Monthly Archives: April 2011

Reading for Silver Lake Jubilee at Pehrspace

L.A. folks, I hope you can make this!

Silver Lake Jubilee Presents: “Girls, Girls, Girls!”

Emerging Voices alumnae Natashia Deon, Marytza Rubio, Mehnaz Turner, and Rachelle Cruz will read at this Silver Lake Jubilee promo show. PEN Center USA will curate the reading stages for the evening.

$5 Admission Wednesday, April 27 @ 8 PM
325 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, 90026

The Silver Lake Jubilee is a two-day music and art celebration featuring more than 20 local music acts, multi-discipline artists, crafters, and comedy acts, with literary performances curated by PEN Center USA.

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Filed under emerging voices, readings

My poem “Unfriend” featured in KCET Departures

…to love this turf is love hard and unrequited. Is to be a constant
trick, a constant victim of the dry screw. Is to never be quite satisfied on
deeper levels. Is to always be hungry.
Hungry for the sweet love promised. -Wanda Coleman

More good poetry news!  My love/hate poem to Los Angeles “Unfriend” is featured in the National Poetry Month KCET Departures series.  You can read it here. Wonderful poems by Luis Rodriguez, Mike the Poet and many others are featured on the site as well.

Also, be sure to check out KCET’s awesome and creative programming on the L.A. River.


Filed under los angeles, published

Poems in Jeffrey Berg’s jdbrecords

Thanks to Jeffrey Berg for inviting me to submit poems to his blog, which you can read here!  He’s been featuring the work of both emerging and established poets as a way to celebrate National Poetry Month.  Be sure to read the other wonderful poets there, Rio Cortez, Jerome Murphy, Morgan Parker, just to name a few.  Enjoy!

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Filed under 30 days/30 poems, published, writing process

Thoughts on Sarah Lawrence College’s rising tuition

Hi all,

I was approached by a reporter on The Daily to comment on Sarah Lawrence College’s rising tuition  I’m taking a quick break from poetry today to post my response below.

I’d love to hear what you think!



I graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 2007.  I’m fairly certain SLC was one of the most expensive schools (if not THE most expensive) in the nation that year as well.  It’s a familiar battle for SLC.  Although I fear the even heftier price tag for tuition in 2012 will deem the school even more inaccessible for prospective students, particularly students from low-income, immigrant communities and communities of color, I fully stand behind my SLC education.  I come from a middle-class immigrant family from Hayward in the Bay Area, and was able to attend SLC through scholarship.  Fundraising for scholarships is a big deal at SLC, and I hope that those efforts are continued for future students.

At SLC, I met with my professors who were esteemed writers, scholars and artists on a biweekly basis to develop independent work in conjunction with the class.  This individualized aspect of study at SLC is also called “conference,” which is built into the curriculum.  I’m currently a graduate student at a large university, and in many undergraduate classrooms, students use clickers in order to participate and “speak” in class.  There was never an issue of NOT being heard at SLC where most of the classes are small round table seminars of (at the most) 15 students.   I felt challenged by my professors and peers to think critically, to speak thoughtfully and honestly and to create my own projects based on the class’ subject.  I don’t think that this happens often in the university setting. 

There are no prerequisites for classes at SLC, and you get to interview your professor before the semester starts.  Students choose their classes based on their own interests. Editor Hamilton Nolan at Gawker scoffed at the student-designed curriculum, comparing this fundamental aspect of SLC’s pedgogy to an “appealingly obscure microbrew.”  Nolan argues that students should pay less tuition since “kids work cheap.”  Since SLC students design their own curriculum, I believe they are more engaged with their education than the average college student.  In fact, SLC professors are working harder to stay in dialogue with each of their students about general course work and students’ conference projects.

Education at SLC didn’t stop once students left the classroom.  I participated in APICAD (Asian Pacific Islander Coalition for Action and Diversity) on campus and fought for Diaspora Studies on campus with many of my peers.  Many of us, inspired by our classes, went on to become housing rights organizers, writers, small business owners, artists.  Many of us went on to fully engage and work with the multitude of communities where we live and belong.  In my own experience, I learned that community and education are inextricable.  I learned this through my interactions with my peers, my professors, AND the staff at SLC.  Where else can you knock on the Facilities Office, or the Financial Aid Office, and chat with the directors and administrators who work there right away?

Link to SLC President Karen Lawrence’s Op-Ed on Inside Higher Ed

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Filed under influences

The View From Here: Lynda Barry : Poetry Documentaries : Video

Pardon the interruption from poems, but please watch this video.

I love Lynda Barry!

The View From Here: Lynda Barry : Poetry Documentaries : Video.

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Filed under influences, writing process

Three Spring Readings

Barbara Jane Reyes just posted a great, thought-provoking post on literary activism over at Harriet Blog. I recommend reading it!  I wholeheartedly agree that more documentation of readings and literary events needs to happen.  I used to scramble on YouTube, looking for poetry performances to show students.  I think Hilda Weiss over at Poetry.LA does an incredible job of documenting readings at dozens of diverse venues all over Southern California. Here’s an interview I conducted with her over at cratelit.

BJR also mentions her aversion towards conferences for important discussions/topics, specifically women of color publishing and visibility.  I agree for the most part, thinking about my last experience at an academic conference.  Though I think that conferences sometimes can be a good jumping off point, and a good way to meet folks and see where folks from different communities overlap.  Hmm, I suppose it depends on the conference.

Speaking of readings, I’ve hosted/participated/attended in a few the past week.  The first at Back to the Grind, a local coffee shop in Riverside, for high school students in an after-school creative writing workshop series I co-taught with my colleagues, Kamala Puligandla and Angel Garcia.  Our students read some wonderful stories and poems though I wish we spent more time on performance.  Many of them became really interested in performance and theater towards the end of our workshop, but we didn’t have time to cover everything.  This is good to note for next time.  This workshop was really my first engagement with Riverside outside of the MFA, and I was pleasantly surprised to see so many high school students who were and weren’t in our workshop at the reading.

I read at Skylight Books, one of my favorite L.A. bookstores, last Sunday with a group of MFA’ers.  It was truly an honor reading there.  Some of my PEN and MMIX friends came by to support, and it was wonderful seeing them since I no longer live close by.  Skylight was podcasting the event, and I’ll share the audio once it’s made available.

Lorna Dee Cervantes gave an incredible reading yesterday afternoon at UCR.  She read from Emplumada and Drive: The First Quartet (five books in one!), which was great since I’m quite new to her work.  I bought Drive and I’m excited to read it!  She read a poem riffed from Robert Hass’  advice to “know the names of things,” which was a beautiful catalog poem dedicated to immigrants “everywhere anytime.”  Her reading definitely sparked some poems.

I’ll be posting NaPoWriMo poems here occasionally, but not daily, as I’m posting poems on a collective private blog.  I hope you all are writing your ass off!

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Filed under 30 days/30 poems, los angeles, readings, UC Riverside, writing process