E-interview with Sam Vargas at Letras Latinas blog


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Originally uploaded by Mr. Mystery

The Acentos Workshops are starting back up next week and I thought an e-interview with Acentos Workshops Director Sam “Fish” Vargas would help to spread the word and give more insight into the goals of the Workshops.

I also kept thinking about the question Craig Santos Perez has been asking on his blog lately: “so someone tell me why an organization like the ACENTOS FOUNDATION will offer FREE, OPEN TO THE PUBLIC writers’ workshops in the Bronx (with some of the most respected writers around as teachers)”?

Good question. So I went straight to the source for the answer:

YOU HAVE SOME OF THE MOST RESPECTED POET/TEACHERS IN UNITED STATES POETRY ALONGSIDE A DYNAMIC COLLECTION OF UPCOMING WRITERS FACILITATING WORKSHOPS IN POETICS, PERFORMANCE AND POLITICS, ACENTOS COULD CHARGE A MODEST FEE FOR THESE TOP-NOTCH WORKSHOPS BUT INSTEAD MAKES IT ENTIRELY OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. STRAIGHT UP: WHY KEEP IT FREE? WHY NOT CHARGE?

You know that when NYC forgot about Puerto Ricans and minority Latinos in NYC, The Young Lords were born. They got together and MADE things happen. They never charged for the soup kitchens, Hep tests, and general help for their community. I model what Acentos does on much of what our forefathers paved the way for us. We have to make things happen for our community. If my community can’t afford college or a workshop at an absorbent fee, they are still entitled to gain that knowledge. We are getting something back that has no price from the community: hope. We will never ask much from the community but hard work and dedication to the craft. With that, we feel is enough payment to have wonderful work created within the halls of the workshop.

Word. Read the whole interview at Letras Latinas and feel free to comment.

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.

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