Archive for May, 2013

On May 17th and 18th El Santuario de Chimayo will be the site of a velacion y ceremonia that comes from Chalma, Estado de Mexico, Mexico. Danzantes from many parts of New Mexico and other parts of the Southwest will come together to honor El Cristo Negro de Chalma. I have been participating with this ceremonia for about 6 or seven years and I have been celebrating with my family for the fourth year. Amanda and I are the pardrinos of the Cendal, which is a cloth decorated with flowers that dresses the cross. This is our second year as padrinos. It has been one of the greatest honors bestowed on my family. As the days come closure to Friday we prepare the Cendal for the velacion y ceremonia. This time of year has similar spiritual gifts as the ones I gain during Cuaresma and Semana Santa. It is a time for spiritual healing, reflection, growth and re-energizing me for one more year of working with the ills that affect my community.

The Danzantes we have met in the past few years have become more they just friends. We have become familia. We have connected with a common spirituality that is difficult to describe with words. It can only be described in that prayer we share and offer for each other. I am also honored that the Danzantes have entrusted me to document this ceremony for them with my photography and I am thankful for the opportunity to learn about it as well. In respecting the sacredness of the ceremonia I don’t share the images I capture except for a couple which are at the end of this text. I believe that it is my obligation and duty as a photographer to respect the sacredness of ceremonia.

Many blessing have come to my little family of four. We have been given the opportunity to participate in a ceremony that has been here since pre-colonialization by Europeans. I am honored to be a part of this wonderful group of people whose heart and soul as huge as the universe. This weekend will be filed with prayer, blessings and great gente coming together in honor El Señor de Chalma y El Señor de Esquipula. Please come and join us in prayer.

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Photos used with permission by the Danzantes. Always keeping in mind that Danza is a sacred ceremony and a prayer. Please respect the photos by not downloading if you are not a danzante or do not have their permission. Thank you for understanding and respecting this sacred tradition.

On May 23 Española Poetry Explosion will be featuring from Alburquerque Cathy Arellano and Maneul Gonzalez two great poets. Lets meet Cathy and Manuel.

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Cathy Arellano writes poems and stories about growing up brown, coming out queer, and living as true as she can which is kinda crooked. Her poetry and prose collection Salvation on 24th Street will be published by Korima Press in Fall of 2013.

Also in 2013, three of her poems will be published in Feminist Formations out of the University of Arizona’s Women’s Studies Program. Cathy has had other work published in various publications, including Huizache (Literary Arts Journal of University of Houston-Victoria), The Malpaís Review, The Más Tequila Review, Turtle Island to Abya Yala: A Love Anthology of Art and Poetry by Native American and Latina Women, Chicana Lesbians: The Girls Our Mothers Warned Us About, Days I Moved Through Ordinary Sounds: The Teachers of WritersCorps in Poetry and Prose, El Tecolote (San Francisco Mission District neighborhood newspaper), Cipactli (San Francisco State University’s La Raza Studies Program Journal), Fourteen Hills (San Francisco State University’s Creative Writing Program Journal), San Antonio’s Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s La Voz, La Bloga, and Duke City Fix. She was awarded the Hispanic Writer Award for the Taos Summer Writers’ Conference and a Literary Arts Grant from the San Francisco Arts Commission.

Cathy teaches Developmental English at Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque. Occasionally, she teaches Creative Writing in the Chicana and Chicano Studies Program at the University of New Mexico. As much as she loves teaching in the classroom, she’s very happy to facilitate groups in the community, such as “Fact, Fiction, and Funk: A Writing Workshop for Women of Color” which she led at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

She looks forward to raising her and her partner’s son Amado and is curious to see how he finishes raising them. Cathy can be reached at carellanopoet@yahoo.com.

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Manuel is a performance poet who began his career in the poetry slam. He has represented Albuquerque many times on a national level as a member of the Albuquerque poetry slam team. Manuel has appeared on the PBS show, Colores, in “my word is my power.” He was one of the founding members of the poetry troupe The Angry Brown Poets. Manuel Teaches workshops on self expression and poetry in high schools and youth detention centers. He also works with an art therapist to help incarcerated young men express themselves. He is one of the coaches and mentors for the Santa Fe High Poetry Slam team. Manuel is from Albuquerque, New Mexico. His mother’s family is from Barelas. His father’s family is from a small town in Northern New Mexico called Anton Chico, and his father was the lead singer of the band Manny and the Casanovas. He identifies himself as being Chicano.The history, culture, and spirituality of his people are among his inspirations. “I’m proud to be from New Mexico, and to me it’s more than just green chile and desert. It’s seeing the value of famila and respect. It’s the rio grande valley and Santuario de Chimayo. It is feasts, dance, poetry and prayer.” His connection to his culture helps him connect to his students. Manuel Teaches poetry as a means for self expression. Looking within oneself and examining ones roots is the essence of the type of poetry he works with. Emotions, feelings, experiences, and prose in an historical and cultural context is the goal of his workshops. Self esteem, finding something to say, figuring out how to say it eloquently, and letting your voice be heard are just some of the benchmarks in Manuel’s workshop.