The PALABRA Archive—what it is and what it means to me

Library of Congress page that features recording of writer Donna Miscolta

Like most writers, I submit stories to journals, apply for residencies and fellowships, and query agents. I get far more rejections than acceptances, and sometimes feel as if I’m writing and speaking my words in an unlit corner of a vast empty room. And then one day out of the blue, without having to submit,…

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Preparing to talk to Alberto Ríos

Laptop screen with books nearby and window in background

How does a non-poet prepare to interview a prolific and esteemed poet who has garnered national awards, was selected as the inaugural poet laureate of Arizona, and served as chancellor of the American Academy of Poets? With trepidation and fingers crossed that she doesn’t mess it up. Next month I’ll be interviewing prolific Chicano poet…

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The Pandemic Days of Our Lives

In which my new book of fiction launches amid the reunion of a young family separated by the pandemic, a marriage ceremony, and a first birthday. Plane travel We’re supposed to drive, but the fires up and down the West Coast mean unexpected closures of the interstate in some areas and lanes clogged with evacuees…

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When a poem takes the stage

Claudia Castro Luna’s book Killing Marias is subtitled A Poem for Multiple Voices. Each page addresses the lost life of one of the women or girls disappeared and murdered in Juárez, Mexico on the other side of the border from El Paso, Texas. Claudia invited me, writer Catalina Cantú, and dancer Milvia Pacheco to share…

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Writing, Pie, and Canoes

I’ve written about the Port Townsend Writers’ Conference before here and here. I’m doing so again. I’ve attended the conference six out of the last eight years. Three of those years I enrolled in one of the full morning workshops – a daily, intensive two and a half hours of manuscript critique or generative writing.…

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