Richard Vargas, Margaret Randall, and Demetria Martinez
Sunday, July 24, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
Richard Vargas was born in Compton, CA. He earned his B.A. at Cal State University, Long Beach, where he studied under Gerald Locklin. He edited/published five issues of The Tequila Review, 1978-1980, publishing early works by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Alberto Rios, Nila Northsun, and many more. His first book, McLife, was featured twice, during Feb 2006, on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. A second book, American Jesus, was published by Tia Chucha Press, 2007. His third book, Guernica, revisited, was published April 2014, by Press 53, and was featured once more on the Writer's Almanac. Vargas received his MFA from the University of New Mexico, 2010, where he workshopped his poetry with Joy Harjo (our current national Poet Laureate.). He was recipient of the 2011 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference’s Hispanic Writer Award, was on the faculty of the 2012 10th National Latino Writers Conference and facilitated a workshop at the 2015 Taos Summer Writers’ Conference. Vargas also edited/published The Más Tequila Review from 2009-2015, featuring poets from across the country. He has read his poetry to audiences in Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis, Madison, Albuquerque/Santa Fe, Indianapolis, and Boulder. His fourth book will be published this summer by MouthFeel Press. Currently, he resides in Monona WI.
Margaret Randall (New York, 1936) is a poet, essayist, oral historian, translator, photographer and social activist. She lived in Latin America for 23 years (in Mexico, Cuba, and Nicaragua). From 1962 to 1969 she and Mexican poet Sergio Mondragón co-edited EL CORNO EMPLUMADO / THE PLUMED HORN, a bilingual literary quarterly that published some of the best new work of the sixties. When she came home in 1984, the government ordered her deported because it found some of her writing to be “against the good order and happiness of the United States”. With the support of many writers and others, she won her case, and her citizenship was restored in 1989. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, she taught at several universities, most often Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Randall’s most recent poetry titles include THE MORNING AFTER: POETRY & PROSE IN A POST-TRUTH WORLD, AGAINST ATROCITY, OUT OF VIOLENCE INTO POETRY (all from Wings Press), and STORMCLOUDS LIKE UNKEPT PROMISES (Casa Urraca Press). CHE ON MY MIND (a feminist poet’s reminiscence of Che Guevara, published by Duke University Press), and THINKING ABOUT THINKING (essays, from Casa Urraca) are other recent titles. HAYDEE SANTAMARIA, CUBAN REVOLUTIONARY: SHE LED BY TRANSGRESSION was released by Duke in 2015. EXPORTING REVOLUTION: CUBA’S GLOBAL SOLIDARITY was published by Duke in 2017. And in 2020 Duke published her memoir, I NEVER LEFT HOME: POET, FEMINIST, REVOLUTIONARY. Two of Randall’s photographs are in the Capitol Art Collection in Santa Fe. She has also devoted herself to translation, producing WHEN RAINS BECOME FLOODS by Lurgio Galván Sánchez and ONLY THE ROAD / SOLO EL CAMINO, an anthology of eight decades of Cuban poetry (both also published by Duke), among many other titles. Randall received the 2017 Medalla al Mérito Literario, awarded by Literatura en el Bravo in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. In 2018 she was awarded the “Poet of two Hemispheres” prize by Poesía en Paralelo Cero in Quito, Ecuador. In 2022 she earned the City of Albuquerque’s Creative Bravo Award. Randall lives in Albuquerque with her partner (now wife) of more than 35 years, the painter Barbara Byers, and travels extensively to read, lecture and teach.
Demetria Martinez is a poet, writer and activist based in La Cienaga, New Mexico. Her books include a collection of essays, Confessions of a Berlitz Tape Chicana, and short stories, The Block Captain's Daughter. Her books of poetry include The Devil's Workshop. She co-authored the ebook, Let Them Work, about immigration, with former Oklahoma Senator Fred Harris. Her novel, Mother Tongue, is based in part upon her 1988 federal conspiracy trial; she was charged with smuggling Salvadoran refugees into the United States as part of the Sanctuary movement. She faced a potential 25 years in prison and 1.25 million in fines. Martinez, a reporter at the time covering the movement, was acquitted on First Amendment grounds. She is currently at work on a collection of poetry, For English Press One (A True Story).