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Showing posts from June, 2017

Speaking in Tongues Workshop/Reading

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A nice event, indeed! 
There we are, a little slice of the beautiful RGV poetry community. From left: Anthony Ripp, Brenda Nettles Riojas, Odilia Galvan Rodriguez, Edward Vidaurre, Me, Celina Gomez, Emmy Perez and Ronnie Garza.
It had been awhile since I'd participated in a poetry reading, and with my big move ahead, I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with my fellow Valley poets. I'm glad I did! There were plenty of hugs to be had :)
The event took place at Rio Grande Grill in Harlingen. It's a nifty little restaurant that serves BBQ and tacos, good Tex Mex. They had us in a private room so we could have some peace away from the noise of the restaurant. The vibe felt comfy and cozy -- perfect for the reading/workshop, which is a part of a series organized by Odilia. Emmy, Edward, and Brenda were featured. I read at the open mic. 
Here I am, reading a few of my newest poems. They're from my currently disorganized/crazy colle…

A Homecoming of Sorts

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Oh my!
Talk about a blast from the past. There I am, at Stephen F. Austin University, during the summer between my sophomore and junior year of high school. I'm with two of my high school besties, Ana and Minji. I'm fifteen years old.
Why am I sharing this picture, you ask?
Tomorrow, I'm returning to my high school to talk to girls not unlike that crazy blonde with the wild hair and the key around her neck about careers. So, naturally, this puts me in a reflective mood. 
I'm supposed to prepare a little talk about how I became a writer, which is a complicated question to be sure. That girl there? She was writing all kinds of angsty poems because she was falling in love for the first time with a boy who played football and drove an old pick-up truck. 
Being a writer's always been who I am, but I suppose they don't want me to talk about that. It's a career day, after all, and of course I want to encourage these young folks to follow their dreams, whatever th…

The Academic Job Search: My Experience

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Ok, so, that's not how it was like for me at all. 
In fact, I think my quest for an Assistant Professor position was a bit charmed. But I figure it might be helpful to chronicle my experience. What was the process of interviewing for an academic job in creative writing like for me and what did I learn? I'll explain:
Last fall, I heard a rumor there were going to be some openings this English department. Because I already knew some of the faculty members, I had a good idea that I wanted to join that department, but of course, how does one go about doing that? I've applied for a few academic jobs, and up until this one, I never get so much as a sniff.

This time, though, I tried to be a little strategic. At an upcoming conference, I knew Department Chair would be there, and it would be a great opportunity to introduce myself and make a first impression. I attended his presentation and asked him some hopefully smart questions about his book to break the ice. It worked! He probabl…

Big News!

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I'm smiling in this photograph for two very wonderful reasons: I'm eating pasta.I just signed my contract with Lamar University to join their English department in the Fall 2017 semester as an Assistant Professor and Editor-in-Chief of Lamar University Press! Words can't even express how grateful I am for such an opportunity. But since this is a writing blog, I'll give it a try :)
This position is pretty much my dream job. I really can't imagine a better place to work, a better team to join, or a better job to do. I will be working half-time with the English department teaching poetry, creative writing, and whatever else they need. My other responsibility includes helping with the press, learning the ropes, and eventually taking over as the director. It's a tenure-track position, which, if you know academia, the arts and humanities in particular, English especially, even more so creative writing, and specifically poetry... well, you get the point. When I told c…

Submissions: My Process

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Recently, a friend asked me for some advice when it comes to submitting poems to literary journals. I've been at this for awhile now, and my "process" for submitting poetry to literary journals has changed over the years, mainly because of the different goals I have for submitting and the different tools available to me. I thought it might be useful to describe my process here, and perhaps end with some advice for someone feeling overwhelmed or lost in this crazy process.

I think the first thing you want to ask yourself when you start submitting to literary journals is WHY? What is your goal from this process? That will likely steer your efforts in the right direction. For me, submitting work is of course about finding readers, but it's also about gaining recognition in the writing communities I see my work contributing to, including feminist poetry, formal poetry, and Texas poetry. Also, let's be honest, I do it, too, for the C.V.

Now, how do I find appropriate…