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“HealthCare” — ” But, No On Cares” from Carmen Tafolla’s Poem, “HeathCare, The Sign Says”   1 comment

Carmen Tafolla Collage blogCarmen Tafolla — Images by kenne

It was a little over six years ago that I first met Carmen Tafolla. She was the March 2007, guest reader at Montgomery College’s (now Lone Star College – Montgomery) “Writer’s In Performance” series. I was impressed!

Carmen, a native of the West-Side barrios of San Antonio, Texas is an excellent writer, but first and foremost a storyteller. Often her readings include taking on the persona of the person in the poem, as shown in two of the photos in the above collage (older women and a child). Carmen is very inspirational — she touches your heart.

As a storyteller, Carmen follows the instruction from a historian, which she writes about in the poem, “The Storykeeper:”

Ask the whispers, she whispers,
breathed out in unguarded moments,
when the soul is too worn down to hurt more,
in the numbness of the night,
when the father wrestles with the unwritten history,
pleading to save it, speak it, bury it,
staring at the pluma across the room,
avoiding the paper.

from the poem “The Storykeeper” in the book of poems, Sonnets and Salsa

Even though I like to think I’m relatively up to date with the southwest literary world, I was surprised to learn yesterday that last March 2012, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro appointed Carmen Tafolla as the inaugural poet laureate — an honor well deserved.

The University of Arizona houses one of the best-known centers of poetry, “Poetry Center,” in the country; yet after doing a site search, I learned that Carmen Tafolla has never read there, which I difficult hard to believe — wondering out loud (in print), WHY! The Poetry Center should invite this unique Southwestern voice to read in Tucson.

We do know that many in Tucson are aware of Carmen Tafolla, since one of her books, “Curandera” was banned  Tucson Unified School District’s unprecedented censorship and massive removal of Latino and Mexican American literature and texts from its classroom. As a result, and in honor of the book’s 30th anniversary, Wings Press reissued a special “Banned in Arizona!” edition, of “Curandera.”

kenne

(The title of this posting, “HealthCare” — ” But, No One Cares” is a line from Carmen Tafolla’s poem, “HealthCare” the sign says.)

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