By Xánath Caraza
For the 2014 PACHANGA in Seattle, WA, the Advisory Circle of Con Tinta, a collective of Chican@/Latin@ Activist Writers, and los Norteños Writers group are honoring Jesús “El Flaco” Maldonado and Kathleen Alcalá, in addition to the celebration of the five year anniversary of CantoMundo. On Thursday, February 27, 2014, 5:30-7:30 p.m., we will have La Pachanga at Mexico Cantina y Cocina at Pacific Place-Level 4, 600 Pine St. (or 1611 6th Ave.), Seattle, WA 98101. Ph #: (206) 405-3400. Please be our guest and join La Pachanga for our hors d’oeuvre & cash bar celebration and more.
Jesús “El Flaco” Maldonado
Jesús “El Flaco” Maldonado is one of the first Chicanos to publish and read publicly in the Northwest. As well, he has been a teacher for many years, utilizing his literary skills in the classroom. One of his most renown poems is “Under a Never Changing Sun”, a protest of the exploitation of Chicano migrant workers.
Jesús “El Flaco” Maldonado was born in Mission, Texas. El Flaquito is the seventh of 12 children of José and Aminta Maldonado. His formative years were spent near the Mexican border near Reynosa, Mexico. Flaquito graduated from Roy Miller High School in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1965. After getting his BA in Spanish from Southwest Texas State University in 1969, he enrolled at the University of Washington in September of 1969 where he received his MA in Spanish in 1975. As a poet of the Chicano Movement, his poetry has been published in El Grito, Caracol, Q’Vo, El Gato, Metamorfosis (a University of Washington publication), The Bilingual Review / La Revista Bilingüe, The Americas Review, and in a few anthologies: Literatura Chicana: Texto y Contexto, Chicanos: Antología Histórica y Literaria, La Voz Urgente: Antología de literatura chicana en español, The Floating Borderlands, and in En Otra Voz: Antología de la literatura hispana de los Estados Unidos.
Flaquito started his high school teaching career in 1972 in Mabton, Washington, where he taught and counseled for three years. Later he taught English and Spanish for thirty-three years in Granger High School in Granger, Washington, whose population is 90% Hispanic. Flaquito retired in April of 2010, only to come out of retirement to teach at the Wahluke Alternative School for the 2010-2011 academic year. At the present time Flaquito is teaching Spanish at Highline High School in Burien, Washington.
“El Flaquito, como le gusta que le digan, y yo fuimos compañeros de escuela. Luego él se fue a Washington. Es un gran amigo y siempre ha estado muy pendiente de todo lo que involucra los derechos para los trabajadores migrantes.” --Tino Villanueva, 2013 Con Tinta Honoree
Kathleen Alcalá is the author of a short story collection, three novels set in 19th Century Mexico and the Southwest, and a collection of essays based on family history. Her work has received the Western States Book Award, the Governor’s Writers Award, and a Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award. She received her second Artist Trust Fellowship in 2008.
Kathleen has a B.A. in Linguistics from Stanford University and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Washington. She recently completed a Master of Fine Arts at the University of New Orleans, spending summers in San Miguel de Allende. Her work is often referred to as magic realism, but Kathleen considers most of it historical fiction. She does, however, have a great affinity for the story-telling techniques of magic realism and science fiction, and has been both a student and instructor in the Clarion West Science Fiction Workshop.
As a permanent faculty member at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, Kathleen has spent part of each January and August with the students and faculty on Whidbey Island. Along with Phoebe Bosché and Phil Red Eagle, she is a founding editor of The Raven Chronicles, and was present at the inception of both the Los Norteños writers group and Con Tinta.
Ursula K. Le Guin said of her first collection, “This is a book of wonders. Each story unfolds with humor and simplicity and perfect naturalness into something original and totally unpredictable. The kingdom of Borges and García Marquez lie just over the horizon, but this landscape of desert towns and dreaming hearts … is Alcalá-land. It lies just across the border between Mexico and California, across the border between the living and the dead, across all the borders – a true new world.”
“Kathleen Alcalá captures the essence of the magical realism in her work. Her stories convincingly move the reader from one reality to the other. Kathleen’s craft illuminates the souls of her characters: the Mexican women who carry the universe in their hearts.” – Rudolfo Anaya
Poster for the 2014 Pachanga