Thursday, May 31, 2007

Untitled (Monterey)

UNTITLED (Monterey)

Every ending finds its own
beginning, the broken beetle curled
into its hovel, the leaves and leavings
of the world gone crisp. All of it

in a loop of sense, the still burning,
and its ash. The seed in me
bares wings, nubbins to the last.
I take the last oranges on the wiry stem,

the then and now expurgated in its scent.
And remember you, my face, my mirror,
my tunneling in the remembrance — a sprig
of bouganvillea, vibrant and calling

the memory home: a memory of home,
or some kind of smoke, a haze
over days, and, the dissipation.
I believe that the butterfly finds

its lost scale, all the scuffled dust
that keeps it aloft. I believe that what
sleeps in its hollowed den wakens
and feeds, and needs the nuzzlings

it finds there. I believe that the sea
in its spiral cage looks out the cephalopod's
wake. All of spring in its burgeoning fate
repeats. And I am. Repeating. I am.

And I'm not. And I wait.



Sunday, May 27, 2007

Free Radio Lorna Dee - Radio Camp!

Hey there,

I'm here in the Bay Area, Oakland, to be exact, at "Radio Camp" learning how to build a radio transmitter - then, on to the antenna. I'm also remembering how to solder. Some of you may remember I used to work at a CB radio factory. (See: "What Was I Doing 30 Years Ago?" a couple of blog years ago.) It's kind of fun. O to 40 watts in four days. You, too, can come be a broadcast camper. Next workshop is end of June until the beginning of Fourth of July. Go to for more information.

I'm here until June 4th, then, I'LL BE BACK....

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blah Blah About the Blog - Lorna Dee's Partial Interview w/ Francisco Aragon

I started this email interview with Francisco Aragon for Tertulia Magazine, but I started late, then overwhelmed him, I think, with this long raw response, and we never finished it. So, I thought I'd park it here. Enjoy! Me, I'm off to California. Come see me in Berkeley.
Subject: Re: Epigraph and question #1
Date: March 14, 2007 11:12:54 AM MST

On Feb 4, 2007, at 4:14 PM, wrote:

E-interview with Lorna Dee Cervantes
conducted by Francisco Aragón

"I blog to push through the plug of prose, that clot in the lower vertebrae of
the soul between the inner eye and the third planet from the mind. I blog to
open the doors I hide behind whenever someone knocks on the real. I blog to
answer the phone. I blog to always be home. I blog for the dead—literally. They
like it. They like to see their names written in electrons of light, shooting
out of the dark or slowly blinking in this self-made sky. I blog to remind. I
blog to recommend. I blog to revel. I blog to reveal the bald spot on top of
God’s head. I blog to call out the goddesses. I blog for the goddesses of
documentation. I blog because I lose my calendar even on a good day. I blog
like the ocean comes in on waves. I blog like delivering hot meals to shut-ins.
I blog to not be a shut-in. I blog to sing, “Yo soy!” I blog because I am
misrepresented, misquoted, misunderstood and missed—often. I blog to set the
record straight. I blog because it’s never straight and there’s never any
record. I blog to record. I blog because I can. I blog, because, I am. I blog
because I can’t sing worth a dam."

—Lorna Dee Cervantes, posted Wednesday, January 17, 2007

FA: Hi Lorna! I hope you don’t mind that I’ve used this recent post of yours as
an epigraph to our interview! I read it a couple of days ago and just loved it.
On one level, it’s a delicious feast of rhyme and sound. But of course, it’s
much more than that. I also admire its unapologetic tone, which leads me to the
first question(s): Could you share with us what led to your decision to start
your blog, and what it’s been like? And related to this: how has it effected
your habits as an artist?

I think there's the whole interview with just my answers to these questions. In a way, every time I blog I am adding another word to the answer/s. I didn't really decide to blog, I was lead to it; I believe I was lead by the dead, my personal dead, ronnie burk, in particular, who took me by the hand, literally, I could feel him present.

I've always felt an added sense of responsibility as a writer - our language is never our own. And I've always been moved by a sense of guilt that I am not a prose writer, nor a journalist (I would have been had I been able to write to a deadline. I was a multiple Quill & Scroll winner for journalism in high school for feature writing, editing and as a columnist: The Iconoclast which I co-wrote with my boyfriend.)

One of the added advantages to blogging is that I am busting through that cold war wall of my lifelong prose block. The blog allows me to do it all, in the privacy of my own home, so to speak, all that sweaty exercise, the mis-spelled, untied shoes; like scribbling in my Franklin Planner, which is how I was working daily, I just transferred those pages to the blog. Like the astrophysicist mathematician, Hans Bethe once said about his work habits: "I get up in the morning, I pick up a pencil, and I try to think." And I get to write and think about the dead. Lalo Delgado, Gloria Anzaldua, Tony (Jose Antonio) Burciaga, Pedro Pietri, ronnie burk, Trino Trinidad) Sanchez, Ed Dorn, Ron Sukenik, Lucia Berlin, my father, the visionary fine artist, Luis Cervantes; a list that goes on, ad nauseum; I get to tell their stories, keep their flowers alive. This literary and cultural history has become important to me as I age - and have my own bumps and scrapes with death. I was suffering from what killed Pedro Pietri, uncontrollable vomiting, for years. It was very metaphoric; there was a lot going on that I just "couldn't stomach" and I was taking a sick leave that spring and healing what turned out to be a bleeding ulcer with Chinese herbs. I had just gotten over a bad bout of flu. And feeling good. I performed for La Semana Xicana that March, the first time I'd been out in weeks, months. I had just missed a floricanto organized by Jose Montoya in Sacramento - a big deal, but I was too sick to attend, or even telephone. It was scary. I'd gotten down to 89 lbs. But I felt good at the event, hearing the open mike with all those strong and talented young women, including one of my former creative writing students, April. But when it came to honoring Gloria Anzaldua, I could see that her memory was already fading. As I sat in the darkened auditorium, after the women shouted out, "presente" when her name was uttered, I suddenly had a strange experience, I felt ronnie there in the room, "presente", he was sitting where he was when I first met him in a darkened old auditorium at a poetry reading holding my hand, squeezing it. He had tapped me on the shoulder in 1976 and said that his best friend, Ana Castillo had suggested that he introduce himself: "And Ana doesn't like very many people, so I figured I should." We forged a tight, and I like to think, lifelong bond, after that night, and a few nights later when the heavies of Chicano literature locked him out on the balcony, stripped to his underwear, in the cold Albuquerque night all night then wouldn't let him read until nearly the end, before closer Ricardo Sanchez at the Floricanto. I held his hand as he trembled and waited from his time at 1 pm to read until 1:30 that night/ morning when he read some of the first real poetry I heard at the 3-day fest - the other, being Joy Harjo who read "She Had Some Horses" for the first time, with her eyes closed. It was awesome. I became ronnie's publisher and editor; ever enamored of the workings of that incredible postmodern mind.

Later that night, morning, while working on a long drawn out task of compiling my cv bibliography, while googling, I came across poet Eduardo Corral's blog. He was calling me out about founding some kind of Chicanao/Latinao literary arts center. I was enchanted with what I could read of his blog, and even more so with his poetry. I tried to comment on it, but you had to belong to Blogger in order to comment, so I opened up a blog. It seemed not to be my voice I wanted to hear on it, but the dead. So the first posts are just poems to the dead, beginning with Joseph Beuys, an artist I love and have been influenced by, and, strangely, Eduardo had just posted the pic to one of my love poems to Beuys entitled the title of his performance piece from the photo. When I finally say anything in my voice (prose) on the blog, it's to tell this story about ronnie burk, to keep his name and words alive in the search engines.

And that's the fuel that runs the engines here, my name in the search engines - what gets said about me which is outright wrong. For whatever reason, there have never been many interviews with me. What passes and gets passed around for my literary bio and criticism was written by a 15 year girl in a youth at risk class I addressed one afternoon in Denver when I was working for the Online Poetry Project. But I've never been one for self-promotion. My whole family is like that. "That's not what it's about" as my father would say. I've been thinking a lot about this lately, about how it really is about my religion, my sense of spirituality, that has no place for that kind of hierarchical ego-practice of id-biz. But the university, in the end, a major corporation, requires it of me: an updated cv. So, I google. And I was appalled that a story this girl got garbled about when I was 15 years old got retold as me not having published anything for a morbid fear of rejection. (!) And this, at a time when I had a major work which is as much a meditation on The Book of poetry as it is an art-concept piece where the entire suite of five books, that movement of The First Quartet is to be considered all in one, and didn't lend itself to piecing out individual poems to this magazine here or that journal there just to collect the Brownie Points of the publication. Not because I was "terrified of rejection." I have the opposite problem, I have many publishers jostling for my books and editors for my poems; I always have; and I've always taken my time, until they are right, or as near to right as I can get it, like "truing" the frame. So I blog. My experience, at least in Boulder, is that no one ever talks to me. So I have to speak for myself. Anything you want to know. Just ask me. I'll always tell you the truth, whether you want to know it or not. I have another blog at called lornadice where I'm supposed to talk about the poems in the anthologies and in the SAT and Advanced Placement tests, and answer people's questions for their reports and their papers, up through dissertations, and I'm supposed to put links to poems published and bios, criticism, etc., but I haven't touched it in almost a year. That's the one where I'm supposed to self-promote, but, evidently, I don't have the heart for it. I'd much rather serve up some good poems by other people and host at my "house", my main blog, where the dead and living mingle, and real poetry is reeled in daily. I'm hoping to start a online zine soon of the best on the net.

That's how the blog has affected my habits: It's GONE FISHIN' every day. You get to where you know the covers where the big fish hang out, and when.

Lastly, I have always lived my life as if the business of my life is to know who's writing, who's writing real poetry and who's doing it exceptionally well. Blogging gives me one more valuable tool to accomplish that. It's an everlasting enriching spring - or set of springs - where the words are always fresh and flowing, from someone or another. I love the serendipity of it, of reading blogs, of discovering and making connections; like engaging in the synapses of the planetbrain. And adding my little stanzas to the train. I like to think I could help people, a main motivator for me, maybe another way of my religion, my spiritual practice. Like Einstein said, there are two ways you can live your life: as if miracles never happen and as if miracles are happening every day. I think poets, the good ones, keep to the latter. It certainly keeps it all entertaining, these stories we tell ourselves about what is happening to us - and who we meet, who we read, and why: our final weave. That's the nicest thing about poetry, it always leaves you the last word, one way or another.

Besides, there's lots of Chicanaos - Xicanerati - online. The new generation, ARISE! It's El Quinto Sol all over again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

May 22-Mayan Elders Ask Us to Pray for Our World

Date: May 11, 2007


Don Alejandro Oxlaj, Guatemala de la Asuncion

Don Alejandro is charged as the primary keeper of the teachings, visions and prophecies of the Mayan people. He is head of the National Mayan Council of Elders of Guatemala, Day Keeper of the Mayan Calendar, a 13th generation Quiche Mayan High Priest and a Grand Elder of the Continental Council of Elders and Spiritual Guides of the Americas. He is also an international lecturer on Mayan Culture.

Don Alejandro gives us this timely message: a call to action, a call to come together and be as one. Don Alejandro will be performing a Sacred Maya FIRE Ceremony in Guatemala, and be joining the thousands of others around the planet during the Break through Celebration.

“Brothers and Sisters of all colors, holding hands around the planet on May 22nd 2007, let us reflect on this, let us meditate in our own way, in our own language, according to our own culture or religion, because we have only one Sun to shine upon us equally, one air that we breath and gives us life, one water that we drink and becomes blood in our veins and all live on Mother Earth. She feeds us, she holds us. Brothers and Sisters of all colors, together united in meditation to make conscience to the men in power, governors, politicians, business people: no more war, no more contaminating bombs, no more death. Together we can make a difference.”

Dear Brothers Joseph and Carl (Giove and Calleman):

In the name of the Heart of the Heavens and the Heart of the Earth, greetings to you. In the name of the Maya National Council of Elders, Spiritual Guides of Guatemala, we address the following to you for your great magnetic connections at the global level:

The Spirit of the Maya Nation and the Spirit of Mother Earth make us look for ties of friendship with all peoples of the world. The Maya Prophecy tells us “ …We will meet for we are one like the fingers of the hand”. We all are children of the Earth, we are flowers of the garden of our Creator coming in different colors, in different shapes, in different sizes, with different aromas; speaking different languages, and each one worshiping and meditating in their own way to the same Creator who has different names according to their own culture.

We hope this communiqué reaches all institutions, in private sectors as well as governmental ones; landowners, scientists, and all people in general. Brothers and sisters, there has been over 500 years of extermination in the face of the earth, extermination of humans, extermination of our brother animals and ancient trees, every day at a faster speed. The elders from the National Council of Elders and Spiritual Guides of Guatemala are keepers of mystical and millenary knowledge. Like the birds, tirelessly in their flight, they live to see the prophecies fulfilled. We want to make all people and governments in the world conscientious, and have them analyze and reflect at the situation of the planet in the present time. Let us start by remembering that the Americas were a paradise 500 years ago. Virgin forests, cities of beautiful animals, cities to an innumerable variety of colorful birds, flying in freedom; they provided food for everyone. The waters were abundant and pure; and the people, they lived in their own traditions, guarding their cultures and conserving the beauty of Mother Earth. Our ancestors lived to be over 100 years old, free from contagion and illnesses. They were respectful and obedient to the laws of our Creator.

Let us talk now about our present times. We enjoy new advances in technology, inventions that make everyday life easier for us, we all use them, but the negative side is that we are finishing up our forests, and contributing to the contamination of the planet, the rivers are drying out, the waters are being contaminated. Our crops are affected by plagues as well as plagues killing our animals. We are threatened by contagious illnesses, incurable illnesses unknown in the past. Very harmful are the use of chemicals, the insecticides, transgenic seeds, etc. And most of all, these days, the nuclear testing: nuclear bombs and a great deal of war weapons, and the war in itself sterilizing or killing the planet Earth and affecting all living beings. Many people are homeless, children begging in the streets, others are involved in prostitution. Predators are on the rise. Dead people appearing daily in the streets, kidnappings, extortion, shootings in the schools, parents killing children, children killing children, parents raping their own kids. All this is a direct result of the contamination. There is no respect; no respect for life. The authorities sell themselves. The justice can be bought or sold.

Now lets speak about the future. We, the traditional Mayan elders, and all indigenous peoples in the world, meditate on the future. We don’t think only for today, the present, we think for tomorrow, for our children, grand children and future generations. We see a dark shadow approaching, a shadow that will cause a lot of harm. It is the great contamination. All this is due to man’s creation. We are digging our own graves. Wars are being transported to other countries; they reason in their speeches it is on behalf of freedom, but the result is more slavery. They speak that it will bring new development, but the result is more hunger for the underdeveloped countries. If we continue like this, the time will come when there are no more soldiers to form battalions. The Maya National Council of Elders of Guatemala ask all nations of the world – their governors and the governed ones – to put a stop to the contamination; and to the big and small enterprises, to find alternatives. We don’t want any more wars, no more death, no more nuclear testing, no more chemicals, because the warming up of the planet is unbearable to Mother Earth. If we don’t change, sooner or later, she will strike back with millions of lives lost.

Our Creator created us here over the face of the earth to worship him, to love and respect each other. We all are equal, we are flowers of the earth, in different sizes, of different colors, with different songs, with different smell, but all looking at our Creator, honoring him with different dances, different music, different ceremonies. We all plead to him,
we are his children, he is the creator of all that exist, all that we see and all which is beyond our senses. He has given us our life with an intelligence to do well. Brothers and Sisters of all colors, holding hands around the planet on May 22nd 2007, let us reflect on this, let us meditate in our own way, in our own language, according to our own culture or religion, because we have only one Sun to shine upon us equally, one air that we breath and gives us life, one water that we drink and becomes blood in our veins and all live on Mother Earth. She feeds us, she holds us. Brothers and Sisters of all colors, together united in meditation to make conscience to the men in power, governors, politicians, business people: no more war, no more contaminating bombs, no more death. Together we can make a difference.

May 22nd 2007 is 5 Ajau, the Day of Grand Father Sun, he shines upon all of us equally, he doesn’t know discrimination, he doesn’t get lost on his path, he doesn’t get ahead or behind of himself. He gives us warmth, he gives us life. One Sun, one Air, one Water, One Mother Earth. May 22nd 2007 day of Grand Father Sun, Grand Mother Moon.

The Maya Prophecy says: “Arise, all arise, not one nor two groups be left behind, together we will see once again the place from where we have come from”

Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj/ Wandering Wolf
Grand Elder of the National Council of Elders Mayas,
Xincas and Garifunas of Guatemala

Monday, May 21, 2007

Today's News: Bush Anoints Himself as the Ensurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency

From Truthout today via The Progessive:

Go to Original

Bush Anoints Himself as the Ensurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency
By Matthew Rothschild
The Progressive

Friday 18 May 2007

In a new National Security Presidential Directive, Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a "catastrophic emergency."
With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.

Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility "for ensuring constitutional government."

He laid this all out in a document entitled "National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51" and "Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20."

The White House released it on May 9.

Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.

The subject of the document is entitled "National Continuity Policy."

It defines a "catastrophic emergency" as "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function."

This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include "localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies."

The document emphasizes the need to ensure "the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government," it states.

But it says flat out: "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government."

read more here

Friday, May 18, 2007

Lorna Dee Cervantes In Bay Area This Weekend - Maker Faire

If you're a lucky bird by the Bay, come visit me at the Maker's Faire in San Mateo County Fairgrounds. I'll be there with my son and volunteering for the Free Radio Berkeley booth. They have neat 4-day radio camps this summer in Oakland. You can learn to build your own 40 watt radio transmitter. Yea, more poets on the airwaves! More free radio for all! Can you say, "Democracy NOW!"

Press Release-Lorna Dee Cervantes Wins Pushcart Prize for MiPoesias/OCHO Magazine

[Note: Subject title changed, as Didi points out, it's like saying I won it for Kinko's. Thanks, Didi Menendez, for being a great editor and publisher. Thanks to the publisher, MiPOesias and OCHO magazine.]
May 17, 2007
Raleigh, N.C.

“Pecans” Pick up Pushcart creation wins prestigious literary award

RALEIGH, N.C. (May 18, 2007) – Further proving that print-on-demand technology and digital platforms are gaining traction in popular culture, Lorna Dee Cervantes’ “Shelling the Pecans” is a winner of the 32nd annual Pushcart Prize, the prestigious American literary prize that honors the best "poetry, short fiction, essays or literary whatnot" published by small presses within the past year.

“I'm stoked,” states Cervantes on her blog. “I consider this a victory for po'bloggers [poet-bloggers] everywhere.” “Shelling the Pecans” was published in OCHO #6 from MiPOeseias Magazine, available on ( Cervantes’ poem is one of 60 entries chosen for the esteemed anthology from a nomination pool of more than 6,000. Past winners of the Pushcart Prize have included such literary luminaries as Raymond Carver, John Irving and Tim O’Brien.* Anthologies of the selected work, which represent hundreds of presses and thousands of writers, have been published annually since 1976. provides a free, easy way for individuals to create and sell their books, e-books, images, brochures, calendars, CDs, DVDs and downloads. As a premier online marketplace for digital content on demand, excess inventory and storage costs are eliminated, empowering creators all over the world to market and make money from their projects.

About is the premier marketplace for new digital content on the Internet, with more than 200,000 recently published titles, and more than 5000 new titles added each week, created by people in 80 different countries. Lulu is changing the world of publishing by enabling the creators of books, video, periodicals, multimedia and other content to publish their work themselves with complete editorial and copyright control. Lulu empowers these individuals and corporations to create high quality content products to sell directly to their customers and the rest of the marketplace. With storefronts provided as well as other marketing assistance, creators are fully supported to profit from their work. With Lulu offices in the US, Canada and Europe, Lulu customers can reach the globe.

For more information about Gail Jordan 919.447.3290

[* and Lorna Dee Cervantes, Pushcart Prize IV]

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Cal Fotos-SJSU Poets & Where In the World Is Lorna?

YEA! Grades in! All done. Time to greeze! Congratulations to all graduates. Me, I'm working on my new book of love poems, Una Poca de Gracia/ Bit of Grace. Just got new toys in the form of new protectors for the pages so I can form the pages back to back without printing them that way -- another BIG book! 250+ pages. At least this one is one and not five separate books. This one is much changed from the first version I was selling to benefit Alfred Arteaga's heart treatment fund and Project TUPA. Scroll down and check out the new, uh, back foto for the book.

Here's a slideshow from my MySpace site with some new pics from my last trip to Califas. I'll be back again at the end of this week for the Maker Faire in San Mateo. I'll be volunteering for the Free Radio & Project TUPA booth. Come on by if you're by the Bay this weekend. I'll be there with my son who'll probably be by the robots and racing cars, or anything having to do with making movies. And, if any one would like me to do any last minute gigs in SF, Berkeley, Santa Cruz or thereabouts, I'll be back again over Memorial weekend and afterwards. Just let me know, especially any readings or performances you're doing. Have (award-winning) books. Will travel! And, join me for NaScriWriMo. Yes, National Script Writing Month in June. It's finished version of the screenplay or bust. PAH-TEE! says Dee.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

"Graduation" (Poem For the Ethnic Studies Graduating Class)

"Graduation" (Poem For the Ethnic Studies Graduating Class)

Every center bears its core,
The place where the tossed rock hits,
The bull's eye of the self tearing out of its womb,
The torn inside sack busting out from its wounds.

Every human being believes its self,
That steel core with the lead-filled pact.
Every Spirit feels it's more, and floods its bank,
And moves with the beat of ventricles, and acts.

And, here, at the base of mountains, in a moment
Before the flight, before love's witness and the fact
Of the mind's hard labor, that love-labor of the heart,
When truth and beauty prevail, especially truth,

In all its glory, Spirit stands its path
And opens the door, the portal when the future
And the mad past dance - that joining together
Of fact and act, an opening that keeps on opening.

Open the door. Let it in. Let
A thousand books flourish and a million
Sails of the intellect unfurl. Let justice ring
Out from your hands. May you open. May you prove.

Open the portal. And another. And another - for another.
Let the human family enter. Let the griotes
And the tlamatamini join in the heart of song.
Let magic happen along the shaman's woven path.

And, heal, together, the Sacred Hoop. The ancestors
Whisper, the old ones know, and tell, and yell
Out loud in dreams and visions. Light the smoke
Of your intent. See the vision through their eyes.

And try. And try. And try. Fly, open-
Winged and informed. Unfurled. Be the key
That opens your gate. Be the password that enters
The account - to account. Record. Re-Member. And never more

Relinquish the tools of freedom: the word
And the heart, the vision and the art of being
Human, of being whole, of being free.
And make freedom ring, be the mind that strikes

The chord. The core is in your hands;
The world, like a lover, in your embrace;
The earth, a fine book for you to study;
The community, comunidad, a hymn we sing together.

I sing, now, of you, the graduating class,
The pencils and the passwords, the mental
And the facile tests, the heart-won road
You've traveled, the sacrifices and the gratitude.

Go now, knowing; you've turned the target
Of your self into the bull's eye for the masses
To pass into, pass through, wherever they are,
Whomever they are, whatever histories yet to be written

Or uncovered from the past. With the blessed wings
Of ancestors, con los besos de la familia,
Con comunidád, with time to greeze,
The cornucopias under your names - fill and feed.

And, know. You are more than tomorrow.
You are the past. You are the sum. You are.
Know. Believe it. Spread it around as you
Spread your wings - águilas and phoenix.

You are. Know. Gracias.

Lorna Dee Cervantes
for the Class of 2007
May 10, 2007

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Lorna Dee Cervantes Wins 2006 Balcones Poetry Prize For "Outstanding Poetry Book" For DRIVE: The First Quartet

More good news, DRIVE, The First Quartet has just been awarded the 2006 Balcones Poetry Prize from The Balcones Center for Creative Writing at Austin. (!!) The prize is in its ninth year and past winners have included Lorenzo Thomas, Arthur Sze and a poet I just discovered in my current favorite used book store, Gray Wolf in San Lorenzo, CA, Lucia Perillo -- her book really knocked me out. So, it's an honor. I can't divulge the names of the finalists yet, but they are a very impressive bunch which includes a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. DRIVE: The First Quartet was chosen from 116 books published during 2006 that were nominated for the Balcones Poetry Prize. The prize of $1,000 recognizes an outstanding book of poetry published during the year. The Balcones Center for Creative Writing will bring me, Lorna Dee, to Austin Community College’s Rio Grande Campus for a reading sometime in October. YEA! (I LOVE TEXAS!)

If you'd like a signed copy of the book, and would like to help me out, you can order directly from me. Just scroll down to my Amazon Secure Pay page or click here and send $25 dollars and your order information and I'll sign and send one directly to you. You can also donate to Project TUPA: Transmitters Uniting the Peoples of the Americas and then let me know and receive a book AND a copy of my new manuscript of new and collected love poems which includes my Pushcart Prize winning poem, "Shelling the Pecans." Donate at least $50 and receive 10 cds of lovesongs, too. You may also split your donation: $25 to me and at least $25 to Free Radio and Project TUPA to receive it all.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Homeland Terror - May Day In MacArthur Park

I've been extremely upset at the events that occurred this past May Day - at the erosion (erasure) of our Constitutional and Civil Rights. Too many images of more than 30 years ago in LA and the Chicano Moratorium - how they're still hitting the brightest of us on the head. How they are still "aiming at my children" and how I am still "marked by the color of my skin." I was planning to go to this, as I went to the Million More March in Washington, DC, because it seemed important. But, in the end, my students needed me and I needed to be here to workshop poems on that day. So my thoughts were there. My heart goes out to the families - and the children "scared into trees, bears, stars" who were there being attacked for participating in a democratic act in a democratic state. I know what it's like to see your mother crouched down on the ground like an animal while some "peace officer" is holding the hard and heavy stick over her head, and there's only you to stop him. I know what it's like to see that officer turn and raise that stick over your head -- while looking you straight in the eye. I know what it feels like to be a child and have your body thrown against the wall like a sack of beans. And, all for acting peacefully ... while Chicana.

Please do something. Say something. Write something. Support Free Radio and Free TV. Create it and create real democratic change. Broadcast the truth of history as it happens. Start by reposting this. Spread it around.

Rainbow Line

And as an anecdote, the following, my favorite uTube video, now sent to me again, when I can use it, by poet Anthem Salgado. Change happens glacial slow or all at once. I'll dance to that.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

"On Why I Boycotted Cinco de Mayo"


from DRIVE: The First Quartet

Friday, May 04, 2007

"Shelling the Pecans" Wins Pushcart Prize for Best Poem - Read It At MiPoesias Magazine - Lorna Dee in Denver Cinco de Mayo

You can read my poem now at MiPOesias Magazine, it's on the cover of the new issue. And there's links to the audio at MiPO Radio where it first was aired, read by Julie Carter, then by me, and, I think, the version read by me over the Mana song, Bendita Tu Luz where it does something that I think is really cool. Tres cool, eh? The first time I won a Pushcart it was still called the "Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses and Little Magazines" - it's returned to its roots. I'm stoked. Thank you, Didi Menendez! Thank you, OCHO Magazine, Mi Poesias, MiPORadio and MiPoesias Magazine. Thank you, CafeCafe poetry blog, my old hangout (see old link on side) and the new Facebook site where the cool poets go.

And, help me celebrate po' bloggers everywhere and come on down or up to Denver tomorrow night where I'll be celebrating my Pushcart Prize for Best Poem as well as the fact that my publisher just informed me that DRIVE: The First Quartet has been nominated for every book award it's qualified for receiving. Makes for an interesting spring. But, as I said, I thought it was cool that I came in third for Po' Blogger Laureate or as Billy the Blogging Poet says, "Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere," and the Poet Laureate, Amy King, edits MiPoesias Magazine. How cool a loop is that? So, come on down and complete the hoop, get there early, before 6 pm opening readers from some great local poets. Then hear what I hope becomes our traveling act, three of my favorite local transplants, Tim Z. Hernandez and Sheryl Luna. I think we make a great trio of voces. There's bound to be music. Then, stay after me for an open mike, come recite, throw down, come read and perform your recent best. It's like with love, you can't have too much poetry.
from Bryan at Colorado Poets Association:

Come and celebrate Cinco de Mayo with us! This Saturday evening at 6:00, we are going to have a virtual mini-poetry festival, with three (MAJOR) featured poets, some more poets who teach at CCD, and also an open mic! The featured readers will be Lorna Dee Cervantes, who won a National Book Award [American Book Award, NBA nomination] while still in her 20s for her first book, Emplumada, Sheryl Luna, who won the inaugural Andres Montoya Prize from Notre Dame University for her first book, Pity the Drowned Horses (which was also a finalist for the Colorado Book Award last year), and Tim Hernandez, who recently won an American Book Award for his first book, Skin Tax. Any of these poets would be good to hear even if they were the only poet reading, but all three will be reading Saturday night--and it's FREE! But wait--there's more! We'll also have a few guest poets from the Community College of Denver, as faculty poets join in to present their work as well. And that's not all...there will also be an open mic, so we will hear from new poets, too (and maybe you?!).

The reading will begin at 6:00 p.m. at Hooked on Colfax, a coffee shop on the north side of Colfax, between Steele and Adams, at 3215 East Colfax Avenue. There's plenty of parking near the venue, on the side streets either north or south of Colfax.

I hope you'll join us. Afterwards some of us will go grab a bite to eat as well. It should be a fun evening. Lorna doesn't read very often in Colorado, so this is a really good chance to hear her read if you haven't already, and you definitely owe it to yourself to hear her read! A map to Hooked on Colfax is below.

Bryan Roth
Executive Director
Colorado Poets Association

Lorna Dee Cervantes Wins Pushcart Prize For "Shelling the Pecans" (!!)

Hey, scroll down to the comments on that last post. Seems my poem, "Shelling the Pecans" just won a Pushcart Prize. YEA! Thanks, Didi. Gracias, de veras. Thanks for the nomination, and for asking for the poem in the first place for OCHO Magazine. YEA!

And, y'all, dear readers, you get to watch 'em as they hatch. For the poem, do a search here for "Shelling the Pecans" or go to my MySpace site to hear it.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Prof. Lorna Dee Cervantes - Black Studies 3020/ ETHN 3022 - Black Women's Music: Civil War to Civil Rights

I'm really excited about finally getting a chance to teach this course. My last Chicana Poetry class went really well, I thought. And I love working with Ethnic Studies students and for the Ethnic Studies Department. You can't beat an historical foundation for holding the metahistorical house in play. I was just added as profe of this course so here's what's listed on the website so far:

Boulder Main Campus Fall 2007

Intensive examination of a particular topic, theme, issue, or problem concerning the black presence, as chosen by the instructor. Sample offerings could include the black family institution, the civil rights movement, and Martin Luther King Jr. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours on different topics. Formerly BLST 3020.

NOTE: You must attend regularly to guarantee your place in a course during the first two weeks of the semester. If you fail to do so, you may be administratively dropped at the discretion of the department offering the course. Check with your instructor regarding their specific policy regarding being dropped for nonattendance. You may also be dropped at the discretion of the department if you do not have the proper course prerequisites. It is your responsibility to know whether or not you are still registered in each of your classes at the end of the drop/add period.

Course Section Section Title Credits Instructor Call # Enr/Max/Wait Days Meeting Time Building
ETHN3022 001 SELECTED TOPICS IN BLST 3.0 83926 43/45/0 W 3:00 PM - 5:30 PM GUGG - 205
Here's a preliminary syllabus, my course description and texts:

ETHN 3022 (001) Selected Topics in Black Studies
"Women, Race, Class and Culture; Or, Memphis Minnie Meets the Text of the State - Black Women's Music: Civil War to Civil Rights"

W : 3- 5:30. GUGG 205

Professor Lorna Dee Cervantes
Office: 103 Hellems


With an emphasis on tracing one rural black woman's 50-year career, Elizabeth "kid" Douglas aka the blues artist, "Memphis Minnie" (1896-1973), we will examine black history as we engage in the cultural productions forged by it. We will study significant figures of the various cultural movements as we focus attention upon their words and acts under the grid of historical facts; among them: Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Margaret Walker, Phyllis Wheatley, Gwendolyn Brooks, Marcus Garvey, Langston Hughes, Sterling Brown, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Muddy Waters, W. E. B. Dubois, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin, Paul Robeson, Mahalia Jackson, Nina Simone, Bernice Regan, Sweet Honey on the Rock, and others.

This course will focus on the lyric and poetry in general, as well as introduce a semiotic approach to the music and performance: the rhetoric of the signified. This course will require literary as well as historical analyses as we examine the elements and forces at work and play in the development of a people's music, and trace how that music forged a community consciousness - a Spirit and will to change. This course will require extensive reading and writing along with listening. A final 12-page research paper or final project is required.

Required Texts:

Davis, Angela. Women, Race, Class. Paperback. First Vintage Books Edition. Random House. 1983. ISBN-13: 978-0394713519

Davis, Angela. Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday (Paperback) First Vintage Books Edition. Random House. 1999. ISBN-13: 978-0679771265

Hooks, Bell. Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism (Paperback) South End Press, 1999. ISBN-13: 978-0896081291

Holliday, Billie (as told to John Chilton). Billie's Blues: The Story of Billie Holliday, 1933-1959. (paperback). Stein & Day Paperback , 1978. ISBN-13: 978-0812870046

Albertson, Chris. Bessie. (Paperback) Scarborough House; Reissue edition, 1974. ISBN-13: 978-0812817003

Lieb, Sandra. Mother of the Blues: A Study of Ma Rainey. (Paperback) University of Massachusetts Press; Reprint edition (August 1983) ISBN-13: 978-0870233944

Harrison, Daphne. Black Pearls: Blues Queens of the 1920s. (Paperback) Rutgers University Press; Reprint edition (June 1990) ISBN-13: 978-0813512808.

Garon, Paul and Garon, Beth. Woman With A Guitar: Memphis Minnie's Blues. Da Capo (January 1, 2001) ISBN-13: 978-0306804601.

Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. (Paperback) Virago Books (1993) ISBN-13: 978-0860685111.

Adoff, Arnold and Brooks, Gwendolyn. The Poetry Of Black America: Anthology of the 20th Century. HarperTeen; [1st ed.] edition (April 18, 1973) ISBN-13: 978-0060200893.


Ya'll probably wonder what a Xicana poet (as avocation) is doing teaching a Black Studies course. But actually, my academic work is in indigenous and critical philosophy: axiology and aesthetics. This course is modeled after my dissertation, ECOPOETICS: Towards A Semiotics of the Poetic Consciousness. My doctoral study was under my mentor, the metahistorian, semiotician, tropologist, Hayden White: the "political unconscious" (Jameson) and the "rhetoric of the signified" (White); my method was semiological and my theory and practice, postmodern and pre-columbian. My corpus of analyses was the anti-aesthetic: specifically, rural Southern Black women's music (1911-1973) with a special emphasis on Elizabeth "Kid" "Lizzie" Douglas (Memphis Minnie) and the period of her 50-year career as a blues artist, lyricist and composer -- and, the unsung Mother of Rock and Roll, little known inventor of the electric guitar (1911-1961). In the dissertation I engage Hegelian and Kantian models as I analyze and trace the Master/Slave dialectic (Hegel) in light of the "categorical imperative" (Kant) and the Kantian question of The Enlightenment: "Is Man (sic) Constantly Progressing?" I attempt to compare and contrast two distinct modes of cultural consciousness and epistemologies during the same years (1911-1961): impoverished rural Black Southern women of the diaspora (Algiers, Louisiana; Walls, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; Chicago, Illinois) with the Aryan culture of Munich, Germany. I attempt to trace the rise of power and the development of consciousness as shifts (the rhetoric) in modes of exercising and resisting power; specifically, a repressive power-over -- the sole means of expression being through violence, force, starvation, restraint, genocide. Et cetera. The Slave and Master dance. Same old, same old to some. But, not. I attempt to trace the instantiation of a will-to-power (Nietsche) and the transmogrification into a will-to-power-with (LDC via Starhawk and bell hooks theories of love.)

Anyway, don't get scared if you're interested in taking the course. We will be doing a lot of listening and discovering, speaking and uncovering, enlightening and recovery. Maybe we'll even dare to dance. We'll read some interesting books. And, maybe best of all for most, you don't have to know what I just said (typed). And if you like the blues, want to brush up on (or dip into) your Black history, and would like to discover an amazing entertainer, incredible poet, unforgettable guitarist and musical genius, and courageous woman; practice your writing skills, your qualitative and critical skills in a non-threatening environment -- or, maybe you would just like to trace what led us all to now -- then this is the course for you. As always, this course will require extensive reading and writing. And, not much bullying. Punish/Discipline (Foucault) has no place in love. And, you can cite me on that. Spread it around.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

May Day Entertainment

For all those marching and rallying against the war today on the CU campus while I was workshopping poems in class (I couldn't not workshop poems today - the next to last class!) Here's Anti-Flag. Enjoy.

Radio Universidad Reoccupied in Oaxaca City (from

Support teachers in Oaxaca, Mexico - Support Free Radio - Support Project TUPA: Transmitters Uniting the Peoples of the Americas. Donate now and get a free book and cds from me. - LDC
News From the Independent Media Center at

Radio Universidad Reoccupied in Oaxaca City

01 May 2007 10:27 GMT

On April 30th, at 5pm, sympathizers of the Popular Assembly of the People of Oaxaca (APPO) and students from the Benito Juarez Autonomous University occupied Radio Universidad in preparation for the May 1st general strike in Mexico. The Section 22 Teachers' Union will participate in a march to the main square, the Zocalo, that will take place on May 1st in Oaxaca City.

The radio hosts are asking for support from students and the general public to reinforce the radio installations and take security measures in case of state repression. The radio hosts are saying that the radio and the university will be occupied for the next two days.

Listen Online (the stream may not work yet)
Radio Universidad is the site of the November 2, 2006, battle between APPO sympathizers and Federal Preventive Police during an attempted eviction of the barricades protecting the occupied radio. The barricadistas and radio supporters were able to force thousands of Federal Preventive Police to retreat and continued to defend the occupied radio and it’s surrounding barricades for nearly a month despite severe paramilitary repression.

The radio was handed over to the university authorities a few days after the violent battle between APPO sympathizers and Federal Preventive Police on November 25th. Due to the siege of Oaxaca City by state, local, and federal forces and continuing repression, those upholding the university radio and the barricades felt that it was impossible to remain under the circumstances.

Although there were several radio takeovers by APPO sympathizers last fall, Radio Universidad had been the last remaining after violent evictions by Federal Preventive Police. This is the first time a radio station has been occupied in Oaxaca City since last November.

Live transmission from Radio Universidad can be accessed here:
(the stream may not work yet)
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