Andrés' book, and running the prize that honors him and his work. But also: the sale of the print was to raise funds to hold this aforementioned symposium. We have in mind inviting past winners of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize come read their work; inviting a young scholar to come speak about Andrés' work; perhaps even organize a panel, etc. It's all in the conceptual phase right now. All of this, I said, constitutes the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize Initiative. In short, a targeted fundraiser. Before I even formally, as they say, "made the ask," she offered to buy a print. It's feels particularly special when this happens: when someone offers to buy the print without even being asked. Since Connie is a former teacher of Andrés', this shouldn't have surprised me. It didn't. And yet, the norm has been asking individuals, one at a time, to join the circle of print owners that's been forming slowly over the past two years. We're over half way there, and the majority of folks have been fellow writers, like Connie.
And speaking of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize, our next deadline is January 15, 2014.
And who is the final judge, you ask?