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From the Archives: Two Poems by Naomi Shihab Nye

In the spring of 1981, two poems by Naomi Shihab Nye appeared in Puerto del Sol. Nye had published her first poetry collection, Different Ways to Pray, the year before and would soon publish a chapbook, followed by her second collection, Hugging the Jukebox. In the years since, Nye has become an internationally renowned poet, teacher, and activist. We were delighted when she agreed to participate in our 50th anniversary issue, and we are so proud to reprint the poems as they appeared in the pages of Puerto del Sol nearly 35 years ago. One Blueberry on a White Clay Plate you can’t eat it it’s…

From the Archives: “Our First Drug Was Fire” by Sonya Huber

We were honored to welcome Sonya Huber back to the pages of Puerto del Sol in our 50th anniversary issue with her creative nonfiction piece, “Oh Dentra, My Dentra!” Huber was first featured in our Winter 2013 issue with her essay, “Our First Drug Was Fire,” and we also interviewed her as a part of our Author Spotlight series.The essay itself speaks to Huber’s experience with her young son’s anti-drug workbook, a too-cheery thing titled “Too Good for Drugs,” as she grapples with the fears and anxieties it induces. She uses her experience as a lens through which to consider the…

The PdS Black Voices Series Presents: SAFIA ELHILLO

  talking with an accent about home (reprise) after Lawrence Joseph a sudan of gardens & magnolia flowers of cloying thick coffee & dark dregs a sudan of my grandfather awake with the sun & feeding the birds & the early morning perfume of something burning a sudan split by a river in two quartered by new boundaries            &   i with my feet in my grandmother’s lap & my story perfect by never beginning oiled in romance   the river nile a dirty refrain               emptied of actual…

The PdS Black Voices Series Presents: METTA SÁMA

  We at Puerto del Sol are so excited and honored to launch our new blog series, Black Voices, which will feature new work from established and emerging black writers alongside short interviews. We are so happy to showcase new poems by Metta Sáma for our inaugural post!     After Murder “Vesper: It doesn’t bother you? Killing all those people? Bond: Well I wouldn’t be very good at my job if it did.” (from the film Casino Royale ) * A man of course is not          a city          is       rarely…

Three Questions with 2015 Poetry Contest Judge, J. Michael Martinez

  Recently, Puerto del Sol  had the pleasure of speaking with our 2015 Poetry Contest Judge, award-winning poet J. Michael Martinez, about identity, audience, and the poetic craft. Here’s what we learned. PDS: Firstly, I appreciate your strategy of incorporating identity into your work. The first time I read heredities was during a lyric poetry course. The professor had us read Martín Espada’s “The Meaning of the Shovel” in conjunction with a poem from Heredities, “Xicano.” I was immediately struck with the difference. It was a good thing; I was hearing multiple voices and different approaches to writing about this identity.…

Three Questions with 2015 Fiction Contest Judge, Melanie Rae Thon

Award-winning novelist and this year’s Fiction Contest judge, Melanie Rae Thon, recently sat down with Puerto del Sol to talk about the writing life and the art of fiction. Here’s what she had to share with us. PDS: What is the best advice you wish you’d been given when you first began your career as a writer?  MRT: Who among us ever learned anything by having wisdom bestowed upon us?  The enterprise of offering advice reminds me of our parents’ futile efforts to spare us the anguish and errors of adolescence—but I do try to remind my students  (and myself!)  that…

Review: Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine

  CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC by Claudia Rankine Graywolf Press, 2014 Reviewed by Diana Arterian Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric is the second of her books bearing the same subtitle. The first, Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric, came out in 2004, also from Graywolf. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely was undeniably revolutionary for several reasons beyond its displaying Rankine’s incredible capacity as a writer. In it, Rankine uses a hybrid form of images and prose poems to interrogate many subjects—predominantly violence against black bodies in the United States, prescription drugs, September 11th, and the media—in order…

Review: Elegant Punk by Darlin’ Neal

  ELEGANT PUNK by Darlin’ Neal Press 53, 2012 Reviewed by Emily Haymans There are as at least as many ways to be dazzled by Darlin’ Neal’s Elegant Punk as there are stories in this collection. On a craft level, the stories are stunning examples of the power of brevity and sensory details. On a human level, the stories cut straight to the reader’s heart. Neal fuses pristine language with harsh subjects to create scenic wastelands where her characters live and struggle and sometimes, against all odds, find beauty. In stories sometimes no longer than a paragraph, Elegant Punk takes…

Review: Our Prayers After the Fire by Katie Jean Shinkle

    OUR PRAYERS AFTER THE FIRE by Katie Jean Shinkle Blue Square Press, 2014 Reviewed by Kelsie Hahn Katie Jean Shinkle’s debut novel Our Prayers After the Fire is about the aftermath of disaster. The novel is comprised of flash chapters that have been widely published as small sections and individual pieces, including “A Labor ofLove” in Puerto del Sol 47.1. A selection of chapters was also awarded the University of Louisville Calvino Prize in 2011, which honors innovative writing. On their own, the chapters are dazzling and sharp. Together, they reverberate. Echo. Sing. They are pings of sonar…

Review: Soul Over Lightning by Ray Gonzalez

    SOUL OVER LIGHTNING by Ray Gonzalez University of Arizona Press, 2014 Reviewed by David Antonio Reyes The line separating Ciudad Juarez from El Paso has always been a legendary bridge for artists and common folk alike: Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Ray Gonzalez, hermana, hermano. The Westward Expansion knows a geography in grids, but nature knows the geography carried in the echoes of the Chihuahua Desert. Soul Over Lightning is an excavation for truths, a history of healing written with a reverence for the people and the land. In this new collection of poems, Ray Gonzalez voices a lyric…

Tips and Tasks for your MFA Program Application: December

Now is the time to apply! Obtain copies of all transcripts required from your school Make sure the people writing letters of recommendation have the address and deadline for your application. Write your letter of intent and have some trusted people look it over. Make sure you carefully follow directions. Do not wait until the last minute! Keep in mind that if you are sending your application to a PO box, you cannot go to FedEx and have them send it overnight. Once it is all in the mail, reward yourself! This is part of a series. If you are…

CALL FOR WORK

Black lives and voices matter. Full stop, no qualifiers. In a time when it is harder and harder to believe that minority lives are valued, it is imperative that our creative spaces open to accommodate the voices and writings of those that are disenfranchised and oppressed, those full of rage and fear and heartbreak. We at Puerto del Sol are proud of maintaining a literary space in which diverse voices are culled. Saying that black lives and voices matter is important, but it is not enough. In an industry where minority writers have often been underrepresented in publication, where white…