raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest

First, go to this youtube clip and watch the "cockroach poet"/bebop hipster/native Tejano/human rights activist raúlrsalinas perform with a terrific backing band, including Manny Castillo.

Photo/altar by Jane Madrigal.

Now hear this: what with National Poetry Month (otherwise known as "April") almost underway, here's an event you verse-sters should investigate; a poetry contest in memory of raúlrsalinas, who died last month at the age of 73.

Here is more info, from the contest organizers:

"We remember you, ese!


March 17, 1934 - February 13, 2008

The Red CalacArts Collective, Calaca Press and Red Salmon Arts seek submissions for the


Guerrilla Chapbook

Poetry Contest

As a way to honor the late Xicanindio poet activist the Red CalacArts Collective, Calaca Press (San Diego, Califas) and Red Salmon Arts (Austin, Tejas) have teamed up to create the raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest. The Redz seek material from authors whose poetry best reflects the lifework and interests of raúlrsalinas, including Native and immigrant rights, the Chicano Movement, Black Power, prison struggles, political prisoners, Leonard Peltier, Mumia abu-Jamal, social movements, EZLN, Cuba, independence of Puerto Rico, the Beat writers, and of course jazz, amongst many other issues related to culture, human rights, community empowerment and social justice.

Raul was an inspiration for many. This effort is a way to keep that inspiration alive.

raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest

Submission Guidelines

The raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest seeks work by Chican@, Latin@ and Native poets between the ages of 18-35 who have not graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing, nor are currently enrolled in an MFA program. Poets also must not have a collection of poems published by a small or large press exceeding 64 pages. Self published books, being published in anthologies and/or on the internet is ok. Previously published work will be accepted only if author has full rights to work. Please indicate with submission wether work was previously published.

To enter the raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest authors must submit via email the following:

1) Ten poems written in caló, Spanglish, English o en español

2) A short essay describing your community work

3) A short bio in third person

4) Personal info: full name (and pen name if applicable), age, occupation, education, address, phone number, email, and website

Please send as 2 separate Microsoft Word files using Helvetica font size 12. One file with poems and the other with personal info, bio and essay.

Send to: [email protected]

Deadline: May 1, 2009

Contest results will be publicly announced by the end of June 2009.

The winner will be determined by a three judge panel including:

Louis G. Mendoza, Ph.D. - Editor of raúlrsalinas and the Jail Machine: My Weapon is My Pen

Rene Valdez - Executive Director of Red Salmon Arts


Brent E. Beltrán - Co-owner of Calaca Press and member of the Red CalacArts Collective

The judges will be looking for the following:

1) Well written poems whose themes and subject matter relate to the lifework and interests of raúlrsalinas

2) Creative use of language

3) Your community work

The chapbook will be edited by Cal A. Vera who will have final decision (with input from the author) on title, chapbook contents, layout, and cover art. All ten submitted pieces may or may not be used. The editor may ask for revisions or even for alternative poems prior to publication.

1000 copies of the chapbook will be printed. Winner will receive 100 copies. The chapbook will be approximately 40 pages (give or take four).

Winner must own publication rights to submitted work. Author retains all rights to poems after publication of chapbook.

Depending on budget constraints the contest winner will be flown to, and read at, two chapbook release readings (one in San Diego and the other in Austin) and receive an honorarium of $250 for each. Readings will be scheduled for September 2009.

More about raúlrsalinas and the judges:

raúlrsalinas, the author of the seminal Chicano experience poem, Un Trip Through the Mind Jail, was not only an accomplished poet but a dedicated community activist who gained a political consciousness while serving approximately 13 years inside some of America's most notorious prisons (Huntsville, Soledad, and Leavenworth among others). While in prison at Marion he was befriended by Puerto Rican Nationalist Rafael Cancel Miranda (famed for an armed assault on congress on March 1, 1954 with fellow Nationalists including Lolita Lebron). Sr. Miranda was a major influence on Raúl's lifework. Imprisoned during the early Chicano Movement years he was active in the prison rights struggles of that time. His book, raúlrsalinas and the Jail Machine: My Weapon is My Pen: Selected Writings by Raúl Salinas highlights his struggles and victories inside America's prison system. Including winning a landmark prison rights case. After his release from prison in 1973 he dedicated his life to Chicano and Native American causes. He was a member of the Centro de la Raza in Seattle, the American Indian Movement, a cofounder of the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee and various other progressive organizations dedicated to defending the rights and interests of all working class and colonized people. A true internationalist he was committed to supporting Puerto Rican independence, the Cuban Revolution, the Nicaraguan Sandinistas, the Zapatistas in Chiapas and the Bolivarian Process of Presidente Hugo Chavez Frias of Venezuela among many other struggles. After serving many years of forced exile in Washington state (where he helped defend Native American fishing rights), he eventually returned to his home in Austin, TX. Shortly thereafter he opened Resistencia Bookstore and Red Salmon Arts which became a cultural and political hub for East Austin's Chicano community. Raúl authored four poetry collections Viaje/Trip (Hellcoal Press), East of the Freeway (Red Salmon Press), Un Trip Through The Mind Jail (Arte Público Press) and Indio Trails: A Xicano Odyssey through Indian Country (Wings Press) as well as three spoken word CDs Los Many Mundos of raúlrsalinas: Un Poetic Jazz Viaje con Friends (Calaca Press/Red Salmon Press), Beyond the BEATen Path (Red Salmon Press) and Red Arc: A call for liberation con salsa y cool with Fred Ho (Wings Press).

Louis G. Mendoza, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Chicano Studies at the University of Minnesota. His research interests include Chicana/o Literary and Cultural studies, U.S. immigration literature, prison literature, and oral histories. Dr. Mendoza is the editor or coeditor of four books including: Telling Tongues: A Latin@ Anthology on Language Experience (Red Salmon Press/Calaca Press, 2006) and raúlrsalinas and the Jail Machine: My Weapon is My Pen (University of Texas Press, 2006). He is currently working on two books related to his 2007 Journey Across Our America research project on U.S. Latina/o communities that he conducted while bicycling around the perimeter of the country.

Rene Valdez is the Executive Director of Red Salmon Arts and Resistencia Bookstore in Austin, Tejas. A long time protégé of raúlrsalinas, Mr. Valdez continues the work Raul started at Red Salmon and Resistencia.

Brent E. Beltrán aka Cal A. Vera is a spinal injury surviving, third generation pocho and Chicano Studies community college dropout who dishes out the word from Calacalandia in National City, Califas. Along with his super hero wife Chelo, and fellow Red CalacArts Collective member, he runs the maverick Chican@ publishing house Calaca Press. Lacking two tongues himself he has committed the last 10+ years of his life to publishing rebellious writers whose work dances somewhere between the ever shifting boundaries of Castellano and the King's English. To date he has published/produced work by over 100 different authors and artists.

For more information on Red CalacArts, Calaca and Red Salmon:

Calaca Press

Red CalacArts Collective

P.O. Box 2309

National City, Califas 91951

(619) 434-9036 phone/fax

[email protected]

[email protected]




Calaca Press is a Chicano family-owned small publishing house dedicated to publishing and producing unknown, emerging, and established progressive Chicano and Latino voices. With a commitment to social justice and human rights Calaca Press strives to bring about change through the literary arts.

The Red CalacArts Collective, a project of Calaca Press, is a multidisciplinary arts and activist organization that focuses on creating, publishing, producing, and presenting Chicano, Latin American and indigenous related art focusing on issues dealing with human rights and social justice.

Red Salmon Arts

1801-A S. First St.

Austin, Tejas 78704

(512) 416-8885

[email protected]


Red Salmon Arts is dedicated to the development of emerging writers, the promotion of indigenous, Chicana/o, Latina/o literature, providing outlets and mechanisms for cultural exchange and sharing the retrieval of a people's history with a commitment to social justice.

The raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest is supported in part by the Ford Foundation, JP Morgan Chase and Southwest Airlines through a grant from the NALAC Fund for the Arts. For more info visit http://www.nalac.org.

The raúlrsalinas Guerrilla Chapbook Poetry Contest is a joint Red CalacArts Collective/Calaca Press/Red Salmon Arts onda."


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