Viva Poesía

Saturday, May 6, 2023, 6 p.m.–9 p.m.

Chicano art, music, and literature played a role in capturing the spirit of an entire community which propelled, nourished, and sustained the Chicano Civil Rights Movement. Artists that embraced Chicano and Chicana identities at that time addressed pressing social justice concerns such as educational and economic inequality, farmworker rights, and other forms of state violence and oppression in the United States.

The oral tradition of spoken word in music or storytelling has been the way that our history and culture has endured and persevered. Poetry is an extension of that oral tradition and is the sister spirit of music. It gives voice to our struggles and allows us to work towards a collective consciousness for our gente as we maintain our cultural identity and fight for political power and place in an ever-changing world. Poets continue to be the voice of our community.

Join us at The Cheech for an evening of powerful poesía in hosted by Cultura con Llantas.

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Wendy L. Silva is a queer, Latinx poet from Santa Maria, California and the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants. She did her undergraduate studies in creative writing at UC Riverside and received her MFA in poetry from the University of Idaho. In 2010, she won the Judy Kronenfeld Award in poetry, and in 2013 she received the Academy of American Poet’s Prize. She currently teaches English at Riverside City College. Her most recent work can be found in Line Rider Press, The Packinghouse Review, and the Acentos Review.

Bernice “bere” Espinoza (she/her/they/them) poet/activist/advocate.

She is a first generation American and college attendee, a Xicanx/Latinx Civil Rights lawyer. Her lifelong dedication to social justice has led to her activism, advocacy, a career in law, and even poetry -all of which center on the social justice issues close to her heart (particularly immigration, racial justice, and criminal justice reform). She has been writing since age 10, and has three published poems. 

Sonia Gutiérrez is the author of Spider Woman / La Mujer Araña and the recipient of the Tomás Rivera Book Award 2021 and the International Latino Book Awards 2022 for her novel, Dreaming with Mariposas. She is currently a Finalist for the Book into Movie Awards. Presently, she is working on her bilingual poetry collection, Paper Birds: Feather by Feather / Pájaros de papel: Pluma por pluma and her first illustrated book, The Adventures of a Burrito Flying Saucer.

Margaret Elysia Garcia is the author of the short story collection Graft, the chapbook Burn Scars, and soon to be release the daughterland poems. She’s the co-editor of the anthology Red Flag Warning: Northern Californians Living with Fire out on HeyDay Books in 2024. She writes about family, culture and surviving climate change disasters.

Ceasar K. Avelar is the current Poet Laureate of Pomona. He is the writer in residence of Cafe con Libros Press, and the founder of Obsidian Tongues open mic. Avelar writes through the sociological lens of a blue-collar worker. He is the author of God of the Air Hose and Other Blue-Collar Poems due to be released this year (El Martillo Press 2023). Avelar will graduate this summer from Cal Poly Pomona with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology.

David A. Romero is a Mexican-American spoken word artist from Diamond Bar, CA. Romero is the author of My Name Is Romero (FlowerSong Press, 2020). Romero has received honorariums from nearly a hundred colleges and universities in thirty-four different states in the USA and has performed live in Mexico, Italy, and France. He is the co-founder of El Martillo Press. Romero is the nephew of Frank Romero, and the cousin of Sonia Romero, both artists whose works are on permanent display in The Cheech. 

Donato Martinez was born in in small pueblo, Garcia de la Cadena, Zacatecas, Mexico and immigrated into USA at six years old. He teaches English composition, Literature, and Creative Writing at Santa Ana College. He has also taught classes in Chicano Studies. He has a self-published collection with three other Inland Empire poets, Tacos de Lengua. His full collection of poetry, Touch the Sky, will be published in May by El Martillo Press.

Paul S. Flores is a San Francisco artist of Mexican and Cuban-American heritage that has built a national reputation for interview-based theater and bilingual spoken word. He integrates Latino and indigenous healing practices to tell the stories of real people impacted by immigration and systemic inequalities. His first book of poetry, “We Still Be” will be published by El Martillo Press.


Cultura Con Llantas

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