(April 4, 2012) -- To promote a love of literacy, Carmen Tafolla, UTSA Writer-in-Residence for Children's, Youth and Transformative Literature in the College of Education and Human Development, has been selected by San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to serve as the inaugural poet laureate of the Alamo City. Esteemed for authoring books, she is known in literary circles as one of the godmothers of Chicana literature. Additionally, her poems and articles are credited with authentically portraying Hispanic life and culture.
Twice honored by the U.S. Library of Congress, Tafolla is a San Antonio native who was born on the city's West Side in 1951. Given a four-year scholarship to a private high school, she reflected on the differences between her West San Antonio home and her high school environment, and she realized that neither her community nor her neighbors were positively portrayed in literature.
"I realized that I needed to do something to help connect people from different communities and different cultures," she recalls. "So I began writing about what I knew -- the rich Mexican American culture around me, the sights, smells, sounds and language of San Antonio, the centuries of unsung heroes in its people."
Tafolla's work was well received by the literary community. In the 1970s, she began publishing her work in local Chicano magazines, and in 1976 she published "Get Your Tortillas Together," a collaborative project with poets Reyes Cardenas and Cecilio García-Camarillo. Eventually, she became the head writer for "Sonrisas," a bilingual children's television program unique at the time.
In 1982, Tafolla earned her doctoral degree in bilingual education from the University of Texas at Austin. One year later, she published "Curandera," a collection of poems regarded by her peers for its presentation of literary code switching. The book continues to be used today in high school and college classrooms.
Tafolla's work appears in more than 300 anthologies, textbooks and books targeting every age group from kindergarten through college.
"Everybody has a story, an authentic narrative, that is intrinsic to their unique life experiences," said Tafolla. "As poet laureate, I will encourage people to share their stories, to record their stories and to listen to the stories of others. That is how we develop authentic connections with one another as well as our own capacities to impact the world."
"I can think of no one more worthy of this honor than Carmen Tafolla," Castro said in a statement. "She's not only an accomplished poet and educator, she is a homegrown talent who embodies the power and poignancy of art in our community. I am pleased to call her San Antonio's first poet laureate."
"Truly, she reaches all segments of the population from the academic literary experts to the kindergarteners," said state Senator Leticia Van de Putte. "I congratulate San Antonio for having a responsible government that supports the arts because it promotes our great city as a great place to live and raise families."
Tafolla was selected poet laureate from among 21 nominations. She will serve in the role for two years.
The annual Center for Innovation, Technology and Entrepreneurship (CITE) 100K Venture Competition and Exposition will be held on the Main Campus on Dec. 1. Twenty-eight teams from across the university will exhibit their project; six teams will compete for a prize pool of more than $100,000 in funding to launch their new venture / company. More than 650 students have participated in launching new technology ventures.
Biotechnology, Sciences and Engineering (BSE 2.102), Main Campus
This concert features 50 community children performing music in the UTSA Downtown String Project Winter Concert. The children, led by UTSA music students studying to be music teachers, will join together in playing the Theme from Batman at their concert. The Batman of San Antonio, a local celebrity figure, will make an appearance at the concert. This event is free.
Buena Vista Theatre, Downtown Campus
Graduate student uses storytelling to highlight important issues facing children
As touch screens and e-books demand more and more attention from both casual readers and scholars, many people say the handwriting is on the wall for the printed page.
At UTSA, the handwriting is on the wall for a library that doesn't have any printed books.
Since March 2010, the bookless library in the Applied Engineering and Technology Building has given UTSA students an innovative way to read, research and work with each other to solve problems.
With ultra-modern furniture and a décor featuring desktop computers, scanners and LCD screens, the AET Library is designed to engage students in an online format. But it also offers group study niches and study rooms with whiteboards and glass walls on which students can write. The space encourages teamwork, communications and problem solving for the next generation of scientists and professional engineers.
Did you know? The UTSA AET Library is the nation's first completely bookless library on a college or university campus. It served as a model for Bexar County's first-in-the-nation public bookless library system and one of its branches, the Dr. Ricardo Romo BiblioTech.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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