Biography Writing Teaching Appearances  

March 2010 Archives

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Emma Pérez and her novel, Forgetting the Alamo, Or Blood Memory.

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Kristen Naca and her book of poetry, Bird Eating Bird.

Felicidades to two amazing U.S. Latina writers! Their works have just been nominated for the Lambda Literary Awards, also known as the "Lammys"-- awarded annually by the Lambda Literary Foundation to honor works that celebrate or explore LGBTQ themes. '"This has been a record year for queer books," said the 2009 Lambda Awards Administrator, Richard Labonté, who has been associated with the Lammys since their inception in 1989 as a judge and consultant.  "The number of titles nominated and the number of publishers represented is in both cases about 10 percent higher than last year"' (from the Lambda Literary Foundation page). 

All the more reason to celebrate Chicana historian, theorist and fiction writer, Emma Pérez' novel, Forgetting the Alamo Or Blood Memory.  Pérez takes readers to nineteenth-century Texas where Micaela Campos is witness to the 1836 battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto.  This is a multi-layered work that reflects our own struggles today with immigration, revisionist history, race, class, and issues of sexuality. This is Pérez's second novel.  In 1996, she published her first novel, Gulf Dreams (a new 2009 edition is available). Gulf Dreams is a fascinating psychoanalytic coming of age story--also set in Texas.  Orale Emma!

Kristen Naca's debut work of poetry Bird Eating Bird was the winner of the National Poetry Series mtvU Prize (selected by Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Yusef Komunyakaa). Her poetry is a tight knitting of sound and rich poignant moments of memory, global in its reach: The Philippines, Mexico, Pittsburgh, Nebraska, and the southwest are reflected. Naca follows other National Poetry Series winners:  Dionisio Martinez, Cole Swensen, Mark Levine, Billy Collins.  Naca deserves to be among them and there will be more from Naca!  Orale Naca!

Not only are these women amazing writers and poets.  They are also scholars.  Both hold doctorates.  Dr. Pérez received her PhD in History from UCLA.  Dr. Naca received her PhD in English from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Currently, Naca is a visiting instructor and a CFD Fellow at Macalester college in Minnesota.  Dr. Pérez is Associate Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  

Before you leave this site, check out Naca's poem, "House" online from Octopus Magazine!  Enjoy!  

March-ing Toward Spring . . .

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This is what I'm looking for these days when I'm in our still snow-covered yard--the crocus. I'm hoping I see it soon, and then the Iris will follow! Years ago, a dear friend gave me a print of a crocus done by the fabulous artist Corita Kent.  On the print, Corita had written in her beautiful calligraphy, "Flowers Grow Out of Darker Moments."  From the "subnivian zone" to light.  Yes!  

So for this little writing, I kept wanting to find the perfect March poem.  I think this one, entitled "March" (by Mary Oliver) certainly goes along with Corita's quotation because it's about the reality of loving, the reality of living.  So as we enter the month of March, I give you Mary Oliver's "March."


There isn't anything in this world but mad love.  
Not in this world.
No tame love, calm love, mild love, no so-so love.
And, of course, no reasonable love.
Also there are a hundred paths through the world that are easier than loving.
But, who wants easier?  
We dream of love, we moon about it, thinking of Romeo and Juliet, or Tristan, or the lost queen rushing away over the Irish sea, all doom and splendor.
Today, on the beach, an old man was sitting in the sun.  
I called out to him, and he turned.
His face was like an empty pot.  
I remember his tall, pale wife; she died long ago.  I remember his daughter-in-law.  When she died, hard, and too young, he wept in the streets.  
He picked up pieces of wood, and stones, and anything else that was there, and threw them at the sea.  
Oh, how he loved his wife.  Oh, how he loved young Barbara.
I stood in front of him, not expecting any answer, yet not wanting to pass without some greeting.  
But his face had gone back to whatever he was dreaming.  
Something touched me, lightly, like a knife-blade.  
I felt I was bleeding, though just a little, a hint.  
Inside I flared hot, then cold.  
I thought of you.  
Whom I love, madly.  

(from _White Pine_, page 53)


 . . . and then the Iris will follow