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Poetry Comes in All Shapes & Forms.

What is up, MI GENTE!?!!?  

So far, so good. - From last week to this week, its been a great time to be involved in writing and poetry. I discover new stuff all the time and so, I hope to share that with you here. - Thank you, Obrigado, Mil Gracias to A. Raa - for the comment. I replied back. (YEA!!! - at least one person reads this thing!!! :) )

Let's get the things going. 

THE TEASE: 

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The VALLEY INTERNATIONAL POETRY FESTIVAL -

NOW in its 6th year- the Rio Grande Valley (the RGV) plays host to a spectacular weekend of poetry, literary celebration and homage to the written word. The organizers, Daniel Garcia Ordaz and Brenda Nettles Riojas, the actual founders have done an amazing thing by creating this event. They have worked in as many different facets to include registered poet, the community at large, fans of poetry, professors, college students, teachers and kids - hell, they have even managed to host a poetry reading across the border. This will be my first time at the festival and I am completely giddy in anticipation for this event. I have been given a sort of run down of the events for the weekend- and I am sworn to secrecy until we get closer to the date, so stay tuned. 

These are the details as I know them so far: 

Date: 
April 25th  - 28th, 2013
Location:
All across the RGV

If you want a bit more information, including locations and bios on featured and registered poets, then take a look at the festival site, here.

The organizers have even put together an annual anthology for the event itself - BOUNDLESS. Then, on top of that, they also end the entire event with a Sunday visit to the gravesite of Gloria Anzaldúa, who was a Rio Grande Valley Native  So, if you have time, take a trip to the valley and check it. 

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AND NOW... a NEW DISCOVERY!!  (not really that I discovered..but)

So I noticed on a friend's Facebook post, they had a link to an audio recording of Gloria Anzaldúa (Thanks Georgina!!), and so I took a look-see and liked it. I decided to take a further look and you know what, the Univ. of Arizona's Poetry Center has an impressive collection of audio and visual recordings of poetry and poets. You should check it out!

I have included a few of them:

A 1977 reading from Phillip Levine (it goes into the intro first, then flips to the next audio file) 

A 1993 reading from Benjamin Alire Saenz

A 2011 reading by Kazim Ali

A 1991 reading by Gloria E. Anzaldúa

Really pretty awesome stuff and very easy to sign up for!!  Enjoy!!  here is the link to sign up:
University of Arizona Poetry Center

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YOU SHOULD TRY TO MAKE IT TO THIS SHOW!!!

a dear friend, OUTSPOKEN BEAN - (go to my links and check his site out!!) is up and running with his one man show. Here are the details: 

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Outspoken Bean is a tremendously talented spoken word artist and writer. So try to make it to his show!!  I will be there on Sunday, - so hope to see you there.

Here are the details:

Date & Time :  Saturday, April 20th - 8pm
                        Sunday, April 21st - 3pm

Price:  All tickets pre-sale, $12 - at the Door - $15
Where: Freneticore Theatre - 5102 Navigation Blvd. , Houston, TX

See you there!!

GET READY!!

If you remember last week, we talked a little bit about the WORD AROUND TOWN POETRY TOUR. If you are just joining the blog, no worries, just click on the title and it will take you to the site. SO, now we are ready and waiting, hoping we get as many poets to participate in the POET DRAFT for the WAT tour. This year, we have selected 9 poets (a hard decision to make, might I add) to rejoin the tour, leaving 7 spots open to be filled by newer poets (new to the tour that is).  Last year, we had the event at Khan's Wine bar in mid-town, but this year, we felt we needed a little more elbow room. - This year, we will bring the POET DRAFT to TAFT STREET COFFEE HOUSE - one of the original venues for the tour!!  Taft St. has always had a long running open mic on Tuesdays, and its gone through its share of hosts (many thanks to Millie Fiori, Joey, and  Jessie for all your hard work in running that open mic in the past!!) and so on April 30th, we will take over the night and run the draft. ALL POETS ARE WELCOME TO COMPETE FOR A SPOT ON THE TOUR!!  (unless you are already selected, you can come and support!!) 

Make sure you bring one poem to read in front of the judges. Make it a good one. 
Here are the details for that night- 
Where: 
Taft Street Coffee House
2115 Taft St, Houston, TX 77006

Time:
8 pm

Contact: 
713.522.3533

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Bueno, con eso, se acabo la bloga por hoy. But, I will leave you with a tease:

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The Writers, The Artists, They Light Up The Sky For You.

What is up, mi gente?!?!
This week so far has been a riot and a half. Lots of work to get done and some amazing art hits the streets of Houston and beyond. Today's blog will capture some of what is in the works for HTX beginning this THURSDAY and the REST OF THE WEEKEND. - and WHAT A WEEKEND!!!  I kid you not, there are too many events to count for this weekend, that I will only be able to highlight three of them - all totally different, but equally important to the Houston Community and the arts in general.  You ready?

LAST BLOG TEASE:

So, this guy (and before you ask - nope, no relation) is an amazing writer. Both Matt and I are included in the latest edition of Huizache and I finally got a chance to meet Matt while in Tucson almost a year ago, for the Librotraficante Caravan. Matt Mendez is fresh new voice in Mexican-American Literature and just as impressive with his words in person.  We already talked and sadly, no familia between us - genetically. But yeah, that's my hermano, holding it down in Tucson, AZ.
    His newest work TWITCHING HEART has just come out and I wanted to highlight his work and talk about the book . . . that WAS the plan, but the book hasn't come in yet!!!  I ordered it and am still waiting for its arrival. Sad face. BUT, no worries. Matt if you read this, I apologize for not being able to salute your work - that just means we get to talk about the book AGAIN, next blog!!  
    What I can do, until I get a hold of the book, is connect you to an official book review, written by none other than SERGIO TRONCOSO. Click here for the link. Then, click on MATT MENDEZ's name to hit up his website.  FInally, get the book. Read the book and support this new addition to Latino Literature. 

TONIGHT!!  TONIGHT!! TONIGHT!!

Yo, you have to try to make this! I know its short notice, but go! (AND then get me a copy of the book!!)  - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni has just come out with a new book, OLEANDER GIRL. From what I have heard about the book, it looks to be interesting and a good read. In addition, Chitra is HTX mainstay - so we have to support!! 

SO, tonight, Houston plays host to the grand release of her new work!!  She had the choice to have the release party in NYC, but she chose to do it at home. Mad props to her for that, because it gets people out and about and into new venues - THE ASIAN SOCIETY (TEXAS). The space is relatively new and starting at 7pm, Divakaruni will impress the crowd with excerpts from OLEANDER GIRL. If you can make it, please go and support Asian Literature and the Houston Literary scene.

More details about the book and Divakaruni: 

THOUGH SHE WAS ORPHANED AT BIRTH, the wild and headstrong Korobi Roy has
enjoyed a privileged childhood with her adoring grandparents, spending her first seventeen years sheltered in a beautiful, crumbling old mansion in Kolkata. But despite all that her grandparents have done for her, she is troubled by the silence that surrounds the circumstances of her parents’ death and clings fiercely to her only inheritance from them: the love note she found, years ago, hidden in a book of poetry that had belonged to her mother. As she grows, Korobi dreams of one day finding a love as powerful as her parents’, and it seems her wish has finally come true when she meets the charming Rajat, the only son of a high-profile business family.
   
Shortly after their engagement, however, a sudden heart attack kills Korobi’s grandfather, revealing serious financial problems and a devastating secret about Korobi’s past. Shattered by this discovery and by her grandparents’ betrayal, Korobi decides to undertake a courageous search across post-9/11 America to find her true identity. Her dramatic, often startling journey will ultimately thrust her into the most difficult decision of her life.

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the award-winning author of many books, including 
The Mistress of Spices, Sister of My Heart, One Amazing Thing and, the soon to be released, Oleander Girl. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The New York Times. Born in India, she lives in Houston and teaches in the nationally-ranked Creative Writing program at the University of Houston.

Here are the final details: 

Time: 7pm
Where: Asian Society - 1370 Southmore Blvd. Houston, TX 77004
Contact: 713.496.9901

This is a "ticketed" event, but only means email/ call to reserve a seat as I think space is limited.  Click here to get the event page. 

SWITCHING GEARS - YOU THINKING ABOUT AN MFA?

So occasionally, you will read me brag about certain events or projects I am involved with, and for the next 2 - 3 years, I will refer to my MFA program. GO MINERS!!  

Solidly, one of the best decisions I have made in my adult life. - It is an amazing program filled with genuine individuals who advisor their candidates on what works in their craft in poetry, in fiction, in poetics, in non-fiction and style. The photos above are but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the individuals that make the MFA ONLINE program a success. So far, I am a slow schooler - I am only taking one class at a time (cuz that's how I roll!) and it is working out well. The flexibility of each my professors (seen above - Lex Williford, Sasha Pimentel, Jose de Pierola, and Daniel Chacón) has been amazing and yet they push my thinking, and its working. I am stretching my "writing legs" in ways I hadn't in a long time. I am getting a ernest look at where I want to take my writing to. I get to kick myself in ass for the challenges presented, pushing to work on the technique of my writing, in fiction, in poetry and in non- fiction. It's been healthy for me to do this.
     At the same time, I get to work on my MFA from the comfort of my own home and my professors are amazingly "human". I mean that they are fully aware that the candidates are human and have lives and responsibilities, and when the push, they are also understanding if one of us has a sick child, or dealing with a personal matter of some urgency. It's refreshing to hit up my class this semester with Professor Pimentel - "Sasha" as everybody calls her, every Tuesday night at 7pm (my time) on Skype. On her end, she has a classroom full of RESIDENCY MFA CANDIDATES who I get to talk to and workshop poetry with. On my side, I get to chat and message the other 7 ONLINE MFA CANDIDATES as we workshop.  - That's just one way how the program works. It's innovative, its unique, its flexible, its mine and it works.
       So yes, I will try to sell you on the MFA program at UTEP, because for writers like me, working writers, yes, there are programs made to help us create what we create. - A major thank you to Benjamin Alire Saenz and Daniel Chacón for running such an amazing program.  

WITH THAT SAID - 

Check this link out, here
The College of Liberal Arts Honors Program and The Creative Writing Department cordially invite you to attend a UTEP Centennial Lecture

"American Labor: Poetry for Whom There is No Poetry”
Philip Levine, 18th Poet Laureate of the United States

Tuesday, March 12, 2013 - 5 p.m. Undergraduate Learning Center, Room 106
UTEP Campus

YES, that's right. That's what's up at UTEP for next Tuesday. If you are in EL CHUCO, you need to make this reading.  That's how big the program is - they have world renowned poets visit. Big. 

NOW FOR THE WEEKEND!!

So this what is going on for the weekend here in HOUSTON. My head will explode if I can actually make it to all this, but I will try and you should too!!

So, officially both me and the wifey (Jasminne Méndez) get to perform our poetry on Friday night at this amazing event - 

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Everything actually kicks off tonight at Scott Gertner's at Houston Pavilions, as many of the Salsa artists will slow arrive for the major to-do's this weekend. A major THANK YOU to Ruby Rivera and the TEXAS SALSA CONGRESS for adding the cultural landscape of the HTX!!  Click on the link to see the site for the whole weekend, here

DO YOU LIKE BEAT WRITERS!?!?!?  

Because I do. So you should make it to this - 

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So I have talked about this before and yes, you should make this during the day, this Saturday. Everything kicks off at 3 and lasts 'til 10 at night. Its an amazing day for poetry and art as Stephen Gros, Tanyia Johnson of MAKE.PLAY.SPEAK have worked really hard at putting this show together. Panels, reading, round tables and music abound. So make it out to the ORANGE SHOW and be a part of Houston's 1st Kerouac Fest!! (click on the bolded words to see links)

WOMEN'S HERstory MONTH!!

March is Women's History Month, and so if it wasn't enough that you have two women , Ruby Rivera and Tanyia Johnson organizing events, then get a load of this: 

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CREATIVE WOMEN UNITE - under the direction of Monica Villarreal, is putting together an amazing event at MECA. - Opening night is this FRIDAY and then on SATURDAY, there will be an amazing series of workshops hosted by prominent women from all aspects of art and media.  Click on the link to find out more info, here.  
If you hit them up on Facebook, you will get a full details on the opening reception and the next day's sessions. 

Here are the details: 

Friday  Night - 6 - 7pm (Opening Art Reception) ; 7 - 10 Performance Artist present
Where: MECA - 1900 Kane St., Houston, TX 77007

That's a lot going on. Take your pick and enjoy these Houston streets. 
I hope I get to see you around and if you like the blog, please tell your friends and enemies about it!!  See you next week!! 

NOW for the TEASE . . .

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