Authors/Literary Series


Oliver Burkeman from The Guardian went to the SXSW festival in Austin last week in search of the next big idea, and instead, discovered and confirmed the arrival of the "ubiquitous internet",  which refers to the presence of the internet in our lives, our daily tasks and whereabouts, and even in our professional and personal relationships. It seems to Mr. Burkeman the boundaries between "real life" and "online life" are quickly fading. So while Mr. Burkeman studied and prodded the fields of the festival, pondering the significance and implications of the pervasive internet, nine writers and poets gathered quietly outside the Sin Fronteras Cafe on Friday, March 11th, for the first inworld poetry workshop being held in the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum grounds. Under the canopies of green umbrellas and studded, night skies and full moon, the nine writers logged into Second Life from the comfort of their homes and cities, some as far away as McAllen, Texas, and Maryland, confirming Mr. Burkeman's suspicion that, yes, the age of  "real life" and "online" has arrived.

For the art and literary world the implications of living in a borderless world signifies a fluid exchange of art and ideas, and the end of working and thinking in isolation.  As noted by one LVM workshop participant, "It (the inworld experience) helped me to connect to other writers in real-time." And while many participants are newbies to Second Life, and significantly clumsier in our avatar forms compared to the seasoned-suave, Second Lifer avatars, all the workshop participants agreed the avatar experience of writing, reading and discussing poetry challenged the way we perceived the world, and added yet another layer to our prose and poetry. But the most significant outcome of this "ubiquitous internet" experience is that it exceeded the participants' expectations in terms of delivery a quality workshop in a structured, educative and detailed environment. The Smithsonian LVM is not only a digital, learning resource, dedicated to preserving Latino heritage, but it is also a vivid and living environment that invites the creative mind to expand its perspective and imagination.
The inworld writing workshop continues April 8th at 6 p.m. SL time. For more information and to sign up, contact M. Miranda Maloney @ We also invite you to post a comment.  

 To read Mr. Burkeman's article click: The Internet is Over

ire'ne lara silva
here i am this is where you belong i want to be whole again
--from "i laid you on the ground'

if i did not bleed on these pages then i rubbed
the soot and ashes of the shed skins the bones
and flesh of my soul across the face of each page
poetry is my hands in the fire molten metals
shaped in my burning hands since i could not
find a teacher i apprenticed myself to the fire and
to what its flames whispered speak and burn
love grieve laugh weep rage and burn blood set
to flight like the black wisps of burned sugarcan
                --excerpt from the poem "furia"

ire'ne lara silva is the author of furia, a poetry collection that is "...not for the faint of heart," notes poet Levi Romero. I met ire'ne for the first time last year at the El Mundo Zurdo Conference at the University of Texas at San Antonio. I was immediately struck by ire'ne's self-assurance and piercing eyes. If poetry is a reflection of the self, furia mirrors ire'ne's strength and anger, pain and resolve for survival. The poetic voice and forms in furia moves the reader across spaces of unspoken grief, shuffling us through the poet's healing consciousness. These poems, hauntingly moving, are the brutal revelation of the abyss--the human soul. 

Olga Garcia Echeverria interviewed ire'ne for La Bloga. I'd like to thank her for allowing me to post excerpts of the interview. To read the entire transcript, please follow this link: ire’ne lara silva’s furia: la mujer que se sueña libre

When and why did you start writing?
I started writing a very long time ago. I think I was about eight. I woke up from a nightmare where I’d been orphaned after my family died in a fire. There was no one to go crying to, and I had to let it out. I felt compelled to write it down. We didn’t have any blank sheets of paper in the house, so I wrote it on a brown paper bag that I cut up into little pages. Poetry came later. I wrote and wrote and read and read until I graduated from high school. It wasn’t until my first year of college that I began to find my voice and my own subject matter.

Who influenced your journey as an artist?
My first influence was music—musica ranchera, boleros, los conjuntos. Cornelio Reyna, Jose Alfredo Jimenez, and Juan Gabriel. After that, it was African-American poets like Audre Lorde, June Jordan, NikkiGiovanni, Langston Hughes, and Sonia Sanchez. Toss in some Neruda and Lorca and e.e. cummings and Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay. I found Latino poets a little later: Carmen Tafolla, Francisco X. Alarcon, and raulrsalinas, inparticular. The first Latina poet I ever read was Aurora Levins Morales. Raul Salinas was a great example ofartistic integrity and activist commitment. He always made a space for all us stray poets. I’ve also participated in and been influenced by different writer communities: Austin Hispanic Writers, Macondo, and Cantomundo. I owes much to my brother, Moisés S. L. Lara, who is an exquisite poet in his own right. No one could ask for a more challenging reader or a more demanding editor.

Furia is your first collection of poetry. Did you write it at a particular time in your life or with a particular intent?
For the most part, I wrote the poems in furia over the last seven years, but this is not the book I planned. furia coalesced very recently during a particularly difficult time. But once it did, everything fell into place very naturally. I can't say, though, it was an easy collection to work on. There was a lot of revision involved.

You write and weave in and out of two languages. Do you do that consciously?
I’ve written in English, in Spanish, and I have some English/Spanish bilingual poems. A few poems are also embedded with a little Nahuatl. I don’t write this way because I think it makes me more authentically Chicana or Latina or because I deliberately want to be anti- establishment. I think a poet, in pursuit of expressing her deepest truths, needs every tool at her disposal—every word, every image, every emotion. Nothing can be discarded.

ire'ne can be reached at, for reading, invitations, schedule workshops, or any other correspondence. For more information, visit the author at