Achiote Seeds, Winter 2008
with poems by Javier Huerta, Gerardo Diego (translated by Francisco Aragón), Veronica Montes, and Mónica de la Torre
cover art by Steven Robert Barich
with a first sentence from Names Above Houses by Oliver de La Paz
All day he would gather twine from his mother's frayed skirts and
braid them into wreaths of darker hues.
Years later, when he was no longer a young man, he would find the
lumps of cloth in his attic in a box marked "Canlubang." He turned
them over in his hands, impressed by the weight of some of them,
but unable to remember how they came to be or what they
represented. He held them to his nose, then against his cheek. He
threw one at a mouse that scuttled out from behind a suitcase.
Eventually, he brought the box downstairs to his wife. A practical
woman, she used them to block the drafts of air that snuck through
the cracks under the doors in their large house. It was winter in
Chicago, after all, and such a long way from home.
Javier Huerta is the author of Some Clarifications y otros poems (Arte Publico 2007), which received the 31st (2005) Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine. Currently he is a graduate student in the English Department at UC Berkeley. He lives in Oakland with the novelist and painter Maria P. Tuttle, who is waiting for him to finish writing this bio so they can go to the grocery store.
Veronica Montes lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and three daughters. Her short fiction has appeared in the literary journals Bamboo Ridge, Prism International, and maganda, as well as in the anthologies Contemporary Fiction by Filipinos in America, Growing Up Filipino, and Going Home to a Landscape: Writings by Filipinas. She has work forthcoming in the anthology Growing Up Filipino II.
As a translator from the Spanish, Francisco Aragón has had a hand in a number of books, including volumes by Francisco X. Alarcón and Federico García Lorca. He resided in Spain, roughly, from 1988 to 1998. His translations have appeared in various journals, including Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Chain, Chaminade Literary Review, Chelsea, Five Fingers Review, Nimrod, Luna, and ZYZZYVA. In addition to his translations of Gerardo Diego, he is working on liberal versions of Rubén Darío. A native of San Francisco, he currently resides in Arlington, VA and works in Washington, D.C., from where he directs Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
Mónica de la Torre writes about art and culture for publications in Mexico and the U.S. and is the author of the poetry books Talk Shows (Switchback, 2007) and Acúfenos, a collection in Spanish published recently in Mexico City by Taller Ditoria. She is co-author of the artist book Appendices, Illustrations & Notes, available on Ubu.com, and co-editor of the anthology Reversible Monuments: Contemporary Mexican Poetry with Michael Wiegers (Copper Canyon Press, 2002). She is senior editor at BOMB Magazine and lives in Brooklyn.
Steven Robert Barich is an artist working in AllMedia. His work investigates such things as the psychology of perception, apophenia, multiplicity, and defining uniqueness of expression within a digital age. Mr. Barich was born in the state of Wisconsin, moving at a young age to the San Francisco Bay Area, California. A graduate of the MFA program at Mills College (2001) and the BFA program at the California College of Arts and Crafts (1997), USA, he left California in the year 2002 to expand his artistic interests abroad in Europe. In 2006, he returned to the Bay Area to apply and develop ideas and methods of artistry he cultivated in Europe. Mr. Barich has exhibited work nationally in the USA, as well as internationally in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Serbia, and England.