Saturday Panels



Solita: Chicanas in Solo Performance
(Location: La Habana)

Solo performances by three dynamic playwrights explore identity, gender, religion, the Mexican Diaspora, and political and social change: Marisela Barrera’s Tejana Trilogy, Anna De Luna’s My Arab Fall and Alison Vasquez’s La Flora de La Canela. Followed by Q&A.
Marisela Barrera, Anna De Luna, Alison Vasquez

Hybrid Genre: Science Fiction Meets Health in Heaven and Earth
(Location: Bolivar B)

Medical and environmental engineering experts use Heaven and Earth, a thought-provoking science-fiction novel, to discuss cadmium poisoning, a widespread health issue that goes unnoticed by the medical community and possibly even protected by government agencies.
Speakers: Arturo Riojas PhD, Robert S. Reyna MD, Valerie Chavez MD


Life on the Hyphen: Writing about the Mexican-American Border Amid Revolution, Cartels, and the Wall
(Location: La Habana)

As border dwellers, writers Seltzer and Flores use memoir and satire to consider their Mexican-American heritage and the dramatic upheavals and complex implications of negotiating “life on the hyphen.” Discussion ranges from a conscientious objector finding refuge on the border to revolution in Central America to changes the authors have experienced as writers. 
Speakers: Carlos Nicolas Flores, Robert L Seltzer

Writing Modern Midrash: Changing the Way We Understand the Hebrew Bible through Stories and Poems
(Location: Bolivar B)

Midrash was used for centuries by rabbinic scholars to elaborate on biblical texts. Modern midrashim give voice to the women who were previously silent or nameless and offer opportunity for contemporary interpretation. This panel will combine poetic and narrative examples with hands-on discussion on how to write a modern midrash.
Speakers: Marcia Goren Weser, Michal Lemberger, Bonnie Lyons

Narratives of Change: From the Classroom to the Community
(Location: Bolivar C)

Lanier High School in San Antonio offers a creative writing program where students work with local writers and nonprofit organizations to create a writing community within the classroom. The program’s coordinator, a spoken word poet and a community organizer share techniques and insights on encouraging and engaging students to promote change through art.
Speakers: Raquel Torres, Tiffany Jenkins, Christopher “Rooster” MartÍnez


The Transformational Power of Poetry—Voces Cósmicas, a force for change in the Community
(Location: Bolivar B)

Voces Cósmicas is a grass-roots eclectic group of local poets/writers who have impacted San Antonio’s Westside and Southwest side by performing and reading poetry at local library branches. Panelists will discuss advancing personal change through writing, the educational dynamism of poetry, and benefits to communities of increased access to the arts.
Speakers: Fernando Esteban Flores , Tom Porter, Jacinto Jesús Cardona, Liz Vera, Carlos Loera

Measuring the Harlem Renaissance—A Q&A with Dr Michael Soto
(Location: Bolivar C)

Measuring the Harlem Renaissance retells the familiar story of the Harlem Renaissance through the shifting lens of US census history and the rise of social scientific inquiry, highlighting innovations that might be pursued by humanists going forward.
Speakers: Michael Soto, Jessica Neal


Public Panel: Writing as Witness: What Kinds of Writers Are We?
(Location: Trinidad)
It is not enough to look; one must look with eyes that want to see. –Galileo
Is writing a public act, a kind of truth telling? Can creative writing address the ethical and political, as well as the aesthetic?  What does it mean to rip off the blindfold and reveal the senselessness of cruelty, war and oppression? How do we give voice to the ways we and others live our lives? What kind of writer—and witness—are we?
Speakers: Sheila Black, Brian Turner, Patricia Spears Jones, Anthony “The Poet” Flores, Bárbara Renaud González

Writing for Transformative Change With Testimonio: Storytelling, Activism, and Healing
(Location: La Habana)

Testimonio is primarily oral and often translates to the written in diverse ways, ranging from freshman compositions to blogs and speeches. Panelists will use personal stories to highlight the genre of testimonio as a form of writing for empowerment and activism, as a way to teach in our classrooms, and as a tool to engage in communal healing practices.
Speakers: Annette Portillo, Victorria Simpson-Gervin, Rose Rodríguez-Rabin

Spoken Word: Say it Like It Is
(Location: Bolivar A)

A dynamic group of San Antonio Spoken Word artists wield the magic of words and discuss the many ways spoken word empowers communities and individuals and creates new spaces for inclusiveness, diversity and under-represented voices.
Speakers: Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, Christopher “Rooster” MartÍnez, Shaggy (Jason Gossard), Sarah Maddux

Location, Relocation, Dislocation: Readings & Discussion by Four Poets
(Location: Partagas)

Through discussion and readings of their poetry, award-winning poets explore the impact on their work of moving geographically, linguistically and culturally, and the dislocations they have experienced, and how they navigate their new sense of “home.”
Speakers: Wendy Barker, Sharon Olinka, Octavio Quintanilla, Edward Vidaurre


Politics with Your Fiction or Memoir, Anyone?
(Location: Trinidad)

How can we write about issues of a political nature within the parameters of fiction and memoir? How do we touch on, or incorporate, political themes without creating flat characters and/or text that sermonizes? Panelists will discuss works they admire that have tackled political themes through narrative, and how those works have inspired or wrought change.
Speakers: Ramona Reeves, Jason Craft, Ito Romo, Paige Schilt, ire’ne lara silva

Documentary Poetry
(Location: La Habana)

How do poets engage with the complex personal, political, ecological, and historical questions around power, exploitation, appropriation and erasure? How does documentary poetry re-fashion the archive, the current event? Five writers discuss their research-based documentary work in response to world in a state of physical, ecological, and spiritual violence.
Speakers: Joni Wallace,John Pluecker, Allison Cobb, Octavio Quintanilla, Susan Landers

“We the People”: Writing Inclusive Spaces in Challenging Times
(Location: Bolivar A)

Five San Antonio community writers and leaders discuss how America is facing new challenges due to the assumption that people of color, women and people who are different are not to be considered part of “WE THE PEOPLE.” How can writers of color write towards unity and a more inclusive sense of American citizenship in challenging times?
Speakers: Antoinette Franklin, DL grant, Jo Reyes-Boitel, Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, Viktoria Valenzuela

The Journal as Practice: Writing as the gateway to the creative process, and a source of recovery, wellness, and healing
(Location: Partagas)

Panelists will explore the practice of journal writing as a method of igniting the creative process for blocked artists, its influence on us as observers in the world, and its mental and physical health benefits. Panelists will explore journaling and expressive writing as agents of change and its effect on soldiers with PTSD, survivors of genocide in Rwanda, and university students in San Antonio.
Speakers: Laura Van Prooyen, Luke Stump, Jen Osborne, Josh Robbins


Writing Inside Vermont: Providing Supportive Space for Incarcerated Women to Write Toward Growth and Change
(Location: Trinidad)

Since 2010, writing inside VT has provided structured, supportive space for incarcerated women in northern Vermont to write toward growth and change. This panel will invite listeners to experience the power of writing for change inside prison via a ‘sample class,’ followed by sharing stories of how the program changed two women, with an opportunity for questions at the end.
Speakers: Sarah W. Bartlett, Meg Reynolds

Creative Activism at Work: 100 Thousand Poets for Change, Texas Edition
(Location: La Habana)
100 Thousand Poets for Change is a grass-roots organization that brings communities together to call for environmental, social and political change. Texas poets will discuss how they have used this global movement to enact local change, and explore social issues that poets can affect through interdisciplinary and poetic activism.
Speakers: Viktoria Valenzuela, Edward Vidaurre, Jenuine Poetess

Reading and Discussion on the new anthology, Imaniman: Poets Reflect on Transformative Borders Through AnzaldÚa’s Work
(Location: Bolivar A)

Imaniman is a Nahuatlized Spanish word for “their soul” and is the title of a new anthology of poetry and essays based on Gloria Anzaldúa’s work. Performances will be followed by a discussion of what it means to be border writers who carry multiple borders within them, and how their creative labors have opened up the space to imagine change — in the world within and the world without.
Speakers: ire’ne lara silva , John Fry, Rodney Gómez, Joe Jiménez, César L. de León

Crime Fiction Against the Regime
(Location: Partagas)

Change defines the entire narrative structure of literary crime fiction. Radical, violent, unyielding. It is useful to examine the underlying social codes and assumptions of the genre’s protagonists in coming to terms with an unjust, even criminal, society. Panelists will examine specific works and authors whose characters defend right against wrong, often at great cost.
Speakers: Rod Davis, Eusebio Diaz, William Glenn

Sunday Panels



Ecopoetics of Deceleration: Writing Toward Planetary Well-being
(Location: Trinidad)
Writing towards planetary well-being begins with deceleration, a re-imagining of the scale and temporality of resistance. Through her experience with the online journal Deceleration, Marisol Cortez reflects on what it means to shift from environmental crisis to environmental peacemaking. As examples of eco-justice poetics, Kamala Platt looks to the poetry of Emmy Pérez and Amalia Ortiz.
Speakers: Kamala Platt, Marisol Cortez

From Discord to Discourse: Creating Spaces for Understanding
(Location: Bolivar A)
In a time of political and social discord, how can we as writers create spaces where difficult and necessary conversations can occur? Through an examination of poets from underrepresented communities, this panel will explore how writers can navigate the tension between discord and discourse to craft a space of awareness and possibility through language.
Speakers: Eric James Cruz, Jo Reyes-Boitel, Daniel García Ordaz, Laura Healy


What Does It Mean to be An American?
(Location: Trinidad)

There are many definitions of what it means to be an American. Five panelists from different backgrounds and perspectives discuss what “being an American” means to them and how our perspectives on this subject influence our work as writers and our ability to engage others in a wider cultural discussion.
Speakers: Jasmina Wellinghoff, Sheila Black, James Adair, Juan Tejeda, Lahab Assef Al-Jundi

Subversive Verse: Lyrical Provocateurs on Wielding Change Through Words
(Location: Bolivar A)
A panel of poets representing a wide range of aesthetic styles and backgrounds will address the ways poetry can turn reality on its head and challenge the too-easily-accepted. Through choices made in subject matter, point-of-view and style, these poets will discuss how they opened up new potential for innovation in their work.Speakers: Patricia Spears Jones, Pablo Miguel Martínez, Joe Jiménez, Alexandra van de Kamp


Transforming Communities through Creative Education
(Location: Trinidad)

Gemini Ink’s Writers in Communities teachers discuss the joys and complications of teaching creative writing workshops in various community settings. We will speak to our personal teaching philosophies and how we have connected with students of various ages and backgrounds, many of whom have no previous exposure to creative writing techniques.
Speakers: Jim LaVilla-Havelin, Joy Jimenez, Kamala Platt

Mythos & Metamorphosis: Writing the Past to Form the Future
(Location: Bolivar A)

By reflecting on who we were—weaving our past into personal mythologies—we can envision who we could be. Join us for close readings and guided writing based on works by poets Patricia Spears Jones and Judy Jordan, whose work invites readers to embrace a metamorphosis only possible through reflection and self-exploration.
Speaker: Aaron Deutsch


Anatomy of a Novel: Contemporary Perspective
(Location: Trinidad)

This panel will briefly cover the historical trajectory of the novel, from the traditional structure of the novel established by 19th century writers to innovative contemporary approaches. Panelists will present unique examples of technique, such as plot, characters or quality of narrative, to highlight the dynamism of modern novel writing.
Speakers: Mo H Saidi, Nan Cuba, Cary Clack, Jimmy Adair, Harold Brannan

The Windward Review: Expressing an Evolving, Multidimensional Border Culture
(Location: La Habana)

Explore the process of transforming a local student journal, The Windward Review, into an international one that celebrates the multidimensional border culture in the South Texas Coastal Bend. How does creating a cultural and political space for diverse contributors and readers deepen commitment to editorial craft? How does an evolving journal contribute to an intersectional and fluid border region?
Speakers: Robin Carstensen, Juliana Aguilar, Joshua Espitia, Chuck Etheridge, Zoe Ramos, Kristen Ruggles

What Veterans Can Teach Us about Compassion
(Location: Bolivar A)

Authors writing through the lens of military service explore the role of compassion in writing, with particular attention given to how the unique military experience can become a spur for change. How can writing as witness be envisioned as not only politics, resistance and reportage but also as a tool towards a more expansive look at ourselves and our connection to those around us?
Speakers: Sarah Colby, Brian Turner, Brandon Lingle, Vincent Cooper

Navigating the Changing World of Publishing
(Location: Bolivar B)

Join a Literary Manager, a Director of a University Press, an independent publisher and an author as they present their diverse experiences and expertise on the quickly evolving and unpredictable world of contemporary publishing.
Speakers: Marilyn Atlas, Tom Payton, Juan Tejeda, Bárbara Renaud González


Writing on the Rio: An Exploration of San Antonio’s Evolving Literary Image
(Location: Trinidad)

Publisher and editor Bryce Milligan will lead a discussion of San Antonio’s multi-faceted literary heritage with noted Chicano Scholar Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto and distinguished author Carmen Tafolla. The panel will examine the long history of writing in the River City, from the Spanish colonial period through the Chicano movimiento.
Speakers: Bryce Milligan, Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Dr. Carmen Tafolla

Interviewing Female Elders: An Act of Storytelling and Subversion
(Location: La Habana)

This panel will explore how telling the stories of women over 80 is a subversive act in a culture that discounts women as they age. Panelists will explore challenging stereotypes through art, including the process of interviewing elders and getting a non-stereotypical book out into the world.
Speakers: Jen Hamilton Hernández, Deb Field, Linda Harris, Bonnie Lyons

Fact versus Fiction: Storytelling in the 21st Century
(Location: Bolivar A)

Award-winning fiction and nonfiction writers discuss how they handle, wield and even manipulate both fact and the imagination to weave compelling stories. How can lyricism merge with lived experience to create riveting stories supple enough to respond to our times?
Speakers: Helena María Viramontes, Jan Jarboe Russell, John Phillip Santos, Bernadette Smyth

Writing La Familia
(Location: Bolivar B)

The recent US election and the increasing wave of hate speech/sentiment throughout the country has necessitated an exploration of how we, as poets in the lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, have turned to the idea of family/family history/family ties as a nourishing and motivating force that allows us to write for change.
Speakers: Nayelly Barrios, César L De León, Celina Gómez, Rodney Gómez, Lina Suarez, Edward Vidaurre


Writers Without Readers: How Can We Build a Better City for the Written Word?
(Location: La Habana)

San Antonio is a city that celebrates its rich cultural diversity, but despite being the 7th largest city in the US, it ranks 60th in reading literacy. This lively discussion will explore the intersections between literacy, cultural heritage and engagement with the written word to ask how we can develop San Antonio and cities nationwide into places in which the written word is celebrated by a diverse and engaged population.
Speakers: Tom Payton, Katy Flato, Elizabeth Fauerso, Deborah Valdez, Claudia Guerra

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