Hail, Pachuco! by raúlrsalinas Kicks It Off
By Brent E. Beltrán
April is National Poetry Month and us litera-locos y locas at San Diego Free Press are celebrating by, once again, posting poetry and poetry/spoken word videos throughout the month.
I have been tasked with curating this internet exhibition of verse. I don’t consider myself a poet (though I confess I’ve written a few poems) but I do know many through my days of publishing while co-owner of Calaca Press.
Calaca published dozens of mostly Latino poets and writers over 13 years. Among those published were Chicano literary icons such as alurista, Francisco X. Alarcón, Abelardo “Lalo” Delgado and my mentor, raúlrsalinas, as well as local scribes like the Taco Shop Poets, Francisco J. Bustos, Michael Cheno Wickert, Ken10 and Viet Mai. Recently I’ve helped North County writer Sonia Gutierrez and LA scribe Iris De Anda self publish their first tomes of poetry.
Though not schooled in the literary arts literature has always been near and dear to my heart. Being able to artistically sling words together is a true craft that must be honed like any other.
Poetry can also be used to liberate oneself. There are numerous instances of Latino prisoners using poetry to literally liberate themselves from their confinement (there’s even a book by Ben Olguín). Writers such as raúlrsalinas, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Luis J. Rodriguez, and Ricardo Sánchez are but a few of the more well known pinto poets.
This month I plan to introduce SDFP readers to my poetic family, the poets that shape my reality, the poets I admire and those whose work have impacted the greater community at large. Over the last couple years I’ve posted some here including Manuel J. Vélez, Emmanuel Ortiz (here, here, and here) and my cousin, Raymond R. Beltrán (here and here).
In addition to curating this month long series I, under the banner of Semillas Cenyelitzli (Family Seeds), am organizing the first reading of the monthly open mic poetry series called Poetic Libations. It takes place April 2 at 7pm at Border X Brewing (2181 Logan Ave.) in Barrio Logan and features poet professor Francisco J. Bustos and the Frontera Drum Fusion plus special poetic guests. This event is free (the beer is not).
I look forward to sharing more of my poetic peeps with you throughout April. Please comment on the poems. Share your thoughts. Even add a poem in the comments section if you so desire. But most of all, enjoy the words.
To kick off SDFP’s National Poetry Month internet exhibition I present to you one of the baddest organic intellectual writers to put pen to paper and fist in air, my mentor, my friend and the former Field Commander of the Calaca Press Army of Literary Liberation, the late raúlrsalinas. Hail, Pachuco!