Photos and VidPo from the Achiote Press Reading Celebrating 40 Years of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley


Achiote Press Chapbooks
Originally uploaded by geminipoet

I’m always happy to support mah peoples at Achiote Press but it’s pretty easy when you have a fantastic set of features, a celebration of a landmark event, insightful Q&A and a great turnout.

Lee Herrick was great, as always. His new poem was excellent with a fascinating back story that added insight to a poem that was working on so much resonance in tone and language that he couldn’t possibly give away too much. In fact, I hope he continues to build on the theme.

Hugo García Manríquez’s work also played with silence and language especially the Spanish poems. Manríquez read some “Sin Titulo” poems that had me thinking of Javier Huerta’s online anthology of “undocumented poems.”

Naomi Quiñonez brought her trademark blend of “elegant and fierce” (credit Achiote Press’ Jennifer Reimer for that) but also brought the history and knowledge reminding us of the struggle to create and maintain an Ethnic Studies program and a time when the question “Is Chicano Lit really American Lit?” was not one of theory but of survival. (Will the Literature of Our Own Language be included in the American Canon? Looking at the question and seeing how much exoticization still surrounds multi-lingual poetry the answer might not be so cut-and-dried.)

One of my favorite moments was when Quiñonez read “Eve, Malinche and Helen,” from her first collection Sueno de Colibri/Hummingbird Dream, and prefaced that her view of Malinche in her poem is flawed due to the lack of materials and study at the time. I could see a lot of poets going back and rewriting the poem but Quiñonez embraces the moment of learning and works towards a greater understanding.

All credit goes out to host Jennifer Reimer and her co-editor at Achiote, Craig Santos Perez, for putting together a great reading.

You can find the pictures here and click below to get a sample of some of the great poesia.

Achiote Press Reading featuring
Naomi Quiñonez, Lee Herrick and Hugo Garcia Manriquez

Author: Oscar Bermeo

Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is the author of the chapbooks Anywhere Avenue, Palimpsest, Heaven Below, and To the Break of Dawn. He lives and works in Oakland, CA.

4 thoughts on “Photos and VidPo from the Achiote Press Reading Celebrating 40 Years of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley”

  1. thanks for posting these videos.

    naomi was one of my first poetry teachers at arizona state. i greatly admire her work.

  2. Oscar, it was great to see you, and thank you for the kind words. I’m glad you liked the new one. It was an honor reading with Naomi.

    Hope to see you again sooner than later. Oh, and by the way, I’ve been loving Palimpsest!

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