Thanks for all the comments to my previous post.
But I want to address a comment by John Gallaher. John, I think, is speaking for a lot of people. I'm not picking on John. Really. I don't know him. But his comment pissed me off. But I'm not transferring my anger onto him personally. We all have our opinions. Let me highlight his two key points.
"It seems to me that if you don't like this literary event, you should have your own. Get your own bus and drive across country. I'm sure libraries would be happy to have you stop."
Get your own bus! Do your own thing! Yes, let me book a bus right now. I've got the financial resources to fund a tour in my pocket. It's chump change. And "our" bus will be no ordinary bus. No way! "We" like color and fringed dashboards. "We" like Virgin de Guadalupe bumper stickers. Hell yeah! Get on board, Senorita. Get on board, Speedy Gonzalez...
The Bus is being funded by Wave Books, which I believe is funded by a well-to-do gentleman. Wave Books has the resources to fund a tour. But judging from their blog posts, the poets riding the Bus are not dining at five-star restaurants and sleeping at the W. No, they're getting by on coffee and air mattresses. Good for them. Sadly, I can think of no literary Chicano/ Latino organization in the USA that would be able to fund a tour. This speaks volumes about some of the problems within "our" community. I hope my generation will be able to create national organizations to promote and disseminate "our" art.
Get your own bus! Do your own thing! I'm calling for inclusion. I'm calling for openness. It disturbs me when people suggest "we" do our own thing because that's the easiest way out. It excuses the organizers of the Bus tour from working toward inclusion. And it excuses "us" from interacting with poets with different backgrounds. It excuses all of us from building community, from promoting poetry.
"This tour is billed as “bringing innovative poetry to big cities and small towns.” One can argue the definition of “innovative poetry,” obviously, but know that they are trying for a specific thing on this tour."
Innovative poetry! The Bus is promoting innovative poetry! People are going to have different definitions of "innovative poetry." John and I agree on that. But I want to talk about what I'm reading between the lines: Chicano/ Latino poets are not writing innovative poetry. Really? Anyone who says this has not read the emerging Chicano/ Latino poets. I'm not saying John is saying this. But I often hear people say this about the poets of my generation. And invariably, when I ask these "readers" to name the emerging Chicano/ Latino poets they've read they name the old timers. When I read the emerging poets of my generation I'm awed by their fresh approaches to the art. Not all of "us" are writing about grandmas. And even those of "us" writing about grandmas are doing it in innovative ways. Read Ada Limon, María Meléndez, Cynthia Cruz and Scott Inguito. Read!! "Our" work is in conversation with all the trends in contemporary poetry. Some of "our" work is rejecting all the trends of contemporary poetry.
Innovative poetry! The Bus is promoting innovative poetry! Really? I want to be careful here. I don't want to dismiss the work of the poets riding the Bus. I like a lot of these Bus poets. But can you really call most of them "innovative?" I'll let you make up your own mind. I will say the Bus is mostly promoting a specific branch of American poetry. What would you call this branch? But there are Chicano/ Latino poets out there whose work blooms on this branch.