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08 September, 2010

Hey guys, so I have been a bit busy this last month with my newest gig: http://kipphouston.org/schools/kipp-sharp-prep. So far, so good!!!  I love my classroom, the kids and the teaching assignment is a dream come true: teaching WRITING to 3rd and 4th graders!!!  My teaching colleagues are a riot and the kids are perfect. Couldn't ask for a better start to a new year. . .


more about the job as it develops . . .


So, while I was taking the time to set up a good school year, I also had a bit of a surprise. Looks like the perks of being published last year still make a few waves, even as far as Europe!!  In August, one of the Co - Editors of Norton's Anthology - Sudden Fiction Latino - Mr. Robert Shapard sent me this tiny email


8/9/2010 - 11:15 AM


Hi Lupe,


Your story " What Should Run in the Mind of Caballeros" was mentioned in this review in The Barcelona Review (its editors are in Spain and England).


Here's the review:

http: www.barcelonareview.com/rev/71.html

and the magazine home page:

http:www.barcelonareview.com/

I hope you are having a good summer.

Best,
Robert
**************************************************************
I checked out the article and sure enough, my story was mentioned in the review!!  Though its not a big deal, its big enough to know that the book crossed the at Atlantic and somebody might just have liked our contribution!!  

Here is  a portion from the review about the book:

Sudden Fiction Latino: Short-Short Stories from the United States and Latin America; edited by Robert Shapard, James Thomas, and Ray Gonzalez.  
W.W. Norton & Company, New York, June 2010.
The very rich are different from you and me, yes.  That line sprang to mind as I realized how very different as well is Latin America literature, be it from Latin America or descendants in the U.S. who draw from their roots.  In this superb collection of 60-plus short-short stories (all under 1500 words), we see a literary tradition far different from what we are accustomed to, a literary tradition that draws on historical precepts different from our Euro-American heritage.  There is a music in the prose, be it a translation or not, that strikes a new chord.  We are on fresh ground in these stories; they dazzle and surprise, creep up on us in a collective way and leave us amazed.  Yes, Latinos are very different from you and me.  And that is good.  They form a beautiful part of the mosaic to which we all contribute, to which we all belong.
Here, there are stories of border crossings (Fernando Benavidez’s “Montezuma, My Revolver”); earthquakes that expose mysterious crypts (José Emilio Pacheco’s “The Captive”); and one of advice to young men (Lupe Méndez’s “What Should Run in the Mind of Caballeros”), which reads rather like a Latino commencement address:  “Don’t start fights, just end them / stand up for yourself . . . a little / mind your own business / never touch the ball with your hands / play fair / no name-calling / no swearing, remember you pray with that bocota of yours / let ladies go first / open doors for everyone / don’t stare at her . . . with your mouth open . . . .”
There are stories, of course, that hint of evil regimes and how they have damaged those who lived through them (Isabelle Allende’s “The Secret”); and of those who are at the mercy of figures lurking the dark (Pedro Ponce’s “Victim”); as well as a peek at the domestic abuse that lurks in machismo culture (“Aunt Chila” by Ángeles Mastretta).   Injustice and abuse know no borders, yet it is the strength and resiliency of its victims that impress us here.
So far so good. Next up: a podcast this weekend - I get to read with another poet for a podcast that will appear on the Word Around Town website (please check it out!!!). Soon after, I think I might just host a new showcase (monthly of course). Take a breathe and get ready. I think this gonna be a good fall season.
Stay tuned!!  Hit me up if you want any info or want to drop me a line . . . 
Hasta la proxima!!!

04 August, 2010

Ode to English Teachers Part II

Good Morning Gente,

Si estas leyendo esto, gracias. Les escribo desde Las Vegas. I am at a conference for my school and had a moment!!  It actually gives me a moment to catch up and fill you in on books (poetry or other wise) that make my head spin. Again the thanks goes to Mrs. T. - my high school English teacher. Below is a list of books that she presented and have stuck out in my mind for a very long time. Let me know if you have ever read any of these books . . .

THE ILLUSTRATED MAN - Ray Bradbury

This book fills out the geek/sci-fi in me. Premise of the book: an un-named man runs into another man covered in tattoos.  Tattoos come to life and tell a different story. Bunch of short stories, very good read.




















THE SOUND AND THE FURY - William Falkner



Mrs. T. if you read this. I am sorry I never finished this book in school. Sadly, I don't think my brain was mature enough (or I just didn't take the time) to catch how great it is. IF you read it before, try reading it again now as an adult, and it reads differently.

















THE CATCHER IN THE RYE - J.D. Salinger

  This is a book I really didn't appreciate until I started teaching.
Amazing read. Even snipers read it. wow.






















O.k. So, I am still waiting for folks to comment on their books. So please, let me know what you read.

03 August, 2010

Ode to English Teachers

Buenos Dias Gente,

It is a bright and shinny Tuesday morning in August and since I am about to start back teaching (this time, 3rd and 4th grade writing), I figured now would be a good time to share with you some of the books that rocked my world. That, and pay my respects to all English teachers everywhere, even if we hated their class and the books they made us read, you still remember them. It influences you. 

If you ever get the privilege of thanking your former teachers, do so. Especially your English teachers. So, Mrs. T. If you are out there reading this, THANK YOU, GRACIAS, and OBRIGADO, for helping me figure out life - with books. 
And Mrs. T, I do apologize. I am still trying to finish Sound and the Fury. Oops.  

O.k. lets get cracking!!  Below are some of the books that built this brain. Remember, some of them you have neeeeeevvvveeerrrr heard of, and that is cool. I owe that to Mrs. T.  If you loved to read, she would find something for you. SO, some of the books are actually ones, she gave me from her own stockpile at her blessed home. I nagged the hell out of her and she gave me those. They were some dog-eared books with all her beautiful hand writing in the margins or in corners. Each time I read them I will always remember what she would say - " the best kind of book is given and worn - it lets you see what its former owner thinks, it lets you see how the book was a part of them and now, a part of you." So anyways, here are those books first, then I will list the books she gave us to read in class.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by DEE BROWN
I read this book while in college. Mrs. T gave me the book as I was graduating with the explicit instructions - "read this when you are finally feeling comfortable in your new home". I did. It f*ked me up!!!  This book gives you an account, rather the history of some of the Native American tribes from their perspective. It is relevant even today. No dates, no reference to month, just an insight to how a culture viewed what was happening to them. 


Edgar Allen Poe: Complete Tales and Poems
I. Have. A. Man-crush. His name id Edgar. He is the bomb. He is an alkie and my absolute favorite writer. All his work is macabre and dark. Since I have a love for horror movies, ghost stories and legends, this man fits me. I love all his work. If I could meet him, I would. He would creep me out, but that would be o.k.  Read anything by him. It makes your skin crawl and your senses trick you. Yes, it is that good.  One of my favorite works of his wasn't even one of his more famous one's - its called Hop Frog. Read it here: http://classiclit.about.com/library/bl-etexts/eapoe/bl-eapoe-hop.htm
Its a bit of a sad tale, but the revenge in it, is like none other!! 



O.k. so for now, I must leave you with just these two books!!!  If you don't have them, get them. Tomorrow, I should be in LAS VEGAS for a teacher conference and should have time to give you the rest of the academic list of books . . . wow time flies. 

What are your favorite books??  Let me know. reply to this or shoot me an email at lupe@thepoetmendez.org 

I don't even know if people read this stuff!!! But I would love to know what some of your favorite books are. Who know, everybody might just get a new favorite out of this, or at least a good read.   Enjoy the day!!!  


30 July, 2010

Working with the Writing - Part II

Hey Gente!!


Heads up!!  Here is the latest information of the HIFC's WRITING WORKSHOP SERIES!!!!
TOMORROW I will be hosting the 2nd installment of the series!! The idea is simple: provide the public the opportunity to enjoy the poetry writing process in a stress free, fun environment. Here are the details:



Workshop Series Project for the Houston Institute for Culture - Content and Curriculum


Each workshop can be viewed as both self contained or a continuation of the previous session. Workshops will be two hours long: Lupe Mendez will run the 1st hour with the intent to provide practice examples from a variety of texts on poetry and prose. The second hour will be mainly go over the basics, to critique each others work, provide info, and practice simple creative writing/brainstorming exercises. Each workshop will have an assignment each participating poet will need to have ready for the following session.

Saturday, July 31st -  2nd Workshop – Personal Story and Writing
In this portion of the workshop, participants will explore the use of personal story, conflict or “issues” to power poetic writing. Participants will be introduced to works of Maria Palacios and Jasminne Mendez. Discussions will be had about how they use their background to fuel their writing.

3rd Workshop – Editing & Revising/ How it sounds
Participants will bring several copies of their work in order for other participants to edit and critique. Basic ideas and habit forming tips will be explored as the writers read each other’s work. Participants will also discuss how poetry sounds when they they hear Marlon Lizama and Jerome Washington in performance poetry and how is affects their themes and styles.

4th Workshop – Bridging the Gap – Fiction and Poetry
Writers will select one or two pieces they have worked on over the series and experience the pros and cons of keeping it short and sweet or expanding it throurghly.

Culminating Event:
Open Mic Showcase –
This event is specifically made for the participants of each of the series. Participants will have the opportunity to read workshop material or brand new material and obtain the full experience of performing written work. The showcase will be held on the last Friday or Saturday of the month of the workshop series. (THIS MIGHT CHANGE!!!)

Goal of the Poetry Workshop Series
These workshops are for all and any person who has the talent, the curiosity and the courage to put pencil to paper. No prior experience is required!!  The idea is to get the brain synapses firing for the novice and the expert alike.
**************************************



SO, if missed the first session, don't worry!!!  There is plenty of room left and if the next one is anything like the first session, it should be a hell of fun time. 


Let me know if you are bold enough, and  have a couple of hours to show what you know (or don't know) and you want to join me, have a few laughs, meet some new people and just be damn creative, then please, please, come on in . . . I promise it won't hurt . . . alot.


If this isn't your cup of tea, then at least do me a favor and spread this far and wide, the more people see this the more chance to spread the love. See some of you soon (I hope)!!!

29 July, 2010

MEET METAFOUR HOUSTON

O.k Gente,
Today I just spoke friend and fellow poet, Outspoken Bean.
He made mention of a group of bad ass kids he has been working with - METAFOUR HOUSTON - yo, these kids are hot!!!  We actually had them on as guest poets during the run of the WAT tour and they are remarkable talented.
 I expect to be seeing/hearing alot from these guys!!!  They represent (very well I might add) the future efforts of spoken word scene here in Houston. Please take a look at the videos i am posting. This is from a competition they were a part of last week (or the week before) - Brave New Voices. They did very well, getting past the semi - final rounds and PLACING!!!!  They earned a 4th place standing!!!! Yep, they represented H-Town well!!  Congrats guys on all the hard work!!!!  NOW - KEEP WORKING!!!

Here you go gente, enjoy:


Brave New Voices 2010:Team Meta-Four Houston: "Police Brutality"





Brave New Voices 2010:Team Meta-four Houston: "Circus"


Brave New Voices 2010:Team Meta-Four Houston: "Religion"


Brave New Voices 2010:Team Meta-Four Houston: "Hooters" 


Brave New Voices 2010:Team Meta-Four Houston: "Fireworks"


Check back in with me tomorrow - round 2 of the Writing Workshop Series - this Sabado!!!  No te lo pierdes!!!!

27 July, 2010

JUST an update!!!!

Hey Gente,

Alot going on right now!!!  Currently, I just finished the first Writers Workshop with the Houston Institute For Culture (HIFC), this past Saturday, and it was an awsome experience !!  The participants are super insightful and their energy is amazing. I am grateful to have met such wonderful thinkers. If you still want to sign up, please do!!! THREE MORE SESSIONS LEFT!!!!


You can go to www.eestudiogallery.com  to get further info, or just email at lupe@thepoetmendez.org.

************************************
So with my last post, I put up a video of my boy, Marlon Lizama, and I received a few comments about how good it was, so I think I will continue to post people's performances as I catch them.  And though I am not as stylish as Marlon, I will post some of my own performances. This is one from a while ago taken by a dear friend, Tony Parana - www.tonyparana.com - an amazing painter and capoeirista.  Thanks TONY!!!



This second one is from an event I did with Radames Ortiz. This performance was ONLY amazing with the help of some true artists and fellow capoeiristas - Tony "Parana" Rodrigues and Isani "Pirata" Cayetano. With their rhythms and beat , I was able to make up a proper performance. Thank you gentleman. It was a great time!!!

Click on the link and enjoy!!!

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1254126162532&ref=mf

Hit me up later. And if you have any video of my performances, please let me know. Suddenly feel kinda dumb for not ever recording any of my own . . . LOL. Gotta start that up at some point. :)

21 July, 2010

The Next BIG Thing . . .

O.k. Gente,
So thanks to Pablo Sanchez, Iris Contreras (some of my bad ass friends in the art world) and the Houston Institute For Culture (HIFC), I am able to bring up front and center some WRITING WORKSHOPS for any and all to enjoy!!!
The idea is simple: provide the public the opportunity to enjoy the poetry writing process in a stress free, fun environment.
Entiendes, Mendez?  I thought you might.

Here are the details:

When: July 24th and 31st /Aug. 14th and 21st
Time: 12 to 2 pm
Where: HIFC East End Gallery
Price: $50 (actually pretty cheap!!!)
How to get started: follow the link on the flyer ( info@eestudiogallery.com ) or call 832.744.4692 to get registered

Here is a breakdown of the workshop content:


Workshop Series Project for the Houston Institute for Culture - Content and Curriculum


Each workshop can be viewed as both self contained or a continuation of the previous session. Workshops will be two hours long: Lupe Mendez will run the 1st hour with the intent to provide practice examples from a variety of texts on poetry and prose. The second hour will be mainly go over the basics, to critique each others work, provide info, and practice simple creative writing/brainstorming exercises. Each workshop will have an assignment each participating poet will need to have ready for the following session.

1st Workshop – Poetry overview : Style, Theme and Imagery  
Participants will be given a crash course in poetry!!  Several different styles will be presented and activities will include poets taking apart an existing poem of their choice and then reconstructing it to create their own work.

2nd Workshop – Personal Story and Writing
In this portion of the workshop, participants will explore the use of personal story, conflict or “issues” to power poetic writing. Participants will be introduced to works of Maria Palacios and Jasminne Mendez. Discussions will be had about how they use their background to fuel their writing.

3rd Workshop – Editing & Revising/ How it sounds
Participants will bring several copies of their work in order for other participants to edit and critique. Basic ideas and habit forming tips will be explored as the writers read each other’s work. Participants will also discuss how poetry sounds when they they hear Marlon Lizama and Jerome Washington in performance poetry and how is affects their themes and styles.

4th Workshop – Bridging the Gap – Fiction and Poetry
Writers will select one or two pieces they have worked on over the series and experience the pros and cons of keeping it short and sweet or expanding it throurghly.

Culminating Event:
Open Mic Showcase –
This event is specifically made for the participants of each of the series. Participants will have the opportunity to read workshop material or brand new material and obtain the full experience of performing written work. The showcase will be held on the last Friday or Saturday of the month of the workshop series. (THIS MIGHT CHANGE!!!)

Goal of the Poetry Workshop Series
These workshops are for all and any person who has the talent, the curiosity and the courage to put pencil to paper. No prior experience is required!!  The idea is to get the brain synapses firing for the novice and the expert alike.
**************************************
So, I know this is a hearty read, I am sorry I didn't make this short and sweet, but I am friggin' excited!!!   So if you are bold enough, and if you have a couple of hours to show what you know (or don't know) and you want to join me, have a few laughs, meet some new people and just be damn creative, then please, please, come on in . . . I promise it won't hurt . . . alot.

If this isn't your cup of tea, then at least do me a favor and spread this far and wide, the more people see this the more chance to spread the love. See some of you soon (I hope)!!!


20 July, 2010

Thanks, Gracias, Obrigado

Ok. so this past week was AMAZING.
The 5th annual Word Around Town (W.A.T.) Poetry Tour was a friggin' success!!!
A Big thank you to Stephen Gros and Teresa Juarez for leading the charge to getting this tour off the ground this year-  and Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all the poets, venues and audience members that made it out to each show during all SEVEN DAYS!!!
The tour itself was awsome. This year we were blessed to have 14 poets (not all of them every night), and they gave it their all.   I am totally impressed with the OTHER poets that showed up as well, Zelene Pineda, Seth Walker and METAFOUR HOUSTON - a group of teen slam poets that were preparing for a competition in L.A. as we were finishing up the tour. I need to talk to Ms. Shannon Buggs about how they did. It is always a pleasure to meet so many new and refreshing poets and writers who keep this gig from getting too stale.  I guess that's one of the reasons there might always be a WAT tour. Simply put:

It was amazing . . .

Here is one the poets that participated in the tour this year, my partner in crime - Marlon Lizama. This man is the real deal. I have known and worked with him in the poetry world for quite a while and I am always astounded by his writing ability and spark. He pulls no punches and is way to hard on himself (in poetry) and absolutely loves to fight with me over weather or not I should memorize my *ish.  Just take a look. . .



I hope you guys enjoyed it!!!

What else is new?  Well, I talked to the owner of Bohemeo's Art House (Mr. Lupe O.) and he is on board to start a monthly event for poetry on the east side of town!!!!  Totally hyped about this!!!  SO, stay tuned as we get that ready to rock!!! If you have any ideas as to what we should call this, please let me know. So far, and I once i talk to Stephen, I think it might be fair to name it after the word around  town tour and work with Bohemeo's to "showcase" poets from all over town there . . . Stay tuned.

My next update should be later tonight with some details about a NEW writing workshop I will be hosting!!! Busy, busy, busy

03 July, 2010

Immigration Nation Art Show

So this is the event I will be working with this evening... please come out and support art!!!  


Es un placer trabajar con un grupo tan distinguido . . .  
de 7 a 11pm 708 B Telephone Rd. - Houston Institute For Culture (HIFC)




We are excited to showcase our artists with their unique perspectives on the immigrant experience and their views of the current immigration environment. 

Representatives from various political organizations including the Democratic, Republican and Green party, as well as candidates that will be on the ballot, will be registering voters and answering questions. Come out and become engaged in your community and support our artists!

Fresh Art! Local Vendors, & Community Organizations. Dont' miss out being part of an interactive and informative art show!! 

Participating Artists
·· Antonio Briones
·· Joe Carillo
·· Erick Castillo aka Cutthroat
·· Tom Gandy
·· Giovanni Gonzalez
·· Raul Gonzalez
·· Jennifer Jones
·· Amanda Kinnebrew
·· Christian Navarrete
·· Lizbeth Ortiz
·· Mark Pinon
·· Pablo Sanchez
·· Rafael Villarreal

Poets
·· Jerry Beauchemin
·· Lupe Mendez
·· Sehba Sarwar

Info & Organizations - More to be announced!
·· Harris County Democrats
Speakers
·· Maria Jimenez, Director
of the Immigration Law
Enforcement Monitoring
Project (LEMP)
·· Sehba Sarwar from Voices
Breaking Boundaries
·· Pastor Jezer Urena, community
activist and organizer

www.eestudiogallery.com

01 July, 2010

Lo Que Hay de Nuevo!!! What's NEW!!!

hey peeps, please check this out!!!  
I few friends are presenting some of their artwork. 
Please support them if you can!!!!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
*Roots of Rebellion*



Houston, TX (July 10, 2010) – Five Houston visual artists salute
Independence Day and ‘The Spirit of ’76’ in the *Roots of
Rebellion*photography exhibition opening 8 p.m. Saturday, July 10,
2010 at Dean’s
Credit Clothing in Montrose (315 Fairview St.)

Liana Lopez, Bryan Parras, Hadeel Assali, Burnell McCray and Stephanie Saint
Sanchez present visual testimony of the seeds of rebellion and protest from
coastal Louisiana, Houston, Mexico City and Palestine.  The works reveal
brief glimpses from front lines of communities in tension including Gulf
Coast fisher communities affected by the still uncontainable oil-spill,
scenes that transport observers to a checkpoint in Palestine and a nude
almost celebratory-seeming protest of a stolen presidential election in
Mexico City.

*Liana Lopez* is the producer and co-host of *Nuestra Palabra: Latino
Writers Having Their Say* broadcast weekly on 90.1 FM /
www.KPFT.org(Pacifica-Houston Radio.) She is also the recipient of a
Houston Arts
Alliance Emerging Artist. She curated and exhibited her work, and the work
of nine others, in Houston Vanguard: Documenting Contemporary Social Justice
Movements as part of biannual Fotofest 2010.

*Bryan Lucas Parras* is co-founder of Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy
Services (T.E.J.A.S), a Houston non-profit environmental organization.  He
is a multi-media documentarian who focuses on rapid response video
journalism to cover breaking regional environmental justice news and a 2009
Gulf Coast Fellowship for Community Transformation recipient.

*Hadeel Assali* is a Palestinian-American originally from the Gaza strip.  She
is an engineer living and working in Houston and the founder of the Houston
Palestine Film Festival.

*Burnell McCray* is a Houston-based fine art and documentary photographer
with over 10 years experiences photographing for Voices Breaking Boundaries
(VBB).

*Stephanie Saint Sanchez*, Houston filmmaker and multi-media artist, is
founder of La Chicana Laundry Pictures and the Houston’s annual Señorita
Film Festival.

The exhibition runs through August 6, 2010.  For more information, go to
contact Liana Lopez at LLopez@NuestraPalabra.org or 713-416-5088.

Facebook Event Page link:   http://tiny.cc/RootsofRebellion


and I got some news from MECA that might prove interesting. . . but I will save that for tomorrow . . . 

29 June, 2010

So much to do . . .

I am trying out a new blog, specifically for all the poetry projects I am finding myself in these days. As i learn how to update and finesse my website, www.thepoetmendez.org , the better things will get. Until then, let me see if I spread some love. . .

O.K. so as June comes to a close, there are tons of plans in the works, including the following:



This is actually a project offered to me by a growing and well respected non-profit - the Houston Institute For Culture (HIFC). They asked if I would be willing to host poetry workshops in the month of JULY, and I agreed.  Every Saturday in July (10th - 31st) from 12 to 2pm, I will be hosting poetry workshops. The whole event is $50 a person!!!  ALL ARE welcome!!!  For more info, please contact Pablo Sanchez with the HIFC at www.houstonculture.org .



This Saturday, the same organization is also hosting an event to help celebrate the great spirit of the nation - immigrants and art!!!  Please come out and support local artists.

Later on in the week, on July 7th, at HCC's Heinen Theatre, an old friend of mine, Alvaro Saar Rios,  will be putting on his one man show entitled One Hot Texican Summer. Play starts at 7:30 pm, so be early to get a seat. Jalapeno shakes, Hurricane Alica, and lots of Ranchera music makes this a must see!!!  Please come support a Houston native and dear friend!!!
www.artshound.com


and last, but definitely not least -
THE 5th ANNUAL  WORD AROUND TOWN TOUR - 2010!!!!

From Sunday, July 11th to Saturday, July 17th, Houston's brightest poets will take local poetry venues and non - profit venues by storm!!! The line up is set, the mic is hot all that is missing is you. Please check out our facebook spot www.facebook.com/wordaroundtown?ref=ts .


I am really pumped about all the events for the month of July!!!  Looking at the calendar, it just made me realize that all this ends mid July. . . so lets see what else is up for the month . . .

If you have any other events you want to let me know about (poetry or otherwise), hit me - lupe@thepoetmendez.org


For now, let's just see where the art will take us. . .