The lovely Guatemalan-American queer femme unicorn writer Maya Chinchilla, author of The Cha-Cha Files: A Chapina Poética (Kórima Press, 2014) was in a car accident on October 28,2015. She has multiple fractures in her legs and will have a long recovery involving several orthopedic surgeries and months of rehab.
To give Maya the time and care she needs to recover from the accident we, her family, friends and fans are coming together to raise enough money to cover living expenses, costs related to the accident, and additional therapy for a year. The funds raised will be managed by Brava Theater and will not to be used for any other purpose.
Maya has inspired us with her strong heart, her kindness, her unicorn wit and commitment to social justice. Now we are gonna inspire her to keep going through these tough times, to frolic and, one day, to dance in cute heels. Go Maya!
Si se puede!
The Maya Chinchilla Support Fund is being administered by Brava! For Women in the Arts, a San Francisco-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that produces, presents, and cultivates the artistic expression of women, people of color, youth, LGBTQ and other underrepresented voices. All donations to the fund are tax-deductible.
Tomorrow at the University of Arizona I get to share space with the lovely, multitalented, fierce femme Dulce Garcia. Lucky lucky me! I’ll be speaking/reading at 12:30 in the MLK building rm 100. Thanks to professor Galarte and Professor Cardenas for making this happen. Then Friday and Saturday to AJAAS in Phoenix.
Here are a few upcoming events I will be featuring at and as always I should have some books to sell. (Now’s a good time to contact me if you want to book an event or want me to extend my stay somewhere so I can make flight arrangements and such.) Hope to see you around!
- Sept. 25 Culture Fuck Oakland, CA
- Oct. 1 & 2 University of Maryland/D.C.
- Oct. 5 MC /Charla con Rebecca Lane Guatemalan Rappera
- Oct. 12 The Center for Political Education San Francisco, CA
- Oct. 16 w/ Dulce Garcia University of Arizona Tucson, AZ
- Oct. 17 “Buscando Queer In Central American: Chapina Femmes in dialogue”AJAAS Phoenix, AZ
- Oct. 17 Lit Crawl San Francisco, CA
- Nov.2 Contra Costa College
- Nov. 5 Featured Speaker UT Austin, Tx
- Nov. 7 Resistencia Books
- Nov. 12 Claremont Colleges, CA
As I look back at the incredible year of my first book I want to share my gratitude by reprinting the acknowlegements and thank yous from my book. Thank you for witnessing this journey. As always I would love to hear from you about how you came to read the Cha Cha Files. It has been a group effort. Looking forward to what’s next.
There are many in my life without whom this book could not have been possible. I give thanks to those who came before me and to those who risked everything in the name of justice. Thanks to those who believed in me, cheered me on, gave me guidance, created art with me, provided an ear, fed me, and loved me.
I am grateful to those who invited me to speak, write, perform and share my early works—my second favorite part about being a writer, second only to the practice of writing itself. I want to thank those who engaged and wrote about my early poems before I realized I was part of a larger conversation. To the newer generation of writers, thinkers, creators: you consistently remind me this work matters and continue to blow my mind with your connections and questions. To those who crossed my path but could not stay, no scarcity politics here. I will always wish you well, for there is enough to go around for everyone.
There are too many to thank by name here; too many I will forget. I will just have to write another book and if you stick around I’ll thank you then. Regardless, know that my gratitude is never ending.
To la familia Chinchilla and the Stoltz family, to Kathy, Bill, Carmen, Kris and extended family for all things.
I especially want to thank the kind souls who read multiple drafts of this collection providing unique and invaluable feedback. There were many eyes and ears, but in particular I thank: Vickie Vértiz, a generous talent, meticulous eye and one of a kind homegirl; Wanda Alarcón, artist scholar conjurer, holder of femme-stories and unique insight; Amalia Ortiz, powerhouse poet and playwright with the right words at the right time; Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano, muse, firebrand and visionary.
To my maestros y maestras of all ages who planted important seeds, including:
Willie Perdomo, Thomas Glave, Suheir Hammad, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Juan Felipe Herrera, Cherríe Moraga, and Sharon Bridgforth for craft, heart and the most life affirming and game changing workshop experiences.
To Sarah Guerra a powerful force, a creative strategist, an underappreciated, behind-the-scenes magician, a family-dinner-and-dessert for the weary and for a community of loyal followers, evil conspirators and circus queens. Amiga. Go, Spurs, go.
Rio Yañez, for making every moment an art project, for Chicano-Chapina post-apocalyptic-solidarity trading cards, cartoon intellectualism, ghetto-nerd-zine guides to the universe, arguments about commas and feminism. Friend.
Yolanda López, a seer, muse, inspiration, trailblazer, funny, witty and kind. My favorite Chicana Feminist artist before there ever was such a thing.
Ana Patricia Rodríguez, for my first Central American literature class, for vision and understanding the hunger for justice, for critical conversations, for long distance mentoring. Your work is relevant, necessary and visionary. Gracias.
Elmaz Abinader, for tough love, poetics and the VONA community.
Patricia Powell, for generous, detailed feedback on the original thesis beast.
Rebecca Edwards, for intellectual encouragement and “queer subject time we desire.”
Truong Tran for my first graduate poetry workshop and for seeing me through to the end.
Luz Vásquez-Ramos, LBC homegirl, rockera aventurera, Mexico City international strategist.
Raul el Vampiro Diaz, todavía haciendo del Terror. Chingas mucho. Por eso te quiero. Familia para siempre.
Eddy Alvarez, for Jota poetics, for mapping LA with love, for writing dates and bringing out the scholar poet in me. You and your work are an incredible gift.
Michael Hames-García, for refuge in Oregon to write, for profound conversations, for nourishment both delicious and inspired.
Central American filósofos y feministas: Leisy Ábrego, Karina Oliva-Alvarado, Suyapa Portillo, Alicia Estrada, Leyda Garcia, Arely Zimmerman, Oriel Mara Siu, Hector Perla, y Arturo Arias. I am in awe of your intellect, creativity and fire. Each one of you has altered my universe profoundly.
To my creative community:
Melissa Lozano, Lisa Marie Rollins, Kenji Liu, Aimee Suzara, Sara Campos, Ruben C. Gonzales, Chino Martinez, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Julio Magaña Saludado, Cruz Grimaldo, Hugo Carbajal, Virgie Tovar, Julia Eden Ris, Sandra Garcia Rivera, Adilia Torres, Lito Sandoval, Chucha Marquez, Karla Marcela,Yosimar Reyes, Amir Rabiyah, Jaime Barajas, Baruch Porras-Hernandez, Nancy Aid González, Hector Tobar, Darlene Elasigue, Nicole Griffin, Gracie Arguelles, Aleh Hurtado, Felipe Flores, Carmen Iñiguez, Connor Fu, Nia Witherspoon, Adelina Anthony, Dino Foxx, Anel Flores, Maricela Olguin, Madeline Lim, Kebo Drew, Liliana Hueso, Olga Talamante, Galería de la Raza, La Peña Cultural Center, The Chicana Latina Foundation, National Queer Arts Festival (NQAF), Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP), National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC).
To the Magic Room Poets for showing up and sweating it out. Adobe Dojo, for practicing pure joy in the desert and a return to play and paper. Friday night writers, No Trigger Warnings writing circle, the Church of Poetry, the Lunada Literary Lounge, Hybrid Performance Experiments, Epicentro Poets, End-Dependence, Rainbow Theater, Spanish for Spanish speakers, Sugarcane, Peacock Rebellion, Teatro Q, VONA Voices, Dos Brujas and especially to all the women of Las Manas: I carry your potent powers with me always.
Colegas for the opportunity to learn, teach and transform:
Clarissa Rojas, Teresa Carrillo, Nancy Mirabal, Bridgette Dávila, Katynka Martínez, Alejandro Murgia, Luz Calvo, Catriona Rueda Esquibel, Carlos Cordova, Andrew Jolivette, Gabriela Segovia-McGahan, Alberto Ledesma, Chela Delgado, Frank Galarte, Pedro Di Pietro, Cindy Cruz, Genevieve Negrón-Gonzalez, Sandra Álvarez, A De la Maza, Audrey Silvestre, Sara A. Ramirez, Jen Vaughn, Leis Rodriguez, Sayo Fujioka.
To the Kórima Press family: thank you for this sacred work.
Oakland, CA May 2014
SF International Flor y Canto Literary Festival May 14-16, 2015.
Pan Dulce Poets: Harina, Agua y Corazon 5/14 at la Reyna Bakery on 24th St. For info on events visit: https://florycantosf.wordpress.com/about-2/thursday-05-14/
The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poética (Kórima Press, 2014) by Maya Chinchilla is a timely debut that makes visible the Central American-Guatemalan diaspora and disentangles the myths from the mayhem of civil wars, urban wars, and the wars raging in young hearts. Part memory, part imaginary, The Cha Cha Files honors Central American feministas, Long Beach roqueras, families divided by war, lovers separated by borders, and celebrates the pleasure and heartbreak of femmes, machas, y mariconadas. These poems, stories, and snapshots traverse California coastlines and southern borderlines, cut across tense multi-culti high-school hallways, sing Solidarity Movement songs, mosh through tribal slam pits, and find home in the vibrant Bay Area where radical activists and lovers alike come of age. Chinchilla’s hopeful and uniquely Chapina voice emerges as a significant contribution to U.S. Latina/o literary works.
Maya Chinchilla is an Oakland-based Guatemalan femme writer, video artist, educator and author. Maya writes and performs poetry that explores themes of historical memory, heartbreak, tenderness, sexuality, and alternative futures. Her work—sassy, witty, performative, and self-aware—draws on a tradition of truth-telling and poking fun at the wounds we carry.
Cosponsored by the UCLA César E. Chávez Department of Chicana/o Studies, the Latin American Institute, the Department of Gender Studies, the Office of Instructional Development, and the CSRC.
This event is FREE.
Help me get to the Lambda Literary retreat for emerging LGBTQ Writers!
I have the incredible honor of being selected as a Literary Fellow to work with Cherrie Moraga as part of Lambda’s Summer Writing Retreat for Emerging LGBTQ Voices. This will be my first opportunity to develop my playwriting in a professional and intensive setting.
As many of you know I published my first book of poems and stories “The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poética” last year and have been teaching part time and seeking new job prospects while touring my book. Teaching is incredibly rewarding but in order to take my work to the next level, I need to take advantage of this opportunity to spend focused time with gifted master writers. The space and time to write in a dedicated community of writers is a precious gift and necessary investment in the work I want to keep producing.
I was awarded a partial scholarship but I cannot go to this retreat without your support. I am looking to raise $850 for tuition, room, board and travel.
THANK YOU I made my first goal to pay for my tuition room and board! *To help get me there click here:
Now, as they say, making a donation is easy and safe – simply click here
http://www.gofundme.com/mayalambda and choose a perk or simply donate any amount.
Thank you for supporting my work over the years and for taking the time to help me on my next challenge. As Walter Mercado says, “paz, dinero y mucho, mucho amor.”
With lots and lots of love,
Excited to perform at Spanish Matters Colloqium, Queer Geographies: Remapping Hispanic Studies April 3 at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma Washington! I am the closing performance keynote on the final day Friday April 3 at *2pm
I will be selling books and buttons. Come say hello. Tell your Seattle/Tacoma People! It’s free and open to the public.