Friday, April 25, 2008

Acentos Live!

Acentos is on the air, live and in living color, over on And because Francisco asked, and because you should probably know who you're listening to, here's a rundown of who is on our inaugural podcast.

The interviewers for the roundtable discussion (which happened live in our space last Tuesday) were Harvard undergrads Emiliano Bourgois-Chacon and Jose Olivarez, who were also the co-featured poets for the reading itself. Both Emiliano (an old friend of Acentos since he visited the Bronx as a 14-year-old youth slam champion from San Fran) and Jose (a standout youth slammer from the Louder Than a Bomb series in Chicago) are students of Dr. Arnaldo Cruz-Malave, visiting from Fordham this semester and lecturing on the topic of Latino poetic narratives about New York. They were filming us for their class project, and it became the lively (sometimes TOO lively) confab you hear on the podcast.

In order of their introduction on the recording:

Bonafide Rojas is the author of PELO BUENO (Dark Souls Press, 2004) and is the co-founder and lead singer of a band called The Mona Passage. He is loud...and apparently, that's why Tony Medina likes him.

Urayoan Noel is the author of KOOL LOGIC (Bilingual Press, 2006) and BORINGKEN (Ediciones Callejon, 2008). And yes, on this bio, he is indeed standing with Mickey Mouse next to a sign that says "Liquidacion total en Amerika." We fault dadaism and capitalism, simultaneously, for this hot mess.

LiYun Alvarado is a graduate student at Fordham University and emerging poeta in her own right. Ura and I and Blas Falconer are going with her to the Puerto Rican studies conference in Puerto Rico. The island is ill-prepared.

John Rodriguez is a poet and teacher originally from the Gun Hill Road section of the Bronx. He is also the current host of Acentos while the curator is off getting edumacated on Tuesday nights.

Be on the lookout for further goodness from this podcast, and from Acentos, as we move forward in 2008. Also, go to our MySpace page for information about the forthcoming Acentos Literary Review, including submission guidelines and such.

Folks, all this stuff is wonderful and of course we're happy about what we're up to, but today our enthusiasm is tempered a bit by the news of yet another acquittal in the death of another unarmed young Black man at the hands of the NYPD. I don't know what it's going to take to convince the dominant culture that there are indeed deep divisions in our cities, and in our nation, between those who enforce the law and those who live under the gun. And it's truly sad because we live now in a time where the likely Democratic nominee for President is no longer the likely Democratic nominee for President, because he actually had the nerve to challenge the niceties that grease oppression, niceties of the sort that drive a judge to seek out justification for murder, at all costs, and hide his sniveling cowardice behind the law. I can't put it any other way, and this is coming from someone who wanted law school once.

If the pattern holds up, the City will now step forward and hand Sean Bell's family a sizable sum of money to make up for their dead son.

These are the moments that make us as a nation. I wonder what the response to this will be...because there must be one, you know. Even if the response is silence, there is definitely a conversation happening in this country, one that will make our economic woes seem petty in comparison.

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