January 2, 2009
For Immediate Attention
Contact: Luis Rodriguez 818-898-0013
Tia Chucha Press Author Honored as Barack Obama's Inaugural Poet
SAN FERNANDO, CA – Tia Chucha Press is proud to announce that one of our leading authors, Elizabeth Alexander, on January 20, 2009 will read the inaugural poem for Barack O bama, the 44th President of the United States. She will be only the fourth inaugural poet in US history—joining the company of such notables as Robert Frost (John F. Kennedy), Maya Angelou (William Clinton) and Miller Williams (William Clinton).
“Elizabeth's much deserved designation as inaugural poet coincides with Tia Chucha Press celebrating 20 years of publishing some of the best cross-cultural poetry in the country,” founder/editor Luis Rodriguez said. “The most vital poetry is thriving in small presses—America's best poets began with small presses.”
Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher born in New York City and raised in Washington, DC. Alexander has degrees from Yale University and Boston University and completed her Ph.D. in English at the University of Pennsylvania. She has published five books of poems, including The Venus Hottentot (1990), Body of Life (1996), Antebellum Dream Book (2001), and American Sublime (2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and an American Library Association's "Notable Books of the Year." Most recently she published her first young adult collection (co-authored with Marilyn Nelson), Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color (2008 Connecticut Book Award). Her two collections of essays are The Black Interior (2004) and Power and Possibility (2007). Alexander is also the 2007 winner of the first Jackson Prize for Poetry, awarded by Poets and Writers. She currently teaches in the Department African American Studies at Yale University.
Alexander's 1996 Tia Chucha Press book “Body of Life” (ISBN 978-1-882688-12-8) will be reprinted this year with a sticker commemorating her honor. Tia Chucha Press, a project of Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural in Lake View Terrace, CA, is a nationally renowned nonprofit poetry press that has published around 50 books, chapbooks, and a CD. The brainchild of writer/activist Luis J. Rodriguez, the press began in Chicago during the early years of the Poetry Slam scene—and expanded to publish all kinds of poetry from all races, nationalities, and sexual orientation across the country. Besides Alexander, our authors include National Book Award nominee Patricia Smith, Terrance Hayes, A. Van Jordan, Rohan B Preston, Sterling D. Plumpp, Michael Warr, Richard Vargas, Linda Susan Jackson, Patricia Spears Jones, Ricardo Sanchez, Melvin Dixon, Carlos Cumpian, Jean Howard, Dwight Okita, Tony Fitzpatrick, Nick Carbo, Kyoko Mori, and others. We are a truly multicultural selection with beautiful books designed since the beginning by Jane Brunette of Menimonee-German descent.
In 2008, we published Susan D. Anderson's “Nostalgia for a Trumpet: Poems of Memory & History” (ISBN 978-1-882688-35-7) and Luivette Resto's “Unfinshed Portrait” (ISBN 978-1-882688-36-4). For spring of 2009, we are pleased to feature the poetry collection of Linda Rodriguez entitled “Heart's Migration” (ISBN 978-1-882688-37-1).
o Susan D. Anderson teaches, speaks and writes about African American history, politics, and culture with an emphasis on California and the West. She is managing director of “LA As Subject,” an association of libraries and archives hosted by the University of Southern California. Ms. Anderson is also a Visiting Professor at Pitzer College in Claremont, CA
o Luivette Resto was born in Aquas Buenas, Puerto Rico, but raised in The Bronx. She graduated from Cornell University and earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She currently lives in Glendora, CA with her husband and three children.
o Linda Rodriguez lives in the Midwest and has published poetry and fiction in journals and anthologies. Her chapbook, Skin Hunger , (Potpourri Publications and Scapegoat Press) was named by Writer’s Digest as one of the four top poetry chapbooks of the year. Rodriguez has also published a cookbook, The “I Don’t Know How to Cook Mexican” Book (Adams Media, 2008).
The prestigious Northwestern University Press is our national distributor to bookstores, libraries, schools, and other institutions. To order, please contact NUP at 1-800-621-2736 or go to their website at www.nupress.northwestern.edu.
TCP's parent organization, Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural, was co-founded in 2001 by Luis J. Rodriguez and his wife, Trini Rodriguez in the Northeast San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles. It is now a nonprofit bookstore, workshop center (music, dance, theater, painting, writing, and more) and performance space for musicians, poets, original theater, and others. For more infor mation on Tia Chucha's Centro Cultural & Bookstore, please go to www.tiachucha.com. For more on Luis Rodriguez, visit his website at www.luisjrodriguez.com.
The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center in Sleepy Hollow is proud to present The Slapering Hol Press (SHP), the small press imprint of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center in Sleepy Hollow, 2008 publication of Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, by Elizabeth Alexander and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon. Ms. Alexander was recently chosen by President Elect Barack Obama to read a poem at his upcoming inauguration. She will join the ranks of only four poets in American history to read at such an event. I am hoping to inspire some local and national press for our wonderful poetry center. Please forward this Press Release to anyone who might help us get a story on this extraordinary poet!
The Slapering Hol Press (SHP), the small press imprint of The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, Sleepy Hollow, New York , announces the 2008 publication of Poems in Conversation and a Conversation, by Elizabeth Alexander and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon. Ms. Alexander was recently chosen by President Elect Barack Obama to read a poem at his upcoming inauguration. She will join the ranks of only four poets in American history to read at such an event.
Since 1990, the Slapering Hol Press (Old Dutch for Sleepy Hollow) has published poetry anthologies and the work of emerging poets in finely crafted chapbooks and volumes. Two years in the making, thePoems in Conversation chapbook is the first in the Sleepy Hollow Chapbook Series edited by SHP founder, poet Margo Stever, and co-editor, poet Suzanne Cleary. The Poems in Conversation chapbook, which includes an established poet who chooses an emerging poet to appear in the same volume, sings of the black woman’s experience in America . The limited edition chapbook’s cover features the famous Romare Bearden print, “The Reclining Nude,” an image featured in several poems in the collection.
During the past decade, the number of chapbook publishers has undergone a renaissance, more than doubling, with more chapbook publishers than ever. Short collections of poems bound as a pamphlet, the first chapbooks were carried on horseback under saddle flaps centuries ago in Scotland and England by chapmen, itinerants who sold these twenty-four page compendiums of stories and news of the day. Today’s mainstream poetry publishers have reverted to publishing mainly celebrity works. The importance of the chapbook to the literary world has exponentially increased even though this phenomenon is little known outside poetry circles. In our high tech world, the chapbook is quirky and “high touch,” with embellishments such as hand-stitching and letterpress printing. This is the anti-mass market where print runs number in the hundreds. The SHP printer designer, Dave Wofford, of Horse and Buggy Press, has titles collected in esteemed places such as the Rare Book Room of the New York Public Library, the Overseas Special Collection within the British Museum Library, the Public Library of Paris, and many special collections libraries across the United States .
Ms. Alexander, who is currently Professor of American and African-American Studies at Yale University , has published four books of poems, The Venus Hottentot (1990), Body of Life (1996),Antebellum Dream Book (2001), and, most recently, American Sublime (2005), which was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and one of the American Library Association’s “Notable Books of the Year.” Her first young adult collection of poems, co-authored with Marilyn Nelson, Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color, was recently published. Her collection of essays,The Black Interior, appeared in 2004. Lyrae Van Cllief-Stafanon is the author of Black Swan( University of Pittsburgh Press ) and winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She teaches in the creative writing program at Cornell University
Barbara Fischer, poet and author of Museum Meditations: Reframing Ekphrasis in Contemporary American Poetry, Routledge (2006), says of the Poems in Conversation chapbook, ‘When Alexander and Stefanon scrutinize the variegated surfaces of Romare Bearden’s art, the intensity of their gazes give way to speech. In the blues of “Reclining Nude,” Stefanon’s speaker discovers “I could hear / her holding / her breath.” Alexander finds images transmute the sounds: “Flowered dresses. / A woman’s holler. River or guitar.” For both, the lacunae inherent in acts of reading and looking are openings for empathy, uncertainty, discourse.’
Note: Here is some news about Elizabeth Alexander, the poet who has been chosen to be Obama's "inaugural poet." Now includes video of her performance.
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