VOTM: What was your most unusual experience at a reading?
LOPEZ: I was invited to read alongside a group of middle school students at a restaurant that sold jugos y aguas frescas, Mexican food, y raspados. The restaurant owners generously offered their place to host the event and it was beautiful, nothing strange about it, except for the machine that periodically chewed up the ice for the raspados during the readings. Rak-kak-kak-kak-ak-kak! Rak-kak-kak-kak-ak-kak! Rak-kak-kak-kak-ak-kak! It was relentless, but funny. This, of course, in addition to the gentleman behind the counter shouting over the readers for people to pick up their food, which proved to be a fine complement to the poetry, I must say. The raspados were awesome too. Beautiful evening.
Manuel Paul López was born and raised in El Centro, California. He is a CantoMundo fellow and was recently awarded a Creative Catalyst Fund grant from the San Diego Foundation in 2012, making him 1 of 15 inaugural fellows. His work has been published in Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingue, The Bitter Oleander, Hanging Loose, Rattle, and ZYZZYVA, among others. His first book Death of a Mexican and other Poems was published by Bear Star Press in 2006 and was awarded the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize. His new collection, The Yearning Feed, won the University of Notre Dame Press 2013 Ernest Sandeen Prize for Poetry. With his wife, he lives in San Diego, Califas.
Manuel will be reading at 3rdSpace in San Diego on Sunday, Nov. 10.