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 the kindness of an old neighbor even though I feel like I’ve hardly known anyone 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.

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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. 

Exciting 2016 News

Exciting 2016 News

It’s January and that means epic new posts on my life because ~new year new me~ right? I won’t bore you with resolutions because the only thing I plan to do differently this year is stop hating myself for falling into comforting human habits, like buying myself lattes when I’m cold or tired. Also, I love January because I love buying stationary and it’s a great excuse to get artsy calendars and motivate yourself to do something meaningful with your life regardless of how difficult that might seem. In 2016, I want to get into graduate school. Let’s see how that goes!

Now here’s some cool news – I’m the new Communications Specialist at PFLAG Portland Black Chapter and I’m ecstatic to help them grow this year. You can read my full interview with them here.

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My interview with Sandra Cisnero’s focuses on her latest book “A House of My Own” along with her relationship with ghosts, surveillance, and Latinidad.

I’ve interviewed a number of people in the past few months and those interviews are just out now – namely a new exciting interview with Sandra Cisneros that was published in the Rumpus this week.

I also interviewed Leila Hofstein of Black Lives Matter Portland for the Portland Observer’s MLK Special Edition and highlight how the organization has grown this year especially.

The MLK Edition also features an exclusive interview with Know Your City’s executive director and long-term activist Cameron Whitten, along with a spotlight on the two winners of the first ever Portland Youth Poet Laureate competition, Sekai Edwards and Alexis Cannard.

There were all wonderful bylines to have but one of the most exciting announcements I have I’ve saved for last – I am really excited to say today I was contacted by the director of the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South at Duke University and invited to be their February Arob@ Visiting Resident Blogger. The blog is curated by a different artist, scholar, activist, or public intellectual each month, and past visiting writers include artist Pocholandia – AKA izelvargas.com, novelist Patricia Engel, food journalist Victoria Bouloubasis, and most recently Margarita Azucar. I hope to live up to the wonderful work of my predecessors this February – and if you want to learn more about the blog you can check it out now!

And if you haven’t scored a copy yet, order one of the limited remaining copies of my chapbook, Nobody Remembered Your Name But I Wrote It Down (Impossible Wings, Dec. 2015). I’m eager to do readings and get you copies, workshops, and speak to your friends about it.

 

 

 

The Week of Monae

The Week of Monae

This week I scored free tickets to a Janelle Monáe concert – and so did seemingly half the city of Portland. Over 900 people attended Monday’s concert at the Roseland Theater. She spent the day at a Don’t Shoot PDX rally.

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Despite intense differences activists from all over the spectrum attended the Monday rally and school supply fundraiser and later that night, all of us pushed to get in. I saw black and latino writers, musicians, dancers, activists, students, standing in the massive round-the-block line to witness Wondaland join Monáe for her Portland tour.

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I took a massive amount of photos, all which are available here. My full front page article on her civil rights anthem and national tour here.

My other major piece I’ve been working on is a story about a major problem facing the nearby city of Vancouver, Washington. There is currently no women’s shelter service the city, which is a major threat to the safety and livelihood of women throughout Clark County. Women are the face of poverty in the United States and across the world.

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When they don’t have devoted women’s shelters, they are liable to being attacked, raped, and killed in co-ed and men’s shelters. Vancouver needs your help. Read my article to sign a petition and donate to a future women’s shelter in Vancouver, Washington.

Finally, this week’s Notable Portland is out – meaning it’s a great time to follow allow along with the local literary community.

I’ll have more information on this year’s Wordstock soon but suffice to say it’s time to clear your calendars and plan ahead to attend one the west coast’s most unique literary festivals. Being on the advisory board means I can’t tell you WHO is coming, but I got some tastes recently and I am excited for you to get the news when they finally release information to the public. RSVP on their facebook page if you want to join me there this year.