M+J Study Guide

I’ve created a general study guide to help with discussions around the Michael + Josephine book that covers worldwide conflict, the role of disaster relief workers, queer love as a form of resistance, and self-love/personal evolution.

I hope it’s of benefit to individuals and classrooms. I am happy to expand on any elements as needed. Reach me at jrboitel@yahoo.com.

Michael Josephine study guide

Writing prompts for poets : Coronavirus edition

Either you are able to write or you are not. To presume quarantine allows writing time is classist, among other things.

But poets know the writing will show up because poets show up. Aren’t we the first artists to be called in times of tragedy?

So here are some writing prompts to help ease you in when everything is circling your mind at once. To center you. Or allow you to express what you need.

If they help you let me know or send me a poem. I’ll post a portion of your piece/a quote here.

:: Hand washing is the most important thing to maintain. What do you think about as you are washing your hands? What secret or feeling do you have that only your hands can hear? Whisper it to your hands. Let the bubbles envelop it. Rinse it off. Let it go down the sink.

:: Write an ode to hands. The things they touch. The things out of reach.

:: Now is not the time to lie to yourself. What is the schedule you actually maintain versus the one you hope(d) to maintain? What does this say about humans? What does this say about how far ahead you see this schedule having to be maintained?

:: Write about one beautiful thing you’ve discovered while in quarantine. It can be a moment, a person, an idea.

:: Walk through your home as a walking meditation. With your new vision what understanding do you have about the space you occupy? How are the outside and inside related or not related?

:: Consider that we are all linked. If these are tangible threads and you could send a message, like a vibration on this thread, what are the words you would send? Are they words at all?

Abrazos de lejos ,

Jo

#DignidadLiteraria Read-In & Mitote at AWP 2020 : March 7, 2020

Text from the Facebook invitation post:

50 Writers. Free Event. Free Parking. Handicap Accessible.

The first week of March, San Antonio will host the most famous writers in the country. The AWP, the acronym for the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, will offer a week-long conference for stellar local and national writers alike to share books and readings, alongside literary agents, publishers, and editors. When thousands of writers converge in San Antonio in March, we want to celebrate the dignity of Latinx stories.

Indigenous/Xicanx/AfroLatinx/Boricua/Caribeñx/Centro y Sur Americanx writers, poets, essayists, novelists, theatre artists, and children’s authors will read short excerpts from their work, filling the courtyard with their words, a mitote of books and stories. Music by Juan & Armando Tejeda, Tallercito de Son & DJ De La O.

Saturday, March 7th, 2020 5-6pm
Courtyard by the Grassy Slope
(River Level) Market Street Entrance
Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center
900 East Market St. San Antonio, TX 78205

Participating Writers as of 2/26/20:
Pat Alderete, Janie Alonso, Marisela Barrera, Xochit-Julisa Bermejo, Irene I. Blea, David Bowles, Violet Castro, Ari Chagoya, Edyka Chilomé, Maya Chinchilla, Bonnie Cisneros, Araceli Cruz, Cesar L. De Leony, Anel Flores, Olga Garcia Echeverria, Maribel Garcia, Tammy Gomez, Elizabeth Gonzalez James, Guadalupe Gonzalez, Virginia Grise, Raquel Gutierrez, Missy Jane, Rossy Lima, Roberto Lovato, Rita Maria Martinez, Pablo Miguel Martínez, Robyn Medina Winnett, Julie Marin, Jasminne Mendez, Maria Minguez Arias, Ed O’Casey, Amalia Ortiz, Deborah Paredez, Emma Pérez, Emmy Pérez, Barbara Renaud Gonzalez, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Aida Salazar, Janette E. Schafer, Juan Tejeda, Jenna Marie Torres, Jesús I. Valles, Stalina Villarreal, Helena Maria Viramontes.

Free Parking
There are two surface parking lots (CSF 1 & CSF 2) behind the Convention Center, located at 637 Tower of the Americas Way (off of Montana Street). Parking there will be free March 7, from 4-7pm. First Come First Served.

Organized by Alazan Arts Stories & Letters, a todo dar productions, Aztlan Libre Press, Books in the Barrio and Teatro San Antonio, with support from the San Antonio Public Library’s Latino Collection and Resource Center, San Antonio Convention Center, Office of Councilwoman Dr. Adriana Rocha Garcia, District 4, and Terra Advocati.

New Workshop, November 2019

If you wondered about the novel in verse, wonder no more! I will be teaching a novel in verse course over 4 weeks at Gemini Ink. “Notes to Gilgamesh: Crafting a Novel in Verse” is a wonderful starting point for understanding the form, its history, and its use in modern storytelling. The class will also let you get started on your own novel in verse. Don’t miss this class!

workshop image

What is missing?

It wasn’t until I completed my book that I realized so much of the love story isn’t within its pages.

In writing workshops I mention there are silences we must allow for with poetry. Silence is necessary for a number of reasons: we don’t have the whole story, we are censored, the subject matter is difficult, we are struck by speechlessness, we need a moment, or the act within is profound.

Silences are one way to allow a place for incomplete stories. For me, the idea that a relationship can only truly be understood by those within the relationship meant I had to incorporate silences. They signified moments of distress or joy or learning in the course of a day. They also meant moments of intimacy.

And throughout, the poem that sits in front of the reader, through language and rhythm, alludes to the understanding that these characters are growing and learning. Much like writers, who come to the page with experiences that change us, whether they ever actually show up on the page or not.

 

Michael + Josephine

a novel in verse

Available Now

A Novel In Verse

Michael + Josephine tells the story of an unexpected love between Josephine, a disaster relief worker, and St. Michael, the Archangel, fully realized as a woman. As each solidifies their love for the community at large, they learn to trust their own heart within this blossoming love.

I am amazed by peace

It is this possibility of you

asleep

and breathing in the quiet air

— June Jordan

Published by FlowerSong Press.

Michael + Josephine is $14.00 plus shipping. Copies are available on Amazon or, better yet, directly from the author (with some swag) via PayPal. Include your contact information.

W-I-P Creme performance + Update

*Update**

The folks of W-I-P were so kind throughout my process. They recently sent me a video of my recent performance. You can see it here.

This was challenging for me but, once I got on the stage, I knew I could only rely on my truth. It was the only way to know that – even stumbling – I would know where my story was headed.

= = = = =

It’s been a few years now since I started my Year of No. This was meant as a personal challenge to submit my work in more places, to begin work on my book, and to put my voice out into the world. The idea was that I would get as many Nos as possible. In those responses, however, I hoped I would get a couple of Yeses.

More that the positive responses, I recognized it changed my own expectations. I wanted my work to reach into my own voice and experience more authentically. I wanted to place my art in places I wouldn’t have thought possible otherwise.

I have, over the last few years, seen my work on the stage. With thanks from the Latino theatre community, I was able to write, direct, and see the performance of my first one-person play, Nahual. My good friend San Juanita helped make that possible for me.

Now, over the last year I have seen myself on that stage. That was a challenge for myself I could have never imagined. I submitted a performance for W-I-P, an arts organization that provides a space for artists to present their work in progress and an audience who gives critical response and dialogue.

All this to say: I was invited back to perform my worked-on piece in what they call W-I-P Creme, a gathering of their preferred performances from their season. I’m so honored! This process and the space are so necessary to art. And I’m a lucky recipient.

I hope folks will make it out to the performance, Friday, May 10 at 7pm at Palo Alto College. I can’t wait!