Full Schedule–2015 Flor De Nopal Literary Festival

All workshops will take place at the Raul Salinas Room, ESB-Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St, Austin TX.

Readings will take place as indicated.

All events are free and open to the general public.


August 8, 2015

2p-3:30pm Annual Welcome Social & Potluck

Please join us as we gather to talk writing and our lives while we have some great eats and celebrate the kick-off for the fifth season of the Flor De Nopal Literary Festival!

3:30p-5pm Workshop: “The Agony and Ecstasy of Revision” led by ire’ne lara silva

Inspired by Natalie Goldberg’s Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer’s Craft, we will be looking at various ways to approach revising our work. The emphasis will be on letting go of our egos and personal attachment, a deeper visioning of our writing’s intent, and extending generosity to yourself, your work, and your readers. Please bring 1-3 pieces that need revision, either poetry or prose, limit of 5 pages.


ire’ne lara silva lives in Austin, TX, and is the author of furia (poetry, Mouthfeel Press, 2010) which received an Honorable Mention for the 2011 International Latino Book Award and flesh to bone (short stories, Aunt Lute Books, 2013) which won the 2013 Premio Aztlan.  Saddle Road Press will be publishing her second collection of poetry, Blood Sugar Canto, in January 2016. ire’ne is the recipient of the 2014 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award, and the 2008 recipient of the Gloria Anzaldua Milagro Award, as well as a Macondo Workshop member and  CantoMundo Inaugural Fellow. She and Moises S. L. Lara are currently co-coordinators for the Flor De Nopal Literary Festival.

September 5, 2015

2pm-3:30pm Workshop: “Bibliomancy — Portents for Poems” led by Wade Martin

Since the invention of the printing press, people in various countries have consulted religious and highly-valued secular literature to look into the future.  In this workshop led by poet Wade Martin, we will divine material from a variety of texts in order to quick start the creative process and foretell the outcome of our writing before our pens touch the page.

Wade Martin is co-editor of the Texas Poetry Calendar, co-host of the Mind Maze reading series at Malvern Books and a 2014 Pushcart nominee. He is also a Teaching Artist with Badgerdog and the Freehand Arts Project, with recent publications in Perfume River Poetry Review, Freshwater, and SPANK the CARP.

3:30pm-5pmWorkshop: “The Xican@ Way” led by Vincent Cooper

A retrospective view on your barrio, hood or ghetto that permeates the nostalgia of now. This workshop focuses on the living experiences of one’s own ethnicity from the seat of 21st century American life.

Vincent Cooper is a Macondo Workshop poet living in the Westside of San Antonio, Tx. His chapbook, Where The Reckless Ones Come to Die, was published by Aztlan Libre Press in September 2014. Recent publications include the poem “Beatrice” with The Thing Itself Journal in April 2015, and poems “Crash” & “Dead End” in the 2015 Rio Grande Valley Boundless Anthology.

October 10, 2015

2p-3:30pm Workshop: “Taming the monster: Writing through grief and discovering the sound of your soul” led by Nicole Moore and Sarah Shaney

In this workshop we will explore the themes of the monster within us, getting to know the different aspects of our persona both positive and negative. The monster within our soul comes to exist in the guilt, shame and damage to our self-image. We will practice maneuvering the stages of grief and loss through writing to rediscover power in our strengths and weaknesses, our light and dark, and to process challenging life-experiences and move forward. Discover your “monster type,” ways to reframe your story, and tools within which to continue listening to your monster and releasing the truths that lie within the depths of your soul.

Nicole Moore lives in San Antonio and holds a degree from St. Mary’s University and an MFA from Texas State University. She is involved with poetry groups such as Jazz Poets & Writers BLK and recently had her poem “What Is Broken” published in the Texas Observer.

Sarah Shaney is a practicing Bilingual Social Worker, poet and nurturer. She has spent the past ten years working with youth in Central Texas in various capacities and currently serves the east Austin community. She was born and raised in the borderlands of South Texas, where she began to learn the importance and history behind her Latino roots. This search has infused not only her poetry but also her empathy with the youth she works with inviting them to re-frame, shape and share their story and histories. Sarah was a featured poet in the Flor de Nopal Literary Festival 2011, and will once again be a featured poet at the Flor de Nopal 2015.  She has two self-published chapbooks, Waiting for Wings/Esperando Alas and Unbroken available at Bookwoman and Resistencia Bookstores.

3:30-5pm Workshop: “Danger Zones: Writing About Family, Violence, and Trauma,” led by Ben Olguin


In a world where violence and trauma are normalized in everyday family life, many writers are motivated by the need to tell stories of their survival as part of their ongoing survival. This workshop is inspired by Raúl Salinas’s mantra that poetry is healing, poetry is empowering, poetry is liberating. The workshop is designed to enable a space for the writing about various types of danger zones, and to addressing the several challenges and equally difficult dangers that emerge from this approach to literature. This workshop is focused on poetry, but also can accommodate short prose. Participants should turn in 2-3 pages of writing prior to the workshop. This will enable preliminary feedback on works in progress. During the workshop, we will undertake several exercises to generate new writing, with the ultimate goal of cultivating a mature draft of a new piece that will receive at least one round of constructive critique pursuant to its continued development

Ben V. Olguín was born in Houston, Texas in 1965. He was an undefeated amateur boxer (14-0, 2 KO) and has worked as a unionized grocery worker, waiter, cook, construction worker, prison educator, and volunteer Emergency Medical Technician. He is currently an Associate Professor in the English Department and Creative Writing Program at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Olguín is a research scholar and poet. He is the author of the research monograph, La Pinta: Chicana/o Prisoner Literature, Culture and Politics (University of Texas Press 2010), and co-editor of the anthology, Latina/os and WWII: Mobility, Agency, and Ideology (University of Texas Press, 2014). Olguín is the author of two published collections of poetry, Red Leather Gloves (Hansen 2014), and At the Risk of Seeming Ridiculous: Poems from Cuba Libre (Aztlán Libre Press, 2014), and currently is completing a third, Pericardial Tamponade, which is based on his work as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician.

October 16, 2015 7pm ESB-Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin, TX

Event: 2015 Flor De Nopal Literary Festival Celebrates the Release of the 5th Issue of Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature

Date: Friday, October 16, 2015 at 7pm

Location: Black Box Theatre, ESB-Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St., Austin, TX

Contact: ire’ne lara silva

Email: irenelarasilva@yahoo.com

Phone: 512- 783-0994

Featuring: Ariana Brown, Sebastian Hasani Paramo, Maria Miranda Maloney, Fernando A. Flores, Amanda Huynh, Sonia Gutierrez, ire’ne lara silva, Jorge Antonio Renaud, and special guests, Lorena Alvarado and Yehuda Sharim

Huizache: The Magazine of Latino Literature is a literary magazine founded by Dagoberto Gilb and edited by Diana Lopez. “The magazine’s title is inspired by the huizache tree, a Texas acacia as thorny and tenacious as it is both invisible and ubiquitous, unwanted by farmers. Like its namesake, the magazine promotes fierce beauty that has been ignored. The voices in this magazine are motivated, not silenced, by harsh, unwelcoming conditions.”

Ariana Brown is an Afromexicana poet from San Antonio, Texas, with four years of poetry slam experience. She is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, member of the UT Austin winning team at the 2014 national collegiate poetry slam, and is currently working on her first manuscript.

Sebastian Hasani Paramo is a teaching fellow at the University of North Texas and holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. His poems have appeared in Front Porch Journal, Prelude, North American Review, upstreet, and elsewhere. He is the founding editor of The Boiler, and co-curates The Pegasus Reading Series in Dallas.

  1. Miranda Maloney is the founder of Mouthfeel Press, and the author of The Lost Letters of Mileva, (Pandora Lobo Press 2014). She is the Educational Outreach Coordinator for the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum, and editor for the BorderSenses Literary & Arts Journal. She lives with her husband and three children outside the Houston area.

Fernando A. Flores was born in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, Mexico. He is the author of the underground collection Death to the Bullshit Artists of South Texas, Vol.1, and recipient of a 2014 literary award from the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. He was nominated for a 2014 Pushcart Prize and lives in Austin, Texas.


Amanda Huynh is a native Texan. Currently, she lives in Virginia where she attends the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University. She reads for the Barely South Review journal. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in 94 Creations, The Healing Muse, and As/Us: Women of the World.

Sonia Gutiérrez’s work promotes social and human dignity. She teaches English at Mt. San Jacinto College at San Jacinto, California. Sonia’s bilingual poetry collection, Spider Woman / La Mujer Araña, is her debut publication. She is completing her second poetry collection, Legacy / Herencia. Sonia also moderates Facebook’s Poets Responding to SB 1070. To learn more about her, visit www.soniagutierrez.com.

ire’ne lara silva is the author of furia, flesh to bone, which won the 2013 Premio Aztlan, and the forthcoming blood sugar canto. ire’ne is the recipient of the 2014 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award, and the 2008 recipient of the Gloria Anzaldua Milagro Award. She and Moises S. L. Lara are currently co-coordinators for the Flor De Nopal Literary Festival.

Jorge Antonio Renaud is a poet, national organizer, father, and a facilitator of Restorative Justice-based circles for youth who have been marginalized and fallen through cracks opened by racism and institutional neglect. His poetry is very much centered on  his experiences as a pinto and a Chicano trying to make sense of this world while reveling in its possibilities.


Lorena Alvarado is originally from Huntington Park, California, Lorena Alvarado is a poet and a visiting scholar at Rice University’s Center for the study of Women, Gender and Sexuality. She is writing a book on Mexican song and performance of emotion.


Yehuda Sharim is a scholar and a poet whose work is concerned with the mundane, invisible experiences of war in Israel and the US. He currently teaches at Rice University.

November 1, 2015 5pm Resistencia Bookstore, Austin, TX

Day of the Dead Reading and Fundraiser


December 4, 2015 7pm ESB-Mexican American Cultural Center, Austin, TX

Flor De Nopal Literary Festival Featured Reading with Dan Vera, Sarah A. Chavez, Jose Antonio Rodriguez, Ben Olguin, ire’ne lara silva, Nicole Moore, Sarah Shaney, Vincent Cooper, and Wade Martin


December 5, 2015

2p-3:30pm Workshop:  “When all your antenna quiver, your body becomes a lightning rod”: Sensory Details & Writing From the Body” led by Sarah A. Chavez

Gloria Anzaldúa once said art and artistic intuition must “come through the artist’s body and into the body of the work. The work will pass on this energy to the reader . . . and feed her or his soul.” In this workshop we will practice honoring our own, as well as our readers’, physical experiences of emotion and literature by engaging with sensory details to communicate the abstraction of life’s big questions which so often plague our writer consciousness. What does sadness smell like? How does anger feel on the skin? What is the texture of love? Together we will focus on generating figurative language rooted in the sensory experiences of the body by examining successful examples, disentangling how those corporeal experiences are functioning, and discussing how we as writers can replicate those types of powerful images to communicate more completely. We will also engage in a few techniques to remind ourselves to be present in our bodies and to trust what the body tells us as we write and free write. Please bring paper and writing utensil(s) (preferably not a computer or electronic device, though if you need to, bring both); you are also welcome to bring a piece of writing you are currently working on that could use a sensual makeover.

Sarah A. Chavez, a mestiza born and raised in the California Central Valley, is the author of the chapbook, All Day, Talking (Dancing Girl Press, 2014), which was featured on Sundress Publications’ book spotlight, The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed. She holds a PhD in English with a focus in poetry and Ethnic Studies from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She currently teaches Ethnic American Literature and writing at Marshall University. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in North Dakota Quarterly, Spoon River Poetry ReviewLuna Luna Magazine, Accentos Review, Stirring: A Literary Collective, among others. Her manuscript, This, Like So Much, was an Honorable Mention for the 2013 Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Contest. A selection from her chapbook manuscript All Day, Talking won the Susan Atefat Peckham Fellowship in 2013. She is a proud member of the Macondo Writers Workshop. www.sarahachavez.com


3:30p-5pm Workshop: “APPROACHING DISSONANCE: UNSETTLING OUR POEMS” led by José Antonio Rodríguez

For a poem to work, it must bridge the particular to the universal, or, more precisely, to a larger truth that speaks to the reader.  This is often a challenge, especially when writing poetry rooted in memory.  Through guided group discussion, we will approach memory through a framework of dissonance and doubt, rather than certainty, which will facilitate the challenge of finding the universal in our particulars. We will have an opportunity to generate new work through guided exercise.

 José Antonio Rodríguez, born in Mexico and raised in south Texas, is the author of The Shallow End of Sleep, winner of the Bob Bush Memorial Award from the Texas Institute of Letters, and Backlit Hour, a finalist for the 2014 Paterson Poetry Prize.  His poetry and prose have appeared in various publications, including Poetry, The New Republic, The Texas Observer, Green Mountains Review, Memorious, RHINO, Huizache, Our Lost Border: Essays on Life Amid the Narco-Violence, the Poetry Society of America online, and elsewhere.  He was a Clifford D. Clark Doctoral Fellow at the State University of New York in Binghamton, where he received a Ph.D. in English, and currently teaches writing and literature at The University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

Full Schedule—Flor De Nopal Literary Festival 2014

All workshops will take place at the Raul Salinas Room, ESB-Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St, Austin TX.

Readings will take place as indicated.

All events are free and open to the general public.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Writing Workshop 1pm-3pm Flor De Nopal Welcome Gathering Potluck
Join us as we kick off the 2014 Flor De Nopal Literary Season with a potluck. Bring foods of any kind and join the great conversations!

Writing Workshop 3pm-5pm “Spirited Away: Writing Yourself Back”
led by ire’ne lara silva

In this workshop, we’ll be exploring the spirit’s journey, the hero’s road, and the need for mythic structures in our stories by examining Spirited Away (animated film), Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey, and a short chapter from Women Who Run With the Wolves. Our goal is to create the story structure that best suits the story you need to tell. Bring your ideas for telling the story of a spiritual journey or bring your most difficult story—the one you haven’t been able to structure yet. Let’s see if we can find the deep mythic resonances of your story.

ire’ne lara silva lives in Austin, TX, and is the author of furia (poetry, Mouthfeel Press, 2010) which received an Honorable Mention for the 2011 International Latino Book Award and flesh to bone (short stories, Aunt Lute Books, 2013) which won the 2013 Premio Aztlan, placed 2nd for the 2014 NACCS Tejas Foco Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for Foreward Review’s Book of the Year Award in Multicultural Fiction. ire’ne is the recipient of the 2014 Alredo Cisneros del Moral Award, the Fiction Finalist for AROHO’s 2013 Gift of Freedom Award, and the 2008 recipient of the Gloria Anzaldua Milagro Award, as well as a Macondo Workshop member and CantoMundo Inaugural Fellow. She and Moises S. L. Lara are currently co-coordinators for the Flor De Nopal Literary Festival.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

1-5pm Workshop led by Muerta-Paz C.C. Sin-Guerra: “Being Your First Publicist: The Era of Web and Social Media Self-Representation”
In this workshop we will together map ways to integrate social media into our busy lives and will cover ways to fix inefficient websites in a laid back and non-judgmental environment. We have all had to refine or acquire computer skills to produce better quality work but now we will be focusing on marketing what we are producing via social media and personal websites. All skills levels are welcome to take this workshop. Bring two questions to class to be answered in a general Q&A in the last 45 minutes.

Muerta-Paz Con-Corazon Sin-Guerra is a native Tejas born, mex-tiza, queer, Xicana, nepantler@, multi-genre writer, anti- war advocate, border transformer, and technology guru. Between the intellectual states of creative writing and technology, Muerta has worked with non-profit organizations and individual people in all walks of life to assess their technology skills and needs. Currently her projects include a collection of poetry and a play highlighting major LGBTQ issues.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

1-3pm Writing Workshop led by Natalia Treviño: “Writing for Wholeness through Compassion”
In this space, we will draw on one of the most important of all writing skills, the ability to have compassion for ourselves and for others. As we develop characters and voices that are our own and that are apart from our own, we must fully enter their imagination, their spirit, and their body, understanding where their sufferings exist and how they handle their vulnerabilities. Our emotional access to them is vital so that we can authentically transpose their experience to the page, see the scene that they see and fully experience the scene in which they take part. By breaking down some barriers to compassion through practice, prompts, and listening, we will gain greater access to an authentic portrayal of the voices we want to shape on the page.

Born in Mexico City and raised in San Antonio, Texas, Natalia Treviño is the author of Lavando La Dirty Laundry, (January, 2014, Mongrel Empire Press). She is an Associate Professor of English at Northwest Vista College and a member of the Macondo Foundation. Natalia completed her Master’s degree in English at The University of Texas, and her MFA from The University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her poems have won the Alfredo Moral de Cisneros Award, the Wendy Barker Creative Writing Award, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, and the San Antonio Artist Foundation Literary Prize. She lives with her husband and son just outside of San Antonio. Website: nataliatrevino.com

3-5pm Writing Workshop led by Allyson Whipple: “Remix, Repeat, Reply: Playing with the Villanelle”
Many poets are intimidated by the prospect of writing formal poetry. The villanelle, with the constraint of repeated lines, can seem especially daunting. This workshop will explore different ways of creating villanelles, including using found lines, to push the boundaries of constrains and make the form a fun exploration of sound and rhythm.

Allyson Whipple is the director of the Austin Feminist Poetry Festival and vice president of Austin Poetry Society. She is the author of We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are and co-creator of Choice: Texas (http://www.playchoicetexas.com). She teaches at Austin Community College, and in her spare time is pursuing a black belt in kung fu.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

1-3pm Writing Workshop led by Michael Casares: “Blogs to Imprints: Self Publishing for the D.I.Y. Writer”
Do you want to share your writing and ideas with the world, but tired of waiting for that life-altering acceptance letter? Many writers of years past started their careers by self-publishing. This workshop is for those interested in learning how to publish their own publication via print or internet. We will explore the ins and outs of self-publishing from the different medias of publishing, to formatting, to design and editing, to promotion. For those curious of what publishing independently is all about in 21st century America, the workshop will explore briefly the history of Austin independent publishing house Virgogray Press to examine and discuss different types of publications, different types of publishing and various ways of marketing from social networking to public discourse. This is a course for the true D.I.Y. ethic. Come with questions, bring your pens, and get ready to brainstorm.

Michael Aaron Casares is a Texas born writer and poet living in Austin. He owns and operates Virgogray Press, and independent press with a focus on poetry. He also edits the online literary blog, Carcinogenic Poetry. He has worked with various writers from around the world, most notably: Marc Olmsted and Suzie Kaplan Olmsted, Donna Snyder, Gillian Prew, Felino Soriano, John Sibley Williams, Anatoly Molotkov and A.J. Kaufmann. Michael has read his work throughout central and west Texas, as well as Phoenix, AZ; Las Vegas, NV; Hollywood, CA and Venice Beach, CA at Beyond Baroque. His work appears in print and online.

3-5pm Writing Workshop led by Joe Jimenez: “But What Do the Man-of-War Say to You?: Shadow-Work and Mining the Images of the Subconscious for Meaning in Poem-Making”

“A poem is one man’s inside talking to another man’s inside.”
Donald Hall said this, or wrote it, in an essay, and it captivated me, for isn’t this the dark magic that happens among two or three or ten people when we do poetry alone or with others? This workshop moves from the idea that the images we generate when making poems are loaded with subconscious meaning, a site of wildness and questing and hunger. I believe poetry is a muscle; as such, it must be worked. This workshop will guide participants through a series of exercises designed to mine the images that (re)appear in our crafting of poems, to construct and shift and redefine and play with meaning. We will create newness, and participants should also bring at least one draft of a poem for revision activities. In terms of prior reading, it would be useful, but not necessary, to read García Lorca’s “Theory and Play of the Duende” or Natalie Diaz’s interview on Imagery and Wildness featured in Flight Patterns, the blog by flyway: Journal of Writing and Environment, both of which are readily available online.

Joe Jiménez is the 2012 recipient of the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Poetry Prize and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles. Jiménez is the author of The Possibilities of Mud (Korima Press 2014). He lives in San Antonio, Texas. For more information, visit joejimenez.net.

Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 7pm
Reading Celebrating the Release of Huizache Literary Magazine’s 2014 Issue with Readers TBA
Black Box Theatre

Saturday, November 1st, 2014 at 7pm
Day of the Dead Reading and Flor De Nopal Fundraiser
Resistencia Bookstore

Friday, December 5th, 2014 at 7pm
Flor De Nopal Literary Festival Reading with Featured Writers Jessica Helen Lopez, Erika Wurth, ire’ne lara silva, Sarah Rafael Garcia, Allyson Whipple, Michael Casares, Natalia Trevino, Joe Jimenez, and Muerta-Paz C.C. Sin-Guerra

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