Xicancuicatl: A retrospective reading in honor of Alfred Arteaga
Recently I started attending online Zoom poetry and fiction writing classes via Beyond Baroque. So many interesting people in my life have either studied, written, worked, or performed there. Thus far, the online courses have left me feeling more frustrated than inspired. Granted, I am in the very early stages of checking them out, so I shall give it more time and energy before reaching any formal conclusion. Meanwhile, an event will start in a few moments that I found intriguing and decided to attend. I will review my experience here while the event is taking place and post my thoughts later this evening after the reading has finished; I’ve proofread my work and attached a few images of those involved.
First up is David Lloyd. Friend of Alfred for over 20 years. He collected his work and secured it from obscurity as Arteaga died with only five books published when he died at the age of 58. His political views kept him from getting university tenure, something considered a huge loss for the poetry world and beyond. Many thanks to David for seeing this project to fruition.
The second is Cherie Moraga. Cherie took over his classes when he became ill. She writes the forward to the collection: Time Stretched Too Thin. Her words are too precise, powerful, and perfect for misquoting here. I will no doubt buy the book and read the forward repeatedly. A very emotional forward. Beautiful.
Third: Harry Gamboa Jr. describes an art happening they created in Boyle Heights in 1981 consisting of vaporizing Chicano myths. He was responsible for getting funding for Alfred to study in Ireland.
Such a beautiful gathering of friends, comrades, colleagues, students, readers, and fellow poets. To stumble upon this unique event is not an accident. Discovering a poet through his friends and their knowledge of the poet in real life has made me feel like I might have spent a few minutes alone with him. This moment will be followed by chunks of time to devour Arteaga’s work.
The highlight for me is to hear from Ryuta Imafuka, who reads live from Tokyo. Ryuta is Alfred’s translator. But he’s also much more, a soul brother, having met Alfredo in Austin, TX, after Imafuka had spent three years traveling through Mexico. He’s reading to us in Spanish, English, and Japanese. My mind is blown away. What a fantastic event.
Mythic Imagination: genetic memory.
A night to remember.