Live from Lone Mountain Campus aka The Stairway to God

Just finished breakin bread with the Fiction fellows here at VONA. Not only was the discussion fruitful (mad talk on what we’re reading and how we are goin to infiltrate the system) but it also proved profitable in that I sold two chapbooks which equals free meal which equals a moment of poetic happiness.

It has been an interesting workshop environment that I would like to emulate in the future- first we have an open mic (poems that we were assigned to write the night before based on another poem), then we go over an interview of a poet-of-color regarding politics and/or process and then we start workshopping poems. What I really dig is how the middle discussion tends to exhaust personal political tangents so that when we talk about the poem in workshop we are focusing on language, intent and emotion instead. Good stuff, for sure.

To back track for a second, the interviews also tend to revolve around what (if any) responsibility a writer has and more and more I keep coming back to this conclusion- My responsibility is to make the best art I possibly can and present it in a professional manner.

Well, at least that’s how I feel today and I am looking forward to seeing how I feel aout this in 10 years or even 10 hours.


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  1. I’ve heard good things about this workshop. I know someone who did the fiction portion but not the poetry one. Glad to hear you are finding it useful. For a time now, I’ve had the notion of gathering informal essays by Latino poets who take part in signature workshops like this. Let me know if such an essay might possibly be in the works for you based on your experience here. I’d like to move towards having “guest posts” at the Letras Latina blog on varied topics that have to do with enriching the conversation on how to help emerging (and non-emerging) Latino writers.


  2. Hey Oscar! It was a pleasure meeting you this week at VONA and I look forward to hearing more about your success as a writer in the future. I really enjoyed your piece during the reading on Friday. Much love…Much success…Much inspiration to you…

    I know I wasn’t much of a chatbox, but I hope you remember meeting me. :)


  3. francisco: still processing the whole VONA experience but i know that i would recommend this program to any writer-of-color who is seeking to expand their writing. i will email you more on this.

    trenee: you had the flyest collage on the wall. i love how yr character had all those books in her head. sending you positive vibes right back!

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