"Abrazamos la idea del cambio con el sueño de que cambiando las relaciones de producción y distribución íbamos a tener un hombre nuevo. Nos equivocamos feo. Simplificamos la historia. Es mucho mas complicado y tuvimos que aprender una lección que resumiría: la cultura es tan determinante o mas determinante que lo material y en definitiva si no cambia la cabeza, no cambia nada."

- José Mujica en una entrevista hace unos días con Carmen Aristegui
Señal Series US Tour 
October 9th to 14th, 2016 

Señal is a chapbook series for contemporary poetry from Latin America in translation, published collaboratively by BOMB Magazine, Libros Antena Books, and Ugly Duckling Presse. 
Señal publishes two chapbooks a year, linked thematically, conceptually, or trans-historically, troubling received ideas around what the terms “contemporary” and “Latin America” might represent. (Founding Editorial Board: Monica de la Torre, Jen Hofer, Brenda Lozano, John Pluecker, Rebekah Smith, Matvei Yankelevich)

Florencia Castellano (Argentina), Luis Felipe Fabre (Mexico), & Pablo Katchadjian (Argentina), with translators Alexis Almeida, Victoria Cóccaro, John Pluecker, Rebekah Smith, & Stalina Villarreal, take to the States for a series of bilingual readings and conversations in San Francisco, Chicago, and New York:

October 8th, Oakland, CA: UDP Curated Reading at the ALTA Conference.
October 9th, San Francisco, CA: Señal at Artists' Television Access; co-sponsored by Small Press Traffic and SFSU's Poetry Center.
October 11th, Chicago, IL: Señal at The Poetry Foundation; co-sponsored by the Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art, hosted by Brenda Lozano.
October 12th, Chicago, IL: Señal Translation Discussion at Sector 2337; co-sponsored by The Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art, hosted by Daniel Borzutzky.
October 13th, New York, NY: Señal at NYU's King Juan Carlos I Center; supported by Poets & Writers.
October 14th, New York, NY: Señal at The Poetry Project; supported by Poets & Writers, the Mexican Cultural Institute of NY, & the Consulate General of Argentine Republic, NY.

WHEN YOUNG THUG exploded from Atlanta’s rap underground into national consciousness last year, there were lots of things that set him apart. There was his appearance—a 6’3″ dude in a dress is hard to miss. There was his predilection for addressing his male friends as “bae” and “hubby.” But most obvious to listeners was how hard it was to understand what he was saying. Although Young Thug’s woozy, warbling songs certainly convey his feelings, they don’t fit neatly into a rap formula focusing on intricate—or even intelligible—wordplay. 
For Young Thug and Fetty Wap and Future and Rich Homie Quan, it’s never about what these guys are saying, it’s about how they’re saying it, what they’re doing with their voices,” says Serrano. “These guys came up with a new way to talk, basically.

More here.

Say No to Voluntourism

Anyone on a flight from the United States to Haiti this summer might be struck, as I was in July, by the sheer numbers of bright-eyed, well-meaning young people heading for volunteer assignments at some of Haiti’s many orphanages, eager to help the struggling nation’s more than 30,000 institutionalized children. Sadly, despite their good intentions, volunteers at orphanages are unwittingly supporting the terrible harm that institutions afflict on children in their care. More than 80 percent of children in the world’s orphanages have at least one living parent and most have relatives. They should be at home with their families, not in institutions. What orphanage children and their parents really need is to be reunited, with all the supports and services that will enable those families - no matter how poor - to give their children what they need to thrive and reach their full potential.

The desire to engage with the world is laudable, as is the desire to volunteer. But we need to tread more carefully. Unless we have time and transferable skills, we might do better to travel, trade and spend money in developing countries. The rapid growth of "voluntourism" is like the rapid growth of the aid industry: salving our own consciences without fully examining the consequences for the people we seek to help. All too often, our heartfelt efforts to help only make matters worse.

- From The Guardian

The House Is on Fire: Race, Gentrification, Houston and the de Menil Family Legacy

On August 16, 2016, a Houston Chronicle article, “De Menil Plans Artist Enclave in Acres Homes,” detailed a new plan to build a development of fourteen single family houses for artists in Acres Homes, a historically Black neighborhood on the north side of the city. The homes would be in the $300-450,000 range, far higher than the median home price in the city in 2016: $230,000. The development is to be called NoLo Studios, a common real estate move to invent a new name that sounds like a high-rent New York City neighborhood (NoLo means North of the Loop). Though the press is new, it appears from what is available online that the efforts to develop Nolo Studios are not. 

Of course, this happens all the time: developers build new housing with stratospheric pricing in working-class Black and Brown neighborhoods around the country without engaging in dialogue with community residents. The open debate happening in Los Angeles and in other cities around the country about gentrification is uncommon here in Houston, and rarer still is a substantive and critical analysis of what is happening. Though there are occasional pieces in the local daily, weeklies, and arts and architecture press, what is missing is a vibrant and systematic analysis of this process that considers the perspectives of local residents, especially Black and Brown folks.

Keep reading at here at Entropy...
“There is now a vast amount of artistic production that is temporal, discursive and post-object centered,” writes John Roberts in Revolutionary Time and the Avant-Garde. And this immaterial work is “identified explicitly with a whole range of non-artistic skills and activities (scientist, ethnographer, anthropologist archivist, teacher, engineer, activist).” If we agree with Roberts’s assertion that the avant-garde is moving toward practices that don’t look much like art, then poets are uniquely positioned to participate. If avant-garde artists are trying to dematerialize their work, then poets have already done it. If the avant-garde artists want to disseminate their work freely or cheaply and outside the gallery system, poets have been doing this with self-publishing and small presses for a very long time.

There is this great and vast river called World Literature that is racing by us all. Our literature, our endless arguments about national literature…it’s like a thin stream that flows out of that grand river and ends at a tiny pond. And in that pond a group of toads are croaking and yelling at each other about the importance of that pond, the loftiness and the sanctity of the pond. All the while the great river runs on, heedless of the toads’ vain pronouncements. 

- Minsoo Kang in "Writer of a Small Country" here at Entropy.
this history that won't absolve anyone

- Dan Vera
Nomás pensar en que estaría bueno hacer una convocatoria para manifestarnos en contra de nosotros mismos, o a favor, qué sé yo, tomar las calles para cuestionarnos cuál es nuestra responsabilidad en todo esto, cómo llegamos hasta acá, porque acá estamos y estamos todos hasta el pescuezo. Pero acá estamos, y vos y yo y si es el sistema, entonces también somos vos y yo.

 - Julio Serrano aquí



by Nuria Montiel and John Pluecker

An installation at Project Row Houses during Round 44: Shattering the Concrete: Artists, Activists and Instigators, curated by Raquel De Anda

A collaborative visual and sound poem that meditates on language and memory in the context of colonial structures of power that attempt to erase one of the indigenous cultures that inhabited Southeast Texas: the Karankawa. The project first emerged out of an investigation into the archival documentation of the Karankawa language assembled by colonial settlers, explorers and scholars in Southeast Texas; this investigation found a poetic form in Pluecker's book Ford Over. The dominant historical narrative in Texas contends that the Karankawa people were driven to extinction; however, through research and conversations, it became clear that members of the Texas Carrizo-Comecrudo tribe along with other Native Texans refute these accounts as they reclaim their own Karankawa ancestors, sometimes grounding themselves in the stories and lifeways of their own families. Through this sound and visual poem (with audio work by Lucas Gorham, a sound artist and musician of Karankawa descent), we are asking: can languages be completely lost or might they survive in ways both perceptible and imperceptible? How might they be heard?

"Montiel and Pluecker’s installation is based in an ongoing activism and community engagement, but the exhibition itself makes use of visual language–both literally and figuratively. In delicate floor reliefs made of dirt, the two reproduce words from the Karankawa language. A First Peoples nation native to the Houston area, the speakers of this language and the language itself have been almost entirely erased from Texas history. The installation (which also includes a sound piece), then, is a reclamation, but also a statement of the many intangible points of disconnection that eventually undermine both personal and collective memory-making. As the installation succumbs to the elements and is bumped by visitors, it starts to dissemble and fragment. In fact, its dissolution is part of the piece’s power." - Laura Wellen in an insightful review of the installation and the entire round at Arts + Culture Texas.

Nuria Montiel installing the Karankawa words with sand from a Houston bayou and earth from Carrizo-Comecrudo lands near Floresville TX.

Pluecker, Montiel, Gorham

Cuando salgo y platico con gente, a veces me hablan de cosas interesantes. Así que cuando estas personas hablan, me pongo a hacer apuntes en mi teléfono sobre lo que me están diciendo para hacer investigaciones posteriores. Luego las listas se van alargando y allí se quedan en el celular. Y desde allí en el celular las listas crecientes me ponen nervioso, ansioso. Hay que sacar esas listas del teléfono para que ya no me atormenten. Aquí va una lista de cosas que estoy sacando del teléfono ahora:

Bellerman and Humboldt

the 40 loop

Alejandro Cesaro & Stuart Krimko

Goldsmith England PhD

Houston movies - Terms of Endearment and Reality Bites

Jennifer Doyle

Lothar Baumgarten German Paraguayo

Luis Jorge Boone

Luis Enrique Belmonte

literatura venezolana - Marta Durán & Alejandro Castro