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Archive for May, 2012

CARLOS FUENTES ~ November 11, 1928–15 May, 2012

Sunday, May 20th, 2012


Carlos Fuentes dies at 83; Mexican novelist

A towering literary figure at home and abroad, he was pivotal in raising the profile of the hemisphere’s Spanish-language writing in the second half of the 20th century.

May 16, 2012 | By Reed Johnson and Ken Ellingwood, Los Angeles Times


File Photo


Carlos Fuentes, Mexican Man of Letters, Dies at 83 | Anthony DePalma | May 15, 2012


Muere Carlos Fuentes



Whatever Carlos Fuentes wrote I gobbled up with ever-growing admiration and respect. Multilingual, the son of a diplomat, Fuentes had to decide whether he would write in English or Spanish. He chose Spanish. I loved those TV moments when Fuentes responded to his prejudiced Yankee political assailants in crisp, accentless, idiomatic American. He was a tireless fighter and spokesman for social justice, who respected and stuck up for the underdog, and who never sold out to anyone for anything.

In the late 1960s, when I was just beginning to publish, one bilingual venue friendly to writers in Spanish or English was El Corno Emplumado (The Plumed Horn), which billed itself as “A Magazine from Mexico City.” Co-edited by American-born Margaret Randall and Sergio Mondragón, her Mexican husband, El Corno, with its global and culturally diverse perspective, was as exciting to read as it was unpredictable. I took pride in having my stuff come out alongside the work of such writers as Ernesto Cardenal, Philip Lamantia, Pablo Neruda, Diane Wakoski, Octavio Paz, Carol Bergé, Cid Corman, Raquel Jodorowsky, Robert Creeley, Carlos Pellicer, Denise Levertov, Dan Georgakas interviewing James Baldwin, and Carlos Fuentes. The list still staggers.

So when novelist-essayist-screenwriter Cecil Brown relocated from California to Paris in the late Sixties, one of the writers in his expatriate circle was Carlos Fuentes. When my name came up for discussion one night, Fuentes told Cecil: “Oh, yes, I know Al Young, he’s a good young writer.” It shocked and thrilled me to hear this from Cecil. Only in the pages of El Corno did Carlos Fuentes and I ever meet. Still, I loved him for acting as if he really did know me and my work. The stories we tell ourselves and one another! The great Carlos Fuentes was truly a master.

Al Young


Walking with Carlos Fuentes in Paris

Carlos Fuentes | Cecil Brown

In 1973, when I lived in Paris, I received a letter from my publisher [Farrar Straus Giroux] that he would be in Paris. I arrived at the party that Roger Straus had arranged for his writers. I met many people that afternoon, but one who stood out was Carlos Fuentes and his then wife Silvia. We were happy to meet each other, and I gave him a copy of The Life and Loves of Mr. Jiveass Nigger. He inscribed a copy of his novel, The Death of Artemio Cruz, to me.

He invited me for a walk, and the next day, we did take a walk. In those days, Carlos was a true flâneur.

As a writer, Carlos had a strict régime. Rising early, he would work all morning until 12:30, writing in long-hand, and sometimes typing on his typewriter — a big black monster that sat on a table in one room. Then he took a swim, had lunch, and took to the streets for a long walk. On these walks, he said, he gathered inspiration for the next morning’s writing.

That afternoon, it could have been a Sunday, I joined Carlos and his wife Silvia,  and another friend for one of his walks. As he strolled, he met people. To the French, he spoke French, to those of us who were Americans, he spoke English, and to the Mexican writers, he spoke Spanish.

We walked across past Shakespeare & Company to Pont de Sully across to the Seine to the Îsle St Louie, As we were walking along the Quai d’Orleans, Carlos stopped at 2 rue Bude, remarking that the famous American writer James Jones, author of From Here to Eternity and Some Came Running, the novelist lived up there in one of those legendary apartments.

James Jones

Then Carlos leaned back and yelled out the novelist’s name. “James Jones!” We looked at each other. Did he know James Jones? We wondered.

When the famous author stuck his head out of the window, I was very impressed. “Come on up,” Mr. Jones shouted down. Mr. Fuentes led us into rue Bude, and made a sharp right, where there was a side door that led to Jones’ apartment upstairs. Within minutes we were inside, having a drink with James Jones. After introductions, drinks and chitchat, we were back on our way once again. At the end of the Quai d’Orléans we ended up at Brasserie de L’Isle, one of Carlos’ hangouts, for a French dessert.

Carlos was always meeting with a group of Mexican novelists, a group of which he was a member. There was another group of Mexican writers and Argentine writers with whom he also met often. When I was about to leave Paris, he said I should stay, because García Márquez was coming to town. He told me I should stick around and meet him.

Gabriel García Márquez

When I heard, a few months later, that Carlos had become the Mexican ambassador to France, it made a lot of sense. In a way, he spent most of his time organizing the Mexican writers. He was the first writer I ever met that had been appointed to an official position for his government.

He was the most cosmopolitan writer I had ever met, and took his ideas from world literature. For example, his story, “The Death of Artemio Cruz,” was influenced, he told me, by Leo Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Because of their irony and satire, his stories reminded me of Gogol’s. I especially love The Hydra Head for its political intrigue, its lucid prose, and a plot that unfolds as it surprises.

I last saw him in Berkeley in the Nineties, when he came to give a speech at U.C. We were surrounded by lots of people. But I managed to remind him of the strolls we took. “Ah,” he laughed, “you remember those days in Paris, huh?”

When I read that he will be buried in Paris, I realized that this city must have meant the world to him. He certainly meant the world to the City of Paris — and to many of us who met him there. I still see him in a big warm brown, light brown coat, strolling among the Parisians, as he continues his Sunday stroll on the streets of the City of Lights.

Cecil Brown

© 2012 Cecil M. Brown


© Ricardo Gutierrez | El País (Madrid)
Adiós a uno de los pilares del ‘boom’ latinoamericano

Muere a los 83 años el escritor Carlos Fuentes

15 de mayo de 2012



Tuesday, May 15th, 2012


Mississippi’s Kristen Dupard Wins 2012 Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest

National Endowment for the Arts


Excerpted from Poetry Out Loud gets high schoolers excited about verse,” by Alison Lobron

Go to the copyrighted original at Boston Globe Magazine, Sunday, May 13, 2012

David S Marshall

Stephanie Igharosa: Massachusetts 2012 finalist for Poetry Out Loud, a National Poetry Recitation Competition


In the final round, all six students deliver strong performances, but one in particular has an added oomph: Stephanie Igharosa, of Randolph High School, recites Al Young’s “The Blues Don’t Change,” and as she finishes, she sweeps one arm downward in a gesture of triumph. “Thank you!” she cries into the microphone, as if she knows she’s nailed it.

And she has. Stephanie, a cross-country runner, Model UN enthusiast, and native of Nigeria, is the new Massachusetts Poetry Out Loud champion. As a freshman, she is also a first-time participant in the contest. Like her fellow Randolph resident Wilmene Hercule in 2009, or Michaela Murray last year, she faces none of the pressure of a repeat performance. As the 14-year-old stands onstage, with a crown of leaves on her head, she smiles and blinks back tears.

In Washington, Stephanie will recite the same three poems that she did in the state finals: “Richard Cory,” by Edwin Arlington Robinson, “The Man With the Hoe,” by Edwin Markham, and “The Blues Don’t Change,” by Al Young. Her favorite is the Markham poem. “It was the one I really had to try to understand,” she says. “It was the most challenging to memorize.”

“I love challenges,” she adds.

© 2012 Boston Globe and Alison Lobron

For more about click here


Related posts

Ashly Brun performs Al Young’s “The Blues Don’t Change” at the Massachusetts Poetry Out Loud state finals (March 28, 2012)

Sophomore (Lily Hargis at Richmond, VA’s Maggie L. Walker Governor’s School for Government and International Studies) wins Poetry Out Loud contest (February 20, 2012)

Saul Williams reads Al Young’s “The Blues Don’t Change” at PoemsEveryDay (February 24, 2010)


SAN FRANCISCO PEACE AND HOPE: First Anniversary Reading at Sacred Grounds Café, June 6, 7:00pm

Saturday, May 12th, 2012


Welcome to San Francisco Peace and Hope, a literary journal devoted to poetry and visual art.

First Anniversary
Poetry Reading for
San Francisco Peace & Hope

Open mic followed by featured readers

Sign-up for the open mic begins at 7pm. The open mic begins as soon as that is over and a few announcements are made. So we are usually underway by 7:10 or 7:15. The feature usually goes on about an hour later.”
— Poet-host DAN BRADY

Sacred Grounds Café
2095 Hayes Street at Cole
SF 94117-1127


Painter Elizabeth Hack, founding director and editor of


featured readers

Café Cam

Al Young

Niya C. Sisk


Dan Brady | Marvin Hiemstra | Tanya Joyce
Kit Kennedy | Ken Saffran

San Francisco Peace and Hope is proud to announce a poetry reading celebrating the first anniversary of its online magazine debut in San Francisco on June 6, 2012, featuring readings by AL YOUNG, , poet-host DAN BRADY, MARVIN HIEMSTRA, TANYA JOYCE, KIT KENNEDY, and KEN SAFFRAN. Founding editor ELIZABETH HACK and creative director NIYA C. SISK will comment on the evolution of SF Peace and Hope, and where the exciting online journal now stands.

Informed by the idealism of the 1960s, San Francisco Peace and Hope is a continuing labor of love produced by the poets and visual artists of the Bay Area. For the new edition — which launched Friday, May 18, 2012 — advisor Al Young, California’s former poet laureate, has updated his One Two-Step Foreword. Writer and web designer Niya C. Sisk of Ritual Labs and Niya’s Place, has freshened the journal’s cool look.

Contact: Elizabeth Hack, Founder/Editor

Sacred Grounds Café | 415.387.3859


Photo: Kindness of Strangers

In the flickering December light of 2010, following a late Rockridge luncheon devoted to SF Peace and Hope’s launch, Elizabeth Hack, Niya C. Sisk, and Al Young smile for their savvy waitress.



Friday, May 11th, 2012


© Prentiss Taylor
Prentiss Taylor’s 1935 photo of Zora Neale Hurston performing the crow dance. | Courtesy of Yale Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library

View Susan Sontag, Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway and the rest of Emily Temple’s silly photo finds — 15 in all — at Flavorwire’s winsome Books section

Other Emily Temple posts at Flavorwire


JON FADDIS: The Majesty of the Trumpet | Stanford Jazz Orchestra | May 16, 2012

Thursday, May 10th, 2012


“Jon Faddis is a complete and consummate musician – conductor, composer, and educator. Marked by both intense integrity and humor, Faddis earned accolades from his close friend and mentor John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie, who declared of Faddis, “He’s the best ever, including me!” As a trumpeter, Faddis possesses a virtually unparalleled range and full command of his instrument, making the practically impossible seem effortless.”
— Ed Keane


The Majesty of the Trumpet
Stanford Jazz Orchestra

Fredrick Berry

Dinkelspiel Auditorium

Wednesday, May 16 at 8pm

Co-sponsored by the Stanford University Department of Music and ASSU

TICKETS | General $10 | Seniors $9 | Students $5 | Stanford Students with SUID free



Jon Faddis Interview (Jazz Ascona 2011)

Born in Oakland, CA, on July 24, 1953, Jon Faddis began playing trumpet at age eight, inspired by an appearance of Louis Armstrong on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Three years later, his trumpet teacher Bill Catalano, an alumnus of the Stan Kenton band, turned the jazz- struck youngster on to Dizzy Gillespie. By his mid-teens, Jon had not only met Dizzy, he’d even sat in with his hero’s combo at the famed Jazz Workshop in San Francisco.

Upon graduating high school in 1971, Jon joined Lionel Hampton’s band as a featured soloist and moved to New York. That same year, responding to an invitation from Mel Lewis to drop by the Village Vanguard whenever he got to New York, Jon sat in with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band on one of their regular Monday night sessions. That sit-in turned into four years of Monday nights playing with the band, as well as a tour of the Soviet Union with the highly acclaimed unit. Jon also toured with Charles Mingus and recorded on the Pablo label with Dizzy and Oscar Peterson.

Other highlights included filling in (at age of 18) for an ailing Roy Eldridge in an all-star concert led by Charles Mingus at New York’s Philharmonic Hall; a Carnegie Hall gig with Sarah Vaughan; two years in attendance at the Dick Gibson~s Annual Colorado Jazz Party where he was featured in a historic duet with Eubie Blake; performances with Gil Evans’ and Count Basie’s big bands; appearances at Radio City Music Hall and festivals here and abroad; and sitting in with Dizzy whenever possible.

In light of these accomplishments — his recognition in the jazz polls, myriad accolades from the critical press, burgeoning numbers of international fans, heady praise from the likes of Diz, Mingus and Mel Lewis, and the pressure of public life — is it any wonder that a (then) 20-year old Jon Faddis opted for the sequestered life of the studio musician?

However, those studio years ultimately proved significant in his artistic development. Exposure to a diverse spectrum of music helped shape him into the broad-based interpreter and (creator in) African-American idioms that he is today. Jon’s distinctive trumpet voice would be heard on albums by performers as disparate as Duke Ellington, the Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra, Kool and the Gang, Luther Vandross, Quincy Jones, Billy Joel and Stanley Clarke, to name a few. His horn was heard on the theme of “The Cosby Show,” on the soundtrack of Clint Eastwood’s films “The Gauntlet” and “Bird,” and on many commercials. Jon Faddis had become one of the most in-demand session musicians in New York.

Jazz Studies, University of Pittsburgh