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 www.elenamary.com 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…

Chicago Writers On Language & Identity

One of our favorite writers is coming to town next week! Ana Castillo joins a panel of Chicago writers to discuss the role of language and identity in their own writing and literature.

Language and Identity: A Chicago Writers Panel

January 24, 2013 @7:00 P.M

Northwestern McCormick Tribune Forum

1870 Campus Drive

Evanston, IL

Panelists include award winning authors:

Ana Castillo, Aleksandar Hemon and Bich Minh Nguyen and moderated by Reginald Gibbons, Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities. Read more…

How does language and identity impact your own writing?

 

Reflections & Revelations of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

One of my favorite places in Chicago is the Harold Washington Library filled with books as far as the eye can see. What can make this library even more awesome? They are organizing a reading with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. SQUEAL! She will be in town for the release of her new book My Beloved World.  I remember biting my nails when she was going through the hearings to secure her seat in on the Supreme Court. Happy she is now the 111th Justice and is the first Latina and third female Justice in this position. She is a wonderful example of everything Latinas can do despite their circumstances.

My Beloved World Reading & Signing with Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Wed. January 30, 2013 @6:00 pm

Harold Washington Library Center

400 S. State Street – Winter Garden, Chicago, IL 60605

Learn more about this reading…