Gracias to Con Tinta and UNLV

Thanks to poet and Pilgrimage editor and publisher Maria Melendez and her Con Tinta colleagues, I enjoyed a wonderful day in Chicago, March 1. The Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) was having its annual conference, and Maria et. al. had organized a 2012 AWP Tribute for me that they’d titled: “Eloquence & Bookjoy.” I read from published and new writings, and Diana Garcia, Beatriz Terrazas, John Drury & Xánath Caraza generously spoke about my work. A special memory.

Photo by Xanath Caraza


Photo by Xanath Caraza

That evening Con Tinta, hosted a Pachanga at which I saw writing friends and met new writers. Paloma Martinez-Cruz provided guitar music, and poets Irasema Gonzalez and Diana Pando read some of my poems to the audience. I received the Con Tinta Achievement Award for Literary Activism and a wonderful statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe from Oaxaca. Maria and her colleagues are all busy people, and I wish to express my deep thanks to her and all who created two special memories and who deepened my commitment as a writer and literacy/literary advocate.

Con Tinta is a coalition of Chicano/Latino cultural activist poets and writers who believe in affirming a positive and pro-active presence in American literature. Con Tinta’s mission is to create awareness through the cultivation of emerging talent, through the promotion and presentation of artistic expression, and through the collective voice of support to its members, communities, and allies.

Photo by Xanath Caraza

On March 17, I had the good fortune to be part of the University of Nevada Las Vegas’ first Gayle A. Zeiter Children’s Literature Conference. My friend, Dr. Cyndi Giorgis chaired the friendly group of UNLV colleagues and students who created a day with lots of helpful strategies for promoting books for children. I again enjoyed listening to talented illustrator and writer James Ransome and was glad to also meet and listen to his wife, the writer Lesa Cline-Ransome. Each is mighty talented and as a duo presenting their work and ideas, they are mighty funny.

Children’s Literature Conferences are an effective strategy for gathering librarians, teachers, professors, etc. who want to share their commitment to children and literacy and for motivating attendees and presenters to re-commit to this challenging goal. I enjoyed speaking about my writing, Día, sharing bookjoy, creativity, and the art of teaching and writing. As always, I enjoyed chatting with attendees and was inspired by their commitment to students and young people. Congratulations to Cyndi and her colleagues on initiating an important tradition and for including me in their inaugural event.


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