Wednesday, August 31, 2011

NYC: Poetry Handmade Books / Poesía hecha a mano Event

You're invited:

Poetry Handmade Books / Poesía hecha a mano

Please join us at McNally Jackson Bookstore on September 2nd, 2011 at 7:00pm,

Yarisa Colón will be speaking about the creation of her handmade poetry books.


McNally Jackson Bookstore is located on 52 Prince Street (between Lafayette & Mulberry), New York City.

This event has been organized thanks to Javier Molea.


Yarisa Colón Torres (1977) was born in Puerto Rico, and moved to Queens, New York when she was fourteen. She publishes her poetry by creating unique handmade books. "Caja de voces" (collaboration with Waleska Rivera, 2006), "¿Entrelínea o secuestro?" (French translation by Yarín Medina Gil, 2007), "Sin cabeza" (revised edition by Taller Asiray, 2011) are among her latest publications. Recently, she also published a limited edition of "Cibeles que sueña=Cybele As She Dreams", a poetry book written by Lourdes Vázquez and translated by Enriqueta Carrington.

Yarisa has shared her work at museums, universities and street fairs in Puerto Rico and abroad. Her work has been reviewed by El Diario/La Prensa, AHA Magazine, Claridad newspaper and Revista del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, among others. In 2003, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College (NY) invited her to be part of the project “Puerto Rican Writers: History and Context”, which provides a space in the general archive to preserve and share her documents. Please visit her blog Espacioasiray.blogspot.com to view some of her work.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Problem with Hurricanes & Standards of Beauty

While the city shuts down and the rain pounds upon the hardened but delicately sensitive beautiful souls of the city, I find myself bored and lost in my head.
The campesino takes off his hat—
As a sign of respect
toward the fury of the wind
And says:
Don't worry about the noise
Don't worry about the water
Don't worry about the wind—
If you are going out
beware of mangoes
And all such beautiful
sweet things. * From Problems with Hurricanes by Victor Hernández Cruz
What little beautiful sweet projectiles should we be wary of - I wonder...

While I brave the storm alone, I browsed upon this New York Magazine article: “I Didn’t Think of Myself As Good-Looking at All” about "Richard Avedon’s muse and the first non-­Caucasian model to grace the pages of a major fashion magazine," China Machado, and it made me recall a recent conversation I had with my best friend while shopping on conceptions and standards of beauty, our features, and our own personal perceptions of beauty.

The title caught my eye right away and seeing this extraordinary woman's profile made me reflect on how powerfully alluring it is to claim and accept one's differences.


Growing up, I have often been conflicted by my features. I don't know anyone (female: biracial or not) who hasn't been. For me, it's been about having very striking/strong features (large eyes, full hair and lips, prominent nose and cheekbones) while being small and fair, dealing with the duplicitous of being both light and dark, small but big - basically not fitting in and the duality of being perceived as "exotic."

I've had a love/hate affair with my nose. My mother has near "perfect," flawless features, and most of the women in my family are beautiful effortlessly. Many people often tell me there is absolutely nothing wrong with my nose and often, I agree but sometimes I wish I had a ski slope or button nose and rarely, like photos of myself in profile, which at other times, makes me angry at how much of the beauty standards and norms for women today are both unrealistic and lacking genuine diversity, irregardless of how that affects all women everywhere.

While riding in a NYC cab on Thursday, my bestie observed that I may not have a "small" nose but the one I have fits me and if I ever changed it, I would be something worse than unattractive, I would be ordinary. I listened, of course  and contemplated the idea with a sense of doubt that I was perhaps being kindly placated, (as only a true best friend can do skillfully) but it wasn't till I read this article and looked at the pictures of China Machado that the "extraordinary" element of what she was saying resonated.

There is something about claiming your own particular beauty, of not being beautiful in a standard way, that can make you, even more striking.


I try as much as possible to find the upside and beauty in things, to see the divine in the every day, and even on a tempestuous weekend like this one, it's important to note how rare and extraordinary the spectacle of nature is and how very much WE are all a part of it - beautiful, powerful, and glorious just like a huracán.

Stay safe, everyone

and

may your journey always bring you home.


* This post is dedicated to my best friend Z, on the occasion of her birthday (you have to be pretty badass to get the gods to stir the winds and make the ocean surge for you) and every other extraordinary woman who's ever felt anything less than beautiful



Monday, August 15, 2011

New Book: Josefina's Sin By Claudia H. Long

A thrilling and passionate debut about a sheltered landowner’s wife whose life is turned upside down when she visits the royal court in seventeenth-century Mexico.
When Josefina accepts an invitation from the Marquessa to come stay and socialize with the intellectual and cultural elite in her royal court, she is overwhelmed by the Court’s complicated world. She finds herself having to fight off aggressive advances from the Marquessa’s husband, but is ultimately unable to stay true to her marriage vows when she becomes involved in a secret affair with the local bishop that leaves her pregnant.

Amidst this drama, Josefina finds herself unexpectedly drawn to the intellectual nuns who study and write poetry at the risk of persecution by the Spanish Inquisition that is overtaking Mexico. One nun in particular, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, teaches Josefina about poetry, writing, critical thinking, the nature and consequences of love, and the threats of the Holy Office. She is Josefina’s mentor and lynchpin for her tumultuous passage from grounded wife and mother to woman of this treacherous, confusing, and ultimately physically and intellectually fulfilling world.

About the Author
Claudia H. Long is a practicing attorney in Northern California. She wrote her senior thesis at Harvard University on the feminism of Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz and revived her passion for Sor Juana when she wrote Josefina's Sin. She is the mother of two children, and lives with her husband.

New Book: The Maid’s Daughter

In light of Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent household mire, which catapulted his Latina housekeeper, Mildred Patricia Baena, into a hotbed of crucifiction by the media, comes a new book that sheds lights on what's it's like to be a live-in maid to a wealthy family and all the issues that come into play: The Maid's Daughter: Living Inside and Outside the American Dream by Mary Romero

This is Olivia’s story. Born in Los Angeles, she is taken to Mexico to live with her extended family until the age of three. Olivia then returns to L.A. to live with her mother, Carmen, the live-in maid to a wealthy family. Mother and daughter sleep in the maid’s room, just off the kitchen. Olivia is raised alongside the other children of the family. She goes to school with them, eats meals with them, and is taken shopping for clothes with them. She is like a member of the family. Except she is not.

Based on over twenty years of research, noted scholar Mary Romero brings Olivia’s remarkable story to life. We watch as she grows up among the children of privilege, struggles through adolescence, declares her independence and eventually goes off to college and becomes a successful professional. Much of this extraordinary story is told in Olivia’s voice and we hear of both her triumphs and setbacks.

We come to understand the painful realization of wanting to claim a Mexican heritage that is in many ways not her own and of her constant struggle to come to terms with the great contradictions in her life.

In The Maid’s Daughter, Mary Romero explores this complex story about belonging, identity, and resistance, illustrating Olivia’s challenge to establish her sense of identity, and the patterns of inclusion and exclusion in her life.

Romero points to the hidden costs of paid domestic labor that are transferred to the families of private household workers and nannies, and shows how everyday routines are important in maintaining and assuring that various forms of privilege are passed on from one generation to another.

Through Olivia’s story, Romero shows how mythologies of meritocracy, the land of opportunity, and the American dream remain firmly in place while simultaneously erasing injustices and the struggles of the working poor.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

New Book: TRIPLE CROSSING by Sebastian Rotella

Triple Crossing: A Novel by Sebastian Rotella


Valentine Pescatore, a volatile rookie Border Patrol agent, is trying to survive the trenches of The Line in San Diego. He gets in trouble and finds himself recruited as an informant by Isabel Puente, a beautiful U.S. agent investigating a powerful Mexican crime family.

As he infiltrates the mafia, Pescatore falls in love with Puente. But he clashes with her ally Leo Mendez, chief of a Tijuana anti-corruption unit. Politically charged violence escalates, plunging Pescatore into the lawless "triple border" region of South America and a showdown full of bloodshed and betrayal.

Writing with rapid-fire intensity, Sebastian Rotella captures the despair and intrigue of the borderlands, where enforcing the law has become an act of subversion. TRIPLE CROSSING is an explosive and riveting debut.

About the Author

Sebastian Rotella is an author and award-winning senior reporter for Propublica, an independent organization dedicated to investigative journalism. He covers issues including international terrorism, organized crime, homeland security and immigration. Previously, he worked for 23 years for the Los Angeles Times, serving as bureau chief in Paris and Buenos Aires and covering the Mexican border. He was a Pulitzer finalist in international reporting in 2006. He is the author of Twilight on the Line: Underworlds and Politics at the U.S.-Mexico Border (Norton), which was named a New York Times Notable Book in 1998.

Read more:
The Border Bosses: A Conversation with Sebastian Rotella and Luis Alberto Urrea: Part I and Part II

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ode to Chicago

Last month, I visited Chicago for the first time and feel like I left a little piece of my heart there. The history, architecture, the new friends I made, the old friends I reunited with - just everything was amazing. I came back a new person, my soul was replenished. This week I spotted this cool, tilt-shift, miniature ode to Chicago and it literally makes my heart ache.

Check it out:




And here are some of my favorite photos from my trip:

The Harold Washington Library Center's roof, decorated with acroteria depicting owls, which are the Greek symbols of knowledge.

Oliver, the sweet, gentle, protective, red-nosed pitbull, who stole my heart

Like a good pilgrim, I went to the Bean (AKA Cloudgate)

Love this mural by the Art Institute of Chicago

Another great mural in an underpass, every city should have art in the underpasses

This dope building was just outside my hotel window

The very first morning I came across this dragonfly, later we went pass the Zoo and saw some there too. 

This photo of the Chicago River was taken from the 42nd floor of  the hotel

The lions at the Art Institute of Chicago, reminded me of home and the NYPL.



Wednesday, August 03, 2011

New Book: If I Bring You Roses by Marisel Vera

I haven't had a chance to read this novel yet but I am looking forward to being swept away by it. Here's a description from Las Comadres:

Vera's passionate debut novel, set in Puerto Rico in the 40's and Chicago in the 50's, follows the fortunes of two young lovers as they wrestle with the marriage they've rushed into.

Felicidad works behind the counter in her aunt's island bakery, serving the town's busybodies, and dreaming of the family she hasn't seen in nearly a decade, especially of the mother who took to the roof of their home in the mountains in a frenzy of grief and madness. The day Anibal enters the bakery in search of a wife is the day Felicidad dares to believe that the new life she's been imagining could become a reality.

Soon the two are married and Felicidad is keeping house in Anibal's Chicago apartment, lavishing care on her husband. But Felicidad's virtue begins to sap Anibal's strength, and chafing at the restraints of marriage and the humiliations of his job in a factory, he takes up with a woman who is everything Felicidad is not: independent, reckless, promiscuous, demanding. As her husband becomes increasingly distant, Felicidad retreats to the dream life that had sustained her back home.

Finally reaching a breaking point, Felicidad decides that the moment has come to be reborn in America. How she finds her voice—and Anibal learns to hear her—is at the heart of this passionate novel.
www.mariselvera.com
@marisel_vera
www.facebook.com/Marisel-Vera

Monday, August 01, 2011

We Will Not Rest

I love this narrative ad for so many reasons:

 
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