- Texas Writers on the Callaloo Texas Projects
By virtue of the sophisticated culling of Texas writing in two journal issues and the broad range of Texas writers assembled at its conference, Callaloo proves that the most worldly forms of writing dwell in the intimate particulars of place. By welcoming so many to the table with its capacious vision of what might be Texas writing, no one goes hungry. Surely this is the sign of a cosmopolitan new world of “regional” America pulsing with life.
The amazing thing about the Texas issues of Callaloo is how it represents, maybe for the first time, the real Texas, Chicana, Black, Jewish, Asian, Middle Eastern, an image of the state rips through the popular culture stereotypes and looks into the corazón of a diverse and creative landscape.
Some of us hope Dr. Rowell takes the two issues of this series and publishes them as a book, the greatest anthology ever put together representing Texas writers and artists.
As a Texas transplant—someone originally from the barrios of California—I felt some strange sense of Texas pride when I attended the Texas Writers Conference and shared a microphone with so many writers from different backgrounds and cultures. This was a Texas they never told me about.
At conferences—which are often their own unique callaloos—one is never certain what “the gem of the flame” will be. The 2009 Callaloo Texas Writers Conference quickly affirmed that it was not to be a conversation about the expression TEXAS HAD WRITTEN . . . but was a breath in the on-going conversation of what TEXAS IS WRITING. Texas, authentic or mythic—that historically rural or increasingly contemporary urban place—is still a muse which inspires those native, those received. Texas is a mother. Texas is a father. Texas is a garden that continues to bear. Texas is a muse that has been neither silenced nor cauterized. Texas is Writing.
No one, no Texan, no publication, has ever gathered and published as many Texas writers in one volume . . . [What Callaloo] has given is Texas-sized without the Texas brag.
These two special issues of Callaloo represent the best that Texas has to offer in prose and verse, and I think they show that despite the vast spaces and diverse voices of the state, Texas is a wellspring of talented and important writers. I am honored to appear in the same issue with some of the writers who have been my personal inspiriations, as well as those I’m reading for the first time on these pages. Furthermore, my experiences in meeting, hearing and mingling with these writers at the conference, “Callaloo Salutes Texas Writers,” have forged memories that I will carry for a lifetime.
—Twister Marquiss [End Page 338]
The Texas Writers conference brought together a far-flung constellation of writers from/ living in/writing about the Lone Star state. I found myself, a relative newcomer to the state, alongside old-timers and recent transplants from as far away as Pakistan. During the three days we spent together, lines were drawn, not between us, but from one to the next, connecting rather than dividing us. I’d like to think this constellation made a picture, finally some mythological animal worthy of a story of how we came together and why.
Thank you so much for including me in your terrific conference. I made so many new friends there, thanks to you, and discovered some astonishing new voices. It was exhilarating.
Callaloo's March 2009 conference was a rejuvenating experience. I was moved by conversations, readings, and talks with and by writers from around the world who are linked to Texas, and now Callaloo. The conference made me stop and think about the state—in all senses of the word—in which I've been living. The gathering was an affirmation and celebration that together we can redefine and recreate a reality that is thought-provoking, inspiring, and joyful. The conference was my first time meeting Charles Rowell, and after talking with him for just a short time, I understood how and why Callaloo occupies such...