#AWP20 Featured Presenter Q&A with Deborah Paredez

AWP | February 2020

Event Title: 10 Years of CantoMundo: Founders, Faculty, and Fellows
Description: Join CantoMundo for a discussion on contemporary Latinx letters, the history of CantoMundo, and what’s ahead for us. Each poet will also do a short reading.
Participants: Denice Frohman, Deborah Paredez, Willie Perdomo
Location: Hemisfair Ballroom C1, Henry B. González Convention Center, Ballroom Level
Date & Time: Thursday, March 5, 1:45 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.


Q: What are some of the conference events or Bookfair exhibitors you look forward to seeing at AWP? 
I am looking forward to Helena María Viramontes' keynote.

Q: What do you remember most about your first AWP? What advice would you give to an AWP first-timer?
I was curious about writing in form and was lucky enough to catch a panel with Tyehimba Jess reading and discussing his syncopated sonnets and I was completely transported. I would recommend that first-timers focus on just a few panels or events they want to do each day and to take time to take a break or wander around the city to avoid getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of people and energy.

Q: What is your favorite AWP conference memory?
Every year my favorite memory from AWP is always the soulful connections I make with my writer friends (old and new) from across the country. 

Q: What book or books that you’ve read over the last year would you most highly recommend?
Diana Koi Nguyen, Ghost Of
Hanif Abdurraqib, Go Ahead in the Rain
Anne Boyer, The Undying 
Saidiya Hartman, Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiment

Q: If you’ve been to San Antonio before, what places do you recommend that our attendees should visit?
I'm a San Antonio native, and March is a beautiful time to visit. I would recommend taking in some art at the Presa House Gallery and hiking the Mission Trail and having a drink at the legendary Esquire Bar.


Deborah ParedezDeborah Paredez is a poet, performance scholar, and cultural critic. She is the author of the critical study Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory and of the poetry volumes This Side of Skin and Year of the Dog (forthcoming), which is debuting at AWP this year. Her poetry and essays have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Review of Books, National Public Radio, Boston Review, Poetry, Poet Lore, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing and ethnic studies at Columbia University.  She's thrilled to be back in her hometown of San Antonio, which is also the birthplace of CantoMundo, the national organization for Latinx poets that she co-founded in 2009 with Celeste Guzmán Mendoza, Pablo Miguel Martinez, Norma E. Cantú, and Carmen Tafolla.

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