Historias: Aspiring poets get a helping hand from eastside bookstore @ AAS

Austin American-Statesman (TX) (Published as Austin American-Statesman) – August 18, 1989

Resistencia Bookstore opened its doors in the summer of 1982 to offer quality Chicano/Mexicano/Native American literature to East Austin residents, and to provide opportunities for aspiring poets to present and publish their work.

It began with only four titles; today the store boasts one of the most extensive collections of Chicano literature in Texas. Most importantly, however, is the series of poetry and dramatic readings that began in 1983, a year after the store opened.

Resistencia’s founder, Raul Salinas, said the Continuing Series of East Austin Poetic Action, produced and sponsored by the bookstore, is one of the better-kept secrets in Austin. Although it has undergone various name changes throughout the years, the series’ philosophy of helping develop writers and poets has remained unchanged. This month – after a hiatus – poets, writers, musicians and visual artists will convene for the revival of the East Austin Poetic Action Series, as it is also known.

The series began this month and continues with a poetry reading Aug. 24 featuring Maria Limon and Daniel Apodaca at La Esquina Lounge (Casa del Conjunto), 1600 E. Sixth St. and on Aug. 31 with Lydia Armendariz and Jesse Johnson. Music on Aug. 31 will be provided by by Edgard Rivera; the readings are at the Quintanilla House, 1402 E. First St. from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

A native East Austinite, defender of Native American rights and author of Un Trip Through the Mind Jail, Salinas explained that Resistencia’s East Austin Poetic Action Series is one way of “promoting artists which others have neglected.”

He said the East Austin Poetic Action Series “brings the poetry closer to the level of the community not necessarily reached by other ventures.” The talent is there, he said, but although readings by Mexican-American and African-American poets seem to be highly publicized, acknowledgment from the general public is not always forthcoming.

However, Salinas said, restaurants and businesses in East Austin recently have responded favorably to presenting many of these events.

Since its inception, the series has sponsored new

Mexican-American talent as well as established poets. In its first reading in 1983, the series gave two young poets their start: East Austinite Jesse Johnson and El Paso poet Maria Limon, who today are recognized and published poets.

The series also has sponsored nationally recognized artists, including poet and songwriter Jose Flores, novelist Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, Tejana poet Mary Sue Galindo, poet and human-rights activist Akwasi Evans, author Roberto Maestas, and author and professor of Native American studies Dr. Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz.

The East Austin Poetic Action Series hopes to continue for many years, Salinas said. Reflecting on the series’ philosophy, Salinas invites everyone to the poetry readings to see for themselves that “culture is alive and thriving in East Austin.”

Resistencia Bookstore is at 1105 E. Sixth St. For more information on the East Austin Poetic Action Series, call Salinas at 447-6741 or Daniel Apodaca at 462-0117.

Mexic-Arte will have a public reception for its “Significant Contributions” exhibit at 7 p.m. Saturday at 419 Congress Ave. “Significant Contributions” is an invitational exhibit of Texas visual artists who have developed an exemplary body of recent work. Artists are Mark Hethmon and Robert Wilkinson, both of Austin, Jan Tips of San Antonio and Shawn Mahoney of Houston.

Mexic-Arte also announces its Austin Annual ’89, a juried and invitational exhibit. Works in all media are eligible. This exhibit will run Sept. 15 through Oct. 21.

Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information call 480-9373.

Hortensia Palomares’ community arts column appears biweekly.