Showing posts from March, 2015

Finalist? Finalist? Finalist!

So, this news just dropped Oh. My. Goodness! ::Commence the dancing:: Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots was named a finalist for the Helen C. Smith Memorial Award for the Best Book of Poetry in Texas from the Texas Institute of Letters. !!!!! How official and fancy does that sound? Very. Yes, indeed. What makes this announcement perhaps more special is that Jan Seale is also a finalist. If you follow this blog, you know she's pretty much my hero. . Carmen Tafolla is the other finalist, who is another poet I genuinely admire. I think I'm the underdog in this race, but hey, it's an honor simply to be a finalist. The winners will be announced on April 10th in Houston at the TIL annual meeting, and then on the 11th there's a celebratory banquet. Unfortunately, my AWP panel is the 10th, so I'm missing the reception on the 10th, which totally sucks. I'm flying into Houston on the 11th though, so B and I will at least attend the banquet together. I already have a

Poetry Challenge #5

My final Poetry Challenge post! Oh my... For this post, I'm going to reflect on my spring break. No, I didn't go to the beach. I didn't party. I didn't do anything crazy. Well, except... Write! This week has actually been pretty wonderful for me. I've made some serious headway on my new manuscript, beginning to fill in the chapters I've planned out for it. I wrote 3 poems from scratch and have a pretty good draft going of a fourth poem. I had two wonderful critique sessions with other poets. Spring break, I seriously wish you didn't have to end. I seriously wish I could give so much of my heart, energy, and brainspace to writing year round. Instead, I find myself in ravenous writing sprints in these little calms -- the week of Spring Break, the month of May (and maybe June, depending on my teaching schedule) and December. My progress is slow, but there is progress to relish in that will carry me through the next few months of craziness until I ca

Poetry Challenge #4

Today's going to be a bit of a quickie. Why? Well, because I'm meeting my partners in crime Linda Romero and Ileana Garcia Spitz for coffee chats. Yay girl time! But before I scoot off to that, I wanted to talk about a little event that I attended to kick off my spring break, which is sadly now coming to a close. Poetry Pasta and Vino (known as PPV by those who love it) celebrated its fourth anniversary last Saturday. Fourth anniversary? My goodness, I'm starting to feel old. I remember the first PPV reading back when there was a Johnny Carinos in McAllen. So as we often do, the poets of the Rio Grande Valley gathered to share their works, good food, and drink. Though PPV has moved venues several times, what doesn't change is the spirit. It's all about community, about art, about celebration. This time, we had our reading at Sahadi's in McAllen. It had been awhile since I'd attended a PPV event, and this time, I decided to read some new works. I re

Poetry Challenge #3

Welcome Back :-) Today, I thought I'd reflect on my Festiba 2015 experiences. It was a wild ride, though slightly less wild than usual, which, come to think of it, was probably a good thing.  Festiba our annual celebration of books and literacy over at UTPA. Way back in 2007, I had my first public poetry reading at a Festiba event, so it's a little special to me. Since then, I've always been involved in some form or fashion, and this year was no different. Thursday On Thursday, March 5th, I had the pleasure of chauffeuring Pat Mora and her daughter, Libby Martinez. I was scheduled to pick them up at their hotel early in the morning and take them over to Emiliano Zapata Elementary in Mission for their reading and presentation. It was a pretty neat experience! Pat and Libby were so friendly and wonderful, so it was fun driving them around. Zapata Elementary is kind of in the middle of nowhere, though, and I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't a little

Poetry Challenge Post #2

For day #2, I'm going to share with you a poem from chapter 1 of Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots.  But before we get to that, I'm going to update you on some things that have been going on in my writing life :-) Lately, I've been having an absolute blast serving as Poetry Editor of Devilfish Review . I don't think I've ever blogged about it, so let me tell you how that came to be. Back when I was a lowly MFA student, I was in a requisite fiction writing class, and one of the classmates was Cathy Lopez. We got along pretty well, connected over the usual nerdery, but what I remember most was how different her writing was from everyone else's. She wrote (gasp) "genre" fiction, which, ok, if you're in academia, you learn that it's kind of a dirty word. I'm putting "genre" in quotes, though, because that's what our professor said Cathy wrote. I thought they were just good, interesting stories about being a superhero or liv

Poetry Challenge Post #1

Why hello there, dear readers. No, I haven't died. Actually, to the contrary! These past few months have been wonderful for both my body and spirit. I am doing well, dare I say, thriving? Anyway, I've had "priorities" to attend to. Work? Writing? Taking care of myself? All of that. So blogging fell a little bit to the wayside. But never fear, I'm alive, well, and in good spirits. Can't you tell from my picture? That's me, last Thursday, celebrating some wonderful news that I can't wait to share with you (soon!), and, also, the beginning of my vacation. Life's been pretty good. Right now, I'm thoroughly enjoying my spring break, which is my calm before the storm. Today consisted of chatting with my good friend and fellow poet, Linda , about all things writing, meeting for sushi with the awesome gals from Devilfish Review , and an online poetry critique session via Skpe with two new friends. Today has pretty much been perfection. I'