The reading for 3: A Taos Press at the Mercury Cafe last evening was phenomenal. I am grateful to be associated with such talented and lovely people. The press is wonderful. It treats its writers/poets with respect, kindness and true generosity. There is a lot of lip service to those words in poetry publishing today. This second process of publishing with a new small press has been more fulfilling. Foremost, I have felt respected and praised as a poet and this has meant a lot to me. My desires for the book's final have been taken very seriously. My input counts a lot! Similarly, the editors have helped me edit the book at my own pace. There's been no rushing things. I think it will show when the book comes out in 2013. Overall, I have just been happier with this press and these wonderful editors. Notre Dame may be a bigger or older press, but I can assure you that the process has been much more pleasant in that I feel very respected and very appreciated. I am thankful for the Andres Montoya Poetry Prize and what Francisco has built, but this is turning out to be a better experience. Maybe I've grown and have learned to speak up more than I used to do. Also, the first book was the inaugural prize and things were really just getting ironed out. I hope I'll be this fortunate later down the line, if there is a line, ha! I think there will be as I am currently working pretty diligently on a third manuscript. It certainly helps not to be teaching 5 classes!!
That said, I think it's important for Latinas, maybe especially Chicanas to recognize that although it is in some ways still a man's publishing world we can make strides and enjoy the work. I will be interviewing five Latina poets and writers in February and will be asking how they respond to masculinity and/or machismo in the Latino/a community and what can be done about it, if they see this occurring. Personally, I think there is a big problem still in regards to male dominance and/or the patriarchy is alive and well in the Latina/Chicana publishing world and the community. It is not intentional I believe, but it is alive and well despite commentary that this is not an issue. This question and others like it have not often been the forefront of the conversation or dialectic that goes on. It's a problem. Also, I don't feel I should have to apologize again for my feelings and feel silenced. They are based on my own experiences with Latino and Chicano men in the industry. I will say it again. It's a real problem. I am hoping doing these interviews will help. It's a small step in the right direction, and I feel it's a necessary small step.
I hope to stay engaged with words and poetry because it makes me happy to create something. I am going to enter the arts co-ops art show again this year as I won 100.00 last year. Though I am broke, I hope to buy some art supplies this week.