Fresno LitHop 2017

What if we got together with our community of creators, artists, writers, community organizers, teachers, students, and parents to organize a literary festival for our community — designed and driven by our own literary community?

The result: over 140 writers arrived in Fresno’s historic Tower District (across all ages and literary genres), including the winner of the prestigious 2016 Walt Whitman Award, Mai Der Vang, and the nation’s first Chicano U.S. Poet Laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera. THOUSANDS of people showed up to discover their literary tribes, and we built a community together. It was amazing.

Best of all: it was 100% FREE!

It's going down again this year, 2017. Join me in celebration of Fresno's literary scene this April 29th!

 

 

Nayelle & Sara at Squaw: a conversation

READ FULL CONVERSATION HERE.

Several weeks ago, Nayelly Barrios shared with me how her experience at Squaw Valley this past summer was very valuable. Specifically, the poetry workshops held there every summer. Barrios also mentioned that, in addition to having a productive week at the poem-a-day week-long gathering, she met Sara Borjas, a poet from Fresno who completed her MFA at UC Riverside this past spring. Having in mind that Nayelly is set to complete her MFA at McNeese State University next spring,Letras Latinas Blog pitched the idea of a conversation between these two MFA-ers*—specifically, about their experience at Squaw.

 

Among other attendees at the Squaw Valley workshop, in recent years, have been: Angel N. GarciaRuben QuesadaMarcelo Hernández CastilloBlas Falconer, and Javier Zamora. Are we before a case of a well-kept secret among Latino/a poets? Whatever the case, I think you’ll find Nayelly's and Sara's charla engaging and, in a way, moving. Here are two poets not shying away from articulating what many artists often experience as they move through the world, but perhaps aren’t so ready to admit.

 

Regarding that asterisk: Letras Latinas Blog is posting this conversation the same week that the Letras Latinas Writers Initiative (one aspect of it, on Facebook) has launched. Both Nayelly and Sara, in their capacity as MFA candidate, and recent MFA graduate, respectively, are part of that gesture, as well. In fact, this very dialogue you are about to read embodies what the Letras Latinas Writers Initiative aims to foment: spaces—both virtual and physical—of mutual support and risk-taking, where the practice of art is concerned—among those Latino/a writers who have entered the academy to further their training.

 

—Francisco Aragón

Institute for Latino Studies

University of Notre Dame