Archive for July, 2022

Lopez | Tran | Hamzeh | Suarez | Romero


When and Where: 7-9 pm | Saturday July 30 | Top Ten Records (Oak Cliff)

Victoria Lopez is an author and the 2022 City of McAllen Poet Laureate. In 2015, she began to introduce herself as a writer and built her confidence by engaging with the community. Her first novel, Fire in May, was published in 2016, the same year she was selected as a tenant of the McAllen Creative Incubator. Victoria writes “Poetry on Demand,” a performative demonstration of spontaneous writing. Using her typewriter, you may give her a word, topic, phrase, question, feeling, or thought and she’ll write you a poem to either keep or share with someone you love! “The most important thing about being a writer is identifying who you are and what you represent, what is your mission? What are you putting into the world? Spend time with yourself and be gentle, the words will come, and when they do, let them be authentic.” You can join Victoria for “Unfolded: Poetry Project” workshops at the McAllen Creative Incubator. 

Annie Tran is Assistant Editor of Reunion Literary Magazine at University of Texas at Dallas. She is a second-year M.A. Literature student with a B.A. in Literary Studies, and a minor in Creative Writing from UTD. She is a cisgender asexual writer, train enthusiast, lover of Greek mythology, and she experiments with the concept of“word butter” in her writing. Her work appears in Oddball MagazineWingless DreamerDrunk Monkeys, and more.

Shahrzad Hamzeh is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Dallas majoring in Visual and Performance studies with a focus on dance. She hopes to influence the inclusion of Persian dance and other Iranian performances to the dance curriculum. She is an Iranian Researcher, Dancer, Choreographer, Model, Actress, Producer, Director, Dramaturge, Poet, Writer, Photographer, and Artist. Hamzeh’s current research interests are dance and religion, dance and sexuality, dances of Silk Road, ritualistic dance, and healing by dance. She left her home country to pursue her passion for dance due to the illegality of dance in Iran. She first started dancing when she was five years old with her sister’s guidance and continued to self-train through instructional CDs and movies, classes on aerobics and rhythmic movements at the local gyms and trained to be a Zumba instructor by the time she was 20 years old. Her love of dance lead her to Arezou Zare, who taught her the intricacies of Bollywood and some amateur Russian dancing. While she was getting her BA in Urdu Language & Literature at the University of Tehran she studied Kurdish dancing with Vria Boojar and Asu Naderi. This led to her appearance in Aziz-E Shahngal directed by Qodbeddin Sadeghi. She simultaneously trained in Classical and Modern Persian dances, Azeri, Turkish, Spanish Belly Dancing, and Sevianna with Mina Moradi for four years. She felt the need to know more about the history of what she was being taught. This decision led to her graduation with a MA in Theatre Studies from Illinois State University. While a student at Illinois State University she presented papers on dance and performance in Iran, and taught classes on Persian dances, Belly dancing, Kurdish, and Azeri, lectures and movement. 

Priscilla Celina “Lina” Suarez is a Mexican American author who was the 2015-17 McAllen Poet Laureate. She is co-founder of the Gloria Anzaldúa Legacy Project (GAL) which was formed to honor the legacy of Anzaldúa and share her work with a broader public. During her childhood, she lived surrounded by the farmlands of the then small colonia of Las Milpas, TX, where she first heard many of the cuentos she shares in Cuentos Wela Told Me. Her poetry collection, La La Landia: A Journey Through my Frontera CD Shuffle, was released in April 2022 from FlowerSong Press.

Linda Feliciana Romero is from Harlingen, Texas and has been published in Boundless, the anthology for the Rio Grande Valley International Poetry Festival, Along the River 2: More Voices from the Rio Grande (VAO Publishing), Twenty: In Memoriam (El Zarape Press), and La Bloga. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018 for her poem, “In the Passenger Seat” by El Zarape Press which appeared in Boundless 2017. She is a Certified Academic Language Therapist and has a private practice providing dyslexia therapy. Photo by: Anaia Irish Funtanilla.

Opalina Salas is a Dallas-based poet queen of the Oak Cliff poetry scene, where she hosts the Poets on X+ Open Mic at MFA Gallery and popular host for many WordSpace events. She has performed in venues and lit fests all over the U.S. and regularly contributes to the Mad Swirl Open Mic. She and her poet husband, Carlos Salas also founded an electronica/spoken word duo, Your Loving Son. Salas is included in the Beatest State in the Union, and multiple lit zines. Her book Black Sparrow Dress. The title simultaneously puns and tributes one of the great historic poetry presses and publishers of many of her favorite books. In her own words, her poetry collection is “about recalling the past and letting go. It’s about the town I call home and the poets I call friends. It’s about love and remorse, outrage and abandonment, but also hope. It’s about a woman’s journey through changes; aging, addictions, laments, misgivings, to eventual empowerment.”

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July 2022