Friday, December 02, 2005

Lorna Dee Cervantes Says Welcome Home! Bien Venidos!

Welcome to Lorna Dice! Excuse our dust while we reconstruct. It can be exhausting. What, with all the deconstruction going on -- and, yeah, that's me with a hammer in my hand wearing a hard-hat.

That's the latest news, my "Deconstruct Your Own Darn Book Project." (Just kidding.) (sort of) Actually I think of it as critical reconstruction. Whatever it is I like it, and it's a whole new work(s), a brand new book of poetry entitled ESKELETONADA.

This blog site is for critical scholarship and general interest in the poetry and other writings of Chicana poet and professor, Lorna Dee Cervantes. This is an official site for all biographical, critical, bibliographic and literary information related to the published works in an informal environment. Think of this as my home office and a place I'll open up to you in order to address your many questions and requests. I receive 2-3 letters & emails a week requesting interviews, etc. from students at all levels who need help with papers, exams, oral reports, projects, and general interest. Although such attention is stimulating to a writer such as myself, not to mention, flattering, it is also unprecedented, and takes a good deal of my time away from my own work -- in order to answer questions about a poem I wrote 25 years ago, a poem which still seems to represent me today: a curious state of affairs when you think about it. Don't get me wrong, I'm not disowning any of the words or sentiments or poetics of an earlier age, I'm just pointing out that, as a Chicana poet, I have an extra burden of responsibility to my readers as though they were my constituents, a burden to my creative work which is necessarily engaged with the future as little as it engages with the past except as the hidden warp. I'll be creating links for this site; meanwhile, go to Ana Castillo's blog for a very interesting discussion of this diacritic phenomena.

This site is also designed in order to dispel rumors and biographical errors caused by the publication and incorporation of some high school students' work from my involvement in the Online Poetry Project into the major textbook sites. For example, I assure you, I did not begin reading Shakespeare at age 6 (I was 10), nor did I complete my doctorate, publish my first book and begin teaching at CU-Boulder all in 1979. Nor am I "afraid of rejection", nor is that somehow the reason for my relative lack of po-biz presence. My focus as a poet has always been upon THE BOOK; and my interest as a long-time independent publisher (and printer) has always been intent upon retaining the rights to my individual poems and publishing extensively in anthologies and text-books as opposed to journals and magazines -- however prestigious, as well as distributing my poetry free and liberally throughout the internet (sometimes anonymously) throughout the past 15 years. Honing my craft to excellence in order to attain a presence, and voice, in anthologies published by Norton, Heath, Pearson, just to name a few, always seemed to this barrio lass a goal in which to strive; again, due to my constituency and the cross-cultures I represent to others. Another burden to my literary and academic career which I voluntarily assume. Y con gusto. ¿Y qué?

Anyway, it's not all going to be as heavy as that. What I'll be doing is answering my backlog of mail -- most too late to help you with your reports or tests, but, hey, at least I'm not charging you for it -- yet. (ha) ;-) But the same questions come up frequently so I'll get to your poem eventually. I'm working on a nonfiction book that is memoir in parts, literary in others, and scholarly in others; so, perhaps I'll post some of that, and use this to get my hands in some of the material. Eventually I'll be including a Lorna Dee timeline, and who knows what.

This blog will be suitable FOR ALL AGES -- so keep that in mind with your questions and comments when I open them later. I hope to include useful links to resources and other poets as well as sharing some exercises and tips. Maybe even a workshop site if there's interest.

I was going to wait to have this site up until I return from sabbatical in mid-January, but with my new book, DRIVE: The First Quartet now out, I'm getting swamped with mail to the university and email. (Someone recently called my office, a young woman, and I hope she calls back because I couldn't hear a word of the message for her television blasting in the background!) So, this will be a little spare as I continue to work on a new novel in December and prepare to begin teaching in the fall. (All undergrad workshops again this year.) :-(

And, last but not lost enough to make me feel less guilty about it, this site is to help me organize my "Brownie Points", sorry, that's how I have to think of them, all those accomplishments one must state bluntly and in detail in order to attain one's badge or worse, one's membership in some designated elite corps, like counting coup on the dead horse of one's self. One thing about me, I like to think I'm humble and it embarrasses me to call attention to myself -- and as a native person, it grates against my indigenous American cultural values of humility, compassion, equality, and the Four Cardinal virtues. So sorry, I don't mean to come off all, LD's gone all Big Head Todd or something. (Great band, by the way -- it just sounds funny to me to say it. I love a laugh. I try to do it all the time.)

I can be kind of to quite goofy. Life is too serious to be taken that way. But, the closer I come to death, the more I want to live to document the artifact. Is that poetry?

More soon. I'm going to bed with the rooster's crow and to the tune of De Colores. Make yourself at home. If you're over 18 come visit me at my home blog where I'm always home and you'll never know qué dice La Lorna.