UTSA presents March 29 reading by San Antonio poet laureate Carmen Tafolla

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Poet Carmen Tafolla
(Photo by Deborah Silliman Wolfe

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(March 21, 2013) -- UTSA will honor San Antonio's first poet laureate, Carmen Tafolla, as she reads selections from her latest book "Rebozos" at 7:30 p.m., Friday, March 29 in the Buena Vista Theater at the UTSA Downtown Campus. Tafolla will be accompanied by musician Azul, who plays regularly at the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, and the Soul Fusion Dance Troupe. A 6:30-7 p.m. reception will precede the performance.

Free and open to the public, the event is sponsored by the Mexican American Studies program in the UTSA College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) and co-sponsored by the college's Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies, the Consortium for Social Transformation, Women's Studies Institute and COEHD Office of the Dean.

Tafolla is an internationally renowned poet, author, speaker and performer of more than 20 books. She also is one of the most highly anthologized Latina writers. She has published numerous works for children and adults and has received numerous awards including the America Award, two Tomas Rivera Book Awards, two ALA Notable Books awards, a Charlotte Zolotow award, the Art of Peace Award, Top 10 Book for Babies, and recognition by the National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies.

Her latest work, "Rebozos," is a bilingual collection of poems that celebrates the rebozo as a cultural icon of Mexico and the inspired rebozo paintings of Mexican artist Catalina Garate. The poetry provides insight into women's everyday thoughts, painting the complexity of humanity in joy and sorrow, and expressions of strengths and fears.

In Wikipedia, the rebozo is described as a long, flat garment used by women mostly in Mexico. It can be worn in various ways, usually folded or wrapped around the head or upper body to shade from the sun, provide warmth and as an accessory to an outfit. It is also used to carry babies and large bundles, especially among indigenous women. The origin of the garment is unclear, but most likely was derived in the early colonial period, as traditional versions of the garment show indigenous, European and Asian influences.

The "Rebozos" performance at UTSA is a multi-layered representation of all kinds of women -- soldaderas, curanderas, lovers, brujas, and mothers of children and the land. The poetry and photography by Garate is enhanced by music and dancing performances rendering visible the women often disregarded and overlooked.

In addition to serving as a UTSA writer-in-residence, Tafolla has published five books of poetry, eight children's picture books, seven television screenplays, one non-fiction volume and a collection of short stories,"The Holy Tortilla and a Pot of Beans." She co-wrote with filmographer Sylvia Morales the feature-length film comedy "REAL MEN... and Other Miracles." She is currently working on a biography of San Antonio native Emma Tenayuca, an early civil rights organizer.

A native of the West Side barrios of San Antonio, Tafolla was appointed the city's first poet laureate on April 3, 2012, by Mayor Julian Castro. In addition to winning several prestigious literary awards, Tafolla is a senior lecturer with the UTSA Mexican American Studies program, where she brings her literary works into the classroom to help teach students about human understanding and cultural harmony.

For more information about the March 29 reading, contact Marie "Keta" Miranda at 210-458-2675.