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Las Vegas here I come!

March 13, 2013

Hello friends,

It’s been a while, I know but wanted to share the news of my featured speaker session at CCCC (Conference on College Composition and Communication) on Thursday.  Check out the blurb on my session.

Looking forward to visiting with friends I haven’t seen in a couple of years and because my mom is coming with me, we’ll be seeing family too.  Who knows, I might even get a chance to play in the casinos.


On Reading and Writing

January 20, 2013

Hello all and happy new year!

I wish you all much good health, happiness and joy in this new year.  At the close of 2012 I had sent out a poetry manuscript to various competitions; it is called Niñas de Casa.  I’ll be updating this page when results start coming in.

This year I’m going to work hard to get more new work out.  Last year I wrote three new stories and would very much like to place them.  I tried a few places but no bites thus far.

I’m happy to share a link with you to an essay I was asked to write in the summer musing on reading and writing.  It is in the second issue of Words Apart and I’d love to hear what you all think of it.  Here it is.


Writing/teaching/living Life

October 30, 2012

Hispanic Heritage and News–great review of Everyday Chica!

October 18, 2012
Documentarian Adelin Gasana at UCF

Documentarian Adelin Gasana and HASA members after screening of Cuban America

Hello friends,

From mid September through mid October, UCF (and other places) celebrate Hispanic  Heritage.  As advisor to the Hispanic American Student Association (HASA), I am always happy to suggest events such as the October 1st screening of the documentary Cuban America by Adelin Gasana.  HASA members and the public were invited to view this fascinating film that describes the impact Cubans and Cuban Americans have had on Miami.  Among the very many interviewed, Gasana contacted me to relate the Miami of the 1980s when the Mariel Boatlift exiles arrived in an already very challenging era–the height of the cocaine cowboys, the aftermath of the McDuffie Riots etc.  Check this film out and invite Adelin Gasana to come to your school for a screening.  Here’s the link to the FB page of the director.

And some very exciting news–a new and wonderful  review of my chapbook Everyday Chica published in Wisconsin Verse by Lucia Cherciu, a Professor of English at SUNY / Dutchess and author of two books of poetry: Lepădarea de Limbă (The Abandonment of Language) and  Altoiul Râsului (Grafted Laughter).

Chircu’s review notes the significance of  the longest piece in the collection:

The focal point of the chapbook is “Cuban American Manifesto,” in which Rodríguez Milanés declares “I want to write a Cubaniche poem / full of rhumba, conga y chachacha / con azúcar sazón café Tabaco y salsa / a Cuban poem for those over there / a Cuban American poem for those over here” (22). The poet uses long sentences, drops punctuation, and develops her voice along the seven pages of the poem in an enumeration of contradictions, inner conflicts, nostalgia, and celebration of being Cuban American. Her poem combines the major themes of the chapbook and demonstrates Rodríguez Milanés’s voice as an authentic source of power. The accusatory tone of the poem asks for freedom: “liberate us from consumer-fascism / excess-access and Tommy Hilfiger / liberate us from unpopular public opinion” (25).

Summer’s almost over!

September 18, 2012
Fajardo Lighthouse interior staircase

Fajardo Lighthouse staircase

Hello friends,

Sorry I’ve been so remiss in updating but I can happily report that I had a productive summer of writing.  I finished two new stories–“Big Difference” (a Glimmer Train honorable mention) and “Love and Punishment at the Clerk of the County Court’s Office.”  I also wrote some new poems and totally reorganized my collection and renamed it–Niña de Casa.  I submitted it to a few competitions and have a couple more in mind–fingers crossed.

I also collaborated with two colleagues on an essay based on a large-lecture class of Women In Literature that I taught in the spring semester 2012.  There were 100 students and it took two part-time Graduate Teacher Associates, an instructional designer, online technical support, and faculty development specialist to make the class successful (for me that means an engaging class fostering learning that also valued student input).  Right now I’m working on weaving our three essays into one piece; as soon as I upload the revision, I’m going to get on the submission process again.

Oh, yea, another thing I did this summer was that we went on a family vacation to beautiful Puerto Rico.  Folks, if you have never been there, you should go!  We visited eight beaches in nine days, saw a great exhibit at the Ponce Museum of Arts, went to the Arecibo Observatory, walked in a bambo-lined river and much more.


Summer time writing and fun

June 1, 2012
Skype session with fifth graders from Ann Street School, Newark, NJ

I was honored and amazed by the students from Ann Street School

Hello all,

Even though school let out for me at the end of April, my daughter graduated from the university in early May so I was very busy with family and celebrating her.  I’m very proud of her and excited for her–off to a Phd program starting in the fall.

I had scheduled a Skype session with fifth graders from Ann Street School on May 7 and let me tell you I was blown away by their talent–writing/performing in Spanish and English–WOW!  If they give me permission to share their poems, I will post some here.  They were amazing and it just so happens that my mother-in-law and cousin were still visiting at the time and they got to hear/see the session and because it was bilingual, they too were thoroughly impressed.

Dr. Linda Richardson, the principal at Ann Street helped coordinate our session and we were so happy about it all that we plan on having another in the fall.

AWP, McNair Scholars Reading y más

April 10, 2012
At the downtown Orange County Public Library

Reading something old and something new

Hello all, 

Yea, I meant to write more about AWP because it really was awesome and I am still reaping the excitement I experienced there by encouraging my students to submit proposals and have already met with a couple to plan on some sessions.  I hope to get to AWP in Boston next year and every year after.  But got overwhelmed with work.  

April, besides being National Poetry Month, is also a very very busy one in my family.  We have several birthdays, including mine and my daughter’s, a week apart with my wedding anniversary in between.  Tax day is also very stressful because my significant other prepares ours and others’.  Plus it is the end of the spring semester when all papers are due, final exams etc.  Crazy times, we try to get through without too much fallout. 

But that being said, I have managed to get in some writing and am happy to report that I finished a new story and will be sending it out soon; it’s called “Love and Punishment at the Clerk of the County Courts Office,” set in suburban Orlando.  I’ll let you know how it is received.  I actually debuted it at a reading for the UCF McNair Scholars on the day I finished it–nothing like a deadline to get me going.  

Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz, performance artist, poet and moreSo, in honor of National Poetry Month I had a reading at the Orange County Public Library, downtown branch where I was happy to perform after the wonderfully talented Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz.  I know I have sung her praises before but if you haven’t already done so, check her out on YouTube and/or Facebook; I know you’ll become a fan.

Happy April all!  Read a poem or two; heck buy a book of poetry!