Saturday, March 31, 2007

April is National Poetry Month

The following is from my good friend, P.C. McKinnon:

Watch for Ed Tijerina's article in Sunday's Express News!

San Antonio
Poetry Calendar - April 2007
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
April 1st, 11am, JumpStart Theater (in the Blue Star Art Complex): Thom the World Poet and several other Poets from Down Under (Australia). Their readings will be woven into a wonderfully alternative, semi-improvised inter-faith worship service at the Celebration Circle ( With music and meditations led by Rudolf Harst and the Circle Band, the Circle has been featuring poetry as part of their weekly service every Sunday for the past 15 years. Free. All ages welcome. Contact Info: or call (210) 533-6767

April 5th, 7pm, John Pease Library (UTSA, 1604): Poet Claudia Rankine reading/multi-media presentation with her husband, the photographer, John Lucas. Assembly Room of JPL (John Pease Library building). Free. All invited. Contact Info:

April 7th, 2pm, Garden Villa, University of the Incarnate Word: Alamo Area Poets of Texas regular monthly. All poets and those interested in poetry are invited to attend. Contact Info:

April 25th, 7pm, Guadalupe Street Café, 1320 Guadalupe St: Join Danita Nelson & P.C. McKinnon for Put a Poem In Your Pocket open-mic poetry celebration. (210) 212-6508. The event at this cozy internet café is free and open to the public. Bring your favorite poem, bring a friend, relax and listen to the muses that make the hearts of San Antonio beat. Contact Info: or (210) 212-6508

April 26th, 7pm, Northwoods Barnes & Noble (1604 & 281): Awaken the Sleeping Poet, (held on the last Thursday of every month). This month, international poet, Juan Perez, is the featured poet (7:00 to 8:00 pm). Open mic from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Free and open to the public. Contact:


Have a poetry event you’d like to announce to the world? Email all details and points of contact to: SAN ANTONIO: / AUSTIN:

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Conversations with Ruben

Just wanted to wish the Miami group a wonderful evening tonight as they host Marcela Landres for dinner.

I spoke with Ruben Soto in Miami this morning, who brought me up-to-date on events in the south Florida area. In our conversation, I mentioned wanting to do more book reviews on books by Hispanic and Latino authors--he told me he would ask Marcela for some guidance. We continued our conversation, and bid farewell. About an hour later, Ruben emails me and tells me he has been in contact with a publicist at Rayo, a division of HarperCollins, who wants me to email her an introduction, along with a couple of my reviews. I did, and she must have enjoyed them because she wants to make me a south Texas contact and is placing several soon-to-be published books in the mail for me to review! Thanks, Ruben!

Cinco Minutos with You

On Monday, April 9, our monthly meeting with be our well-received "Cinco Minutos with You" where our members get to read up to 5-minutes of their works to the group. I have one spot out of 12 left--if you want to sign up to read, do it now before the last spot is gone!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Thank you to everyone who emailed me regarding yesterday's book review in the San Antonio Express-News. In case you missed it, here's the link:

Friday, March 23, 2007

Lupe Novel Update

Just heard from Lupe M. Gonzalez, our Society's webmaster, who reports that she has completed and sent off her first round of edits on her book "Too Late for Romance?" to the Wild Rose Press.

Congratulations, Lupe! I know I'm speaking on behalf of the Society when I say we can't wait to read the finish product!

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Poetry Reading this Sunday

The Louis J. Blume Library at St. Mary's University and Pecan Grove Press are pleased to announce a reading with Laura Van Prooyen, Author of "Inkblot and Altar," and Marian Haddad, author of "Somewhere Between Mexico and a River Called Home." Also reading will be H. Palmer Hall, from his forthcoming book, "Foreign and Domestic." The readings will take place on Sunday, March 25 at 2 p.m. in the foyer of the Louis J. Blume Library.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Interesting Article

I just read an interesting story posted in the Orlando Sentry entitled "Chica Lit Inspires Hispanic Authors" and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Historians shouldn't overlook self-published books

An article published in the Austin American-Statesman on Sunday, March 4, just came to my attention. The article, entitled "Texas authors are doing it for themselves" by Mike Cox, talks about self-publishing, saying this it isn't for "no talent hacks." He writes, "Not so long ago, authors who published their own work were considered second-class citizens in the world of letters. But that has changed. Though there are a lot of poorly written self-published books out there, any Texana buff who completely overlooks 'home-did' books is apt to miss something worthwhile."

The author then cites several examples of self-published books on Texas history and includes my friend--Austin historian and real estate agent Dan Arellano--and his self-published book "Tejano Roots: A Family Legend." Dan's book takes a look at his family connection to a little known military conflict in Texas history which occurred in 1813--The Battle of Medina.

What makes this book fascinating to me is that the Battle of Medina occurred approximately 7 miles from Palo Alto College. Dan, and a group of his friends are working hard to bring the Battle of Medina into Texas history courses and the into the conscience of Texans everywhere. In fact, Dan and I are in talks to bring an academic conference to the college centered on the Battle of Medina. We're currently discussing potential dates. I will provide you with more information as we start getting into the specifics of planning this event.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Trinidad to be Honored

Regina Chavez y Sanchez, the wife of our 2006 Honorary Chairman Trinidad Sanchez Jr., who passed away last year, emailed me to let me know that she is back in San Antonio until the 29th. Making the trip more enjoyable is that she is joined by her granddaughter, Anissa!

Regina mentioned that there will be a ceremony at St. Mary's University on March 22 at 7 p.m., where Trino will be honored. The event is free and open to the public.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

News from Gemini Ink

I've been informed by my friends at Gemini Ink that invitations mailed more than a week ago to their Autograph Series Luncheon featuring Peter Matthiessen at the Pearl Stable on Friday, March 23 have not been delivered. Gemini Ink is inviting people interested in breaking bread with the naturalist, novelist, Zen priest, explorer and living legend to call their office at 210.734.9673 to make reservations, especially since seating is limited. The cost is $50 a person, and the deadline to reserve a seat is Monday, March 19.

If you're a little short on cash, don't despair. On Thursday, March 22, the Charline McCombs Empire Theater will be the setting for a public reading by Peter Matthiessen at 7 p.m. and admission is FREE!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Poems in Your Pocket

In honor of National Poetry Month in April, my good friend--P.C. McKinnon--is collaborating with the City of San Antonio's Community Initiatives and Office of Cultural Affairs to bring an exciting virtual poetry project that will "follow in the footsteps of the national movement of 'Poems in Your Pocket' for the month of April."

While everything is in the planning stage, I have promised Pete our Society's support in this worthwhile endeavor. Look for more news and information on this citywide month-long initiative on this blog site in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Book Reviews on Website

Just received an email from Lupe M. Gonzalez, our website and newsletter editor, where she notes that she has created a book review page on our Society's website. Fittingly, Lupe has written the first review, which is on the latest book by my good friend and colleague Maureen Smith entitled "A Legal Affair."

Writes Lupe in her email to me: "'A Legal Affair' is the newest book written by Maureen Smith...published through Kimani Press. I love this writer's books because she not only writes a great page-turning story, but she writes about San Antonio and includes the multi-cultural aspects of the city."

Maureen is scheduled to be at the "Romance Slam Jam" being held at the Miami Beach Resort and Spa in Miami, Florida, March 15-18. Her next scheduled appearance is at the San Antonio Romance Authors (SARA) Mini-Conference being held at the University of Texas at San Antonio (North Campus) on May 19.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Meeting Re-cap

I want to thank everyone who attended last night's meeting featuring guest poet/publisher Alicia Zavala Galvan. While the group was small, approximately 15 members in attendance, everyone received an informative presentation regarding the basics of writing and what a publisher looks for and things that should be considered when publishing a book.

Some good questions and answers followed the discussion, followed by informal one-on-ones between the Ms. Galvan and various members.

Our next General Meeting is schedule for Monday, April 9 and it's our quarterly "Cinco Minutos with You" literary extravaganza. This is where we allow our members to read up to 5 minutes of their work in progress so that they can gauge how their written word sounds spoken out loud to an audience. This also allows the reader the opportunity to see if the story or poem being read is having the desired effect: laughter, tears, compassion, etc.

There are still a couple of spots available if anyone is interested in reading--just let me know!

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Peggy Zuleika Lynch Competition

From my good friend, P.C. McKinnon:

Forrest Fest Inc., Lamesa, Texs, Poetry in the Park has announced the following contests for 2007:

The Peggy Zuleika Lynch Competition

Poetry guidelines follow: Poem must be 32 lines or less. Please place the poem on a single page with title. Put the name of the poet and title of poem on separate page for snail mail submissions. For e-mail submissions follow the format on the website or if e-mailing from home include the poem in the body of the e-mail, we'll take care of separating the name for judging.

Poems sent as attachments will not be opened unless specifically accepted by the poetry coordinator. You may submit one poem for each contest. Poetry submitted will be eligible for one time inclusion in a Forrest Fest Anthology. $100 awards for 1st Pl Adult and $50 for 1st Childrens and certificates will be bestowed by Peggy Lynch at Forrest Fest in Lamesa, April 28 at 6pm.

Here are the addresses for submission to the Peggy Lynch competition:
Forrest Fest Poetry Contest
301 North 19th Street
Lamesa, Texas 79331

Or via email at: with Poetry Submission in the subject line

Friday, March 09, 2007

Monday's Society Meeting

Poet Alicia Zavala Galvan will be the featured speaker at the monthly meeting of the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio, March 12 at 7:30 p.m. The meeting will be at the Barnes and Noble (San Pedro Crossing) located at 321 NW Loop 410, and new members are invited to attend. Free.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Grande to receive National Literary Award

Reyna Grande, author of "Across a Hundred Mountains" just sent me an email with wonderful news! She has been selected as the recipient for the Premio Aztlan Literary Prize for 2007! The Premio Aztlan Literary Prize is a national literary award, established to encourage and reward emerging Chicana and Chicano authors.

Author Rudolfo Anaya and his wife, Patricia, founded Premio Aztlan in 1993. The winner is awarded a monetary prize of $1,000 and invited to give a public lecture at the University of New Mexico in April 2007.

Past award recipients include Alicia Gaspar de Alba, who has been a guest lecturer for our Society; Sergio Troncoso; and Norma Cantu.


Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hecho en Tejas Recap

Well, it's nice to know I can be right sometimes! On Saturday, I made a prediction that Stephen Harrigan's "The Gates of the Alamo" would be selected as this year's 1 Book, 1 San Antonio reading assignment--and I was right!

On another topic, last night I attended the "Hecho en Tejas" event at Trinity University. It was a pleasure seeing Becky, our Society's Vice President, and Dr. Daydi-Tolson, our Historian, at the event.

Unfortunately, I had to leave at intermission, but at least I was able to hear Diana Lopez read her work in progress. I thought it was simply wonderful! Ever since I met Diana and read her book, I have been telling everyone I talk to about Hispanic authors to keep their eyes on her…I truly believe she is on the way to being one of the prominent future voices of Hispanic literature.

Dr. Daydi-Tolson and I also spoke about his experiences writing a book review! We both agreed that while they are fun to do, there is a lot of work involved. It’s really hard when you know that the minute you’re done with one review, another book waits to be read and reviewed too.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tejano Writers at Trinity University

From a Trinity University press release:

Magnificent Seven Come to Trinity: Acclaimed Tejano Writers to Give Readings at University

SAN ANTONIO – Seven writers, whose reputations extend nationally and internationally, and who have contributed to an anthology of Tejano writers titled Hecho en Tejas, will give readings from their work at Trinity University. The event will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6, in the Ruth Taylor Recital Hall and will be followed by a reception for the writers. The event is free and open to all.

Among the featured writers are Sandra Cisneros, Rose Mary Catacalos, and John Phillip Santos. Cisneros is the author of popular novels such as On Mango Street, Woman Hollering Creek, and Carmelo. Santos’ family memoir, Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation, was selected as the book for all San Antonians to read in 2006. Catacalos, the director of Gemini Ink, is a nationally recognized poet. Other writers include two well-known South Texas writers, Norma Cantú and Carmen Tafolla. The reading will also feature two “new” voices, Gregg Barrios and Diana Lopez.

Hecho en Tejas, the anthology featuring Tejano writers, was recently published by the University of New Mexico Press.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Arturo Madrid, the Murchison Distinguished Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, at 210-999-8373.

Death Penalty Discussion

Free Food Reception and Book Signing after lecture!
(Purchase book before event)

MEET Joan Cheever,
Author of “Back From The Dead”
A Look at the Death Penalty
TODAY, March 6, 11:25 a.m.
Performing Arts Building, 100B
Sponsored by
Palo Alto College
And Student Services Fee Advisory Committee

Monday, March 05, 2007

Latino Literature Website

If you're looking for a "credible source for Latino Literature," check out the following website:

Full Disclosure: the site has selected my recent book review of Daniel Alarcon's "Lost City Radio" as its book review of the month.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Two Society Members in Express-News

If you haven't had a chance yet, please turn your attention to today's San Antonio Express-News' S.A. Life & Culturas section. On the section's front page you will find an article by Elda Silva on a former presenter and a true friend of the Society--Diana Lopez!

The article touches on Diana's promising writing career (something I've been preaching ever since I met Diana and read her book "Sofia's Saints") and her job as an English and literature instructor at St. Philip's College. Of course, it highlights Diana's inclusion in "Hecho en Tejas" an anthology of Texas Mexican literature.

After you're done with the article, please turn to the book reviews on page 10J of the same section and read our Society's Historian--Dr. Saniago Daydi-Tolson--review of the anthology! It's an in-depth account of what readers can find the anthology, along with the observation that it marks "...a new attitude toward Tejano writers and a new understanding of their works...."

Saturday, March 03, 2007

1 Book, 1 San Antonio

An announcement on Wednesday, March 7, will reveal the second selection of the "1 Book, 1 San Antonio" reading initiative. Last year, the inaugural book was by John Phillip Santos, entitled "Places Left Unfinished at the Time of Creation."

I don't have any official insight as to what book will be selected, but Stephen Harrigan was in town yesterday for First Friday at Gemini Ink. As some of you may know, he is the author of a widely well-received novel "Gates of the Alamo." February 23 to March 6 is the anniversary of the siege of the Battle of the Alamo. And Wednesday's announcement is taking place in front of the Alamo--maybe in the vinicity of where some gates used to be. Hmmm....

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dr. Kellman Honored by National Book Critics Circle

On Tuesday, Palo Alto College President, Dr. Ana M. "Cha" Guzman, treated me to UTSA's "Great Conversations" event held at the Institute of Texas Cultures. According to the UTSA Great Conversation website, it is a signature event to benefit the UTSA Honors College. Great Conversation is a unique event in San Antonio with prominent community leaders and UTSA professors hosting conversations on diverse, exciting and stimulating topics. The event also increases public awareness about the important cultural and intellectual role that UTSA plays in the City of San Antonio.

The topic of conversation I chose was Literary Silences hosted by Steven Kellman, Ph.D., a UTSA Professor of Comparative Literature and author. The conversation centered on Henry Roth, who published his second novel 60 years after his first. We also discussed Harper Lee, who never wrote a second novel after publication of "To Kill a Mockingbird." We also touched upon J. D. Salinger who continues to write but has not published anything in the past 40 years. The conversation was about writers' blocks and reclusions. It was a wonderful evening with throughly thought-provoking and engaging conversation.

Well, imagine my delight when I found out today that Dr. Kellman was named the winner of the 2006 Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing by the National Book Critics Circle. The National Book Critics Circle, founded in 1974, is a nonprofit organization consisting of nearly 700 active book reviewers who honor quality writing.

Congratulations, Dr. Kellman!