This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 350,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
"This is a suit " by Joaquín Zihuatanejo
Names are important. Some names have a heritage that can create a powerful poem. Dallas poet Joaquín Zihuatanejo, whom I heard in Austin, Texas, in 2004, wrote this poem about his name, Joaquín, that relates to a Chicano culture figure.
Joaquín Zihuatanejo is a father, a husband, a poet,a spoken word artist and an award-winning teacher. He was born and raised in the barrio of East Dallas where his grandfather, Silas C. Medina, showed him what the novelist, Rudolfo Anaya, describes as the Path of Light.
Through his poetry he strives to capture the duality of his culture, the Chicano culture. His is a mestizo culture that is steeped in duality, and in his poetry he depicts the essence of barrio life, writing about subjects as varied as his grandfather's garden, the experiences of a youth that was plagued by gang violence, a heritage that is steeped in sacrifice and borders.
Zihuatanejo writes of borders that are both actual and metaphorical, borders that plague a people seen as immigrants in their own homeland. Zihuatanejo is a member of the 2004 Dallas Poetry Slam Team and a Grand Slam Spoken Word Poetry Champion of Dallas. Zihuatanejo and Dallas Slam placed third out of 60 competing teams from the United States, Canada, and the United Kingfom at the 2004 National Poetry Slam competition in St. Louis.
Zihuatanejo performs his work at various conferences, poetry recitals, and poetry slams throughout the country. He competed in the Step to the Mic Spoken Word Competition in Stockton, Calif., finishing in the top 10 out of some 100 competing poets. As well as being a featured poet at the Austin International Poetry Festival, Zihuatanejo's work was published in the 2004 Di-verse-City Poetry Anthology. He has been the keynote speaker/performer at several conferences related to issues concerning Mexican-Americans. He has self-published two collections of poetry, "Barrio Songs" and "I of the Storm" and has completed his first spoken word CD, "Barrio Songs, A Spoken Word Collection." He has had the privilege of being selected as the poet to open up for award winning poet and novelists Maya Angelou and E. Lynn Harris at their recent recitals at universities in the North Texas area.
Zihuatanejo currently lives in Denton, Texas, with his wife Aída, his two daughters, Aiyana and Dakota, and their two guinea pigs, Pancho and Cisco.