See You at the Death Rattle Writers Festival, and in the new Unchaste Anthology

See You at the Death Rattle Writers Festival, and in the new Unchaste Anthology

I’m excited to announce I’ll be a headliner next week at the Death Rattle Writers Festival in Nampa, Idaho. I’m excited to read with fellow northwest writers, including Jamondria Harris and Mike Young.

I have never been to Idaho, but I am eager to scratch my travel itch. There has never been anything more exhilarating for me than boarding an airplane, knowing that in a matter of hours I’ll be somewhere entirely different. I love the excitement of packing, of scrambling to get to the airport on time, of the cute snacks they hand out, of watching the world turn into tiny dots underneath you. Even more excited is traveling to a place where you are wanted – where people called on you to be.

Like many people I have often struggled with a sensation of not knowing where I belong. I think the sense is heightened for immigrants and refugees, and growing up a Salvadoran girl I never quite felt safe calling a place home. Traveling has always alleviated a lot of that for me. When I travel, I’m not obligated to be “from” that place. I’m allowed to just be a traveler, someone passing through, and maybe that’s the truth: my hometown is simply the sensation of being new. I am from a mixed feeling of exile, desire, loneliness, and excitement. That’s what it is like to be a refugee. It is like always being on a plane.

I know the writers running the Death Rattle Writers Festival because I met them when they invited me to read with them here in Portland. Thanks to Mike Young, someone who has always shown me kindness of old neighbor even though I feel like I’ve hardly known any one for longer than two years in my life, I was able to read with Dig Reeder, Griffin Rae Birdsong, and Diana Forgione as they toured through the area.

Unchaste Anthology, Volume I

I will be reading on Sunday, October 9th, at Lloyd Square in downtown Nampa from 5:30 to 7 PM with other Pacific Northwest writers.

I also have a few more exciting October and early November appearances ahead .

I’m excited to say I will spend my birthday this year reading with fellow Unchaste Readers for the new Unchaste Anthology launch – which will feature my writing along with dozens of other women. You can support the Unchaste Readers Series, along with its future anthologies, by backing its kickstarter here. We’ll be reading October 22nd, with exact time and location to be announced.

Then, at Wordstock 2016 the Oregon Writers of Color is hosting a reading for Lit Crawl on Reparations. Stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the date!

I’m excited to be a part of a variety of readings that uplift voices that so often are not heard. When I read, I try my best to commit to reading new material whenever I can, because I know readers come out of the woodwork for a unique opportunity to make a connection with a writer and storyteller.

As I work on my next reading and prepare my travel bag for my time in Nampa, I continue translating for El Hispanic News and boosting Sankofa Collective Northwest through their relaunch. I also continue my weekly column at the Rumpus, Notable Portland.




Bring your Vision to Wordstock

Bring your Vision to Wordstock

Portland friends:

As some of you know I’m on the Wordstock advisory council here for Literary Arts, a writing-focused nonprofit based in Oregon. In November, Literary Arts brings local, national, and international writers and readers alike to the Portland Art Museum for a uniquely Portland literary experience. The festival saw over 8,000 visitors last year, and this year we expect to see even more.

While there is an opportunity to visit for literary fans from all over the state and the world, we also have an opportunity to do more. We are empowered to represent the breadth of the literary spectrum by curating different reading shows for this year’s Wordstock Lit Crawl.

If you have an organization that can and should be represented at Wordstock’s Lit Crawl, I urge you to submit as soon as possible. We would love to make this year’s festival and readings the most diverse to date – and like any nonprofit, we can only do that from the ground up.

I just submitted an idea on behalf of the Oregon Writers of Color on the theme of “Reparations” and what life could and would be like for nonwhite creators if they had the same opportunities others do. What ideas do you have?

Bring your ideas, themes, and readers to our application form now. 

Fundraising for PFLAG Portland Black Chapter

Screenshot 7:8:16, 2:43 PM-9

It’s not news to any of you – much less those who have been close to QTPOC in any capacity, that the past month has been full of violence and triggering events. The bloodshed, the loss of so many Black lives, has put a special drain on organizations catering to Black folks, especially Black LGBTQ folks, since Orlando.

As an Afro Latina, I live at the intersection of many of these identities. My partner is trans, I am queer, and my life matters too.

One of the organizations that has helped me and people like me the most in Portland has been PFLAG Portland Black Chapter, the first chapter in the country to cater specifically to African American and Afrodiasporic LGBTQ communities.

I work as their Communications Specialist, and organize regularly with them to ensure our united communities feel at home, and are cherished while we are alive here and now – instead of later, once we’re a hashtag, a viral video, a ribbon, a picture at a vigil.

So tonight at my dear friend Sara June Woods’ book launch party for Careful Mountain, a group of us collectively decided we would donate copies of our work and other books to a raffle. The proceeds of the raffle will go to PFLAG Portland Black Chapter and to providing advocacy, legal support, youth programming, and more to local QTPOC.


I will be reading, alongside Sara, Manuel Arturo Abreu, Irene Milsom, Ines Falcö, Prairie M. Faul, and Stephanie Stiffler. You will have a chance to win a copy of my debut chapbook, No One Remembered Your Name But I Wrote It Down.

Please join us at 7 PM at the People’s Food Co-op in Southeast Portland.

I am grateful to my community, and yes, I have been writing endlessly and creating in our names. I don’t want to wake up a hashtag.

I will close with a video that has spoken to me during this time, Sleep, by the Roots.

Meet the Author

Meet the Author

Join Cooper Lee Bombardier, Geeta Lewis, Kate Caroll Deguetes and me at the Portland Q Center on Tuesday, June 14 from 5 to 7 p.m. for a special Pride Northwest Official LGBTQ Meet the Author event!

I’ll have copies of my book there and more information about collaborating together. Each author will have the chance to contextualize their work with their lived experiences. I can’t wait to see you there!

I am likely reading at the Jade Lounge afterwards with my partner Phoenix Singer afterwards and I’ll definitely be involved in a lot of Pride Northwest events here in Portland, so stop by and say hello!

It’s been so long!

It’s been so long!

I’ve been working so hard and designing so much!

Check out this beautiful program I designed for PFLAG Portland Black Chapter’s 7th Anniversary and Fundraiser, From Root to Fruit:

I’ve been meaning to start a portfolio with my design work to show folks what I can do – and I finally did it. Check out my new Design and Promotions page to learn more and see my portfolio!

If you or someone you know needs to design a program or event flyer or other print or online materials for your next event or fundraiser, please let me know. I offer sliding scale prices for writers, artists, and nonprofits. Email me for a quote, or check out my Booking Page.

In other news, I am now contributing over at PQ Monthly and El Hispanic News, along with other work at The Establishment.

Let me know if you want to pitch me a story, especially since Pride is coming up and events are stacking up. So excited to have you all still following me and a reminder I am on Facebook and Twitter.

See you all at Pride!

I know spring is coming and I’m ready

I know spring is coming and I’m ready

yellow-typewriter-arrob.440.305.sIt’s been quite the past month here in Portland and now that it’s almost spring I’m overdue to share some of my latest work. As some of you know, I was the Arobb@ digital blogger in residence at Duke University’s Program for Latino Studios in the Global South for the month of February. The program allowed me to focus my energy on a short set of pieces concerning the nature of femininity, oppression, and race in migrant America. If you haven’t had a chance to read them yet, they shouldn’t take you more than 8 minutes to go through.

March also meant some big changes in my career. I left the Portland Observer and experienced a milestone that many writers will not share – I had my byline lifted by an editor. When I learned that this wasn’t unique to me  – that dozens of writers I spoke to spoke of both having their wages withheld and the writing misattributed intentionally, I decided to speak up. I shared a Love Letter To Future Writers at Medium on my experiences and am working still to recover both my wages and create community accountability.

Fortunately, when I left the paper, I found other platforms ready to work with my writing. I am now moving forward on a new beat on decriminalization of marijuana over at Potcast PDX, which is set to be a half hour variety show about cannabis and its unique effects on intersectional communities launching sometime in the next 40 days. I’m setting off to start on one of my first interviews for them today, focusing on what is happening to convicts living with records for a crime that may no longer exist.

I’ve  also been following the election and considering the open fascist tendencies of our government across the board – not just by Trump or Hilary, but by the nation. My concerns about white supremacy not being new but being expanded in different ways this election are over at The Establishment, where it was part of a five-part series on the election.

Another big jump for me has been joining the Portland QTPOC Talk Collective, where I am going to be a regular voice. The talk show runs on KBOO the third Tuesday of every month, with the next show airing Tuesday, March 15th from 6 to 7 p.m. Listen to our first episode if you didn’t catch it live.

Aside from my published pieces in the past month, I have a few readings coming up.12801386_815299662552_5884806195737183253_n.jpgCatch me tonight at Death Rattle Hum – Portland Edition, where I’ll be reading  along side local poets Jamondria Harris and Michelle Peñaloza, and wandering poets from Idaho Griffin Birdsong, Diana Forgione, Marshall Harris, Dig Reeder, and Alex Yann. The entire event was put together by local poet and professor Mike Young, who I have really enjoyed working with in the past several months. The reading starts tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Post 134, 2104 NE Alberta in Portland.

If you can’t make it tonight you’ll have another chance to hear me read this Monday at Powell’s for Smallpressapalooza 2016. The line up is impressive: Screenshot 3:10:16, 11:51 AM.jpeg

I’m right there in the middle at 8 p.m. and you’ll be able to score copies of No One Remembered Your Name But I Wrote It Down along with everyone else’s chapbooks and small press releases right there after the reading.

I’ll have new pieces coming out shortly – so stayed tuned and let me know if there’s somewhere I should be reading next. And as a bonus for reading to the end, here’s this week’s Notable Portland column, full of literary events to check out this week.



February is Full of Love

February is Full of Love

Hi! I’ve been very busy kicking off a few things this month but I’ll just share a few things out to you while I’m here this wonderful Saturday night.

First of all, my first post over at the Arrob@ Blog for Duke University’s Program in Latino Studies in the Global South marks the beginning of my February digital residency there.

Read the rest at Arrob@ now.

The piece follows the life of a young migrant woman who washes ashore in southern California seeking to become human, by which I very much mean American. She loses her tongue and crosses borders for the chance to see the man on the other side of the billboard. More as always to come, but this is the first one I got up there and I hope to share a variety of other stories that bring foreign girls together with mythology around the sea and ghosts. After all, everyone loves a good sprite, siren, or spirit.

Over at PFLAG Portland Black Chapter, I’ve helped launch our new #BlackLoveMatters campaign, which urges everyone to celebrate the black people in their lives who have made a difference, be they siblings, spouses, children, or friends.

Belinda Olive-Beltran remembers her brother and his historic heart

Then, this week I followed the story of Oregon’s first heart transplant – which was possible because one young black man – and his family – passed forward the gift of life. Bobby Olive, who died in 1985, has since brought two families together, survivors who are learning to cope with losing loved ones, through the gift he didn’t have the chance to see given.

I’m also pleased to say our Notable Portland column is still running well and our latest issue is out, if you’d like to figure out who’s reading the rest of this week here in Portland.

And last but not least I was recently featured over at Brooklyn Magazine letting folks know about my favorite 2015 reads. Figure out who I chose and why “the Other woman” isn’t my enemy – discourse I’d love to see more work around.

Get your calendars ready for my next readings: Grief Rites on Monday, March 7 (location TBA) and Smallpressapalooza #9 at Powell’s City of Books on Monday, March 14 (page to come!). See you soon!