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We were there for the Ninth Annual Latino/Hispano Writers Conference and felt right at home. Thanks to the organizers and all of the presenters. It is clear that they well understood and offered responses to the needs of fledging writers. In fact, the entire city welcomed us with open arms. The agents and publishers, in particular, held back nothing: getting published is next to impossible. Making a living at it is, in fact, impossible.
Despite all the expert advice, it is clear that the participants were not discouraged. They brought partial manuscripts, pitched ideas for publications, read excerpts and interviewed with agents. Somewhere among them, I am certain, is a future Hemingway or Stephen King. Writing is an art. Therefore, not everyone can excel at it. But we can all dream. Can't we?
The second day was somewhat nostalgic for me. Poet, Alurista, read from his latest book of poems. The first and only time I had heard him read his poetry was in
Denver back in the 60s or 70s. Can't quite recall. Same guy. Same unique poetry. Sadly, unless one is bilingual (and, often, familiar with the historical and spiritual background of his poetry) it is difficult, if not impossible, to understand Alurista's poetry. But there are several poems in this latest collection that will withstand time and will be universally admired. Two of my favorites: “Ran” and “Gazing”.
Always humorous, Alurista read a tongue-in-cheek piece called "Orale!" It is an excellent, creative portrayal of how Chicanos can take one word and depending on its inflection° express entirely different grammatical categories. A student of languages would have been amazed at this man’s insight into language and speech.
Congratulations to Aztlan Libre Press, San Antonio, Texas and to Juan Tejeda and Anisa Onofre on their inaugural publication, TunaLuna, Alurista’s Tenth Collection of Poetry.