Corazón Bilingüe

Listen to Corazón Bilingüe, Saturdays at 11:30 a.m.

on KMBH FM 88.9/88.1, an NPR affiliate in the

Rio Grande Valley

Una una conversación  sobre el lenguaje, la cultura y la creación literaria.


Welcome to Corazón Bilingüe, an online conversation and poetry journal where our voices are heard no matter the language. Join us as we engage in a conversation about language, culture and the art of literary creation.

On Corazón Bilingüe

Tawni Waters

Tawni Waters is a writer, actor, college teacher, and gypsy. Her first novel, Beauty of the Broken, will be released by Simon/Pulse in Fall 2014. Her first poetry book, Siren Song, will be released by Burlesque Press in Winter 2014. Her work has been published in Best Travel Writing 2010, Bridal Guide Magazine, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Albuquerque Journal, Albion Review, ABQ Arts Magazine,So To Speak, Blood Lotus, and Conceptions Southwest, among others. 

Roberto Montes

Roberto Montes is the author of I DON'T KNOW DO YOU, named one of the Best Books of 2014 by NPR, and 'HOW TO BE SINCERE IN YOUR POETRY' WORKSHOP now available in full at His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from Coconut Magazine, Everyday Genius, Deluge, Nepantla, & elsewhere.

Amy Sayre Baptista

Amy Sayre Baptista’s stories have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Ninth Letter, S’ouwester, LUSO American Voices, and Chicago Noir. She is a 2013 CantoMundo fellow, a 2012 Pushcart Prize nominee, and a 2011 scholarship recipient to the Disquiet Literary Festival in Lisbon, Portugal. She has an MFA in Fiction from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and teaches Creative Writing and Humanities at Benedictine University at Springfield.

Ruben Quesada

Ruben Quesada is an assistant professor of writing and literature at Eastern Illinois University. His writing appears in American Poetry Review, Rattle, Cimarron Review, Stand Magazine, Guernica, and others. His work can be found in two collections of poetry, Next Extinct Mammal (2011) and Exile from the Throne of Night (2008).

Luivette Resto

Luivette Resto was born in Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico but proudly raised in the Bronx. Her first book of poetry Unfinished Portrait was published in 2008 by Tia Chucha Press and later named a finalist for the 2009 Paterson Poetry Prize. She is also a contributing poetry editor for Kweli Journal, a CantoMundo fellow, and the hostess of a monthly poetry reading series called La Palabra located at Avenue 50 Studio in Los Angeles. Her new book Ascension was published in April 2013 courtesy of Tia Chucha Press.

Rosebud Ben-Oni

Born to a Mexican mother and Jewish father, Rosebud Ben-Oni is a 2013 CantoMundo Fellow and the author of SOLECISM (Virtual Artists Collective, 2013). A Leopold Schepp Scholar at New York University, she won the Seth Barkas Prize for Best Short Story and The Thomas Wolfe/Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Best Poetry Collection. She was a Rackham Merit Fellow at the University of Michigan where she earned her MFA in Poetry, and was a Horace Goldsmith Scholar at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Recently, her story "A Way out of the Colonia" won the Editor’s Prize for Best Short Story in Camera Obscura: A  Journal of Contemporary Literature and Photography. A graduate of the 2010 Women's Work Lab at New Perspectives Theater, her plays have been produced in New York City, Washington DC and Toronto. Her work appears in American Poetry Review, Arts & Letters, Bayou, Puerto del Sol, among others. Rosebud is a co-editor for HER KIND ( at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts ( Find out more about her at

C.O.N.C.A - Coalition of New Chican@ Artists

The Coalition of New Chicano Artists (CONCA) envisions a community that fully values and integrates the contributions of an expanding and increasingly diverse Chicano/Chicana consciousness in the areas of art, literature and culture.

CONCA is a nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to the promotion, advancement, development, and cultivation of the Chicano/Chicana arts, as well as cultural and political awareness. In this capacity, CONCA stimulates and facilitates dialogues among disciplines, languages, and traditional and contemporary expressions. 

Isaac Chavarría

Isaac Chavarria’s collection of poetry "Poxo" was published in 2013 by Slough Press. His collection revisits those uprooted and attempting to adjust to life in the United States, and walks into the lives of the barrio-colonia where canals, orange groves, and streets intersect. It settles in the mexclado of raza: anglos, tejanos, im migrants, chican@s, transients, y mas. Welcome to un topsy turvy poxo world, where the flawed and perfect speak the same. 

Lydia Pesina

Lydia Pesina serves as director of the Family Life Office for the Catholic Diocese of Brownsville, Texas. She writes a monthly column for The Valley Catholic newspaper. She has worked as a Lay Ecclesial Minister full time for 31 years (August 1982- present) including serving in the Diocesan Offices of Family Life and Catechesis and as a parish Director of Religious Education. Lydia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education from The University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Texas; a Certificate in Religious Education from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas; and a Master’s Degree in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana.


She has been married for 39 years and resides in Edinburg, Texas with her husband   Mauri. They have one daughter and one grandson. Lydia has served in the past as co-chair of the Education and Formation Commission for the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers which sponsors the Ministry with Family101 & 201 Courses and received the 2011 NACFLM Award.

Olga Valle-Herr
McAllen’s first Poet Laureate Olga Valle-Herr was born in Laredo, Texas, and has lived in the Rio Grande Valley since 1973. She has been published in "Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul", and in numerous literary journals and anthologies as well as popular magazines. Olga has received numerous awards for her poetry and essays. "Pearl Harvest" is her first book.

first Poet Laureate Olga Valle-Herr was born in Laredo, Texas, and has lived in the Rio Grande Valley since 1973. She has been published in "Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul", and in numerous literary journals and anthologies as well as popular magazines. Olga has received numerous awards for her poetry and essays. "Pearl Harvest" is her first book
McAllen’s first Poet Laureate Olga Valle-Herr was born in Laredo, Texas, and has lived in the Rio Grande Valley since 1973. She has been published in "Chicken Soup for the Latino Soul", and in numerous literary journals and anthologies as well as popular magazines. Olga has received numerous awards for her poetry and essays. "Pearl Harvest" is her first book.

Amalia Ortiz

Amado Balderas Tijerina

Amado Balderas Tijerina is a poet, writer, teacher, activist, historian, philosopher, and entrepreneur from Edinburg, TX. His poetry emerges out of the hip hop scene of the mid 80s. He published some poems in the early 90s, but has consciously decided not to publish. His work has been experienced mainly at poetry festivals, readings, and political rallies all across Texas and the U.S. He graduated with a B.A. in English from University of Texas – Pan American in 1998. He teaches World History Studies & Chicano Studies at Johnny Economedes High School. He founded the Nueva Onda Poets Café in Edinburg.

Sarah Cortez

A member of the Texas Institute of Letters (inducted 2012), Sarah Cortez has numerous poems, essays, and short stories in journals and anthologies in the United States and Europe. Winner of the PEN Texas Literary Award in poetry, her debut collection is entitled "How to Undress a Cop." One of her poems recently placed semi-finalist in the annual contest of Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century. An award-winning anthologist of five volumes, her most recent is "You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens" from Arte Público Press.


Sarah and Sergio Troncoso edited an anthology of essays, “Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence,” released this year. Her multi-genre memoir Walking Home: Growing Up Hispanic in Houston, a collection of short stories and poetry inspired by the beauty of a stained-glass window, was published in 2012. 


VIPF 2013 Featured Poets

The 2013 Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival featured scholar and poet Dr. Diana Dominguez (Brownsville), renown poet and playwright Tammy Gómez (Fort Worth), poet and activist Lupe Méndez (Houston), slam champion poet Amalia Ortiz—three-time alumna of HBO’s Russell Simmons presents Def Poetry (from La Feria via San Antonio and Los Angeles), charro poet Lic. José María Parga Limón (Mexico), writing professor and poet Emmy Pérez (Santa Ana, Ca. and Edinburg), and the prolific Mona D. Sizer (Harlingen).


The following reading, which recorded on April 27, 2013 during the 7th Annual Poetry Pachanga Readings in San Benito, Texas, is an abridged version which ran in three parts on Corazón Bilingüe.

Part I: Emmy Pérez, Mona D. Sizer and José María Parga Limón
Part II: Dr. Diana Dominguez and Amalia Ortiz
Part III: Tammy Gómez and Lupe Méndez

Steven Schneider

Steven P. Schneider is professor of English and director of new programs and special projects in the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Texas-Pan American. He is co-creator with his artist wife Reefka of the traveling exhibit and book Borderlines: Drawing Border Lives, Fronteras: dibujando las vidas fronterizas. The book received a Starred Review from Library Journal and was featured at The Texas Book Festival and the Miami Book Fair International. Steven and Reefka lecture widely on culturally relevant literature and promoting literacy through poetry and art. Their work is featured on the website


Steven is the author of several collections of poetry, including Prairie Air Show and Unexpected Guests, a scholarly book entitled A.R. Ammons and the Poetics of Widening Scope and the editor of the essay collections The Contemporary Narrative Poem: Critical Crosscurrents and Complexities of Motion: New Essays on A.R. Ammons’s Long Poems.

Sara Marie Ortiz

Sara Marie Ortiz is an Acoma Pueblo memoirist, poet, scholar, aspiring filmmaker, youth trainer, and Indigenous Peoples advocate. She is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts (BFA in Creative Writing, 2006), graduating from Antioch University Los Angeles with her MFA in Creative Writing in 2009. She has published and presented her work widely and is the recipient of several fellowships, scholarships, awards, and recognition for her nonfiction, poetry, academic study, and advocacy, among these the Truman Capote Literary Fellowship, The Brigham Young/Native American Literature Symposium Morning Star Award in Creative Writing, and the American Indian Graduate Center Fellowship.

Octavio Quintanilla

Octavio Quintanilla’s poems have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, The Bitter Oleander, Los Angeles Review, Fugue, PALABRA and elsewhere. His critical reviews have appeared in Texas Books in Review and in Southwestern American Literature. He has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of North Texas and teaches Literature and Creative Writing at Texas A & M University-Kingsville.

San Antonio Poet Laureate

Carmen Tafolla

The internationally renowned author of more than twenty books and one of the most highly anthologized of Latina writers, Dr. Carmen Tafolla has published an impressive array of works for both children and adults, and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Americas Award, presented to her at the Library of Congress in 2010, two Tomas Rivera Book Awards, two ALA Notable Books, a Charlotte Zolotow, the Art of Peace Award, Top Ten Books for Babies, and recognition by the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies for work which “gives voice to the peoples and cultures of this land.” 


Newly named by Mayor Julian Castro as the first Poet Laureate of the City of San Antonio, Tafolla has been called a “world-class writer” by Roots author Alex Haley, and has long been considered one of the madrinas of Chicana Literature.   She is currently at work on the adult biography of early civil rights organizer Emma Tenayuca.

Gabriel H. Sanchez

Gabriel H. Sanchez is a writer and poet from the Rio Grande Valley. He is a graduate of the University of Texas-Pan American and also a publisher under the name “The Raving Press.” His poetry is historical, political and plainspoken and is featured in spoken word events and online.

Diana Lopez

Diana Lopez is the author of the novels Sofia's Saints, Confetti Girl (winner of the 2012 William Allen White Award), and Choke.  Her short fiction has appeared in Palabra, BorderSenses, Texas Monthly, and the anthologies Hecho en Tejas and You Don't Have a Clue.  She teaches at the University of Houston-Victoria and is the editor of the literary journal, Huizache.

Rodney Gomez

Rodney Gomez works as an urban planner in Weslaco, Texas. He earned a BA from Yale and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas-Pan American. He was a finalist for the NANO Fiction Prize and the Andres Montoya Prize from the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net anthology, and has appeared in numerous journals including Fourteeen Hills, Denver Quarterly, Nimrod, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Devil’s Lake, Salt Hill, Barrow Street, RHINO, and Anti-. A former CantoMundo fellow, he has received residencies from the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Santa Fe Art Institute. He sits on the board of Migrant Health Promotion, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-being of migrants, immigrants, and related populations.

Claudia D. Hernandez

Claudia D. Hernández was born and raised in Guatemala. She is a photographer, poet, and a bilingual educator in the Los Angeles area. She writes short stories, children’s stories, YA novels and poetry. Her writing subtlety focuses on social issues that deal with poverty, immigration, gender issues, language, and race. Her short stories often depict the plight of immigrants who are faced with such obstacles as: assimilation, racism, and self-hate. She also emphasizes the beauty of America Latina: our heritage, language, and customs. She writes in Spanish and English and sometimes weaves in Pocomchi’, an indigenous language of her Mayan heritage.

Claudia is finishing up a Masters in Multicultural Education and also pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing for Young Adults at Antioch University, Los Angeles. Her photography, poetry, and prose have been published in The Indigenous Sovereignty Issue of The Peak, Kuikatl ~ A XicanIndio Literary & Arts Journal, Hinchas de Poesía, Nineteen-Sixty-Nine: A Journal of Ethnic Studies (UC Berkeley), Kalyani Magazine, FRONTERA ESQUINA, Along the River II Anthology, Blood Lotus Journal, REDzine, among others.

Manuel Luis Martinez

Francisco Aragón 

Francisco Aragón is a CantoMundo fellow. He is the author of Glow of Our Sweat (Scapegoat Press) and Puerta del Sol (Bilingual Press), as well as the editor of The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press). His work has appeared in various anthologies, including, Inventions of Farewell: A Book of Elegies (W.W. Norton & Company), American Diaspora: Poetry of Displacement (University of Iowa Press), Evensong: Contemporary American Poets on Spirituality (Bottom Dog Press), and Deep Travel: Contemporary American Poets Abroad (Ninebark Press). His poems, translations and commentary have appeared in various print and web venues, including Chain, Crab Orchard Review, Jacket, Mandorla, Pilgrimage, Poetry Daily, the website of the Poetry Foundation, and Zócalo Public Square. Aragón holds degrees in Spanish from UC Berkeley and N.Y.U., as well as an MA and MFA in English and creative writing from UC Davis and the Notre Dame, respectively. A native of San Francisco, and former long-time resident of Spain, he currently resides in the Washington, D.C. area from where he directs Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Visit his website at:

Emmy Perez

Emmy Pérez is the author of a poetry collection, Solstice.  She holds degrees from Columbia University and the University of Southern California.  Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Notre Dame Review, New York Quarterly, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Indiana Review, Crab Orchard Review, Story, Blue Mesa Review, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line, and other publications.  She is a contributing editor for The Writer's Chronicle (AWP), Latino Poetry Review, and Texas Books in Review.  A recipient of poetry fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she also received the James D. Phelan Award from the San Francisco Foundation for her fiction writing.  In 2009, she received the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral writing award.  She has been a writer-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.  She is a member of the Macondo Writers’ Workshop in San Antonio, founded by Sandra Cisneros for socially-engaged writers, and she is also a CantoMundo poetry fellow.  She is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing in the MFA program at the University of Texas-Pan American.  In addition to university teaching for the past ten years, she has also taught in detention centers and various community-based centers. 

Norma E. Cantu, Ph.D.

Dr. Norma E. Cantu, is a noted scholar of Latina/o and Chicana/o literature and studies. She is currently with the Latina/ Latino Studies Program and the Department of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She has taught for the past twelve years at the University of Texas-San Antonio. She received her M.S. degree from Texas A&I University and her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Professor Cantu's areas of interest and research include Chicana/o literature, border studies, cultural studies, feminist studies, and folklore. In 2012 Professor Cantu was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters and received the prestigious Nebrija Creative Writing Award from the Instituto Franklin at the Universidad de Henares in Spain.

She edited Flor y Ciencia: Chicanas in Mathematics, Science, and Engineering (2006) and co-edited the anthologies Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios (2001) and Chicana Traditions: Continuity and Change (2002) She is also author of the award-winning Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera (1995). She formerly served as senior arts specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Folk and Traditional Arts Program and as acting director of the Center for Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has also served on the boards of the American Folklore Society and the Federation of State Humanities Councils.

Celeste De Luna

“My artwork seeks to validate Xicano/indigenous people’s experiences, my personal narrative in that experience, and strives to be aesthetically pleasing, even though some subjects may be disturbing.  Common themes in my work include migrant/border experiences of women, children, and families, the experience of mixed documentation status families, the social effects of documentation status, and the spiritual struggle of conflicting identities, including “survivor’s guilt”. A migrant can be defined as a person who physically moves from one country to another.  I see myself as a migrant moving back and forth through multiple conceptual worlds.” C. De Luna

Celeste De Luna is visual artist/art educator from lower South Texas.  She has exhibited her work in various cities in the Rio Grande Valley, San Antonio, San Diego, and Chicago.  De Luna is a part time instructor at South Texas College, continues her studio practice, and collaborative creative projects.  You can reach her at

David Bowles

David Bowles comes from a family with deep Mexican-American and Southern roots, and the mingling of those cultural traditions have shaped him. He said, “Two elements of my childhood seem key to my present work: the stories I heard at the knee of my grandmother, Marie Garza, and the fact that my mother taught me to read when I was four.”


He presently lives in the Rio Grande Valley with his wife and children.  He earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate at the University of Texas Pan American and has dedicated more than 20 years to education, both as a public school teacher, administrator and university lecturer. “But my alter ego,” he said, “is as a writer of adult and young adult speculative fiction.”

After more than a decade of honing his craft, David launched a science-fiction series entitled D’Angelo Chronicles in 2009. In April of 2011, Absey & Co. published The Seed: Stories from the River’s Edge, a collection of young-adult short stories he collaborated with his wife, Angélica Maldonado, to create. In 2012, he teamed up with painter Noé Vela to create Mexican Bestiary | Bestiario Mexicano, an illustrated bilingual encyclopedia of legendary creatures. Additionally, he served as editor for the Along the River anthology series, the newly illustrated Stories That Must Not Die reprint series, Donna Hooks Fletcher: Life and Writings and the magazine Flashquake. His book review column Top Shelf appears each Thursday in The Monitor, a regional newspaper.
You can contact David at

Edward Vidaurre

Rossy Lima Padilla
Christopher Carmona

Letras Sin Fronteras

Alejandro Cabada Fernandez, Rossy Lima Padilla, Silvia Mar & Julieta Corpus

Ricardo Garza
Originally from the Rio Grande Valley ( Edinburg ),  Ricardo Garza has been writing and performing from South Texas to the Bay Area. A prolific writer and performer he has been featured in colleges and high schools and middle schools where he has also conducted poetry workshops as part of Writers in the Schools funded by The Writer’s Garret and the City of Dallas.  Also appearing in print, college radio and public television, Ricardo’s contemplative writings on the common and disenfranchised minority appear in his chapbook, Blood Brother’s y otros Poemas, and spoken word CD, Fiebre del sol.
Chuck Taylor

Chuck Taylor is a published poet, essayist, novelist, and short story writer.

Sam Arizpe

Samuel Arizpe is a Catholic priest ministering in the Diocese of Brownsville, the southernmost part of Texas that borders Mexico. He recently earned his M.F.A. in creative writing with a concentration in poetry at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, Texas. He is often surprised by where a poem takes him and believes that poetry -- reading, writing, and sharing it -- is at its roots the raising of consciousness, the practice of compassionate awareness.


His work has been published in a number of journals including Acentos Review and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review.

Katie Hoerth

A transplant to Rio Grande Valley, Katherine Hoerth is a poet who writes, teaches, and edits in the borderlands. She finds inspiration in the diverse cultural, linguistic, and ecological landscape of southern Texas.  Much of her work revisions cultural myths and narratives including fairy tales, folktales, myths, and Biblical stories. She is currently rewriting the tales of Ovid’s Metamorphoses as though they had taken place in modern day Deep South Texas.


Katherine received her MFA from the University of Texas Pan American. She currently teaches writing at South Texas College.  Her work has appeared in journals including Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Conte: A Journal of Narrative Writing and Front Porch. Katherine is the Assistant Poetry Editor at Fifth Wednesday Journal, and reviews poetry books for Boxcar.  Mouthfeel Press has published two of her chapbooks titled Among the Mariposas (2010) and more recently, The Garden of Dresses (2012). Her first full poetry collection, The Garden Uprooted, is set for release later this summer from Slough Press. She lives in the country just outside of Edinburg, Texas with her love, Bruno, and their five cats.

Lauren Espinoza

Lauren Espinoza is graduate student pursuing her Mexican-American Studies Graduate Certificate and a Master of Fine Arts from Arizona State University. Her work has been published in Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25, Label Me Latina, and is forthcoming from NewBorder: An Anthology.

VIPF 2012 Featured Poets

This episode features an excerpt from a reading by the featured poets at the Valley International Poetry Festival on April 28, 2012.


Part I: 2012 Texas Poet Laureate Jan Seale, Trevor Wainwright, and Lady Mariposa
Part II: Juan M. Pérez, Oscar Peña, and Amalia Ortiz

Trevor Wainwright

Trevor Wainwright is from Castleford England. He started writing poetry for the fun of it 20 years ago. He has written on a variety of subjects— not all of them popular. Last year he visited the United States for the first time. In 17 days he wrote 76 poems.

Jan Seale, 2012 Texas Poet Laureate

Jan Seale, of McAllen, is the 2012 Texas Poet Laureate. She has seven poetry volumes and several books of prose. Her latest book of poetry is Nape, published by Ink Brush Press, and latest volume of fiction is Appearances, published by Lamar University Press.

Oscar C. Peña
Poet, essayist, and jazz musician, Oscar C. Peña was born and raised in Kingsville, Texas. He’s been a juried poet at Houston Poetry Fest and his work has been published in the Austin International Poetry Festival anthology Di-vêrse’-city; Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival anthology Boundless; Forest Fest 2008 Poetry Competition; Texas Poetry Calendar and the San Antonio Poetry Fair anthology Voices Along the River. He is the author of a poetry chapbook “Fire of Thorns."
Oscar hosts the Barnes & Noble 4th Tuesday Poetry Reading Series; Friendswood Library Presents Poetry Night and has served as Master of Ceremonies for Houston Poetry Fest’s Out of Bounds. He’s also presented his work to high school and college students and performed his poetry at venues throughout Texas.

Shawn Elliot

Hip hop artist. Spoken word poet. Advocate. In an industry where conformity is a standard practice, Shawn Elliot has distinguished himself as a rebellious artist, blurring the line between generations with his brand of hip hop. He strives to use whatever creative talent he has to give back to the community, performing at charity events and organizing concerts to benefit non profits. From meaningful music to heartfelt lyrics that talk about life and it's struggles, Shawn Elliot is a diverse artist that refuses to be confined by the preconceived notions of what hip hop should be. You can hear his music at or

Women's Voices from the Chicho

This episode features a sampling from the readings in honor of Women’s History Month at the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center in San Benito on March 17, 2012. The poets featured on the program include Rosa Perez, Kathy Raines, Robin Cate, Brenda Riojas, Mona Sizer, Irma Guadarrama, Julieta Corpus, Ruth Wagner, Diana Dominquez and Briza Rodriguez.

Barbara Renaud Gonzalez


Barbara Renaud Gonzalez is an award-winning writer, journalist, and activist. She grew up the eldest of eight with a Tejano father and a Mexicana mother. Her novel "Golondrina, Why Did You Leave Me?" is the first Chicana novel to be published by the University of Texas Press. Another novel in the works, "Willie and the Flood/Su Voto es Su Voz," is a children's book on the life of Southwest Voter Registration and Education Project founder Willie Velasquez.

Gonzalez' essays and articles have appeared in The Nation, The Progressive, Ms., The Los Angeles Times and many others. Her commentaries have aired on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" and "Latino USA." She was the first Chicana to be a regular monthly columnist on the San Antonio Express-News opinion page. In 2000, she received the Inter-American Press Association Opinion Prize for her "columns that inspire community debate."

Gonzalez received a master's degree in social work from the University of Michigan and a bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Texas-Pan American.

Laurie Ann Guerrero

Laurel Bill

Third-generation Alaskan Laurel Downing Bill is author of the recently released Alaska history series, titled “Aunt Phil’s Trunk.” Volumes 1 through 4, which include about 350 historical photographs per book, feature lively stories about Alaska’s colorful past.


The series developed after Laurel inherited newspaper clips, research and rare Alaska history books from her Alaska historian aunt, Phyllis Downing Carlson, who died in 1993. It started as a weekly newspaper column in The Anchorage Chronicle in July 2002. The column soon became one of the most popular features in the newspaper chain.

Tammy Gomez

Tammy Melody Gomez, currently based in north Texas, is a multidisciplinary artist and poet/playwright. She curated the Texas Book Festival Poetry Tent readings for six consecutive years, and performed with the Red Salmon Poets, Dharma Broads, and WOW (Women of Words).


Gomez has edited two anthologies, Yoniverse: In a Loud Kitchen (Tejana Tongue Press, 1997) and North Texas Neruda Love (Tejana Tongue Press, 2005), as a small press publisher--with the support of grants from Humanities Texas and the City of Austin-Cultural Grants Office. As award-winning ("Best Poet of Austin" and "1st Runner-Up, Hispanic Playwright's Festival--Fort Worth") poet/playwright, she has performed throughout the U.S., and in Mexico and Nepal.


As director, Gomez has staged performances of literature in the original productions "Siempre, Neruda" (2005), and "Palabra: The Written Word, Spoken" (2010). She also produces Palabrazos, a festival of multimedia literary performance. Her poems and essays have been anthologized widely, including in the Brooklyn Review, Conjunctions, the Yellow Medicine Review, Hecho en Tejas (University of New Mexico Press, 2006), and Bicycle Love (Breakaway Books, 2004).


Gomez' one-woman show, "Saliendo Abierta" (Emerging Open), was staged in three Texas cities in 2009-2010. She will be reprising her first full-length play "She: Bike/Spoke/Love" at the Mexican American Cultural Center (Austin) in May 2012.

Texas Poetry Calendar

Edited by Scott Wiggerman and Cindy Huyser the 2012 Texas Poetry Calendar features 95 Ninety-five iconic poems to inspire you, week by week, as the pages turn. Poets read their poems at Book People Book Store in Austin on Dec. 4, 2011.

Gloria Amescua

Gloria Amescua is an inaugural member of Cantomundo, a national Latino poetry community created in 2010. Gloria has had poetry published in Poetography, Di-Verse-City-Too, Tres-Di-Verse-City, Ishua, and Mujeres Morenas. She has also published poetry chapbook, Windchimes. She has participated in numerous poetry readings. In the fall of 2011 she was a resident of Hedgebrook, a writers in residence program on Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Washington.

Rachel Ann Vela

Rachel Ann Vela has been writing poetry since her adolescent years. In 2005 she received a scholarship from The University of Texas Pan American for her acceptance in an undergraduate research panel at the Midwest Popular Culture Association. Here, she presented a travel narrative she wrote while traveling in England titled “Finding the Essence of me: A Travel narrative”. She currently hosts “We Need Words” which is a monthly poetry/open mic night that seeks to celebrate local poets and artists. She is soon to graduate from the University of Texas Pan American with a Bachelors Degree in English Literature.

Daniel Chacón

Daniel Chacón is author of Unending Rooms, a collection of stories, winner of the Hudson Prize. He also has a novel, and the shadows took him, and another collection of stories called Chicano Chicanery. His fiction has appeared in the anthologies Lengua Fresca: Latinos Writing on the Edge; Caliente: The Best Erotic Writing in Latin American Fiction; and Best of the West 2009: New Stories from the West Side of the Missouri.

He is co-editor of The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: The Selected Works of Jose Antonio Burciaga.

Beto Conde

Filberto Conde started writing after returning from military service during the Vietnam War. He wrote about his experience in the war as a release of sorts for pent up emotions. “As I wrote more I started writing about growing up and living in the dual cultures of South Texas. I write to retain memories of how I saw and continue to see life unfolding in front of me.”

Linda Romero

Linda Romero is from Harlingen, TX and was published in the 2010 and 2011 VIPF Boundless anthologies. She coordinates Vidas Cruzadas, a creative writing workshop at El Milagro Clinic in McAllen for Life Center, and volunteers as an ESL instructor for the Harlingen Literacy Center. Linda is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing at UTPA.

Francis Theodore Pfeifer, O.M.I.

Alamo native Francis Theodore Pfeifer, a 79-year-old priest of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, wrote a book titled When the Wolves Came: A Memoir, in which he details his life as an Oblate priest in Mexico from 1963-2007. The drug violence in Mexico and its ruthlessness has been a relatively recent development in the news but Father Pfeifer has been well aware of just how dangerous the cartels can be for decades.


While serving as a priest in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in the southernmost part of Mexico, in the state of Oaxaca, Father Pfeifer experienced the wrath of the drug trade first hand. He escaped unharmed after cartel members fired a hail of bullets at his vehicle.  The sleepy little towns he served began to change in 1973 when groups of drug traffickers appeared.


"Nowadays, we would call them carteles, but we didn't have a name for them back then," Father Pfeifer said. "They arrived with their flashy clothes and cowboy hats and their nice trucks. They would show the local residents large sums of U.S. dollar bills. They started making friends with them, drinking with them. They had good eyes for who would be some of their candidates.”

Steve Vera

Steve Vera grew up in Grulla Texas, a small town close to Rio Grande City. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks: Axtlánadu and Blue Mundi.  Steve's poetry has been published in Très Di-Verse-City, one of the anthologies of the AIPF, in the Ixhua Literary Review, edited by Angela Villarreal Ratliff and Irene Lara Silva, in the Mesquite Review of the Rio Grande Valley, and in AntologÍa Canicular, one of a series of books, mainly in Spanish, published by Editora Campamocha founded by Salvador Duarte and Dr. Peter Browne.

Steve has served on the board of directors of the Austin International Poetry Festival (AIPF), and was a member of the Austin Hispanic Writers. He also participated in a poetry group directed by Jill Wiggins and Scott Wiggerman. 

Currently, he applies his computer skills to create websites, blogs, stories, poems, and works of visual art. Many of his creations are used to build a world named Poeticah -

Millicent Borges Accardi

Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American poet, is the author of three books: Injuring Eternity (World Nouveau), Woman on a Shaky Bridge (Finishing Line Press chapbook), and Only More So (forthcoming Salmon Press, Ireland 2012).
She has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the arts (NEA), the California Arts Council, Barbara Deming Foundation, Canto Mundo, and Formby at the Special Collections Library at Texas Tech (researching writer-activist Kay Boyle). Her work has also received three Pushcart Prize nominations.
Accardi’s poetry has appeared in over 50 publications, including Nimrod, Tampa Review, New Letters and Wallace Stevens Journal as well as in Boomer Girls (Iowa Press) and Chopin with Cherries (Moonrise Press) anthologies. Her theater and book reviews can be found in print and online at The Topanga Messenger.
She received degrees in English and literature from CSULB, holds a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and works as a freelance writer (technical writing and instructional design). Past artist residencies include Yaddo, Jentel, Vermont Studio, Fundación Valparaíso in Mojacar, Milkwood in Cesky Krumlov and Disquiet in Lisbon, Portugal.

CantoMundo Fellows

Travis Whitehead

Vanessa Brown

As a mother and educator, Vanessa Brown is actively involved in documenting the world for her children through poetry. She has published a chapbook, Twiffler, through El Zarape Press, as well as having her work published in Boundless 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. She is the creative director for the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival.

Oscar S. Cisneros

Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 1974, Oscar S. Cisneros was raised in Brownsville, Texas.  After attending UTB and graduating from UT Austin with honors in English, he went on to study law and graduate from UC Berkeley School of Law where his studies focused on intellectual property and other law and technology matters. 


Oscar is presently a senior technology licensing attorney for a major motion picture studio in the Los Angeles area.  He wrote and self-published his first book of poetry, The Flower Queen, while in law school.


His most recent book, The History of Dying Stars, features more than 80 poems and 16 works of art.

Poetas del Encuentro Binacional de Poesía

"Río Bravo/Río Grande"

Eighteen poets participated in the first Encuentro Binacional de Poesía "Río Bravo/Río Grande" on June 7 at the Teatro de la Reforma in H. Matamoros, Tamaulipas, México. Poet Ramiro Rodriguez, president of the Ateneo Literario José Arrese, was one of the principal organizers and served as emcee for the event.


A sampling of the one and a half hour event was featured on Corazón Bilingüe on June 10.


Primera mesa de poetas:
Roberto De la Torre (McAllen)
Raquel Rodríguez Brayda (H. Matamoros)
Víctor González Treviño (Reynosa)
Antonio Quintero Hernández (Ciudad Mante)
Brenda Nettles Riojas (Harlingen)


Segunda mesa de poetas:
Conchita Hinojosa (H. Matamoros)
Juan Antonio González-Cantú (Brownsville)
Melitón Hinojosa (San Benito)
Ruth Martínez Meraz (H. Matamoros)
Erika Said Izaguirre (McAllen)


Tercera mesa de poetas:
Federico Fernández (H. Matamoros)
Ismael Rubio Torres (H. Matamoros)
Alejandro Cabada Fernández (McAllen)
Arturo Saldaña (Port Isabel)
Joaquin Peña Arana (H. Matamoros)


Cuarta mesa de poetas:
Alejandro Rosales Lugo (Ciudad Victoria)
Julie Corpus (Weslaco)
Eduardo Villarreal (Brownsville)

Erika Marie Garza-Johnson

Erika Marie Garza-Johnson is La Erika is Poeta Power the poet with too many names. She received her MFA in Creative Writing in 2010 from UTPA.  Her thesis is entitled “Poeta Power: The Poetic Jouney of La Erika.” She has been published in Bordersenses, LUNG, Texas Observer and has been featured in La Bloga.


She is the mother of Princess Bella who wears tutus over everything and Cactus who says he is from the “Magic Planet of Tornado Future.”  She is happily married to Beat Scholar Dr. Rob Johnson. La Erika is the poetry editor for an anthology entitled New Border to be published by Texas A&M and is working on a chapbook to be published by Dark Sky.

Christopher Carmona

Christopher Carmona was born and raised in Donna, Texas in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas.  He is beat poet following in the tradition of beat poets like Jack Kerouac, Bob Kaufman, and Raul Salinas.  His work also explores what it means to be Chican@ and works to reconnect with not only the indios of Mexico and South America, but also Native Americans in the U.S. as well as the world.  He believes in practicing poetry as a form of social resistance. He is currently pursuing his PhD at Texas A&M University. 

He has been published in The Writers’ Block, Beatlick Art & News, World Audience Literary Journal, Tecolote, Boundless: The Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival Anthology 2011, and La Bloga.  He has published a chap book called My (Mex)quite Beat Refried Revolution by Slough Press. His first book of poetry entitled beat is also published by Slough Press.  Currently he is editing an anthology of Beat Texas writings for UT Press with Chuck Taylor and Rob Johnson. 


He has been part of the Savory Perks Reading Series, the Narcisco Martinez Cultral Arts Poetry Reading Circle, the reading series for Wordspace in Dallas, the Prairie View A&M University Reading Series, the Lunada: Aullidos a La Madre Luna at the Café Citlali in San Antonio, The Tumblewords Project in El Paso, and Forrest Fest: Boots and Beatniks in Lamesa, TX, and the Valley International Poetry Festival 2011.  He is also currently working on a second book of poetry titled I Have Always Been Here, which is a Chican@ Beat book of poetry.

Founders of the Narciso Martinez Cultural Arts Center  Writers' Forum

Liliana Valenzuela

Photo ©  Nico Tucci

Liliana Valenzuela is the acclaimed Spanish language translator of works by Sandra Cisneros, Julia Alvarez, Denise Chávez, Nina Marie Martínez, Ana Castillo, Dagoberto Gilb, Richard Rodríguez, Rudolfo Anaya, Cristina García, Gloria Anzaldúa, and many other writers. She is the 2006 recipient of the Alicia Gordon Award for Word Artistry in Translation. An award-winning poet and essayist whose work has appeared in The Edinburgh Review, Indiana Review, Tigertail, and other journals and publications.


Liliana is also a dynamic performer, recently engaged to record the audiobook edition of La casa en Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros for Random House Audio. A past Director of the American Translators Association, she has translated literary works, art and photography books, museum catalogs, and web sites. Born and raised in Mexico City, Liliana is an adopted tejana. She received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Folklore from the University of Texas at Austin, where she lives with her family.

Oscar Bermeo

Born in Ecuador and raised in the Bronx, Oscar Bermeo is the author of the poetry chapbooks Anywhere Avenue, Palimpsest, Heaven Below and To the Break of Dawn. He makes his home in Oakland with his wife, poeta Barbara Jane Reyes.

Oscar has been a featured writer at a variety of venues and institutions including the Nuyorican Poets Café. His poems appear in the anthologies From Page to Stage and Back Again (Wordsmith Press, 2004); PARSE, Vol. 1: Alchemy (Friendly Fire Press, 2004); I Just Hope It’s Lethal:  Poems of Sadness, Madness, and Joy (Houghton Mifflin, 2005); Same Time, Same Place: a book of poetry (Kearny Street Workshop Press, 2006); Points Not Found: Writings on the Meaning of Place (Kearny Street Workshop Press, 2006); 12 Ways: An Anthology of the 2007 Intergenerational Writers Lab (Kearny Street Workshop Press, 2007). 


He is a BRIO (Bronx Recognizes Its Own), CantoMundo, IWL (Intergenerational Writers Lab) and VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation) writing fellow.

Rossy Lima-Padilla

Rossy Lima-Padilla, a poet from Veracruz, Mexico, started writing poetry at an early age, but started focusing more on the art at the age of 13. Since then she has have been actively involved in promoting literature, poetry and art.


She was awarded the Grabriela Mistral Prize by the Hispanic Honor Society in 2009, and has been published in many cultural magazines in the United States, Mexico and Spain; as well as in 3 anthologies in Mexico and in the Rio Grande Valley.


She is currently representing two nonprofit organizations Lenguas del Rio and Mujeres Poetas Internacional.

Edward Vidaurre

Edward Vidaurre a.k.a. Barrio Poet, Born in East L.A., CA in 1973, Edward Vidaurre writes poetry about his upbringing and experiences of living in the barrio. Raised in Boyle Heights in the projects of Aliso Village, his poetry takes you on a ride through his barrio memories.Known to his friends as Barrio Poet, Vidaurre says:

 ”Sometimes the barrio claims us, holds us by our feet like roots in its field of chalk outlines closed off by the screaming yellow tape being pulled from its soul.”

He resides in San Benito, TX  with his wife Lilly of almost ten years and Isabella his daughter soon to be four. He is General Manager of Carino's Italian in McAllen where he hosted his first poetry event labeled, "Pasta, Poetry & Vino" in support of local charity Art That Heals, Inc.

Logan Phillips

Logan Phillips is a bilingual writer, performer and transdisciplinary artist from the Arizona / Mexico borderlands. He is author of five poetry chapbooks including Arroyo Ink (2009), and has toured throughout the US, Mexico and as far afield as Vancouver, Paris, Bogotá and Penzance, England. Co-artistic director of the binational multimedia performance troupe Verbo•bala Spoken Video, Phillips currently lives in Tucson where he coordinates the Tucson Youth Poetry Slam.

Manuel Medrano

Manuel F. Medrano is currently a professor in the History Department at the University of Texas at Brownsville, specializing in Mexican American history and culture. He is a member of the Humanities Texas Distinguished Speaker’s Bureau, the recipient of the University of Texas Board of Regents Outstanding Teaching Award and in 2008 received the Houston Endowed Chair for Civic Engagement at the University of Texas at Brownsville.

He has authored three published historical/cultural poetry books about the border including En Cuerpo y Mente, Imagenes and En la Sombra de Mi Alma, co-authored a history book with Dr. Milo Kearney entitled Medieval Culture and the Mexican American Borderlands and a book with Dr. Anthony Knopp entitled Charro Days in Brownsville. Medrano’s most recent book is Américo Paredes, In His Own Words, An Authorized Biography published in 2010 by The University of North Texas Press. Since 1994 he has produced and directed, in conjunction with the UTB/TSC Media Services, 23 oral history profiles of people and events in the Rio Grande Valley, including legendary folklorist Américo Paredes, acclaimed Tejano writer Rolando Hinojosa and Chicano civil rights activist José Angel Gutierrez.

ire'ne lara silva

ire’ne lara silva lives in Austin, TX . During that time, she has participated in many readings, coordinated writing workshops and literary festivals, edited a few literary magazines, and participated/coordinated in events with Red Salmon Arts/Resistencia Bookstore, Austin Hispanic Writers, and the Lunada Poetry Series, among others. From 2004 to 2008, she was the Executive Coordinator for the Macondo Writing Workshop/Macondo Foundation.

Her work has appeared in various journals and anthologies including Acentos Review, Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders, CIPACTLI, Kweli Journal, The Worcester Review, Rhapsoidia, Soleado; Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Palabra, The Mesquite Review, La Revista Literaria de El Tecolote; Kalliope: A Journal of Women's Literature & Art; The Weight of Addition: Texas Poetry Anthology, Turtle Island to Abya Yala: A Love Anthology of Art and Poetry by Native American and Latina Women, Finding Gloria: Nos/Otras, and the Cantos al Sexto Sol Anthology. She is the 2008 recipient of the Gloria Anzaldua Milagro Award and a 2010 Cantomundo Inaugural Fellow.

ire'ne lara silva is the author of two chapbooks: ani’mal and INDíGENA. Her first collection of poetry, furia, was published by Mouthfeel Press in October 2010. She can be reached at:

Alan Oak

Alan Oak came to the Rio Grande Valley in 2008 with a practical purpose, earning a master’s in English at the University of Texas at Brownsville, but was surprised to find the home he had always yearned for.

SpanishHis poetic technique is influenced by pre-1920s American and British poets, who often wrote for a general audience using metered forms. Much of his work features sonnets and other traditional forms, though his diction is typically modern and conversational, often leaning toward the satiric. Reflecting his Valley acculturation, his recent work incorporates Spanish as he slowly becomes bilingual and bicultural – from the other direction.

A regular reader at Valley poetry events, Oak has recently had poems, essays and articles published in Boundless 2010Women Writers, Journal of South Texas English Studies, Writers of the Rio Grande, and Extrapolation. He has also been self-publishing near-daily poems on, on which he posted the poem, “400,” on Feb. 20, 2011. He is still at UT Brownsville, where he is senior editor in the Office of Marketing and Communication.

Diana Dominguez

Diana Dominguez is an Associate Professor of English at The University of Texas-Brownsville where she teaches primarily ancient to medieval literature and women's literature.  Her poetry springs from the same well as her women’s studies research activities; in both cases her aim is to tell the stories of those whom history and literature have made silent or invisible.  She has presented both scholarly and creative work at various regional, national, and international conferences. 

Her poetry has appeared in Eclectica e-magazine, Pens on Fire online journal, Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, the regional Rio Grande Valley, Texas, poetry festival journal Boundless in 2008, 2009, and 2010, and three of her poems won Writer's Digest awards in 2007.  “I believe poetry is the art of giving the voiceless a voice and making the invisible visible.”

Jose Alvarez

Jose Alvarez grew up in Havana, Cuba. He left in 1960, shortly after the Cuban revolution, to attend college in the United States, planning to return for his summer vacations. But that was not to be. Upon his first return to Cuba after nearly forty years he began writing short stories.

He has lived in the midst of different cultures in the United States, Spain, the Netherlands, Israel, Mexico, Brazil, and Puerto Rico. Recently, he moved to South Texas and joined the Narciso Martínez Cultural Arts Center Writer’s Forum in San Benito, Texas, and the Valley Byliners in Harlingen, Texas where he has contributed and read stories from his collection.

Kamala Platt
Photo by Karen Jensen

Kamala Platt is a poet, activist, and comparative literature scholar, presently teaching at UT-Pan American in Edinburg. She earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Texas, Austin. Kamala creates her own visual, performance and written works, and supports grassroots activism toward environmental, gender and racial justice. She also spends summers in Kansas, working with The Meadowlark Center, an alternative, arts, education, environmental and social justice center.

Kamala’s collection of poetry On the Line was published by Wings Press out of San Antonio.
Amalia Ortiz
Amalia Ortiz is a Tejana performance poet who has appeared on three seasons of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry on HBO and the NAACP Image Awards on FOX. She has toured countless colleges and universities as a solo artist and with the performance-poetry troupes Diva Diction, The Chicano Messengers of Spoken Word, and the Def Poetry College Tour.


In 2002, she was awarded the Alfredo Cisneros Del Moral artist grant from Sandra Cisneros. She is a CantoMundo Fellow and was recently selected as a Hedgebrook writer-in-residence where she wrote a new poetry musical, Carmen de la Calle.


Her publications include The Mas Tequila Review, Boundless 2010, The Rio Grande Review, Punk Planet, Deportation Nation by Calaca Press, La Voz de Esperanza, and The Line Between Us by Rethinking Schools.

Zulema Baez
Meliton Hinojosa, Jr.

Meliton Hinojosa, Jr., a Chicano poet from South Texas, has a Bachelor of Arts and an Master of Arts in education from Texas A & M University-Corpus Christi. He teaches automotive mechanics at San Benito High School. He was born in El Sauz, Texas to Meliton Hinojosa and Guadalupe Hinojosa in 1948. He and his family migrated in the 1960's to California to pick grapes and do other type of field work.

His work has been published in a number of anthologies including the book “Puentes”.

Edgar Clinton, Jr.

Edgar Clinton, Jr., who started the Web site, was born in Houston, Texas and moved to Raymondville, Texas in 1969. His family bought a radio station and he helped with the family business until it was sold in 1997. Since then he started an agency and mostly writes about experiences in deep South Texas. He sings a song or two if a crowd starts to gather.

Alejandro Cabada Fernandez

Alejandro Cabada Fernández is a modern writer who does not censor his thought process and does not follow the rules.  He is the owner of his adventure and is loyal to the art that emanates from his heart.  His poetry is about love and the emotions that we all experience as human beings in the path of life while his prose takes the reader to the world of the fantastic short story, writing about darker themes such as death and horror.

His work has been published in Gallery Literary Journal, VM Mag, and it has also appeared in Televisa’s website (Mexico’s largest TV station) for the horror TV series 13 MIEDOS.  He has a BA in Spanish from The University of Texas Pan-American and is currently working on his MA in Spanish Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing.  

Cabada Fernández is the author of Escarlata: Un libro de poemas  (2010) and co-author of Antología canicular  (2009) from Editora Campamocha.  He is currently working in his second book of poems due in 2011 and preparing a collection of horror short stories.  He is originally from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, México, but has been living in the Rio Grande Valley for 23 years.  

Ramiro Rodríguez

Ramiro Rodríguez, president of the Ateneo Literario José Arrese de Matamoros, is also one of the organizers of the IX Congreso Binacional “Letras en el Estuario,” a bi-national conference for writers from Mexico and the United States. The annual conference is cosponsored by The University of Texas at Brownsville/Texas Southmost College.

 Nephtali De Leon

Chicano writer Nephtalí De León is a poet, artist and illustrator who focuses on “La Raza Cósmica”. His literary work includes plays, children's stories, and essays.


He says he selectively writes for the people of his community. “La plataforma entera es para nuestra comunidad. That’s the people I write for – our raza, our pueblos – preciosos y lindos.”

I bring you the things rarely told
-- about a Gypsy folk,
new world natives
-- like Chicano Popcorn,
rarely heard of in academia
rarely seen in libraries or bookstores
-- it is a tale of a moving migrant people
multilingual, multicultural, their language
ever changing and growing,
based on ancient Aztec/Nahuatl,
mixed with English, Spanish,
Gypsy, Moorish ... it is tale told
sometimes in the Caló of La raza
Cósmica -- Chicanos, Chicanas,
who also believe in motherhood
and apple pie...

only their paradise is chile spiced
rushing on tortilla wheels...

Cipriano Cardenas

Cipriano A. Cárdenas is an associate professor in the Modern Languages Department at The University of Texas at Brownsville. He teaches Spanish Medieval and Golden Age Literature and Chicano Literature courses at the undergraduate level, and Literary Translation at the graduate level.

A published poet and short story writer, Professor Cárdenas is Spanish editor for Breakfast Serials, Inc. (Denver, Colorado). In this capacity, he reviews literary material and translates the content into Spanish for distribution throughout the United States and Latin America.

A secular oblate in the monastic Order of Saint Benedict, he is affiliated with the Benedictine Monastery of the Good Shepherd, located near Rio Grande City, Texas, where he serves as lead translator.

Julieta Corpus

Julieta Corpus is originally from Rio Bravo, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Her poems have appeared in various magazines, newspapers, and college journals such as, Tendiendo Puentes, The University of Texas Pan American Gallery Magazine, Interstice, and Tierra Firme. She has also been published in local newspapers, such as The Mesquite Review and The Monitor’s Writer’s Edition: Festiba. 


She has participated in the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival for two years in a row, and her poetry is included in both anthologies. In 2009, Julieta was invited to be a guest poet at FELISMA in San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato. She currently resides in Weslaco, Texas, and for the past year, she has been the emcee for Poetry Nights at Savory Perks.  She’s also an elementary teacher at Bowie Elementary while pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas Pan American.

Juan Perez
Juan Manuel Perez, a Mexican-American poet, is the author of Another Menudo Sunday (2007), the e-book O’ Dark Heaven: A Response To Suzette Haden Elgin’s Definition Of Horror (2009) and six poetry chapbooks, including the horrifically acclaimed Dial H For Horror (2006).  Juan’s current poetry manuscript WUI: Written Under The Influence Of Trinidad Sanchez, Jr. was put together in his honor and will be released soon by Rhyme Or Reason Word Design Studio out of San Antonio.

Juan writes poetry on a variety of subjects, including Mexican-American/Native American life, comic books, science fiction, horror and food. His work will shortly appear again in a second major horror anthology, “What Fears Become: The Horror Zine, Volume III”. His work has also appeared in a number of other publications.

He has done some acting and has two independent films. El Chisme (2008) and Donato, King Of The Vampire Drags (2009) were both filmed in San Antonio and produced by Glorybridge Productions. Juan is also a Gun-slinging Mexican Indian Rogue, Old West Re-enactor with the group, The Lost Hope Gunfighters out of Lockhart.

Juan is a ten-year Navy/Marine veteran and former Combat medic serving in the First Gulf War (1991). Currently he is a public high school history teacher in La Pryor, Texas where he lives.

Lina Suarez

Priscilla Celina Suárez, co-author of the Texas State Library’s Bilingual Programs Chapter, is a native to the Rio Grande Valley.

She is the author of Hija of the Valley and Mestiza Grill, and is a past recipient of the MexiCasa Writing Fellowship. Lina was also a presenter during the Cool Teen Programs panel at ALA 2009, where she presented a programming chapter she wrote for young adults.

Ken "Bluetown" Treviño

Ken "Bluetown" Treviño is a husband and a father who teaches English at Port Isabel High School. He is a poet and playwright. Bluetown is a member of the Narciso Martínez Cultural Arts Center Writers Forum and a co-founder of the Laguna Madre Writers Forum. His passions include poetry, music, and surfing. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Incarnate Word College and an Associate of Arts in Behavioral Sciences from San Antonio College. He is most proud of his wife Susy and his two daughets: Otilia Doralee and Kendra Susset.

His play “Jalapeño Blues,” which was based on Trinidad Sanchez Jr., was produced in Detroit, Michigan at the Matrix Theatre.

Hector R. Barrera

Hector R. Barrera’s first book, The High Rider y Otros Cuentos won the 2007 Special Innovation Book Award in the Northern California Publishers and Authors annual competition. The book was published by Gold Seal Publisher, which he founded in 2006. He has since published six more books.

Hector was born in San Benito, Texas. He served two tours in Vietnam as a Marine (1966-68) and was honorably discharged as a sergeant in 1970. He earned his Master of Science in counseling from San Diego State University, a Master of Education from Tarleton State University, and his Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership from the University of Texas at Austin.

He has been a counselor and principal in K-12 schools in Texas. In 1993, he facilitated the first written peace agreement between three youth gangs in conflict in Seguin, Texas and designed two alternative learning environments for at-risk students in grades 9-12 that incorporate the Three C’s peace model. He has taught at the community college as well at the state university level.

He currently lives in California with his wife and their two sons.

Isaac Chavarría

Isaac Chavarría is a resident of Alton, Texas and has earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Texas-Pan American. He has been published by Gallery magazine, The Monitor, The Acentos Review, and Rio Grande Review.

Isaac is dedicated to mentoring students from Rio Grande Valley juvenile detention centers by providing writing workshops. Along with Gabriel H. Sanchez, Isaac Chavarría is the co-founder of The Raving Press, a press dedicated to publishing the zine, Lost, which has featured works by talented writers and artist from the Rio Grande Valley, as well as Mexico and Canada. His future endeavors include the publication of The Raving Press' -ismos, which will be supported by a poetry tour.

Jane Lin

Jane Lin teaches poetry writing at UNM-Los Alamos. She studied under Denise Levertov at Stanford University and received her MFA from NYU where she was a New York Times Fellow. As part of her fellowship, she taught creative writing at Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities.

Since settling in Los Alamos in 1998, she encourages local poets by facilitating monthly Poetry Gatherings at Mesa Public Library and maintaining the Nuclear Poets mailing list of local poetry events. Her poems have appeared in The Harwood Anthology and journals including Five Points, Sow's Ear, Washington Square, Santa Fe Review, and RATTLE. She is currently working on poems from her latest work-in-progress, a book length collection of poetry.

CantoMundo Founders

CantoMundo was founded by Celeste Guzman Mendoza, Norma Cantú, Deborah Paredez, Pablo Miguel Martínez and Carmen Tafolla.

Inspired by the culturally-rooted visions of Cave Canem and Kundiman, CantoMundo seeks to create a space where Latina/o poets can:
1. nurture and enhance their poetics;
2. lecture and learn about aspects of Latina/o poetics currently not being discussed by the mainstream poetry publishers and critics; and

3. network with peer poets to enrich and further disseminate Latina/o poetry.

The first annual CantoMundo Workshop and Retreat convened in Albuquerque, New Mexico, July 8-10, 2010. More than 20 Latina/o poets gathered to discuss Latina/o poetics and to participate in workshops given by Martín Espada and Demetria Martínez. Both poets also presented a public reading of their most recent work. All events took place at the National Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico.

To learn more about CantoMundo visit

Jon Davis

Jon Davis is the author of six collections of poetry, including Preliminary Report (Copper Canyon, 2010) and Scrimmage of Appetite (University of Akron, 1995). About Scrimmage of Appetite, June Owens, writing in Manoa, had this to say:  “Davis’s poems so deeply probe the human condition that we find ourselves lost in new, perplexing, and unidentifiable territories, where our minds and our preconceived ideas about loss and remembrance, pain and epiphany are completely affected and changed.”

He has received numerous awards for his poetry, including a Lannan Literary Award, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets. For the past twenty years, he has been professor of creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe. He wrote the screenplay for the short film “The Burden Carriers,” which was screened at ImagineNative Film Festival in Toronto and at the Santa Fe Film Festival, and for “The Hand Drum,” a National Geographic All Roads Festival selection. He occasionally appears as the performance/street poet Chuck Calabreze.

Feroza Jussawalla

Feroza Jussawalla is currently a faculty on leave from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque now living in Hawaii. She lived in Las Cruces and taught at the University of Texas at El Paso for twenty years. She is the author of Family Quarrels: Towards a Criticism of Indian Writing in English ( Peter Lang, l984), and author/editor of Interviews with Writers of the Postcolonial World and Conversations with V.S. Naipaul both from the University Press of Mississippi.

Chiffon Saris, her first collection of poems was published jointly by the Calcutta Writer's Workshop and Toronto South Asian Review Press. She was born and raised in Hyderabad, India and came to the University of Utah to do her doctorate on Indian literature written in English. Since then she has lived and taught in the U.S.

Cristina Garcia

Cristina García is the author of five novels: Dreaming in CubanThe Agüero SistersMonkey HuntingA Handbook to Luck, and the forthcoming The Lady Matador's Hotel, which will be published in September 2010 by Scribner. García has edited two anthologies, Cubanísimo: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Cuban Literature and Bordering Fires: The Vintage Book of Contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a Literature. Two works for young readers, The Dog Who Loved the Moon, and I Wanna Be Your Shoebox were published in 2008. A collection of poetry, The Lesser Tragedy of Death, was recently published by Akashic Press. 


García's work has been nominated for a National Book Award and translated into a dozen languages. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers' Award, a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University, and an NEA grant, among others.

Xavier Garza

Xavier Garza is the author/illustrator of five books, Creepy Creatures and other Cucuys (Arte Publico Press), Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask (Cinco Puntos), Juan and the Chupacabras (Arte Publico Press), Charro Claus and the Tejas Kid (Cinco Puntos) and Zulema and the Witch Owl (Arte Publico Press), Kid Cyclone fights the Devil and other Stories (Arte Publico Press).

Xavier received his Bachelor of Fine Arts at UT Edinburg in 1994, and his Masters in Art History at UTSA in 2007. As an artist he has exhibited his art in various venues throughout Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, including: the Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio, The Arizona State Museum in Tucson and The Mesa Southwest Museum in Tempe. Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Xavier has made San Antonio his home since August of 2000.

Celeste Guzman Mendoza

Celeste Guzman Mendoza, a poet, playwright and performer, is one of the founding members of CantoMundo. Her poetry has appeared in various journals and anthologies. She received the 1999 Premio Poesia Tejana from Wings Press for "Cande, te estoy llamando." While living in the Rio Grande Valley Celeste served as the managing editor of Rio Grande Valley Woman magazine.


She is currently working on a number of projects including a play, chapbook and manuscript. One of her plays, “Adela’s Altar” was presented by Teatro Vivo in Austin, and another play will be presented in her hometown of San Antonio in 2011.

Arturo Saldaña

Arturo Saldaña is the proud son of María López Saldaña and Agustín Cisneros Guillen. Born in McAllen, Arturo sauntered through life as a Chicano activist, an agricultural migrant worker, a student with three degrees, a truck driver, a United States Army veteran, and mucho mas things. Suffice to say, Arturo enjoys life with his wife, Dina, and as necessary, casts images with the spoken word while his wife elocutes with painting.

Lady Mariposa (Veronica Sandoval)

Lady Mariposa is Veronica Sandoval, an old school chola, street poet who has been performing poetry as a spoken word artist for over 10 years. Her writing has appeared in anthologies such as the Valley International Poetry Festival’s Boundless and Gallery and Lung. She also published a collection of work titled The Answer and is now working on a spoken word album with Keytar Dreamz.

Veronica, who is the first Valley International Poetry Festival Slam champion, opened for Norma Cantu, author of Canicula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera at the University of Texas Pan American in 2008, and performed for Nuestra Palabra Radio in Houston in 2005. She is currently working on her MFA in Creative writing at the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg.

Rosa Canales Pérez

Rosa Canales Pérez is a singer, songwriter and poet. A native Texan raised in Premont, she calls the Rio Grande Valley home since 1980. Her work has been featured in three documentaries and she has two collections of poetry on cd - Para Mi Pueblo and Mariposas y Más, which are accompanied by music.

Rosa is a founding member of the Narciso Martinez Writer’s Forum in San Benito, Texas. She and her husband Joe have been performing as the folk music duo Rumbo al’ Anacua since 2001. Rosa taught English and Mexican-American Studies in Brownsville until her retirement in 2001.

To read more about Rosa and Rumbo al’ Anacua visist

May podcasts

Daniel García Ordaz, a.k.a. The Poet Mariachi

Daniel García Ordaz, a.k.a. The Poet Mariachi, teaches English at McAllen Memorial High School and is the author of You Know What I'm Sayin'? from El Zarape Press. He is a former journalist and is also a founder of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival. He has been called “the voice of the Rio Grande Valley” by The Monitor’s book critic. Daniel was one of five writers and the only poet selected to participate in the Texas Latino Voices project in 2009.

April podcasts 

Viola Canales was born and raised in McAllen, Texas. Her novel The Tequila Worm (Random House, 2005), set in the Rio Grande Valley, won the 2006 PEN USA and the 2006 Pura Belpre Author Award. Her book of short stories Orange Candy Slices and Other Secret Tales (Arte Publico Press, 2001), is also set in the Valley. She is currently working on a book of poems, three of which have been published in Boundless 2010, the anthology of the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival. She also teaches a writing fiction/nonfiction course at Stanford Law School.

Viola graduated from Harvard College and Harvard Law School. She also served as a captain in the U.S. Army and was a community organizer for the United Farm Workers, and held a presidential-level appointment in the Clinton Administration.

Photo by Nelda Reyes

Originally from Brownsville, Texas, Cindy Williams Gutiérrez is a poet-dramatist who collaborates with artists in theatre, music, and visual art. Her poems and reviews have been published in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Calyx, Harvard’s Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, Quiddity International Literary Journal and Public-Radio Program, Rain Taxi, Rattle, UNAM’s Periódico de poesía, and ZYZZYVA, among others. Her work is forthcoming in The Portland Review and In the Red, In the Black, an anthology on the state of the U.S. economy. She has performed her Aztec-inspired poems accompanied by pre-Columbian instrumentalist Gerardo Calderón at museums, libraries, and colleges in Washington, Oregon, Texas, Illinois, and Maine. 


She recently released a CD with Calderón called Emerald Heart: Poetry & Music from Tenochtitlan to the Mexican Diaspora. Three of Cindy’s plays have been produced by the Miracle/Milagro Theatre Group and the Insight Out Theatre Collective in Portland, Oregon. Other recent collaborations include an exhibition of her work in People, Places and Perceptions: A Look at Contemporary Northwest Latino Art at the Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Washington.


To read more about Cindy Williams Gutiérrez visit

Yolanda Barrera

Editora Invitada

Yolanda Barrera, nace en Río Bravo, Tamaulipas, y desde 1980 vive en Monterrey.


Después de concluir sus estudios universitarios, desarrolló su labor periodística en la sección cultural del periódico El Norte, donde mantuvo relación y contacto con la intensa vida cultural del Monterrey de fines de los años ochenta. Allí mismo dio a conocer algunos de sus primeros poemas en la hoja Ensayo, en la cual publicaban sus textos escritores de su generación.


La poesía de Yolanda Barrera, en apariencia centrada en una visión intimista que explora el yo, sobrepasa esta limitante gracias a la búsqueda de la forma y la experimentación con el lenguaje poético.


En 1990 inicia un nuevo periodo al frente del área de Comunicacion del Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. Durante su labor en este espacio continúa escribiendo, aunque sin publicar sus textos. De sus ejercicios de introspección surge su primer poemario, Naim, que edita en el año 2000. Posteriormente se integra al area de Comunicación del Ballet de Monterrey.


Su compromiso con el oficio poético prosigue y Barrera da a conocer en el 2009 Mar Abierto, su segundo volumen de poemas (Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León), con ilustraciones del artista visual Francisco Larios Osuna Los textos de este libro brindan una mayor madurez y continúan en la vertiente de la exploración interior.


Redacción: Reynol Pérez

Fotografia: Francisco Larios Osuna