Wednesday, February 6, 2008

In the Grove Special Issue Dedicated to Andrés Montoya, April 10, 2008 at Arte Américas in Fresno, California


Daniel Chacón, acclaimed author of and the shadows took him and the short story collection Chicano Chicanery, has guest edited the next issue of In the Grove, scheduled for release and publication on April 10. It is a special issue devoted to the life, poetry, and influence of the late Andrés Montoya, whose book the ice worker sings and other poems won the American Book Award posthumously and has been the subject of great respect and study for poets across the country. The University of Notre Dame established a memorial prize in his name, and there have been remarkable poets to win the prize---Sheryl Luna, 2004 (awarded by judge Robert Vasquez) and more recently Gabriel Gomez, 2006 (awarded by Valerie Martinez). The judge for this year's prize is Martín Espada.

There is perhaps no other single poet whose work influenced my own more than Andrés's. He and I became friends when I moved to Fresno, California in 1997. We talked at a coffee shop in Fresno's Tower District hour after hour about poetry, politics, and the state(s) of poetry. I had read his second unpublished manuscript before he passed away (although it may soon be published). I was there when my friend, Eleanor U., walked up to the coffee shop and I introduced her to Andres. I believe they may have fallen in love with each other at that very instant. If not, it happened eventually, as they became engaged to be married before he passed. I was the publisher and founding editor of In the Grove, who published Andrés's title poem "the ice worker sings." And now, I cannot tell you how grateful and pleased I am that Daniel Chacón (who was Andrés's closest friend) has assembled and guest edited this amazing tribute. Dan has worked hard to create an issue that Andrés would be proud of, and I think he has done it. The issue, to be published in April 2008, features work by some of his former teachers, family, friends, and colleagues, and a host of writers he influenced.

Contributors include: Philip Levine * Garrett Hongo * Corrinne Clegg Hales * Juan Felipe Herrera * Steve Yarbrough * Tim Z. Hernandez * Sasha Pimentel Chacón * David Good * Lee Herrick * Rigoberto González * Javier Huerta * Oscar Bermeo * Sheryl Luna * Craig Perez * Augustine Porras * Marisol Baca * Michael Luis Medrano * Dave Hurst * Kenneth Chacón * Teresa Tarazi * Maceo Montoya * Jose Montoya * Optimism One * Daniel Olivas * Paul Lopez * Ramon Garcia * Monica Teresa Ortiz * David Dominguez * James Espinoza * Mike Maniquiz * Ted O'Connell * John Boyd

The issue features the breathtaking, previously unpublished long poem "Pakatelas," by Andrés Montoya, and poems from the ice worker sings translated into Spanish by Veronica E. Guajardo.

It would be difficult to capture highlights from this issue since the whole issue is a series of them, but I can assure you that Rigoberto González's twenty page, new essay on Andrés Montoya, is among them. It captures González's early respect for Montoya's work, contextualizes it against and within the larger Chicano/a poetic landscape, and González ultimately makes the claim that "having read (and reviewed) so many worthy books of poetry written by Chicanos and Latinos, I make the following declaration very much informed by what has been written and published in the past: in this generation, the iceworker sings should be known as the finest book of poetry to come out of our community."

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Please mark your calendars, spread the word, and join us.

April 10, 2008
Arte Américas
6:00 to 9:00 p.m.
1630 Van Ness
Fresno, CA 93721
Tel: (559) 266-2623

Readers & Speakers include:

Malaquias Montoya* Maceo Montoya * Steve Yarbrough * Corrinne Clegg Hales * Tim Z. Hernandez * Lee Herrick * Sasha Pimentel Chacón * Marisol Baca * Michael Luis Medrano * Teresa Tarazi * Oscar Bermeo * Craig Perez * Monica Teresa Ortiz * David Hurst * Veronica Guajardo * Optimism One * Javier Huerta * David Dominguez

Please visit Daniel Chacón for a detailed description of the issue has has forged.

Please visit Sasha Pimentel Chacón for more details on this important homage.

2 comments:

barbara jane said...

Lee this is going to be an awesome event. I'm looking forward to it, and am currently reading Montoya's the iceworker sings, which I think is quite good.

I'd be interested in hearing more about his second collection which may be published?

Lee Herrick said...

Thanks, Barb. I'm looking forward to it very much. I'll backchannel you about Andres' second collection.