Friday, March 20, 2015

"Our America” brings PINTURA:PALABRA to Salt Lake City for its first workshop in PROSE…

Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA)

Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies (ILS), is pleased to announce its fourth “PINTURA: PALABRA” workshop: “Creative Dialogues: An Ekphrastic Writing Workshop in Brief Prose”—slated to take place at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts (UMFA) the weekend of March 28-29, in tandem with the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s travelling exhibit, “Our America: the Latino Presence in American Art,” which opened on February 6 and runs until May 17. The Mestizo Coffeehouse and Art Gallery will host a public event that Sunday at 5 PM, featuring local and visiting writers who are taking part in the workshop.

“PINTURA: PALABRA” is a multi-year national initiative that seeks to foment and encourage the creation of new writing inspired by Latino art. The inaugural workshop was held in Washington, D.C., where the “Our America” exhibit debuted. DC-based poets made up most of the curated slate of participants. A group of Florida-based poets were convened at FIU’s Frost Museum of Art in Miami, where the “Our America” exhibit had its second stop. The Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento hosted the third workshop last October, which included the participation of California-based writers. The workshop in Salt Lake City will count on the participation of writers based in Utah, as well as visiting writers, and will be led by noted novelist and short story writer Fred Arroyo.

In addition to sponsoring the on-site workshop at the UMFA, Letras Latinas is partnering with two journals to publish PINTURA : PALABRA portfolios. The Western Humanities Review, a journal of contemporary literature and culture housed in the University of Utah’s English Department, will be joined by Brevity, the online journal of concise literary nonfiction, in showcasing the art-inspired prose by the writers who will be convening in Salt Lake City on a Saturday and Sunday for two 5-hour sessions. Select students and faculty of the University of Utah’s Creative Writing Program are among the workshop participants.

“The writers will have a few months to work on, revise, and polish the work they start in Salt Lake City in order to submit it for publication. Collaboration with the various journals is one of the most gratifying aspects of this project. We have agreements with Poet Lore, The Notre Dame Review, The Los Angeles Review, and the Packinghouse Review ” said Francisco Aragón, faculty member at the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame and director of Letras Latinas. “The Poet Lore issue is at the printer’s right now. I’m also pleased to announce that there is a special portfolio in the works at POETRY Magazine, which will include reproductions of the art from the exhibit,” Aragón added.

The Mestizo Coffeehouse and Art Gallery in Salt Lake City will be hosting a public literary event, featuring art-inspired prose, on Sunday, March 29 at 5 PM, featuring the workshop participants. In addtition to facilitator Fred Arroyo, those reading will be: Jessica Alexander, Laura Bylenok, Cristina Correa, Carolina Ebeid, Juliana Aragón Fatula, Adam Gianneli, Stephen D. Gibson, Michael Mejia, Ruben Quesada, Alejandro Ramirez, and Natalia Treviño.

Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the Institute for Latino Studies, strives to enhance the visibility, appreciation and study of Latino literature both on and off the campus of the University of Notre Dame.

The Utah Museum of Fine Arts inspires critical dialogue and illuminates the role of art in our lives

Mestizo Coffeehouse: Brewing up a Better Community One Cup at a Time.


is made possible thanks, in part, 
to the generosity 
of the Weissberg Foundation


Biographical sketches of the participating writers

Fred Arroyo (workshop facilitator) is the author of Western Avenue and Other Fictions, shortlisted for the 2014 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and the novel The Region of Lost Names (both published by University of Arizona Press). A recipient of an Individual Artist Program Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, Fred’s fiction writing is included in the Library of Congress’ series “Spotlight on U.S. Hispanic Writers.”

Jessica Alexander is a candidate for the PhD in Creative Writing at the University of Utah.  Her fiction appears in such journal as Fence, Denver Quarterly, and DIAGRAM.  She is currently serving as a fiction editor for Quarterly West.

Laura Bylenok is the author of the poetry collection Warp, which won the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize and is forthcoming from Truman State University Press, and the hybrid prose chapbook a/0 (DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press, 2014). Her work has appeared in journals such as Pleiades, North American Review, West Branch, and Guernica, among others. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah, where she is also the new media editor for Quarterly West.


Cristina Correa is a VONA/Voices writer and a Midwestern Voices and Visions awardee. Her fiction and poetry have most recently been published in TriQuarterly, Rebelde: A Proyecto Latina Anthology, As/Us, and Kalyani; broadcast on National Public Radio’s Latino USA; and exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. She holds a BA from Columbia College’s Fiction Writing Department and is an MA candidate in Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Carolina Ebeid was granted a 2015 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry, and has received awards and fellowships from the Stadler Center, CantoMundo, Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and the Academy of American Poets. Recent work appears in Sixth Finch, Gulf Coast, and the Colorado Review, and her first book will be published by Noemi Press in 2016 as part of their Akrilica series. She holds an MFA from the Michener Center for Writers, and has begun a PhD in the University of Denver's creative writing program. She helps edit poetry at Better: Culture & Lit. 


Juliana Aragón Fatula’s, second book, Red Canyon Falling on Churches and her debut poetry book, Crazy Chicana in Catholic City are published by Conundrum Press and her chapbook, The Road I Ride Bleeds, published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. She is a fifth generation Southern Colorado Native and a lifetime member of the Sandra Cisneros’ Macondo Foundation. She has been a writer in residence for Colorado Humanities’ Writers in the Schools Program since 2012. Her foremost focus is education and working with at-risk-youth. She teaches cultural diversity in her classrooms and believes in the power of education to change lives.


Adam Giannelli’s poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, New England Review, Yale Review, FIELD, Colorado Review, and elsewhere. He is the translator of a selection of prose poems by Marosa di Giorgio, Diadem (BOA Editions, 2012), which was shortlisted for the 2013 PEN Award for Poetry in Translation, and the editor of High Lonesome (Oberlin College Press, 2006), a collection of essays on Charles Wright. He currently studies at the University of Utah, where he is a doctoral student in literature and creative writing, and a poetry editor for Quarterly West.


Stephen D. Gibson received his MA in Creative Writing from Purdue University and his Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. His fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice and won an Associated Writing Programs Intro Award for Short Stories. It has appeared in The Southeast ReviewQuarterly WestStoryQuarterly and elsewhere

Michael Mejia is the author of the novel Forgetfulness (Fiction Collective 2), and his fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Black Warrior Review, Forms at War and My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me. He received a Literature Fellowship in Prose from the NEA and a grant from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation. Michael is also the co-founding editor of Ninebark Press, a literary press dedicated to publishing innovative works by both new and established writers, especially projects that cross boundaries of genre, culture, and aesthetic. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Utah.

Ruben Quesada is editor of the forthcoming volume, Latino Poetics: Essays from University of New Mexico Press, author of Next Extinct Mammal and Exiled from the Throne of Night. He is poetry editor for The Cossack Review, Cobalt Review, and Luna Luna Magazine. A fellow of CantoMundo, Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, Vermont Studio Center, Squaw Valley Writers, and Lambda Literary Retreat, his writing appears in Guernica, Rattle, American Poetry Review, The Rumpus, and The California Journal of Poetics. He is a professor of English and creative writing for the performing arts at Eastern Illinois University. 

Alejandro Ramirez is a freelance writer from the Greater Boston Area. His essays have appeared in Defunct: A Literary Repository for the AgesSolstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices, and Postmortem Magazine.  His journalism has appeared Spare Change NewsDig Boston, and BDCWire. He is currently a Master of Fine Arts student in Pine Manor College's Solstice Creative Writing Program.

Natalia Treviño is the author of Lavando La Dirty Laundry, a book of poems. She is an Associate Professor of English at Northwest Vista College and a member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop. She holds an M.A. in English from the University of Texas, and an MFA from the University of Nebraska. Her distinctions include the Alfredo Cisneros de Moral Award and the San Antonio Artist Foundation Literary Prize. Her work has appeared in various journals, including BordersensesBorderlands, Texas Poetry Review and Voices de la Luna. Her fiction has appeared in Mirrors Beneath the Earth, and essays in Shifting Balance Sheets: Women’s Stories of Naturalized Citizens and Complex Allegiances: Constellations of Immigration. She is finishing her first novel, La Cruzada

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