Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Winner, History Category, Indie Excellence Award 2015 for "Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual"

Thrilled to announce that my book, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual, has won the Indie Excellence Award for History.

Description of the book:

In a blend of biography, personal essay, and a rendition of deeply researched metaphysical and Mexican history that reads like a novel, award-winning writer and noted literary translator C.M. Mayo provides a rich introduction and the first translation of the secret book by Francisco I. Madero, leader of Mexico's 1910 Revolution and President of Mexico 1911-1913.

"Mayo... provides not only an English translation of Madero's Spiritist Manual, but also a lively intoduction... The author argues effectively that Madero's manual is essential to understanding his revolutionary zeal."--Kirkus Reviews

It's available in paperback and Kindle, and also in Spanish, translated by Agustín Cadena as Odisea metafísica hacia la revolución Mexicana, Francisco I. Madero y su libro secreto, Manual espírita. That edition is available in paperback and Kindle from Dancing Chiva and in Mexico from Literal Publishing.

> Visit the book's webpage (read excerpts and more)

> Listen in to my talk about this book for the UCSD Center for US-Mexican Studies

> Listen in to my talk for PEN San Miguel

> Your comments are always welcome, and I invite you to opt-in to my every-other-month-ish newsletter which will go out to subscribers shortly.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Avram Dumitrescu, An Artist in Alpine (Transcript now available on-line for Marfa Mondays #4)

Transcript now available for 
ye olde podcast #4
Avram Dumitrescu, 

an Artist in Alpine
The Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project proceeds.... as those of you who follow this blog well know, the most recent of the projected 24 podcasts is #17, an interview with Texas historian Lonn Taylor in Fort Davis

Meanwhile, I've been working my way back to the beginning, posting transcripts of 17, 16, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, and now... drumroll.... 4, Avram Dumitrescu, an Artist in Alpine. About his chicken portraits, Dumitrescu says:

"When we moved to Alpine, our landlords had about 30 chickens. Patty and Cindy, they're on the west edge of town...that's where I had my first experience being around chickens, because until then it was just stuff I'd eat. They're basically mini-dinosaurs. Every time I go in, I'm always worried if I fall, and they start pecking me to death like in some horror movie... because they see red, they run to it and attack it. They're very interesting characters, and I think what really made me laugh was Patty and Cindy had named them after characters from "The Sopranos." 

> Read the complete transcript of this podcast or, better yet, listen in to "Avram Dumitrescu, an Artist in Alpine" (on either podomatic or iTunes, both free).

> All Marfa Mondays Podcasts (and most transcripts)

> Your comments are always welcome. The newsletter will go out soon; to opt-in, click here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Cyberflanerie: Summer Plans Editions

Yale Writers Conference will be offering a translation workshop
Some good news, you might want to spread: the Yale Writers Conference will be offering a Translation workshop. Here is the description: 
"For some, translation is the poor cousin of literature, at best a necessary evil; for others, it is the royal road to cross-cultural understanding and literary enrichment. Translation dances along the boundaries between art and craft, originality and replication, altruism and commerce, even genius and hack work. Vladimir Nabokov (himself a noted translator) tarred translation as “A parrot’s screech, a monkey’s chatter, / And profanation of the dead,” while writers such as Ezra Pound, John Ashbery, Paul Auster, and Harry Mathews, have produced translations that are literary marvels in their own right. At a time when the globe is just a mouse-click away, and when authors such as Roberto Bolaño, Karl-Ove Knausgaard, Patrick Modiano, Stieg Larsen, Umberto Eco, and Marguerite Duras – to name only a few – have become an indelible part of the American literary landscape, the issue of translation is ever more relevant. Focusing on translation from other languages into English, this course takes a practical and conceptual approach to literary translation, examining - by select readings of published translations, comparisons of alternate renderings, and critiques of the students’ own work – what does or does not make a translation successful. It also looks at the larger questions raised by translation: What is the ultimate goal of a translation? What does it mean to label a translation “faithful” or “unfaithful”? What are the translator’s ethical responsibilities toward the reader, and toward the original text? Is something inevitably “lost” in translation? What makes some translations sing and others screech? Can a translation ever be better than the original? How does one go about publishing a translation, and what pitfalls should the first-time translator avoid? And, ultimately, why does translation matter?" 
Here is the link to learn more and register:

P.S. I am not involved in this, just passing on the word.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

"La Chora Interminable" on Marfa and the Gonzálo Lebrija Show at Marfa Contemporary

Well, Marfa's made it to Vanity Fair60 Minutes, Martha Stewart's Living, and now... drumroll... La Chora Interminable. ("La chora interminable" means, more or less, "the never-ending yadda-yadda.")

José Ignacio Solórzano Pérez
José Trinidad Camacho Orozco "Trino"

If you don't speak Spanish, dude, fuggedit. Anyway, it's not easy to listen to but, well, I guess you could call it "chido" (that's Mexico City slang for "the bomb"): "La Chora Interminable" radio show's episode on Marfa, Texas. 

Click here to listen to these guys on iTunes

It starts out with a chipmunk-goes-alien thing and if you can get past that, which you might not, you'll hear a couple of middle-aged Mexico City guys going on about Marfa, e.g., 

"Nada más son cowboys and hipsters" (it's just cowboys and hipsters"); 
"parece como pueblo fantásma" (it seems like a ghost town);
"Shopping, no hay" (No shopping, pronounced chopping-- sorry, I found that hilarious. Ditto the "whatsupazo"). 

So who are these guys? Two of Mexico's best-known cartoonists: José Trinidad Camacho Orozco, aka "Trino." (Uf. Trino is the bomb.) And: José Ignacio Solórzano Pérez, who is also philosopher and conceptual artist. The latter went to the inauguration of Mexican artist Gonzálo Lebrija's show at Marfa Contemporary, "La Sombra del Zopilote" (The Vulture's Shadow), and in this eposide, in between a lot of chuckling, he tells Trino all about the town.


More out-takes:
"Es como un lote baldío chic... rasquache cool" (It's like a vacant lot that's chic... skanky cool); 
"viene la snobeada del mundo de arte" (the Snobdom of the Art World comes here);
"me gustaria ser el cherife de Marfa" (I'd like to be the sheriff of Marfa);
"un día si no me vez, estoy en Marfa" (If one day you don't see me, I'm in Marfa).

Yes, I am still, in my turtle-like fashion, working on my book about Far West Texas.... Check out my podcasts, the comparably sedate (OK, maybe even a little nerdy) but super crunchy "Marfa Mondays," here.

> Your comments are always welcome. Tweet @marfamondays

Monday, May 11, 2015

Transcript of "We Have Seen the Lights: The Marfa Ghost Lights Phenomenon" (Marfa Mondays #7)

The Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project proceeds and, yes, I am writing the book, World Waiting for a Dream: A Turn in Far West Texas

Last week, podcast #17, an interview with historian Lonn Taylor, went live, and over the past few days I've uploaded several transcripts of older podcasts, including that of podcast #7, "We Have Seen the Lights," about the Marfa Ghost Lights. 

Herewith an excerpt:

When I first visited Marfa in the late 1990s, I made an arrow for the Marfa Lights viewing area, a pullout on the highway between Marfa and the neighboring town of Alpine. About 9 miles out of Marfa, it was just a parking area with, as I recall, a couple of sun-bleached picnic tables. There was an RV parked to one the side and standing on top of one of the picnic tables, a burly man in shorts and a T-shirt, his knees bent like a quarterback about to grab the football. There was no one else there. It was still light out, though the sky had paled and beyond the expanse of Mitchell Flat, the mountains to the south, the Chinatis, loomed a dusky purple. I don't recall that man turning to look at me, but he must have heard my car pull up behind him, for as I opened the door, he pointed toward the mountains and began to shout:
"OH MY GOD... OH MY GOD... OH …. MY… GOD!"
As I set my shoe on the dirt, I saw that it was surrounded by a scattering of something silvery: quarters. I have found many a penny on the sidewalk, and few dimes over the years, but this was several dollars worth of quarters. I gathered them up.
"OH MY GOD!" The man was bellowing. "OH MY GOD!!!"
I would have thought him barking mad except that, I too saw the lights and they were unlike anything I had ever seen.  
[...CONTINUE READING... includes interviews with residents...]

> Listen to the podcast

> Listen to all the Marfa Mondays podcasts

> Your comments are always welcome, and for updates you are very welcome to sign up for my free every-other-monthly-ish newsletter. 

Monday, May 04, 2015

Marfa Mondays Podcast #17 Under Sleeping Lion: Lonn Taylor in Fort Davis

From the "secret historians" to the Propeller Man to the Filippino restaurant: you'll learn about a myriad unexpected people and stories of the Big Bend and Marfa, Texas in my interview with historian Lonn Taylor, the "Rambling Boy" columnist for the Big Bend Sentinel. Recorded in Fort Davis in March 2015.

> Listen in anytime right here.

> Read the transcript

"Everybody kind of has a stereotype of Marfa either as the cattle town where they filmed “Giant” or a contemporary art center. I like discovering things that don’t fit into that stereotype. "                                                                --Lonn Taylor

> Marfa Mondays home page with all 17 podcasts (of a projected 24)

> Your COMMENTS are always welcome, and you are also most welcome to sign up for my newsletter which goes out every other month-ish.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Q & A with Yours Truly on Novelist Mary S. Black's Blog (on Marfa Mondays) and "Bacon and Books" (on Dancing Chiva)

For those of you interested in travel writing, podcasting, and navigating the shoals, dolldrums and Horse latitudes of publishing, I have oodles to say in these two recent blog interviews. 

Mary S. Black's blog:
C.M. Mayo, Marfa Mondays, and Writing
"’s moving through the majesty of vast spaces and so retrieving a relationship with both the earth and the sky, and always, a burning curiosity about the people of its past and its present. That is certainly true for me about the rock art, especially that of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands." [READ MORE]

Michele Orwin's Bacon and Books blog:
Women and Independent Publishing - An Interview with C.M. Mayo, award-winning author, journalist, poet, translator and publisher.

"Writing can be a tricky path (especially when we start discussing publishing!) but it is also a joyous one. For me it’s about exploring the complexity of what it means to be human and, in fashioning a narrative, creating both meaning and beauty. Whether this genre or that genre, it’s all poetry. Nowadays we can crunch a bunch of sales and click data, but this doesn’t change the fact that a book still goes out to largely opaque response. So one has to write and publish with a big dose of crazy faith. That has always been true, and I think it will continue to be true for as long as humans can put words on some surface for others to decipher." [READ MORE]

+ Your COMMENTS are always welcome, and you are most welcome to sign up for my newsletter.

(C.M. Mayo's Workshop Page)

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The second issue of Origins, edited by Dini Karasik, Featuring Mexican Writer Rose Mary Salum


I am so delighted and honored to announce that my translation of the opening chapter of Mexican writer Rose Mary Salum's novel, El agua que mece el silencio, "The Water That Stirs the Silence," is in the second issue of Origins, a new literary magazine edited by Dini Karasik (hat tip to Francisco Aragón for suggesting I submit something). 

I've written on this blog before about Rose Mary Salum's Literal Magazine; her visionary anthology Delta de las arenas, a collection of Arab and Jewish Latin American writing; and I've posted a podcast interview with her for my Conversations with Other Writers series. If you come to the conclusion that I am a big admirer of her work as both a writer and an editor, you'd be exactly right.

Having founded an edited a literary magazine myself-- Tameme (circa 1999-2007)-- I know what courage, what eye-crossing hard work, time, not a little cash, help from many friends, and avalanching Himalayas of email it takes it bring one out. As a writer and translator, I celebrate any new literary magazine, and especially one so well designed and edited. As a reader, I say, "cheers!" for I relish the chance to encounter new voices, most especially those edgy ones not necessarily for the smooth and easy slots of mainstream commercial media.

Writes editor Dini Karasik, on Origin's website's introduction, 

"We are interested in distinct voices. Writing that tells us something about a character's roots or what makes her unique. Stories that transport us across town and country, beyond and within borders both physical and abstract, to discreet moments that change or define us. We want to read provocative poems and have gripping conversations with writers about everything from craft to creativity.  
Literature offers us the opportunity to endlessly interpret who we are as human beings. This journal is a celebration and investigation of our diverse origins and the art that inevitably springs forth."
Check out the website at Origins sells downloads for a modest price, $2.99, via, and I am informed that a print-on-demand edition of this issue of Origins will be available shortly. Writers and translators, you will also find on the website a call for submissions.

+ Your COMMENTS are always welcome. And you are also most welcome to sign up for my newsletter.

(podcast and transcript)

(from Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion)