Sunday, March 1, 2009

I thoroughly enjoyed the multi-talented Margaret Rhee's article, "The Love Song Politics of Kundiman," and I think you will, too. She writes about the popular Kundiman, a writers retreat for Asian American poets at the University of Virgina in Charlottesville each summer, which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. Co-founded by Joseph Legaspi and Sarah Gambito (whose new book, Delivered, is just out from Persea Books), the organization is fueling some of the best creative energy at work today. Rhee's account is insightful and much appreciated.

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Daniel Chacón's new book (short stories), Unending Rooms, is five-stars and then some. He'll be reading throughout California in March, including March 13 at Fresno State and March 17 at Fresno City College. Read his blog about book tours and writing here.

"Unending Rooms is a visit to the hidden recesses of the mind, a place where Jorge Luis Borges and Stephen King sit down for coffee while a cello plays a bittersweet melody you can almost remember. Once you enter, you will emerge a different person."

—Kathleen Alcala, author of The Desert Remembers My Name and Mrs. Vargas and the Dead Naturalist

“Daniel Chacón’s distinctive storytelling, with its defiance to linearity and closure, with its leanings toward metafiction, gestures south to the Latin American greats like Borges, Cortázar and Paz, but his sensibility is pure Chicano — the hero and anti-hero of the twenty-first century who sinks and swims through libraries and barrios, politics and passions, tradition and innovation. Unending Rooms is a testament of identity as experienced, not on the margins, but at the center of the beautiful and terrifying cycles.”

—Rigoberto González, author of Butterfly Boy: Memoirs of a Chicano Mariposa

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María Meléndez
Friday, March 6 at 7:00 PM in the Alice Peters Auditorium at Fresno State

María’s poetry collection, How Long She'll Last in This World (University of Arizona Press), was a finalist for the 2007 PEN Center USA Literary Awards, and her work – poetry, fiction, and essays – has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including International Quarterly, Ecological Restoration, and The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry. In her varied career, she has worked as writer-in-residence at the Davis Arboretum, served as an Acquisitions and Managing Editor at Momotombo Press, edited two anthologies of student and teacher verse for California Poets in the Schools, broadcast her essays on arts and advocacy as part of NPR's American Democracy Project, and co-coordinated Poetas y Pintores: Artists Conversing with Verse, a traveling exhibition of contemporary Latino art and poetry. She currently lives in Logan, Utah, where she teaches creative writing and American literature at Utah State University.

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