Kuwentuhan (Talkstory): Arlene Biala, Urayoan Noel, Aimee Suzara
Kuwentuhan (Talkstory) takes the Tagalog term, a phoneticized form adapted through the colonial Spanish, as its title, proposition, and starting point. Kuwentuhan (“necessary step toward big talk,” by one definition) is orally based, informal in nature, usually spontaneous, and is always an opportunity for people to converge and share. It occurs in all kinds of social spaces as talkstory circle.
The project’s aim is to open up precisely the kind of human space that barely exists in our technological and “globalized” culture, by allowing a select group of American poets out of widely disparate and polyglot cultural and geographic backgrounds to actually talk face to face, sharing stories, poetry and conversations among themselves and with audiences. They are interested in work that originates from a communal basis, and in shaping a project that encourages collective creation, by putting into action mechanisms for creating “live” person-to-person exchange between and among artists and audiences.
Kuwentuhan (Talkstory) is a project of The Poetry Center and Barbara Jane Reyes, supported by the Creative Work Fund.
Arlene Biala is a Filipina poet and performance artist, born in San Francisco. She is the author of bone, her first chapbook of poetry published in 1993, and continental drift, published by West End Press (through University of New Mexico Press distribution) in 1999. She received her Master of Fine Arts in poetics and writing from New College of California, and received an artist residency at Montalvo. She is Santa Clara County’s poet laureate.
Urayoán Noel was born and raised in Puerto Rico, lives in the Bronx and is an assistant professor of English Spanish and Portuguese at New York University. As a poet, Noel is the author of Buzzing Hemisphere/Rumor Hemisférico (Arizona, 2015), a Library Journal Top Fall Indie Poetry selection; Hi-Density Politics (BlazeVox, 2010), a National Book Critics Circle Small Press Highlights selection; Kool Logic/La Lógica Kool (Bilingual Review, 2005), an El Nuevo Día Book of the Year; and others. Noel’s critical study, In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam (Iowa, 2014), won the LASA Latina/o Studies Book Award.
Aimee Suzara is a Filipino-American poet, playwright and performer whose mission is to create poetic and theatrical work about race, gender and the body to provoke dialogue and social change. Suzara has graced stages nationally, from Florida to Washington with her dynamic spoken word. Her debut poetry book, SOUVENIR (WordTech Editions 2014), was a finalist for the Willa Award and lauded as “a powerful meditation on history and the legacies of race, family and identity,” (David Mura). Her performance work has been supported by a YBCAway Award, the National Endowment for the Arts and East Bay Community Foundation commission; selected for the One Minute Play Festival, Playground, APAture and Utah Arts Festival; and staged at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, CounterPULSE and others.