Update on the 2009 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize and my reaction

From the official web site:

Our 35th Chicano/Latino Literary Prize Contest has been cancel for this year.

We will keep you updated for the up coming year. We thank you for all your support.

I’m not surprised to find this out as the website has had no information for the last few weeks and the e-mail contact and telephone numbers listed have been down as well.

This was one of the contests I was looking forward to entering this year and (cue the cry of the optimist) felt I had some chance of doing well in. This isn’t a boast or brag, just an honest assessment of where I feel I’m at in my progress right now. I don’t enter every contest that comes down the pipe hoping that “Yes, this is the one!” but pick and choose where I’m sending out my stuff. The upside is I am not throwing away all my extra money on the Poetic Industrial Complex’s version of “la bolita.” The downside is every rejection letter I get hurts, big time. One I got last summer put me into a funk for at least a couple of months.

But that’s the game of endorsed publication, you gotta be in it to win it and you can never take it personal. Two lessons I learned when I was poetry slamming but it was cool back then cuz I never had my heart invested in becoming the next poster child for slam/poetry jams/spoken word/performance poetry. My heart is all about getting a book out there through a quality press that will work with me to produce the finest piece of book art possible and include me in a lineage of artists whose work has inspired me.

All that said, I know the decision to cancel this year’s Literary Prize can not have been an easy choice (especially with the current fiscal state of California and its impact on the UC budgets) and I hope the rich tradition of this very necessary institution can continue on for next year and beyond.

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