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Arcadia: The New Chican@

The Center for the Study of the Southwest invites you to attend Arcadia: The New Chican@.  This event hosts writers Ito Romo, Luke Villafranca, Octavio Quintanilla, and Sarah Cortez, and artist Vincent Valdez, all of whom are published in the upcoming issue of Arcadia Magazine. Arcadia welcomes eclectic art and literature "regardless of its origin…that speaks to and moves the heart and the head, regardless of form, medium, or place of birth." This special issue honors Mexican and Mexican American heritage through art, poetry, and prose.  We hope you join us as we celebrate the shared stories of the borderlands in the twenty-first century.

Arcadia: The New Chicana


Ito Romo, guest editor for Arcadia: The New Chican@, was born and raised on the border in Laredo, Texas. His recent work, dubbed “Chicano Gothic” and “Chicano Noir,” shows the dark and gritty life along Interstate 35 through South Texas, where his family has lived for nine generations. He lives in San Antonio and is Associate Professor of English and Communication Studies at St. Mary’s University, where he teaches Creative Writing, Mexican American Literature, and Multi-cultural Literature.  Romo received his PhD from Texas Tech University’s Creative Writing Program. He is the author of The Border is Burning (2013) and El Puente / The Bridge (2001), both published by University of New Mexico Press.

Ito Romo


Luke Neftali Villafranca is a graduate of St. Mary's University. He is a writer and a boxer.

Luke Neftali Villafranca


Octavio Quintanilla is the author of the poetry collection, If I Go Missing (Slough Press, 2014). His work has appeared in Salamander, RHINO, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Bitter Oleander, Fugue, The Texas Observer, and elsewhere. Reviews of his work are forthcoming, or can be found at CutBank Literary Journal, Concho River Review, San Antonio Express-News, American Microreviews & Interviews, Southwestern American Literature, Pleiades, and others. He is a CantoMundo Fellow and holds a PhD from the University of North Texas. He is the South Texas regional editor for Texas Books in Review and teaches Literature and Creative Writing in the M.A./M.F.A. program at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas.  You can follow him on Twitter: @OctQuintanilla

Octavio Quintanilla


Sarah Cortez, a Councilor of the Texas Insititue of Letters, has numerous  poems, essays, book reviews, and short stories anthologized and published in journals such as Rattle, New Texas, Pennsylvania English, and Post Road. Winner of the PEN Texas Literary Award in poetry, her debut poetry collection is entitled How to Undress a Cop. Her second book of poetry, Cold Blue Steel, placed as a finalist in the Writers' League of Texas awards. An award-winning anthologist of seven volumes, she co-edited Our Lost Border: Essays on Life amid the Narco-Violence, winner of the Southwest Book Award and an International Latino Book Award, with Sergio Troncoso. Her latest anthology is Goodbye, Mexico: Poems of Remembrance, already short-listed for an International Latino Book Award and published by Texas Review Press. Ms. Cortez was named to the 2014-16 Texas Commission of the Arts Touring Roster and has been a recent finalist for both Texas Poet Laureate and Houston Poet Laureate.

Sarah Cortez


Vincent Valdez grew up in San Antonio, Texas, and received a full scholarship to The Rhode Island School of Design where he earned his BFA in 2000. Valdez's work is most recognized for its regard to social & political subjects. In 2004 at age twenty-six, Valdez’s suite of monumental charcoal drawings, Stations, was shown at the McNay Museum in Texas. He was the youngest artist to have a solo exhibition at the McNay. Exhibition venues include: The Los Angeles County Musuem of Art, The Snite Musuem of Art, Notre Dame, The Parsons School of Design, Paris, France,  OSDE Buenos Aires, The Bell Gallery, Brown University and others. A recipient of the Skowhegan School of Painting ’05  and the Kunstlerhaus Bethania Berlin Residency ’14, He lives and works in his restored 1921 Firestation in San Antonio, Texas.

Vincent Valdez