Paul S. Flores and Jimmy Santiago Baca, We Still Be

Wednesday, November 29, 2023 - 6:00pm

We are thrilled to welcome Paul S. Flores and Jimmy Santiago Baca for a reading and signing to celebrate Paul Flores' new poetry collection, We Still Be: Poems and Performances.

"In his own words, the 'first section is the spoken word hits', and those words are solar flares interrupting our measly little tech towers, burning through the social media with his explosive illuminations! Take heed nerds, he's coming with powerful words! Then his 'Ghost Poems about the exploration of my family' and these touched the core of my being with their eloquence and love and deep emotion. And last, '...section on resistance and resilience', which I devoured merging into the obstinate courage of the poems... A must read for anyone who actually cares about this world and much more... — Jimmy Santiago Baca, American Book Award Winner, Chicano poet, Author of A Place To Stand, and the Hollywood film Blood In, Blood Out

"Paul S. Flores is incomparable in his tenacity and perseverance to bring our stories to life with his writings and poetry. All our complexities as a Latinx community are captured in this book. Our culture is embedded in his soul and WE STILL BE grateful that Paul Flores continues to inspire and innovate with such passion. ¡Siempre pa'lante!" -Emanuel Xavier, author & activist

The long-awaited full-length debut of poems by the nationally-celebrated, award-winning spoken word artist, playwright, and educator Paul Flores, WE STILL BE: Poems and Performances, is a collection that masterfully weaves together political and personal testimonies. WE STILL BE speaks to issues of gentrification, mixed Latino identity, masculinity, machismo, incarceration, systemic racism, racial unity, fatherhood, and more.

Paul S. Flores is one of the most influential Latino performance artists in the country and a nationally respected arts educator. He creates plays, oral narratives, and spoken word about transnationality and citizenship that spur and support societal movements that lead to change. Flores’ ability to paint a vivid picture of the bi-cultural Latino experience is shaped by his personal background and experience growing up in Chula Vista, California, near the Mexican border. His body of work touches on the immigrant story in all its complexities: from the violent—forced migration, gang life, war, incarceration, and separated families—to zooming in on intergenerational relationships and the struggle of preserving important cultural values. As a San Francisco artist of Mexican and Cuban-American heritage, Paul S. Flores has built a national reputation for interview-based theater and bilingual spoken word. He integrates Latino and indigenous healing practices to tell the stories of real people impacted by immigration and systemic inequalities. Flores' work has played across the United States and internationally in Cuba, Mexico, and El Salvador. Paul is a Doris Duke Artist Award winner and an inaugural NALAC Catalyst for Change awardee. His commissions have come from Creative Capital, La Peña Cultural Center, MACLA, MAP Fund, Pregones Theater, National Performance Network, SF Arts Commission, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and many more. Flores teaches Theater and Spoken Word at the University of San Francisco. He is a teaching artist in creative writing with the Prison Arts Project at CMF in Vacaville, and in San Quentin State Prison. He is the lead curator of Paseo Artistico Free Bilingual Community Art Stroll on 24th Street in the Mission District. He lives in San Francisco with his children.

Born in 1952 in Santa Fe of Chicano and Apache descent, Jimmy Santiago Baca was abandoned by his parents and at 13 ran away from the orphanage where his grandmother had placed him. He was convicted on drug charges in 1973 and spent five years in prison. There he learned to read and began writing poetry. His semi-autobiographical novel in verse, Martin and Meditations on the South Valley (1987), received the 1988 Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award in 1989. In addition to over a dozen books of poetry, he has published memoirs, essays, stories, and a screenplay, Bound by Honor (1993), which was made into a feature-length film directed by Taylor Hackford. Baca’s work is concerned with social justice and revolves around the marginalized and disenfranchised, treating themes of addiction, community, and the American Southwest barrios. In a Callaloo interview with John Keene, Baca claims, “I approach language as if it will contain who I am as a person”—a statement that reflects the poet’s interest in the transformative and generative power of language. Immigrants in Our Own Land (1979, 1991) was Baca’s first significant collection, one based on his imprisonment. In the Encyclopedia of American Literature, Catherine Hardy wrote that the poems in the volume “reveal an honest, passionate voice and powerful imagery full of the dark jewels of the American Southwest landscape (llanos, mesas, and chiles) and the chaotic urban landscape (nightclubs, rusty motors, and bricks) woven into a rich lyricism sprinkled with Spanish.”

Event address: 
4022 Rio Grande Blvd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
We Still Be: Poems and Performances By Paul S. Flores, Xavi Moreno (Cover Design by), David A. Romero (Prepared by) Cover Image
By Paul S. Flores, Xavi Moreno (Cover Design by), David A. Romero (Prepared by)
ISBN: 9781088117774
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: El Martillo Press - June 1st, 2023