Mujeres Maravillosas On The Move – 2013

Stories-to-Tell-2Are you wondering where the year went? I know I am. While it’s been a blur for me filled with ups, downs, and side-to-sides I can say that Latinas are doing fantastic work telling our stories in Chicago. I wanted to take a moment to recognize these women who inspire, create, and tell our stories fiercely in a variety of mediums. Please note this is not in any order. These are women I’ve made note of in my head because in one way or another they  inspire me to write. It’s important to recognize that these ladies bust their ass everyday of the year to make our stories happen.  They strengthen the Latino community through their work in the arts, media, community organizing, and creating spaces for stories to take root. Gracias Mujeres Maravillosas!

Irene Tostado, La Raza Newspaper

Moira Pujols, Contratiempo

Diana Galicia, La Catrina Cafe

Coya Paz, Free Street Theatre

Maria Zamudio, The Chicago Reporter

Paloma Martinez-Cruz, Writer & Editor of Rebeldes Anthology

Irasema Gonzalez, Writer / ElevArte Community Studio

Thelma Uranga, Los Sunny Daze

Patricia Carlos, Carlos Theatre Productions

Stephanie Manriquez, FMEL/Contratiempo

Tanya Saracho, Screenwriter

Luz Chavez, Editor,

Stephanie Diaz Reppen, Writer / Actor

Mayra López, Immigration Community Organizer, TRP

Diana Solis, Visual Artist

Gisela Orozco, Journalist, VivaloHoy

Adriana Gallardo, Story Corp.

Marilyn Camacho, Founder of a Latinos in Film Think Tank

Giselle Mercier, ElevArte Community Studio

Christina Rodriguez, Curator, Expo Collective

Hope you will support their creative efforts in 2014! Feliz Año Nuevo to all of you from Proyecto Latina and I wish you much  joy, abundance, and challenge you to take leaps of faith with your writing.  -abrazotes fuerts, Diana Pando




Proyecto Latina On CAN-TV

Did You Get Your Copy Of Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology?

Cover art by Diana Solis, "Mama Bird," hand-cut paper, 2009

Cover art by Diana Solis, “Mama Bird,” hand-cut paper, 2009


Our book launch of Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology was released this week. We thank everyone who joined us to celebrate this wonderful literary accomplishment! Special thanks to all of our Madrinas y Padrinos who helped make this possible. It filled me with lots of joy to see everyone smiling as they  walked away with their copy of our  much anticipated anthology.

It was truly a beautiful blessing to come together to share our stories, tell a little chisme and drink some wine. We hope that those of you who have purchased the book will feel empowered to tell your stories.

For those of you that didn’t get a chance to make it out and want a copy of the book you can order it online via Paypal.

 What makes this book unique is that it contains the writing and artwork of 26 Latinas and a cameo appearance by our Chisme Box. Some of the themes that appear in the book include: gender, sexuality, family, identity, culture and is written in English, Spanish and Spanglish. The writers included in this anthology range from women in their 20′s all the way to their 70′s reflecting a diversity of work being created by Latinas!




Our beautiful Madrina de Papel y Tinta Vanessa Alvarez

Our beautiful Madrina de Papel y Tinta Vanessa Alvarez


Books are on sale for $15.00.

You can place your order via the buy now button below.

Please include a full mailing address, phone # and email. If you have issues placing your order please email:

Please note all sales are final no refunds.

All orders will be mailed on Saturdays standard mail.





Reflecting On Rebeldes

Paloma Martinez-Cruz

Paloma Martinez-Cruz


For the last year, Rebeldes anthology editor, Paloma Martinez – Cruz has been pounding the pavement to produce the anthology.

As we get ready to release the anthology on August 12th she shares a short reflection on why the book is so important to our community.

“Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology offers a process, not a product.  We want to show what it is like for us as Latinas to have a safe space to come and share our creativity without apology, where different genres, perspectives, and levels of artistic practice coexist in harmony.  This book has not been generated to vie for a place at the forefront of “American Literature” – whatever that means – but rather to provide access, dialogue, and legitimacy to the expressive cultures coming out of our communities that have been historically misrepresented and silenced by mainstream media flows.  We are eager to share the story of Proyecto Latina with readers beyond our regular participants because we are curious to find out what can happen if more Latinas decide to come together and form creative sanctuaries where no dream is too big, and every voice is the perfect expression of our creative lives unfolding.” – Paloma Martinez – Cruz

(Book release August, 12 – Read more)


Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology

Cover art by Diana Solis, "Mama Bird," hand-cut paper, 2009

Cover art by Diana Solis, “Mama Bird,” hand-cut paper, 2009

!!Book Launch Reception!!

Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology
We are thrilled to invite you to join us in a toast as we celebrate the birth of the Proyecto Latina Anthology! In the tradition of our reading series, we will have a few featured writers and the Chisme Box will also make an appearance.

Monday, August 12th – 6:30PM to 9:30PM
@ Meztli Gallery & Cultural Organization
2005 South Blue Island
Chicago, Illinois, 60608
Street parking available / CTA – #60 Blue Island bus

The anthology spotlights the creative spirit and diversity of writing that is the Proyecto Latina community. At this time, it is the only book being published in the Chicago focusing on the writings and artwork of 26 Latinas.

Special thanks to all of our Madrinas y Padrinos for supporting the literary arts and to Paloma Martinez-Cruz for her creative leadership in making this dream a reality.

Please spread the word about this event by sharing via social media. We’d greatly appreciate it.

The anthology will be sold day of the event. Cash only.

More info. on how to purchase the book online TBA.

Who Are You to Write a Perfect Poem?

Paloma Martinez - Cruz photo credit: Mike Travis

Paloma Martinez – Cruz photo credit: Mike Travis


I want to dedicate this La Neta post to the adventure of being a creative.  It was at Proyecto Latina’s open mic Mondays that I first started playing my songs for an audience. Now I am playing out frequently with my band Tijuana Jai Alai.  The ska and punk music scenes are heavily male dominated, and I have to wonder what it would look like if more women had access to a safe space like Proyecto Latina in which to share their creativity?  My work of editing the upcoming volume Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology comes from my gratitude at having such a space.  It is a compilation of poetry, art, prose, drama, chismes and reflections from the Proyecto Latina community and beyond, and happily it looks like we’re on track for a late summer release date.

My fear of sharing my art, and my relationship to this fear, is a long one.  When my father was diagnosed with lung cancer in the second semester of my sophomore year, I withdrew from college to help with his care. He smoked two packs a day since he was a teenager, and led a swashbuckling life of non-stop community action and partying. He was now skeletal and bedridden, and relied on me for all his needs, but I still found him intimidating.

My father’s approval had always been elusive, but that summer I enjoyed an exciting victory: he was proud of a 120-page poetry collection that I had authored over the course of my second year at college.  I called it The Chicana Who Built the Earth.  Dad wanted me to read him something from my collection, but I knew that I had already read him the ones that he was most likely to enjoy, so I was challenged at that moment to choose from the ones that didn’t say something explicit about love or sexuality, and didn’t indict the way I was raised.  Flipping through the pages of my book, I knew there were no more poems that fit these criteria, so I did what young and nervous performers do.  I began to apologize for what he was about to hear.

You know what, he said.  Get off it.  Who are you to write a perfect poem?  All that shy crap.  It’s just ego to think anyone cares what you do.

There wasn’t much you could say after that. I read him a poem I had written about Grandma, how she lived her life on her knees in the kitchen, a model for the banality of domestic violence in our universe.  It had images of Mission Indians escaping to “fornicate,” and a repeated refrain of, I feel a fever, I feel a fever.  Dad liked some of it.  Other parts he felt were too preachy.

Who are you to write a perfect poem?

I wanted to edit Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology because I believe that the fear and awe and isolation that it takes to write and share our stories are what define perfection. Our rebellion is not in plucking the right verse, but rather in taking the risk to embrace our own danger and strangeness.  The bad art is the sound of us apologizing for who we are.

*This post is part of La Neta: A Latina Guide to Losing it All

Blogtitlanistas Feminista Readings

Interview with Blogger Elena Mary and organizer of Blogtitlanistas Feminista Readings

Blogger Elena Mary

What is Blogtitlanistas Feminista Readings?  

Wednesday April 17th a few of the women from Blogtitlan will gather to read a short selection of their work.  Blogtitlan (a phrase I believe originally coined by Cindylu of Loteria Chicana) is a community of mostly Latino bloggers that came together in approximately 2003 and grew to support each other as we developed our individual identity politics. Read more on this event…

Why did you decide to organize this event?

I missed Blogtitlan despite our min-reunion in January of 2012 in San Diego, California.  A lot of Latina bloggers are here in the Midwest, and I miss the discussions we had so what better place to organize than Chicago —an epicenter for many Latino bloggers.  Plus, I love Chicago!

What do you want the audience to walk away with from this event?

I think we are all embracing to know we aren’t alone, and can identify with others.  I want people to laugh, cry, and nod in an “ohh yeah! I know that feeling, I too feel it, it’s okay”

Why are Midwestern Latina voices important to you?

Midwestern Latinas are my own voice and a generally an unheard voice.   I think people forget there are Latinos in the Midwest, we are a different bunch but still part of the movement.  We have generational issues, language issues, assimilation issues, and historical issues just in different context than someone in the valley might have.

How has blogging impacted you as a writer?

This question makes me chuckle.  I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, but blogging has given me the self-esteem to think of myself as someone who can write, and occasionally have the privilege of influence.

What kinds of content will we find on your blog and how long have you been blogging?

I have been at since 1999 but I believe I only have archives up since 2004. I mostly write personal stuff and when I get political it tends to be about something dealing with my world in Ohio or in regions of Mexico where my family still lives.

What are your top three tips for blogging?

Not sure, I should be giving any tips but here goes, blog from the heart, and don’t regret. The don’t regret is the hardest.  There will be times you write things and think I can’t believe I used to think like that, or I can’t believe I used those words, or made those mistakes.  But you did and they are who you were. We are changing and if you aren’t changing you aren’t growing, allow yourself that process.

Lastly, I love this quote and I think it embraces the blog from the heart idea:

“Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline.”

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Loteria Chicana , Flor y Canto  and Mi blog es tu blog

What have you learned about Latina bloggers that has surprised you?

They can be shy! I always imagined bloggers as generally very out going people but for example Cindylu of Loteria Chicana can be quiet and shy.  Also, once I actually get to meet bloggers, it is amazing how instantly we can connect.

Final thoughts?  Whenever I say “Proyecto Latina”, I think of the band Proyecto Uno jajajaja. Get more details on the reading on April 17th.

About Elena Mary (EM)  - She is a Xicana that is happily creating her own space where one kind find awesomeness and failure.  Like a good “American” EM has race and cultural identity issues which she blogs about quite a bit. Having trouble focusing on anything for too long, she has run for political office, been a union organizer, fostered half dozen children, studied medicine, urban geography and queer feminist performing artists, is competing for a slot at the world championships for triathlon.  Most importantly EM loves days with no set plans because she is stubborn, adventurous and hates being told what to do. Read her blog…

Extra, Extra Read All About It! Self-Interview On Our Proyecto Latina Anthology

WRITERHere is Proyecto Latina’s installment of the self-interview project “NEXT BIG THING” is online. Thanks to poet/writer Xanath Caraza for tagging us.

I’m tagging writers Xenia Ruiz, Ulises Silva and Linda Rodriguez

Next Wednesday they’ll each publish a self-interview based on the 10 questions and tag other writers.

What is the working title of your book?

We are currently huddling with the illustrious and sassy Chisme Box to kick around a few names. Some working titles we’ve come up with include:

Hola Chola: A Collection of Proyecto Latina Writings, Art, and Chismes

Snake Effect: Collected Proyecto Latina Writings, Art, and Chismes

Presentation: Proyecto Latina Writing, Art, and Chisme

If you suggestions at

What genre does it fall under?

Multi-Genre Anthology

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Last year, writer Paloma Martinez-Cruz made the suggestion and we encouraged her to take the lead on the anthology project. Since then, Paloma has been amazing at gathering the stories and giving thoughtful edits to the writers who will be published in the anthology.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

This anthology chronicles the stories, poems and chismes of Latina women living in Chicago and have come to the Proyecto Latina Reading Series to share their work in primera voz.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? At this time, all of the writers included in the anthology are in the editing process and in March we will be in phase two of compiling all of the edited stories.

Who or what inspired you to write it?

This anthology reflects the voices of women that were featured at Proyecto Latina Reading Series. Their work chronicles and honors the diversity of stories being told in our community. It is meant to inspire other Latinas to take responsibility and generate new work.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The anthology will be self-published and is supported by madrinas and padrinos who believe in the voices of Latina women and have generously contributed to the publishing of the anthology. We are still looking for madrinas y padrinos for the book. If you are interested learn how you can get involved read more…

What other works would you compare this book to within your genre?

I have to say the Latino Writers Collective of Kansas City kicks ass when it comes to cranking out books reflecting diverse Latino voices. I think are intentions are similar in that we both strive to amplify the stories of Latino writers in the Midwest. Two of my favorite books they have published and are sitting on my bookshelf include:

Primera Pagina: Poetry from the Latino Heartland

Cuentos del Centro: Stories from the Latino Heartland

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

There are many different stories and poems in this anthology representing the Proyecto Latina community so obviously I can’t speak for their work. For my own story, Of Pulque, Pilgrimages and  Goddesses, I would cast Will Ferrell in a wig or Scarlett Johansson to play the lead protagonist. Cringe, I’m kidding but isn’t that how it works in the movies?

We have this huge Latino population in this country and we aren’t reflected in the mainstream movies we consume. We remain invisible except when we are cast as gangbangers, maids, janitors or prostitutes. This is why it is so important to cultivate diverse Latino writers to challenge and change those narratives. If I had my way I would cast local actor Stephanie Diaz Reppen or funny lady Claudia Martinez because they get my writing and I trust their skills to interpret the work.

What else about your manuscript might pique the reader’s interest?

At this time, it’s the only Latina anthology being published spotlighting the work of Latinas living and writing in Chicago. The Chisme Box will also be sharing some of her funniest bits of gossip that mujeres have shared over the years.  It’s definitely a literary blue print for women in other communities to either create their own anthology or start their own reading series. My hope is that readers will be inspired and challenged to generate new work and create their own print or online platforms to share their stories with the next generation of Latina writers.

You can read more about the anthology in a recent article written by Lucia Anaya, The Gate Newspaper. Read more…

Next week, expect self-interviews from these writers and poets: