Monday, February 20, 2017

Entrevista a Celia Reissig-Vasile



Entrevista a Celia Reissig-Vasile por Xánath Caraza



Celia Reissig-Vasile es profesora de inglés en Mercy College en Dobbs Ferry, Nueva York, donde ha enseñado diversos cursos, incluyendo literatura latinoamericana, literatura latina, lingüística, escritura creativa, cine latinoamericano, historia de América Latina y español.  Es escritora, investigadora, y ha realizado talleres de escritura creativa en español en el centro de escritores del Valle de Hudson y ha leído su obra en toda el área metropolitana de Nueva York.  Es originalmente de la Argentina y emigró con su familia a los Estados Unidos cuando era niña.  Actualmente reside en Nueva York y tiene dos hijos, Pablo y Cristina.  Ella dedica su tiempo a la familia, a la escritura, la enseñanza y la investigación.

Xánath Caraza (XC): ¿Quién es Celia?

Celia Reissig-Vasile (CRV): Soy una persona creativa y energética quien es artista y también académica.  Soy profesora universitaria en una universidad en Nueva York, Mercy College, donde enseño literatura en el programa de inglés y de español.  He escrito poesía desde niña y es donde más cómoda me siento; es el ‘idioma’ que capta la esencia de la existencia y que se comunica directamente con el alma.

Mis dualidades son múltiples, pues también tengo varios idiomas y culturas: de niña me crié en la Argentina pero he vivido la mayoría de mi vida en los Estados Unidos.  He viajado y vivido en varios países y domino varios idiomas.  Hablo español e inglés perfectamente y también hablo francés e italiano. 
Estas varias dualidades me han permitido tener una vida con muchas dimensiones y complejidades; una vida rica en experiencias y culturas.


XC: ¿Cómo comienza el quehacer literario para Celia?

CRV: He vivido rodeada de libros y he tenido muchos parientes escritores y artistas y esto ha tenido una influencia significativa en mi vida como escritora: el gran poeta uruguayo Julio Herrera y Reissig; mi abuelo paterno Luis Reissig, quien escribió libros sobre la educación y la literatura; mi padre José Luis Reissig, cuyos escritos se han enfocado en la investigación científica y el budismo; mi madre Raquel Rabinovich, quien aunque pintora y escultora, su obra para mí es ‘poesía visual.’  Todo tipo de libro ha sido mi pasión desde niña: la literatura, historia, y biografías entre tantos otros géneros y temas.  El mundo de libros y de escritores en el cual he vivido ha tenido una profunda influencia en mi vida.  Empecé a escribir desde muy joven y mis primeras publicaciones fueron en mi adolescencia: artículos y poemas en revistas y un libro de poesía, Talking to Myself. Estas publicaciones tuvieron un impacto importante en mi vida; me ayudaron a darme cuenta que tenía cosas significativas para decir y compartir y me dieron confianza.  Estas publicaciones fueron en inglés cuando todavía estaba explorando este nuevo idioma y no me sentía tan segura, entonces fue un gran logro para mí.

XC: ¿Tienes novelas o poemas favoritas de otros autores?

CRV: Hay muchos escritores cuyas obras considero mis favoritas.  El poeta chileno Pablo Neruda es uno de ellos; como poeta ha logrado lo que pocos han podido: tocar múltiples temas—de lo más cotidiana a lo más social y político—con un lenguaje simple pero a la vez poderoso y profundo.  Su obra maestra es, para mí, Canto General, un poema de unas 500 páginas donde cuenta la historia de América Latina desde la época pre-colombina hasta el siglo 20 con una mirada no solo de poeta, pero también de científico social y de hombre comprometido y activista. 

XC: ¿Qué tanto hay de Argentina en lo que escribes?

CRV: Para mí la Argentina es mi pasado, no mi presente, pues hace tanto que vivo en los Estados Unidos, aunque voy mucho a la Argentina para verme con mi familia, pasear, trabajar y conocer.  La Argentina aparece en mi poesía en diversas maneras.  Pero cuando yo escribo poesía no es algo pre-planeado; no me planteo un tema y empiezo a escribir; simplemente escribo; pongo lápiz sobre papel y nunca sé lo que va a ocurrir, ni en qué idioma va a salir.  Mis poemas que tienen que ver con la Argentina son en general sobre recuerdos del pasado, pero también tengo poemas donde la Argentina del presente surge: sus paisajes, su gente, sus desafíos políticos, sus sufrimientos y sus alegrías. 

XC: ¿Cuál piensas que es tu papel como mujer y escritora? ¿Crees que hay alguna responsabilidad?

CRV: Siento una responsabilidad como mujer y escritora porque pienso que en general la mujer escritora trae una profundidad y una perspectiva a su obra que no suele ocurrir tan a menudo en la obra de hombres escritores.  En varias ocasiones me he sentido criticada por el enfoque de muchos de mis poemas: la familia, lo doméstico, los recuerdos, como si estos fueran temas banales, sin profundidad, sin importancia.  Para mí sin embargo son temas profundamente significativos, no solo a nivel personal, pero a nivel social también, y no me dejo desanimar por tales críticas negativas porque sé que son temas que no se pueden dejar borrar, ignorar; son aspectos básicos de la experiencia humana y llorarlos, celebrarlos, explorarlos yo veo como importante y valioso.

XC: ¿Hay algo más que quisieras compartir?

CRV: Mucha de mi obra poética reciente no ha sido publicada pero he podido compartir mi obra en forma oral, pues he sido invitada a hacer varias lecturas de poesía en los últimos años en universidades, bibliotecas y librerías. Esto ha sido una experiencia maravillosa pues me ha dado la oportunidad de tener un contacto directo con mi público.  La cuestión de publicar no ha sido fácil para mí.  Por un lado está la presión de las publicaciones académicas que se le exige al docente que me ha permitido poco tiempo para dedicarme a la publicación artística.  Por otro lado mi obra poética tiene sus particularidades, pues escribo en inglés, en español y en Spanglish.  Las editoriales estadounidenses a las cuales he mandado mis manuscritos no han aceptado publicarme por lo que consideran la problemática de la complejidad lingüística de mi obra.  En 2005, sin embargo, la editorial Argentina, Ghuia, me publicó una colección de mi obra poética, Reflections/Reflexiones.  Esta publicación ha sido muy importante para mí y me ha permitido llegar a un público más amplio y a difundir técnicas poéticas menos conocidas pero que yo considero significativas porque permiten captar experiencias multi-culturales de una manera poderosa.   También he empezado a explorar la prosa como escritura artística.  Estoy escribiendo cuentos cortos, una novela, y ‘ensayos creatives’, lo que en inglés se llama creative non-fiction.  La escritora chilena, Marjorie Agosin, a quien admiro profundamente como escritora, me invitó hace un año a escribir una obra de creative non-fiction sobre el tema del hogar y el desplazamiento.  Fue una experiencia increíble escribir esta obra; el libro, con 15 ensayos de mujeres de distintas partes del mundo, salió en junio de 2016.  El título del libro es Home an Imagined Landscape y el título de mi ensayo es “Where Oblivion Shall not Dwell”.  (Reissig-Vasile, Celia. "Where Oblivion Shall not Dwell.” Home an Imagined Landscape Ed. Marjorie Agosin. England: Solis Press, 2016).





Friday, February 17, 2017

New Books

Presenting a very short list of upcoming thrillers and crime fiction told with a Latin beat. 


Perfect Days
Raphael Montes
Penguin - February

[from the publisher]
Teo Avelar is a loner. He lives with his paraplegic mother and her dog in Rio de Janeiro, he doesn’t have many friends, and the only time he feels honest human emotion is in the presence of his medical school cadaver—that is, until he meets Clarice. She’s almost his exact opposite: exotic, spontaneous, unafraid to speak her mind. An aspiring screenwriter, she’s working on a screenplay called Perfect Days about three friends who go on a road trip across Brazil in search of romance. Teo is obsessed. He begins to stalk her, first following her to her university, then to her home, and when she ultimately rejects him, he kidnaps her and they embark upon their very own twisted odyssey across Brazil, tracing the same route outlined in her screenplay. Through it all, Teo is certain that time is all he needs to prove to Clarice that they are made for each other, that time is all he needs to make her fall in love with him. But as the journey progresses, he digs himself deeper and deeper into a pit that he can’t get out of, stopping at nothing to ensure that no one gets in the way of their life together. Both tense and lurid, and brimming with suspense from the very first page, Perfect Days is a psychological thriller in the vein of Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr. Ripley—a chilling journey in the passenger seat with a psychopath, and the English language debut of one of Brazil’s most deliciously dark young writers.


RAPHAEL MONTES was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1990, and is a lawyer and a writer. His short stories have appeared in Playboy and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. His debut novel, Suicides, was published to much acclaim in Brazil in 2010 and was a finalist for the Sao Paolo Literature Prize, among many other accolades. Perfect Days is being published in seven countries. The author lives in Rio de Janeiro.







Last Night at Tremore Beach
Mikel Santiago
Simon & Schuster - February

[from the publisher]
What starts out as an idyllic summer holiday on the Irish coast soon becomes a living nightmare with unpredictable consequences for a world-renowned composer and his family in this chilling psychological thriller.

Recently divorced and in the middle of a creative crisis, Peter Harper decides to take shelter on Ireland’s scenic and isolated Tremore Beach. But after he is struck by lightning one stormy night, he begins experiencing terrible headaches and strange dreams. As the line between his dreams and reality begins to blur, Peter realizes that his bizarre dreams may be a warning of horror still to come…

Gripping and impossible to put down, The Last Night at Tremore Beach is a haunting, atmospheric thriller perfect for fans of Stephen King and S.J. Watson.


 

MIKEL SANTIAGO was born in northern Spain in 1975 and is a musician and writer. He is the author of a novella, History of a Perfect Crime, and The Last Night at Tremore Beach is his first novel and was a Top Ten international bestseller. He spent over a decade living in Ireland and the Netherlands, and now lives in Bilbao with his family.











Dangerous Ends
Alex Segura
Polis Books - April 
 
[from the publisher]
Pete Fernandez has settled into an easy, if somewhat boring life as a P.I.. He takes pictures of cheating husbands. He tracks criminals who’ve skipped bail and he attends weekly AA meetings The days of chasing murderous killers are behind him. Or are they?

When his sometimes partner Kathy Bentley approaches him with a potential new client, Pete balks. Not because he doesn’t need the money, but because the case involves Gaspar Varela, a former Miami police officer serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife – one of the most infamous crimes in Miami history. The client? None other than Varela's daughter, Maya, who's doggedly supported her father's claims of innocence.

As Pete and Kathy wade into a case that no one wants, they also find themselves in the cross-hairs of Los Enfermos, a bloodthirsty gang of pro-Castro killers and drug dealers looking to wipe Pete off the Miami map. As if trying to exonerate Varela wasn’t enough, they find themselves entangled in something even older and more surprising–a bloody, political hit ordered by Fidel Castro himself, that left a still-healing scar on Pete and his dead father’s past.

Fast-paced, hardboiled and surprising, Dangerous Ends pushes Pete Fernandez into a battle with a deadlier, more complex threat, as he tries to shake off the demons haunting Miami s own, sordid past.


 ALEX SEGURA is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Miami crime novels featuring Pete Fernandez, Silent City and Down the Darkest Street. He has also written a number of comic books, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed Archie Meets Kiss storyline, the Occupy Riverdale story, and the just-released and sold out Archie Meets Ramones one-shot. He lives in New York with his wife and son. He is a Miami native.















Later.



Manuel Ramos is the author of several novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction books and articles. His collection of short stories, The Skull of Pancho Villa and Other Stories, was a finalist for the 2016 Colorado Book Award. My Bad: A Mile High Noir was published by Arte Público Press in October, 2016


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Chicanonautica: Lowriding to Mictlan and Back


Enough of this political turmoil! Let's take a break an celebrate La Cultura, the real Latinoid stuff that's going to win over the world even with pendejos in the Casa Blanca are trying to shut us down! Like a book that is wildly entertaining, and will open up new worlds and bring us all together!


I'm talking about Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, a graphic novel (though being old school, I prefer the term “comic book”) written by Cathy Camper, and illustrated by Raúl the Third.


It's a sequel to Lowriders in Space, that I also thought was great. I'm happy to say this is one of those instances where the sequel is better than the original. They were just getting warmed up.


In a fantastic cartoon barrio – beyond magic realism! – Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack, and Elirio Malaria shut down their garage because their gato, Genie, has disappeared. This takes them on an incredible, eye-frying (Raúl's art brings it all to phantasmagorical life) road trip to Mictlan – the Aztec underworld. Yup, this is more PreColumbian mythology than Jules Verne and Hollow Earth Theory. We also meet Coyote, La Llorna, the Corn Goddess Xilonen, and of course the Death God Michtlantechtuli! There's even a Hunter S. Thompson reference that was probably inspired by the ghost of Oscar Zeta Acosta. And it all goes raging lucha libre.

Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Máscaras would be proud.


This is a dazzling celebration of La Cultura, for Latinoids of all pedigrees and recombinations, genders and ages, and also a fun introduction for those of you from other cultures.


If the authorities insist on an educational justification, there are footnotes, and a glossary explaining the Spanish, Spanglish, and Náhuatl. And even some basic geology for the more scientific-minded.


Look! Could those be the seeds of the new, improved Cultura of the future germinating? Do I hear walls being torn down, and bridges being built?


Will there be more books in this series?


I can still dream – can't I?


As for the pendejos? Just let them try to ban this!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Juanito Counts to Ten: A Bilingual Counting Book


 
Written by Lee Merrill Byrd
Illustrated by  Francisco Delgado

  •             Age Range: 4 - 9 years
  •             Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  •             Paperback: 32 pages
  •             Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press
  •             Language: English, Spanish
  •             ISBN-10: 1933693126
  •             ISBN-13: 978-1933693125



Parents, teachers, and grandparents are always asking Cinco Puntos for bilingual early readers for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten children. They want fun books that give kids a delicious feel for the Spanish and English languages. And what could be more fun and delicious than counting kisses? Novelist and children’s book author Lee Merrill Byrd was inspired to write this book one morning when she watched her own four-year-old grandchild Johnny. He was so happy and full of life that he was dishing out kisses for everybody and everything. He kissed his mother, he kissed his father, he kissed Stray Gray the Cat, and of course he kissed his grandmother! He was so happy he even kissed his bossy big sister. That morning he earned the nickname Lover Boy!

Lee Merrill Byrd loves what happens when her grandchildren wander through their bilingual neighborhood in El Paso, Texas. Her first children’s book, Treasure on Gold Street, followed her granddaughter Hannah. Now it’s little Johnny’s turn.

Francisco Delgado, a fronterizo artist, was born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua in 1974. Through out his life he has resided in both twin cities of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez. Delgado’s artworks reflect the United States and Mexican Border life and speak to the working class of the barrios. His visual language often uses iconic figures like El Chapulin Colorado, George W. Bush, Tin Tan, Lady Liberty, and Luchadores among many others to convey his political narrative. Even though his body of work is political and his message is direct it is delivered with the dark sarcasm and humor that is often found in Mexican, Chicano and Fronterizo Cultures. He attended the University of Texas at El Paso where he received several honorary awards and a BFA. He received his MFA from the Yale School of Art. His paintings have been on book covers, in national art exhibits, private collections and community institutions. Delgado’s first picture book was, Si, Se Puede! / Yes, We Can! And his second book, Juanito Counts to Ten.





Review


"A winning story of love of family and friends." —Kirkus Reviews

"A welcome addition to family, school, and community library bilingual book collections for children, Lover Boy / Juanito el Cariñoso is very highly recommended as a fun and entertaining guide to counting in English and Spanish." —Midwest Book Review

"Byrd and Delgado present a very artistic—and yet very fun-loving—little counting book…Highly recommended for bookstores and libraries." —Críticas

"The enthusiastic text is well adapted by the translator… Delgado's saturated-color artwork is equally exuberant as it portrays a representative Southwestern Latino family. In a market replete with clever concept books, this one will no doubt find its special niche."—School Library Journal

"What a delightful book!" —Oneonta

"The author of the book, Lee Merril Byrd, does an awesome job of helping little ones learn how to count in both English and Spanish…Francisco Delgado’s illustrations are vibrant and the kisses come to life."—SpanglishBaby.com

"Uses kisses in the form of big hearts to count sequentially from one to ten in English and Spanish."—Review of Texas Books