Agustin D. Martinez was born in Panama after his family fled post-revolutionary Cuba in the spring of 1960. The family eventually found their way to Miami where Martinez grew up in a bilingual household. Over the years, Martinez paid close attention to the stories his parents and relatives told about life in Cuba before and after Fidel Castro took power. Later, as a young teacher in a mostly Cuban-American section of Miami, he learned about the lives and struggles of his students who’d lived in Cuba in the 1990s, a time of extreme hardship after the fall of the Soviet Union. Read the rest of this entry
Category Archives: Author Interviews
I met Jennifer Givhan last May at the 10th Annual National Latino Writer’s Conference where we were both participants. During the student readings, she stood out. She had such presence, standing on stage and sharing her compelling poems about womanhood and mothering.
Givhan, still in her twenties, has had an active writing career. She was a 2010 PEN Emerging Voices Fellow, a St. Lawrence Book Award finalist, and a Vernice Quebodeaux Pathways Prize finalist for her poetry collection Red Sun Mother. Nominated for the 2012 Best of the Net, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in over fifty journals, including Prairie Schooner, Contrary, Rattle, The Los Angeles Review, decomP, Pedestal, Fickle Muses, Up the Staircase, Acentos Review, and Crab Creek Review. She attends the MFA program in Poetry at Warren Wilson College with a fellowship, teaches composition at Western New Mexico University, and is at work on her second novel and poetry collection.
Here she discusses her life as a working writer:
On January 28, 1948, an INS deportation plane crashed near Los Gatos Canyon in Fresno County, California. The victims of the accident included several “Mexican nationals” who lived and worked in the United States. The media referred to the passengers as deportees, never naming them individually. After the wreckage was recovered, the victims were buried in a mass grave marked by a small placard that read “28 Mexican Nationals who died in a plane crash are buried here.” Outraged by the media coverage, Woody Guthrie penned a poem entitled (Deportee) Plane Wreck at Los Gatos about the victims. A few years later, a musician named Martin Hoffman set Guthrie’s words to music. Read the rest of this entry →
Richard Vargas is a long-time poet and the founding editor of The Más Tequila Review, a journal of poetry “for the rest of us.” He is a prominent member of the Albuquerque poetry scene, was once nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac, twice.
Here Richard discusses, among other things, the origins of The Más Tequila Review, poetry as a tool for social change, and Richard Blanco’s inaugural poem.
Melinda Palacio is a poet and novelist who has won many awards for her work, including the Mariposa Award for Best First Book for her novel Ocotillo Dreams (Bilingual Press) and the Kulupi Press’ Sense of Place Award for Folsom Lockdown, a poetry chapbook about visiting her estranged father in prison. She was a 2007 PEN Center Emerging Voices Rosenthal Fellow and a 2012 Glimmer Train Finalist. And this, it seems, is only the beginning.
Marita Golden is an award-winning author and self-described “literary disturber of the peace” who has produced a thought-provoking and socially conscious body of work during her more than thirty years as a writer. She is an author who has mentored numerous writers (including me) and whose literary advocacy and support of young and emerging writers earned her the 2002 Authors Guild Award for Distinguished Service to the Literary Community.
Earlier this year, I met author Lucrecia Guerrero at the National Latino Writers Conference where she received the Premio Atzlán Literary Prize for her first novel Tree of Sighs. The book is a gripping story about a Mexican girl who becomes the indentured servant of an abusive American woman only to escape a year later. Still, she does not find her way back home for over a decade, after surviving many hardships and coping by keeping secrets from the people closest to her. The plot is surprising and beautifully paced, the characters nuanced and fully formed, and the writing is both lyrical and provocative. Read the rest of this entry →