Acknowledgement: Beltway Poetry Quarterly

No SB1070 mural
Originally uploaded by Steve Rhodes

Now this is a nice start to the New Year.

Many thanks to all the folks at Beltway Poetry Quarterly especially Kim Roberts and guest editor Francisco Aragón for including me in their latest issue. The fact that this is a special issue dedicated to the Floricanto in DC: A Multicultural Response to SB1070 makes it an even greater honor and lessens the sting of not being able to actually participate in last year’s AWP event due to bad weather. Now, thanks to the power of text and imagination, I can share a virtual stage with some voices that I deeply respect, am continually inspired by, and folks that I can even call friends.

For those of you who like to know the behind the scenes stuff–think Blu Ray commentary on the Poetry World–I gotta say I almost missed the cut on this issue and only thanks to the gracious prodding of Francisco Aragon was I able to get in. So why did that happen?

It wasn’t because I didn’t want to be in the issue but I honestly didn’t think I had anything to contribute that would honor the spirit of the publication. I have some good poems that don’t yet have a publishing home but I wasn’t just going to contribute the next poem in my queue but add something to not just be another voice. Especially since I don’t write a lot of response poems and only have one poem specific to SB1070.

Finally I decided to submit a poem that’s been on my blog since it’s been written, “the ice worker lives,” a cento written during the reading party for In the Grove #16, celebrating the life of and work of Andrés Montoya. If there is any poem that I’ve written that speaks about the injustice of a law like SB1070, it would be this poem that gathers the voices of all these speakers who by their words and actions stand against the idea of any legislation that would disrespect familia in any way.

Enough behind the scenes mess, please head over to Beltway Poetry and enjoy the gathering of poems that speaks against SB1070 and stands for poetry and its power of change.

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  1. Hi Oscar:
    Thanks for your thoughtful post here. I loved the community minded poem you sent and the issue is greatly enhanced because of it.

    I also need to publically make amends here for an unintended omission in this special issue. When I agreed to guest edit, I decided I wanted to invite those poets who read or were slated to read. What I had to go on—since I wasn’t at the reading either—was a list I was provided. Reading your post and linking back to the poster for the event, my heart sank when I saw the name of a poet whose name was NOT on the list I was handling at the time of issuing the invitations.

    So, for the record, Craig Santos Perez should have been in this issue—that is, he should have been invited to submit, and he wasn’t (there were some poets who were invited and just never got around to submitting). My vague recollection, though I may be wrong, was that Craig didn’t make it AWP last year, but his name was on that poster. Dang. Mea Culpa.


    1. Damn all this documentation. ;-)

      On the serious, that is a bummer since Craig’s work is so focused on people’s history and fights against the erosion a law like SB1070 proposes.

      Thanks again for the work you put into the issue and the chance to share space and words with you and the rest of this community. A truly beautiful gathering.

      ¡Lo mejor en el año nuevo, Francisco!

  2. Boo, bad weather!

    But it’s good to see you’ve got some work in the Beltway Poetry Quarterly! Here’s to an amazing year ahead! Let’s have one filled with energy, opportunity and inspiration! :)

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