Carmen Tafolla | Texas Public Radio

Carmen Tafolla

Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio

A vigil in downtown San Antonio Sunday night paid respects to the victims of the El Paso mass shooting. More than 150 people gathered in Main Plaza to reflect on the loss of life and demand reforms to gun laws.

Tamales
Marten Holdway / http://bit.ly/2CRXEeu / Pixabay Creative Commons

This week on Fronteras:

  • The rich history of tamales.
  • Remembering a Pearl Harbor hero in Waco (12:56).
  • Ballet dancer lives the American dream performing “The Nutcracker” (15:37).


Tamales
Marten Holdway / http://bit.ly/2CRXEeu / Pixabay Creative Commons

It’s the season for tamales. They come in all sizes and are filled with all sorts of ingredients. And in the Mexican culture, making tamales is a community affair, with family and friends gathering to create the flavorful packets.

Carmen Tafolla and Ellen Riojas Clark are comadres and tamaleras. Tafolla is the former San Antonio poet laureate, and Clark is the endowed chair in bicultural-bilingual studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio. They are the co-authors of the book, “Tamales, Comadres, and the Meaning of Civilization.”


Chris Eudaily / TPR News

Part of the Texas poet laureate’s job is to introduce the power of poetry to every corner of the state. And that’s a charge that current Texas Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla takes very seriously.

Tafolla is launching a project called Planting Poet Trees – sowing seeds of inspiration in Texas Public Schools. She’s looking for schools that are dealing with shrinking budgets and underfunded libraries that she can engage with to participate in writing projects and poetry workshops.

Octavio Quintanilla

Laurie Ann Guerrero was named the city of San Antonio Poet Laureate in the spring of 2014. 

Jason Lewis / U.S. Department of Energy

Fronteras: The Democrat facing newly-nominated Republican Dan Patrick in the Texas lieutenant governor race says Sen. Patrick’s pledge to campaign in the minority community is “insulting.” New EPA rules to cut carbon emissions are expected to be unveiled soon. The new rules are expected to spur the use of a so-called clean coal technology. There are fewer than 100 fluent speakers of Kumeyaay left in Southern California and northern Baja California, where they once dominated. Efforts are now underway to preserve the endangered language.

Chris Eudaily / TPR News

Poet Maya Angelou died Wednesday morning, and who better for perspective on her passing than former San Antonio Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla.

"With the passing of Maya Angelou we have lost not just a great literary voice, but a courageous voice in defense of humanity." Tafolla said.

Here's an excerpt of the Paul Laurence Dunbar poem "Sympathy," which is perhaps Angelou's most apt metaphor and serves as the title of her autobiography:

Octavio Quintanilla

As of April 1, San Antonio has its second poet laureate in Laurie Ann Guerrero.

"I’m the new poet laureate of San Antonio, and I’m working on a new book,” she said.

Guerrero is just getting used to the new title and the work that it entails, and she has plans for how she wants to go about doing it. Priority one:

“Getting poetry into the hands of our youth" she said. "And what I want to do is use different avenues to do that -- media, events. I kind of want to bombard the city with poems. Inspiration. Comfort.”

Eileen Pace / TPR News

Carmen Tafolla, San Antonio's first poet laureate, will hand off her duties to her successor when his or her identity is announced today, April 1. 

Over the weekend Tafolla starred in a stellar compilation of poems that, together, tell the story of San Antonio's rich culture -- from Latino humor to gospel music and everything in between.   

"San Antonio, Mi Pueblo," a play of locally-themed performance poetry and original music, played to a packed house at Guadalupe Theater Saturday night. 

Chris Eudaily / TPR News

Carmen Tafolla, San Antonio’s first poet laureate, is nearing the end of her time in the position, and as I found from talking to her, there’s no rest for the weary.

“Right now I’m still working away, scripting on a fantastic performance piece that is actually the last of the poet laureate signature series, and it’s March 29,” Tafolla said.

She will be joined onstage at the event by several other San Antonio poets and musicians.

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