Friday, February 29, 2008

Society Updates

As you plan your March calendar and beyond, here are some dates that you may want to jot down:

March 1 Start of Women's History Month

March 3 Spanish Group Meets Barnes & Noble IH 10 & De Zavala 7 p.m.

March 4 Meet Charles Shields, author of Mockingbird: A Portrait of
Harper Lee Live Oak Civic Center 9:30 a.m. Free & Open to public

March 10 SLHW Monthly Meeting Barnes & Noble San Pedro Crossing
Jaqueline Mendez and Josie Mixon 7:30 p.m.

March 30 Roberto Bonazzi and Paul Christensen
Barnes and Noble San Pedro Crossing 2 p.m.

April 1 Start of National Poetry Month

Currently reviewing: HIS PANIC: Why Americans Fear Hispanics in the U.S. by Geraldo Rivera...yes, that Geraldo.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Great Conversations!

Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of participating in the University of Texas at San Antonio's 8th Annual Great Conversations! Funds raised from this event go toward providing scholarships for students in the UTSA Honors College.

The premise behind Great Conversations is that each table has an academic or community expert speak about a topic in their field of expertise. You do this as you eat your dinner, much like any family conversation at dinnertime. While the expert may lead the discussion, the whole table is invited to chime in with their thoughts and points of view at any time which really makes for a wonderful evening of give and take discussions.

The table topic I selected what "Our Favorite Novels and Why We Love Them." Our expert was legendary UTSA academia instructor and poet extraordinaire Bonnie Lyons. Bonnie provided us with a list of her favorite novels broken up into two categories: "Today's List" and "Earlier." Here are the novels on her list--feel free to discuss!

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon
Philip Roth, American Pastoral
Philip Roth, The Counterlife
Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried
Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
Evan Connell, Mrs. Bridge
Louise Erdrich, Love Medicine
Louise Erdrich, Tracks
Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss
Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping
Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook

Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Eliot, Middlemarch
Bronte, Wuthering Heights
Flaubert, Madame Bovary
Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Henry Roth, Call it Sleep
Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury
Wharton, The Age of Innocence
Woolf, To the Lighthouse

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Art of Peace

The following message is from our good friend, Marian Haddad:

Hello friends,

Considering all the work H. Palmer Hall has done in the literary world and in speaking for peace, which includes writing about Iraq and the unthinkable murder/hate crime of James Byrd, Jr. among other important subjects which include his experiences in Vietnam, the recognition in receiving this award is highly deserved as Hall's entire mentality and the work that stems from it are steeped in and work towards the possibilities of peace.

"Out of the wreckage of America's failed war in Vietnam, H. Palmer Hall has fashioned poems of quiet beauty and supple strength. There are no pretensions here, no posturing, but only the hard-earned wisdom of a gentle heart and a bedrock decency, making it possible to believe that, in spite of everything, we still have reason to hope." --W.D. Ehrhart, essayist, novelist, poet and a protestor of the Vietnam war

The following invitation is issued by St. Mary's University and The President's Peace Commission. The award presentation will take place this Thursday, February 28th at 3:30.

Please join the President's Peace Commission as we honor the
2008 Art of Peace Award winner:

H. Palmer Hall Ph.D.

The Commission will honor Dr. Hall on
Thursday, February 28, 2008, 3:30- 5pm, at Java City.
(Rain Site: Alkek Atrium)

Dr. Hall has been the Director of the Louis J. Blume Library at St. Mary's University since the late 1970's. He has run Pecan Grove Press, which has a significant presence on the university campus and the nation, for over seventeen years. The press, under his leadership and foresight, has attained a national and international reputation for publishing strong books of poetry from new and emerging writers as well as from highly respected writers. Hall has secured a reputation as one of the finest small publishers and most respected editors today.

Hall's first book, A Measured Response, is an anthology of poems written by Vietnam War veterans as a response to the first Persian Gulf War. Hall took it upon himself to create and edit this project, giving these war veterans voices. His second book, From the Periphery: Poems and Essays, deals with Hall's own personal experiences in Vietnam, including his protests against the war while still an active-duty soldier. His third book, Deep Thicket and Still Waters, is a series of poems and essays that lament the heinous hate crimes committed against James Byrd, Jr., an African American who was tied to the tailgate of a truck by young white men and dragged until Byrd's body was torn apart. To Wake Again, a recent short collection of poems on the current Iraq War was published three years ago by Pudding House Publishing in Cleveland, Ohio. This year, Plain View Press, an activist press in Austin, Texas, "dedicated to literary works promoting peace and justice and women's right", published Hall's full-length collection of essays, Coming to Terms. In addition to all of this, Turning Point Press, also based in Ohio, will be publishing Hall's "selected poems", Foreign and Domestic, forthcoming in 2009.

The entire collection of Hall's work is based on and steeped in literary works that define, point to, and spotlight the need for justice and peace. He has dedicated decades to promoting poetry as a presence in the world for bearing witness to social injustice and as a voice for truth. While preserving his own personal commitment to the writing of poetry, he has maintained an enormous commitment to the community of poets in San Antonio as well as nationally by publishing their work, organizing readings that include them, and taking their books on the road across the country to sell at conferences and book fairs. Furthermore, he mentors student writers by publishing a chapbook of poems or stories by a select St. Mary's University student each year. By so doing, he urges young people to take their voices and their writing seriously -- serving as speakers for truth within their own community. It is critical that the next generation of American writers be recognized amidst all the "consumer noise" and be urged to keep speaking -- that their voice does matter to the larger community.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

ACCD Poetry Contest

Join us for the Alamo Community College District Poetry Celebration! The decade of the Poetry Slam has been transformed into a multi-level celebration of poetry.

ACCD Poetry Celebration Wednesday, April 9, 2008
7 pm - 9:30 pm
San Antonio College McAllister Auditorium

Here's how it works:
Student Poetry Competition
All ACCD students are invited to participate in a juried poetry writing contest. Students should prepare FIVE poems for the judges' review & critique, as well as a short paragraph (5 to 7 sentences) which describes why the contestant writes poetry.

Poetry should be submitted either in hard copy or electronic files for competition by 2 pm, Thursday, March 27, 2008 to Jane Focht-Hansen, SAC English, GH 123 or

All poems must be legible; handwritten drafts are not acceptable!

Prizes: $125 (1st place), $100 (2nd place) and $75 (3rd place)

For more information, contact Jane Focht-Hansen, SAC English, at

Monday, February 25, 2008

Viento Sur Trombone Quartet at PAC

Internationally renowned
Trombone Quartet
Will perform at
Palo Alto College
Student Center
Wednesday, Feb. 27
Noon to 1 p.m.
FREE! Open to the Public!
From The Viento Sur Trombone Quartet is an innovating group in constant search of a powerful and original sound that combines their own version of the repertoire for trombone quartet and the adaptation of tangos and milongas that are part of the musical and cultural roots of Argentina.

This group has promoted…an intense development of activity for the trombone and chamber music for the trombone quartet, which include recitals in numerous concert halls throughout the country, master classes at universities, conservatories, and music schools….

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kirsten Holmstedt Visits San Antonio

Kirsten Holmstedt, author of "Band of Sisters," will be in San Antonio on Sunday, Feb. 24 at the Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing, at 2 p.m. Holmstedt will talk about her book during a book signing, along with discussing the research that has brought her to San Antonio: a second book which centers on women who are coming back from Iraq injured or wounded.

This event is free and open to the public.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Women's Art Show

Wow, I'm so happy to see so many of our members participating in the wonderful event!
Women’s Art Show Celebrating
The Art of Being a Woman
With Music, Art and Poetry

March 08, 2008
From 1:00 – 5:00

Viva Bookstore
8407 Broadway
San Antonio, Texas 78209
Featuring local artists: Janie Alonso, Mary Lou Barrera, Maria Gabriela Madrid, Martha Curcio, Sylvie Rodgers, Carolyn Sanchez, Sandra Garcia, Dolores Zapata Murff, Liliana Lovisa, Deborah Keller-Rihn, Loretta Lotz, Joyce Stache, Wendy J. St. Christopher, Isela Tavera, Paulette Pilsner, Cynthia Huddleston, Anel I. Flores and Josie Mixon
Music by Laura Marie
For more information contact Josie at

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Federico Pena at PAC

Federico Pena,
Secretary of Transportation,
Secretary of Energy
Mayor of Denver

Will conduct a
Town Hall Meeting on
Economy and Trade

Friday, Feb. 22
PAC Student Center
10 a.m.
Event concludes at 10:45 a.m.

Sponsored by
PAC Student Government Association andObama for America

Monday, February 18, 2008

In Memory of raulsalinas

The following note is from Regina:

It is with great sadness I must inform all of you about the passing of our elder, teacher, father, chicanindio, and poeta revolutionario raúlrsalinas.

For the past couple of years, raúl has been struggling with his health. Unfortunately, his body just could not take the strain and was deteriorating at a rapid pace. Even though he has left this realm and it's a great loss para nuestro pueblo, his spirit is strong and lives on in all of us.

raul was a great friend and brother to Trino and I and we will keep his meomory and legacy in our hearts forever. I've included a few links about raul.

This is a video raulsalinas performing at Ruta Maya, San Antonio, for Trinidad Sanchez'memorial gathering:

This is the link to a blog about raul created by Tammy Gomez.

Regina Chávez y Sánchez

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Black Aesthetic Experience

During the famous Black cultural explosion of the 1920’s, Harlem became a
hub for jazz, poetry, art, and literature. Count Basie, Duke Ellington,
and Bessie Smith brought a new musical format that caught the attention of
all New Yorkers as well as folks throughout the entire country. Langston
Hughes energized the poetry world with his common folk poetry, and Nella
Larsen, Jesse Lee Fausett, and Walter White wrote of the Black experience
in their novels. Zora Neale Hurston boldly walked the streets of Harlem
studying the African American from an anthropological perspective.

On February 16, during Black History Month, the Alumnae
Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority will re-capture the essence of that
period when they host the Black Aesthetic Experience, featuring jazz,
poetry and literature at the WOW Cafe and Wingery, 18866 Stone Oak
Parkway, Suite 108.
This event will begin at 6:00 pm with the nationally
known saxophonist Spot Barnett playing jazz from the past and will feature
national authors Maureen Smith, Evelyn Palfrey, Caleb Alexander, Olga
Samples Davis, Kimberly Kaye Terry, Laura Thompson, and Almas J. Sami.
There will be free food and refreshment. The program will end with a book
signing from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Admission is free, so come out and enjoy
some great jazz, powerful poetry, and interesting readings along with
delicious food and drink. For further information about this event please
feel free to contact Frederick Williams at fredwilliams@ or
(210) 479-5484.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Monday's Meeting Re-Cap

My apologies for missing the meeting Monday evening, but I'm happy to hear that everyone had a wonderful time listening to our guest speakers. Pictured above are members of the Las Mujeres, along with Martha Curcio (center) who presented them with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

More than 20 members attending the meeting were treated to wonderful readings from Las Mujeres, along with an unexpected and but very appreciated reading by our June guest speaker, Florence Weinberg.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Laurie Guerrero Returns to PAC!

Palo Alto College is proud to welcome a former student, Laurie Guerrero, who is now attending Smith College, back to campus!

Laurie will be performing a poetry reading from her award-winning Chapbook “Babies Under the Skin,” on Thursday, February 21 in the Student Center Annex at 10 a.m. Laurie will follow her reading with a question and answer session on writing poetry, attending Palo Alto College, attending Smith College and on perseverance in the pursuit of higher education.

Refreshments will be provided. This event is free and open to the public.

Please join us in welcome Laurie back to PAC—her Houston publisher will also be here since this event will mark the official publication and release of her chapbook.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tonight's Meeting

Just a reminder that our monthly meeting will be tonight, Monday, February 11, at the Barnes and Noble, San Pedro Crossing at 7:30 p.m. We will have the Encuentros de Mujeres Writers Group from Our Lady of the Lake University make a presentation to the group. The plan is for an Encuentros leader to give us a discussion on the Mission of the group, followed by three short readings. According to OLLU website: Mujeres Writing Group: The Encuentros de Mujeres Writing Group was founded at the Center for Women in Church and Society at Our Lady of the Lake University in 2002. It began as a way to gather women from the community to share stories about their families, faith and culture.

I hope you can attend.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Morgan Spurlock--Super Size Me--at SAC

My friends at San Antonio College wanted me to share this information with you:

Morgan Spurlock, best known for his 2004 feature film "Super Size Me" (the first documentary to ever break into the weekend box office top ten) will speak on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at San Antonio College about his experiences as a director, author, and movie and TV producer.

Also, on Monday, the day before his talk, SAC will offer exclusive screenings of his newest film "What Would Jesus Buy?" based on the work of Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping.

Events are free and open to the public, part of San Antonio College's Fine Arts and Cultural Events Series (SAC-FACES). Seating is first-come first-served basis.

Events will take place at San Antonio College, 1300 San Pedro Ave., 78212

Monday, Feb. 11 - movie screenings of "What Would Jesus Buy?"

2:30 p.m. in the Longwith Radio, TV & Film building, auditorium room 101 (located at N. Main and W. Courtland Pl.)

7 p.m. in the McAllister Fine Arts Center Auditorium (more seating here!)(located at San Pedro Ave. and W. Courtland Pl.)

Tuesday, Feb. 12 -

Morgan Spurlock speaks, with audience Q&A and a reception to follow-

7 p.m. in McAllister Fine Arts Center Auditorium

CONTACT: Dr. Alice Johnson, SAC-FACES
(210) 733-2482

BACKGROUND: Spurlock's "Super Size Me" examined the phenomenon of fast food and obesity in America, and became the sixth highest grossing box office documentary of all time; received an Oscar nomination, the Writers Guild of America Best Documentary Screenplay Award and Best Director prizes at the Edinburgh and the Sundance Film Festivals. The film made such an impact that McDonald's restaurants dropped "super sizing" from its menu shortly after the movie premiered at Sundance.

His book "Don't Eat This Book" picks up where the movie left off.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Book Review: Names on a Map

"Names on a Map" by Benjamin Alire Saenz was just released today. It's a wonderful book and I urge everyone to pick up a copy and read it. My review of the book is listed below:

Names on a Map
By Benjamin Alire Sáenz
Harper Perennial, $14.95

While America’s “Greatest Generation” had World War II and today’s generation has the ongoing Gulf War, a generation that lived through the Sixties had Vietnam, a military conflict that indisputably defined an era and carved a permanent wound into the nation’s psyche.

Award-winning author and poet Benjamin Alire Sáenz has boldly sidestepped contemporary history and set his sights on revisiting our nation’s turbulent past to tenderly tell the story of an immigrant family trying to adapt to its adopted land while coming to terms with the true cost of freedom in America.

Set in 1967, Sáenz’s “Names on a Map” follows the Espejo family of El Paso, Texas, during a momentous week in September when a draft notice forces them to drop the veil of secrecy that cloaks their fears and causes them to confront their internal conflicts etched by customs accepted in Mexico, but found to be out of date north of the Rio Grande.

Octavio Espejo is the son of a wealthy family that was run out of Mexico during a bloody revolution when he was a child. Now, as patriarch of a close-knit family in the United States, he tries to rule the clan with an iron hand only to find that strict adherence to house rules causes irreparable rifts in personal relationships.

Gustavo, Octavio’s son, is the recipient of the draft notice that sets into motion the novel’s overarching theme of loyalty to family, country and most importantly, one’s self. He broods over the price America extracts from its populace in order to sustain peace on the home front and the realization that dodging the draft may tarnish the family’s standing in the community more than his own reputation.

Sáenz tells his story through different points of views with voices that are unique, yet also reminiscent of the nation’s conscience at the height of the Vietnam War.

Among the characters that emerge from the novel to leave a lasting impression is Abe, a young Marine fighting in Da Nang. He doesn’t want to think of home, yet finds that home is all he can think about—especially when it comes to his unrequited love, Xochil.

Xochil is Gustavo’s twin sister, who is fighting her own personal battles with society. She learned early on in life that wars come in many forms and that no matter where the battlefield lies, a thousand other wars are being fought at the same time by the same participants, with no two skirmishes being exactly alike.

Finally there’s Lourdes, the matriarch who is the glue that keeps the family together. By the novel’s end, she comes to terms with what she’s known all along: sometimes you have to give up the things you hold dear in order to hold on to them a little while longer.

“Names on a Map” is an emotional journey down memory lane that reminds its readers that war indiscriminately affects everyone, extolling a price paid for in flesh, blood, and the loss of innocence in people of all ages.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Upcoming Events at Gemini Ink

February 4–February 92, 2008

FEBRUARY 8, 2008
Join Gemini Ink faculty, Robert Bonazzi (poetry) and Diana López (fiction).

What: Second Friday reading (First Friday was a Dramatic Readers Theater presentation)
When: 6:30 pm, Friday, Feb. 8
Where: 513 South Presa

FEBRUARY 16, 2008
HECHO EN TEJAS Gemini Ink workshop, focusing on the book Hecho en Tejas, helps teachers and students of Tejano literature find the answer to that question. This groundbreaking anthology, edited by Dagoberto Gilb, offers a comprehensive look at literature “made in Texas,” found in this collection of poems, essays, songs, oral history, art, and photography.

Join this half-day workshop to discover ways to introduce the rich treasure of Tejano literature into the classroom or become better acquainted with this tradition for personal reading enjoyment.

Scholarships are available for teachers.

Who Gemini Ink’s University Without Walls
What Hecho en Tejas taught by Diana López
When 10 am–1 pm, Saturday, Feb. 16; registration deadline is Friday, Feb. 8
Where Gemini Ink, 513 S. Presa
Cost $75 member/$85 non-member

CONTACT: (210) 734-9673,,

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Blogsite Ties for 16th Place

Thank you to everyone who voted in the Preditors & Editors Readers Poll 2007.

Out of approximately 75 entrants, the Society of Latino and Hispanic Writers of San Antonio's blogsite tied for 16th place in the Writers Forum Category.

Please click HERE to view the complete results.

Congratulations to the overall winner, Latinidad, published by a true friend of the Society, Marcela Landres.