Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Off to California. . . Luis Cervantes Tribute Reading at Cafe Boheme April 27 - San Francisco - UC Berkeley, 4/26

To write is to get closer....but also to create distance.

Distance is a way of managing pain.

Eileen Tabios manages beautifully. What lace she tats long into the day. A wonder. The Delicacy and Strength of Lace is the title of a collection of letters between Leslie Marmon Silko and James Wright; a way of saying what it is, one thing to look for in a good poem, a good work -- like they wrote. Eileen is writing good work. Maybe the best work of her life. Right now. Write Now. That's the epitome of blogville for me now, the *right now!* of it. Y ya. I can't remember now who (Allegrezza?) posted the pic of the bird flying by and swooping in to peer directly into the lens of the bird watcher's binoculars. That's how it feels. You go out looking to look at birds and one is looking for you, at you, directly into your lens.

So much to say. And I'm off to California tomorrow. (I love that banjo tune. I love the banjo.) "I'm Going Away to Where I'm From." Somebody searched this blog the other day for the Cliff Notes to that and other poems. Made me laugh, I kept myself up chuckling into the night when I was trying to get to sleep. Maybe I'll write the Cliff Notes. They must pay well, eh?

This is a weird business in this day and age. Po' Biz, p'tooey. At least in the old days they spared you the grace to be dead before they talked about you. Must be the season. I get weekly emails from students at all levels asking me about the poems I wrote when I was their age. I'm with Ed Dorn, poets should never consider their place in the socio-critical(economic) spectrum. MFA students now are trained to consider their theoretical stance before they even have the poems on the page. And the poems *are* the theory, that's what makes them critical. Critical that they be, that they become along with the poet.

Yes, it always seems odd to vacation in my point of birth. I'll be performing/ reading for June Jordan's class, Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley on wednesday. Then thursday night, April 27, I'll be reading at my father's Tribute exhibit, reading, ritual and performance at his regular haunt (excuse the awful pun) Cafe Boheme with all his friends and family in San Francisco, The Mission, at the corner of Mission and 24th. It'd be great to see any of you there. I was glad this invitation at Berkeley coincided with the first year after my father's death on the 27th. I'll be staying in San Francisco, then maybe heading down Santa Cruz way, returning Sunday.

Scroll down to read more about my father, community muralist, Susan Kelk Cervantes, and my schedule.

And, oh yeah! I'm on the cover of Bloomsbury Review this month with a rather long profile by Jeff Biggers. The profile that was pulled a couple of weeks before the AWP, after I'd known about it for a year, from Poets & Writers. I was to be on the cover of the issue they passed out for free to the 6000+ attendees at the conference -- instead of Franz Wright. The photo shoot was scheduled for the next morning before they called me that evening. My publisher had taken out an ad with the announcement that I was featured on "this month's issue of Poets and Writers." Good thing I'm a homegirl. I believe it when I see it. That's why I didn't announce it on the blog. But still, there I was, figuring out what I was going to wear for the 9 am shoot. Who cares? Bloomsbury is cool. I have a deep and sentimental connection to it -- Tom Auer was the first person I met when I came to Denver/ Boulder. I literally walked in from the street as I was on my way walking to the main Tattered Cover in Cherry Creek from the downtown bus terminal (a long long walk) when I happened to see their sign and had read the Review as I exchanged with them when I was publishing MANGO. It happened so fast I forgot I was shy. Tom was really nice to me and spent a long time with me. He offered me some books, too, but I was already carrying mine and they were too heavy for a gal who was hotel hopping about the southwest. So, Bloomsbury! Cool. You can get a copy by clicking on their website, or better yet, order a stack for your place of business or retreat. They're distributed free and have always maintained a high literary quality.

But, really. Here we go again. When I saw Sandra on the cover last fall, I joked to my publisher: That's it. No P & W. They already had a Latino on the cover, now a Chicana. Don't you know? Two's quota. Three's a horde.

Who cares? Well, being a former publisher myself, I know. Sales. Franz Wright is now the 20th top selling poet in America. And DRIVE is number 220,thousand-something -- of all books, granted. But, sheesh. It only matters because I just published my opus with a long-lived small press, and not Norton or the Bertelclones. A cover & a 20-page profile of my work in Poets & Writers would have sold a lot of books for an independent publisher.


But, here's good news. I just got a grant from the Puffin Foundation to collaborate with composer/ pianist Gabriela Lena Frank. We met at the Latina Letters Conference and I loved her work, and I asked her to join me in an improvisational jam at my reading that night. It was very very cool. Really cool. I asked her to stay and do another that she hadn't heard and we hadn't rehearsed. I loved it. She's a phenomenal talent. And I was really really sad no one had recorded it. So I wrote up a proposal to collaborate with her, my brother, and maybe other musicians, on some poems from DRIVE, including "Coffee" and present free performances and distribute cds inexpensively (podcasts?). The Puffin Foundation wrote me a really nice supportive letter, too. I didn't get full funding, but then, I had missed the deadline and didn't think they would even consider it. So, I'll be submitting more proposals elsewhere soon. Yea! Yea, Puffin Foundation!


Oh yeah, I spent years, not trying to but, being mistaken for a crotchety old white man on the poetry boards. People just assumed that's who I was. It was fascinating. To *be* without a face or a figure. Someday I want to write about that. I've been following the threads. Don't know if I want to go there. I'll tell you though, people are a heck of a lot nicer when they think you're a crotchety old white man (and probably tall, heck, I *sound* tall when I write, I believe I am tall.) There are distinct advantages.


Meanwhile, I guess I'll get to work on the Cliff Notes. I'm way, way behind on my typing. And check out the archives for last April for what I was doing last year. Like Eileen, I was in the passing.

"What is this life force?"

See you in California? I'm going away to where I'm from. . . today.


Blogger Diana Marie Delgado said...


Have muchisimo fun in Cali. It's been raining in NYC so I'm longing for some California light. Congrats on your funding! I love it that you sent it in late. :) I'm usually fed-exing my apps the day off.

25/4/06 05:12  
Blogger Diana Marie Delgado said...

typo: of.

25/4/06 05:12  

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