Storyteller shines at Canto Mundo poetry event

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Femina X lead singer Daniela Riojas performs during the Canto Mundo Poetry Reading Oct. 22 at Koehler. The group performed four songs for over 60 people. Photo by Alejandro Diaz

Femina X lead singer Daniela Riojas performs during the Canto Mundo Poetry Reading Oct. 22 at Koehler. The group performed four songs for over 60 people. Photo by Alejandro Diaz

State and city poet laureates honored; music featured.

By Alejandro Diaz

A writer-storyteller from Colombia captivated the audience at the Canto Mundo poetry event Oct. 22 at Koehler Cultural Center.

Carolina Quiroga-Stultz’s style, filled with compelling mannerisms and poetic intensity, made the audience laugh, marvel and cringe throughout her performance.

Liberal arts sophomore Molly Ward said Quiroga-Stultz’s enthusiastic performance was her favorite part of the night.

For psychology freshman Stephanie Kurmen, also from Colombia, Quiroga-Stultz’s performance had an emotional meaning.

“Listening to Carolina brought me a little piece of home,” Kurmen said. “She was amazing.”

The event, part of Hispanic Heritage Month that celebrated the work outstanding Hispanics have done, had an attendance of over 60 people.

Mike Burton, chair of the English, reading and education department, kicked the night off welcoming all the people in attendance.

Gerard Robledo, program specialist for the writing center, was the host of the event and introduced Quiroga-Stultz as an award-winning writer-storyteller. In May 2014, Quiroga-Stultz was awarded Outstanding Performer of the Year by East Tennessee State University.

Quiroga-Stultz started her performance with a spooky story of Mexican origin called “What the Dog Saw.” According to Quiroga-Stultz, Joseph Sobol, who is also a storyteller, collected the story from Mexican immigrants in Chicago. Sobol lived in Chicago for 11 years during which he received a doctorate in performance studies at Northwestern University.

Her second and final story was “La Leyenda de la Tatuana,” or “Tatuana’s Tale,” a Guatemalan story written by Miguel Angel Asturias. The tale introduces the audience to the imagination of a Guatemalan Indian Master Almondtree, as he goes on a journey to apportion his soul out to the four roads.

The night continued with the musical performance by the band Femina X, with lead singer Daniela Riojas.

Femina-X is an avant-garde electronic band. Their performance included four songs: “Finding Patterns,” “Frida’s Heart,” “Moon Song” and “Inka.”

The event continued with Canto Mundo poetry readings that featured Octavio Quintanilla, professor at Our Lady of the Lake University; Irene Lara Silva, poet from Austin; and Lupe Mendez, poet from Houston.

Canto Mundo is a national organization that cultivates a community of Latino poets through workshops, symposia and public readings.

This was the first time Canto Mundo was involved in a poetry reading at this college.

Each poet read poems of their own authorship.

Quintanilla read “Gregor samson’s sistex”; “Grace, 1982”; “True minds”; “Bus stop”; “We didn’t find what we looked for”; and “Loneliness.”

Lara Silva’s selection included “One-sided conversation with my mother,” “There will be singing in the morning” and “Sham: A ghazal in pieces.”

Mendez closed the poetry reading with “A poem about my name ‘Lupillo’”; “A human rights worker tells me about the 43”; “A dancer tells me about the 43”; “Tech”; and “Photograph of ‘Woman in Red Dress, Sunflowers, Sitting with Blanket.’”

The event also honored Texas visual artists and San Antonio natives Vincent Valdez and Alex Rubio for their artistic contribution to the community.

At 26, Valdez became the youngest artist to have a solo exhibition at the McNay Art Museum. His work has also been exhibited at venues such as The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Mexican Museum of National Art Chicago, The Parsons Museum in Paris, The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, OSDE Buenos Aires and The Bell Gallery.

Rubio, Valdez’s mentor, is an artist famous for painting murals. His work has been featured in venues such as the McNay, UTSA Art Gallery, South Texas Institute for the Arts and San Antonio Art Museum.

Rubio received the Joan Mitchell Foundation award for painters and sculptors in 2007, and this college commissioned him to paint a mural at the McAllister Fine Arts Center.

The event closed by honoring San Antonio Poet Laureate Laurie Ann Guerrero and Texas State Poet Laureate Carmen Tafolla.

Tafolla encouraged the audience to stay involved in the poetry world.

“Poetry is not in the journals, it’s in the streets,” she said.


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