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Monday, August 18, 2008

13 years of Tumblewords Project

Thank you to everyone who participated in the celebration of 13 years of Tumblewords Project workshops here on the Texas/New Mexico/Chihuahua border. The treat of the day was the visit by Dr. Felipe de Ortegy y Gasca, the renowned Chicano writer and educator, who founded the study of Chicano literature, as well as the historic Chicano Studies Program at University of Texas at El Paso. Dr. Ortego shared with us some anecdotes from his amazing career, both in the military and as a professor of literature as well as a trail-blazer in the pursuit of Chicano rights. He also talked to us about the writing of creative non-fiction, and read us some examples of his writing in this genre.

Dr. Ortego also treated us to the presence of his wonderful wife Gilda and her gracious and talented parents.

Thanks also is due to Celia, Karla and Manuela who brought scrumptious treats to add to the celebratory experience.

As you may know, I have not written a grant proposal since Jesus Guzman, a cofounder of the project, died in 2001. Nonetheless, we have continued to present workshops by nationally and internationally known writers and artists from across the US and Mexico, as well as Latin America and Hungary. To tell you the truth, I don't think anyone could be as surprised as I am that I have kept plugging away. The results (all the poems and other pieces that have been published across the country after being originally written in Tumblewords) has been the pay off, as well as seeing and hearing voices take on strength and originality and sufficient confidence to publish and perform.

Please stay tuned. I am not sure if it would be fair to say "the best is yet to come," but I do know that we will keep tumbling along, and keep presenting workshops by brilliant, talented, and renowned artsts and writers, as long as people keep attending the workshops. It is a joy to encounter new voices every month, and to reencounter old friends from time to time, after years of absence.

This year we plan to begin the work of publishing our first anthology, and are exploring the idea of having an online workshop as well as the weekly workshops at Memorial Park Library. Thanks to Maria Miranda Maloney, we now have this blog spot, and we hope to attract more of you to drop by regularly and to post comments or works in progress or announcements of events. I continue to coordinate the workshops, and I also curate the poetry page for Newspaper Tree and am poetry editor for the El Paso Bar Journal, promoting the literary arts among the lawyers and jurists in El Paso.

Throughout these years, Tumblewords Project would not have continued without the devotion and talent of people like Robin Scofield, Nancy Green, Mary Mooney, Monica Gomez, Ken Kenyon, TS Ross, Al Soto, Leslie xXx, Gene Keller, and the visual artists of Juntos Art Association. Moreover, we have been blessed with a fruitful collaboration with El Paso Public Library, El Paso Community College, and UTEP, as well as other venues such as the Bridge Center for Contemporary Art, Oseye Cultural Center, McCall Community Center, the Cultural and Technology Center of La Fe and the Chamizal National Memorial and countless small business who have provided places for readings. We have also enjoyed good relations with such groups as Border Senses and pluma fronteriza, la clica, Sage Literary Alliance, and the Women Writers Collective, the NonProfit Poets Society, the Border Book Festival, and Meta4 Poetry Society. Even though we have not written grant proposals in so many years, no list of benefactors or thank yous would be complete without mentioning the New Mexico Arts Department, the El Paso Arts Resources Department, the Texas Commission for the Arts, the various independent school districts in this region, and the Black Chamber of Commerce.

Thank you for these thirteen years. Join me in committing to making the 14th season at least as good as the prior ones, and to continuing Tumblewords Project into the indefinite future.

abrazos a todos

Donna Snyder
Tumblewords Project Coordinator

1 comment:

oliviaharis said...

A native Texan, Scofield arrived in El Paso in 1989 and scraped together a living as a gypsy scholar for 16 years, teaching everything from Holocaust Studies to Research and Analysis. Now a full time writer, she has published poems in the Texas Observer, Border Senses, Western Humanities Review, and the Paris Review. Over the past 12 years, Scofield has worked with the Tumblewords Project as a workshop presenter, a performer, and a regular participant. She also participates each year in the writing workshop in San Miguel de Allende.