Here’s the June update from CCF grantee Manuel Paul Lopez
1. I’m gearing up to attend this year’s CantoMundo in Austin, Texas. This will be my third trip to Austin this year. It’s a great city with a fantastic live music scene, restaurants, and a literary tradition that CantoMundo is most definitely contributing to in enormous ways. On this trip I plan to visit Resistencia Bookstore to pick up some new supplies. I intend to return to Cali with a suitcase filled with books. Below is an excerpt I plucked from About Resistencia Bookstore found on its website:
Located in the heart of the southside, Resistencia has also provided space for grassroots organizational activity by various groups like the Austin Cuba Committee, the Leonard Peltier Support Group, and El Comite en Solidadidad Con Chiapas y Mexico; as well as hosting Pastors and Veterans for Peace delegations to Cuba and Nicaragua.
2. I’m happy to report that I have a new piece forthcoming in Swink. The poem’s
called “Psalm,” inspired by the work of the great poet, Jack Agüeros. If you haven’t read Agüeros’ Lord, is this a Psalm?, do yourself a favor and check it out. It’s a brilliant collection of psalms penned by Agüeros, examining the contradictions and injustices often inherent in religious and governmental institutions. Agüeros launches his criticisms in a slick manner, using humor and satire with crosshair precision to underscore his points. Here is an example of one of my favorite Jack Agüeros psalms, and one of the most biting:
“Psalm for Distribution”
on 8th Street
between 6th Avenue and Broadway
in Greenwich Village
there are enough shoes
to make me wonder
why there are shoeless people
on the earth.
You have to fire the Angel
in charge of distribution.
As demonstrated above, Agüeros addresses the Lord directly with some serious questions on his mind. In another psalm, Agüeros humorously points his barbs directly at the Vatican.
“Psalm for the Pope’s Five License Plates”
I have suggestions for the Pope’s
five license plates
for his five Mercedes limousines.
I know that’s only four,
but I’m withdrawing
because it doesn’t seem to fit.
These, of course, are only one facet of this amazing collection. Many of Agüeros’ psalms celebrate the everyday, drawing keen attention to the small, tasty fortunes of life, like rice and beans, bacalao, and tostones. Needless to say, some of these poems will make you hungry, some will incite anger, others will inspire love and an inner-quest for peace, but most importantly, all of them have been written by a poet invested completely in social equality.
Read more about Jack Agüeros here.
3. I’m also happy to report that I just sent my application to the Dorland Mountains Arts Colony for consideration. I’m hoping to reside there for a short, though intense, week or so this summer. It is located in Temecula, California, at the foothills of Palomar Mountain. Poet, David Trinidad, wrote a poem entitled “Moonlight in Temecula” about his residency there years before. In 2004, a fire chewed through Dorland, destroying a large part of the premises. Since then, it has been rebuilt and used by many artists, and hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to do so as well.
Read Paul’s past blog entries here:
http://moolelo.net/2012/04/07/the-latest-from-paul/ (april 2012)
http://moolelo.net/2012/02/02/la-palabra-y-la-imagen/ (february 2012)